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What Is a Candle Fundraiser?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

A candle fundraiser is a group or organization-based effort to raise money by selling candles. Most of the time, this kind of fundraiser is coordinated in conjunction with a commercial candle manufacturer and requires taking orders in person, often through door-to-door sales, that will be fulfilled at some point in the future. Groups can also host more informal types of fundraisers. These often involve on-site sales of homemade or donated candles and are often scheduled to coincide with holidays or major gift-giving events.

The main idea behind any fundraiser is to generate income for some specific organization or cause. Youth groups, school clubs, or sports teams often put on candle fundraisers as a way of funding certain programs or activities. Raising money for a charity group or medical research organization is also a common impetus. The specifics of how the fundraiser is organized is usually up to the individual coordinators, but always involves selling candles for a profit.


Some of the most popular candle fundraiser initiatives are put on in conjunction with professional fundraising groups. Candle manufactures often offer organizations special deals on fundraising packages. The manufacturer produces brochures, sales invoices, and basic training materials, which it sends to the fundraising coordinator. Individual sellers then bring those materials out into the community and take orders.

A candle from a fundraiser.
A candle from a fundraiser.

Most of the time, the products advertised in these brochures are of the same quality and basic price point as customers would find in regular retail outlets. The benefit is that the purchase goes to support some specific group. Sponsoring groups generally get a cut, anywhere from 10 to 50 percent, of their total sales.

Groups must usually pre-qualify to host this sort of candle fundraiser. Manufacturers usually only offer fundraising deals and materials to groups that meet certain specifications. Sometimes these have to do with size, but more often they are concerned with the group’s mission and status. A club or organization must usually be non-profit and community-centered to qualify, and all money raised must usually go directly to programming or overhead costs.

Not all candle fundraiser options are so involved. Basically any sort of candle sale where the profits go to support the mission of a specific group counts. A scouting troop that makes candles to sell in the school lunchroom or at a local craft bazaar usually qualifies, for instance, as does a corporate funding initiative where donated or low-cost candles are sold to the general public.

Most of the time, a candle fundraiser in any of these categories is a temporary event. There are usually set start and end dates, and orders must usually be placed by a certain deadline. This ensures that the money earned can be processed promptly, and the profits directed to the appropriate cause.

A candle fundraiser is usually only on-going if it is designed as a means of supplementing public funding, usually as in the case of an established charity. Homes for disabled people or terminally ill children are common examples of organizations that may sponsor on-going candle sells. Most of the time, the candles being sold in these circumstances have been made by patients or residents, and their sale is one of the primary ways that the organizations procure private funding.

Unlike in a typical youth fundraiser, candles in on-going fundraisers are usually displayed in dedicated shops that are attached to the charity’s main facility. They may also be sourced to different stores throughout the area. Charities usually have an understanding with retailers that the profits from any candles sold in private shops will revert to the organization.

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    • Candles.
      By: robynmac
    • A candle from a fundraiser.
      By: nick barounis
      A candle from a fundraiser.