The Economy has been bad, continues to be bad, and things will get worse before they get better. Whether you're a nonprofit organization or a responsible individual having a really tough time, here are some suggestions for multiplying what you have left:
If you cook or bake:
Farmer's Markets are huge right now. Even if you don't grow anything, you can participate and cash in on the popularity. Do you make the best fudge ever? Do people rave about your brownies? Have a unique cookie recipe? Find out what your limitations are. If you're in a metropolitan area, you might be limited to what can be produced in a commercial kitchen. But in the county, there might be markets without those restrictions. It's like a bake sale, only you're the only baker. Figure out what it costs you to make it and triple the cost. Best bets: on the spot consumables like mini-cakes (made in individual loaf pans); condiments like jams or preserves; specialty items like baklava; or gift items like special mixes in pretty jars topped with bows.
Find somewhere to rent commercial kitchen space. The local health authorities are usually concerned about the condition of the kitchen rather than the conditions of where it is served. Check with churches, the local Y, community centers, etc. for available cooking space. The delivery space is limited only by your imagination: offer to cater a dinner party in a park, or a picnic for 12 in the mountains, at the lake or on the beach.
If you write:
Always wanted to freelance or have your own agency but no idea where or how to start? oDesk.com is the ticket. If you have some writing projects behind you, go to oDesk and create a profile in their system. Here's the key: Take your time when creating your profile. Include several pieces you've already written; think of every bit of writing/editing you've done for someone else over the years and proclaim your talents. Once you find the right first job with good pay and a trustworthy employer, complete it in an outstanding manner and get that all important initial feedback, then oDesk goes to bat for you and starts recommending you to the thousands of employers who look for contractors there daily. oDesk also has complete instructions for forming your own writing agency through them.
Offer book editing services on some of the many writing sites. You'd be surprised how many people are writing or have written, but are stymied because they know their work needs help, but don't know where to turn.
If you're handy and/or an animal lover:
If you're in dire enough straits that you could lose your home, check out www.caretakerjobs.com or www.craigslist.org. There are lots of people with farms and ranches out there who can offer you a roof over your head in exchange for a few hours of work a week, and if you have construction skills, you'll really be in demand. That can get you a stipend on top of the accommodations.
Offer your skills in unique places:
Want to start a chocolate shop? Rent out a commercial kitchen, make samples of your wares, and set up a booth (with appropriate permission, of course) at a college, outside a high school or after church.
Want to get your accounting business off the ground? Go around to small, newly opened shops and offer to do just a basic spreadsheet of income and expenses for them for a minimal monthly fee to make their lives easier.
How about event planning? Study up on event planning best practices online and then offer custom event or wedding packages. If you're a cook to boot, work with a local event space to offer the bride and groom a comprehensive wedding package with a customized ceremony and reception.
Need cash today?
If you are really down to the wire, make a decision to change your lifestyle today; then find that one treasure that's been weighing you down and put it on www.craigslist.org with a picture taken with your camera phone. Take a good look around - how much good will that 48-inch Hi Def TV do you if you end up on the street? What's it worth -- $750? Sell if for half that. It will sell quickly, and you will have staved off the wolf for a little while at least.
Repeat #1 in this category. You will be surprised how much creativity you unleash when you get rid of your entertaining toys and you have the free time to think and create. Then, implement one of the other methods above to sustain yourself for a longer period of time.
About the author: Thomas Lewis is a writer for Fundraiser-Ideas.net which is one of the top fundraising ideas blogs. Fundraiser-Ideas.net is aimed at helping great organizations and individuals raise money for great causes. To that end, the site also offers an extensive directory of nonprofit consultants.