Is your nonprofit struggling to come up with fundraising ideas that are a little bit different from the norm?
Often, it can feel like everyone is doing the same types of fundraisers, which can make it hard to capture the attention of your donors.
We’ve got you covered with these creative in-person fundraising ideas. These can be great options for adding to your online fundraising efforts.
Unique Fundraising Ideas To Maximize Donations
Need inspiration for your next fundraising event? Offering a twist on traditional fundraising activities can offer unique fundraising opportunities for your organization.
Here are a few creative ideas to try out:
1. Speed Dating Fundraisers
Speed dating events can raise a lot of funds and are a great opportunity for your supporters to meet new people. Some of your donors may even enjoy some romance off the back of it!
Here’s how speed dating works:
It uses a “round robin” approach to set up mini dates. Half the participants remain seated throughout, while the other half work their way through the tables.
They spend up to 10 minutes at each table before the buzzer/bell sounds and they move onto the next “date”. This gives an opportunity for each pairing to find out more about each other.
Usually, participants will be asked to confirm if they’re interested in getting to know other participants better once all “dates” are completed.
Charge an admission fee for singles to take part in your speed dating event.
If the fundraiser is a big success, consider holding regular speed dating events.
Pro tip: Partner with a bar or restaurant to host a speed dating fundraiser. You can split the proceeds or they may be willing to donate the full amount to your organization.
2. Dog Wash Fundraisers
Offer to give local pooches a good wash and groom in exchange for donations.
You’ll need to find a venue that has plenty of space and is fairly private. If this is an outdoor venue such as a parking lot, this type of fundraiser works best in warmer weather.
A few things you’re likely to need include:
- Hypoallergenic dog shampoo
- A water supply
- Large buckets/containers to use for cleaning and rinsing
- Plenty of old towels for drying off
- Dog treats (bath time isn’t great fun for all dogs!)
Pro tip #1: For maximum publicity, think about whether you can include a USP for your dog wash fundraiser. Maybe you’ll dress up in costumes, for example. This can help get more people talking about the event, which can encourage more dog owners to stop by.
Gather some volunteers together and start promoting your services. Put up flyers and posters in the local area, along with your usual promotional channels. You can also set up a Facebook event for your dog wash fundraiser and list it on Eventbrite and other event listing websites. This will help reach a wider audience
Pro tip #2: Team up with a pet shop or dog groomer and add grooming services to your offer. This can raise more donations since dog grooming is a time-consuming task that most dog owners will happily outsource — especially for a good cause!
3. Rock Paper Scissors Contests
There are three hand shapes involved:
- Rock – A closed fist
- Paper – A flat hand
- Scissors – A fist, with the index and middle fingers extended in a “v” shape
Competitors try to beat each other by performing a winning shape.
As a general rule of thumb:
- Rock beats scissors
- Scissors wins out against the paper
- Paper triumphs against rock
Set up two-person contests until you ultimately declare a tournament winner. If a certain contest ends in a tie, play a best-of-three (or best-of-five, if needed) to decide who wins.
Charge entrants a small fee to get involved and request further donations during the contests.
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4. Tennis Tournaments
Is there a tennis court nearby? Look at hosting a mini tennis competition to raise funds.
Set up some doubles pairings from within the local community and request a registration fee to get involved. Entrants can also ask people to sponsor them and spectators can pay an entry fee to watch the competition.
You can decide whether each match is just a one-set shootout or a best-of-three sets.
Recruit volunteers to act as umpires, line judges and ball people.
5. World Record Attempt Parties
You can host a fundraising party with a difference — by asking attendees to try to break World Records and secure donations.
Participants can ask family, friends and the wider community to sponsor their efforts — either through your organization’s donation page or through peer-to-peer fundraising.
Promote the fundraiser as a light-hearted and fun attempt to see how close people can get to existing World Records.
Here are some of the easier World Record titles to use as inspiration:
- Most sit ups, press ups or crunches in one minute
- Mass participation events — crazy attempts include the world’s largest pillow fight and the largest gathering of ABBA impersonators!
- Most apples bobbed in one minute
- Fastest time to wrap a person in a newspaper
- Most t-shirts that can be put on in one minute
Pro tip: Choose a few world records with a low difficulty threshold — this gives attendees a shot at breaking them!
Charge an entry fee for people to attend the event and see the attempts. You can also ask people to donate a certain amount as a — someone might donate $10 to “bet” that someone can’t beat a certain World Record attempt, for example. The donation stands, regardless of whether the attempt is beaten or not.
6. Mentoring Auctions
Auction off a mentoring session with a prominent thought leader. This could be someone from your organization or a respected local celebrity, for example. The highest bidder wins the session.
With modern technology, the session doesn’t even have to be face-to-face — you can arrange for them to take place on Skype or similar technology.
Another option involves offering sports mentoring or coaching. Sports coaches could offer a 30 minute one-to-one session, for example.
7. Baby Photo Contests
Encourage people to submit their baby photos and have everyone guess who they belong to.
You can also ask people to vote winners in various categories — “cutest baby photo” or “cheekiest baby photo” — for a donation, of course!
You can also request a small entry fee to submit baby photos to the contest.
8. Video Game Fundraisers
A video game fundraiser will appeal to die-hard gaming fans but also to casual gamers.
You can ask participants to live stream their gaming for a set period of time (usually up to 24 hours) and encourage their fans to donate throughout this period.
A few organizations have had success with this idea by teaming up with gaming influencers and using Twitch for the live streaming element, for example.
You can also extend the fundraiser to include casual gamers — including families.
Have snacks and drinks on hand for gamers throughout the event.
9. Dance Marathons
Dance-offs are a popular fundraiser and you can put a twist on this by creating a dance marathon.
This is a high-energy fundraiser, which can bring in a lot of donations.
Participants don’t need to have crazy dance skills but having plenty of stamina definitely helps since the idea is to dance for an extended period of time.
Forming teams makes this is a lot easier as members can take it in turns to keep things moving.
10. Quitting Bad Habits
Lots of people give up alcohol or smoking for a set period of time and secure donations in line with this.
Your organization can take this a step further by encouraging your supporters to quit a bad habit — even if they don’t smoke or drink much alcohol.
Your donors can choose any bad habit — from junk food to nail biting. The idea is simple: they pledge to give up a bad habit for at least a week and receive donations.
11. Eco Drives
Charge a small “fine” if participants do something that’s not eco-friendly — from leaving the lights on to using plastic bags. All proceeds from the “fines” go to your organization.
Since being eco-friendly is a popular trend these days, this can be a unique fundraiser that captures donor attention. If you’re raising awareness in this niche, it can be particularly effective.
Over to You
It can be a big challenge to come up with fundraising ideas that haven’t been done to death but hopefully, we’ve introduced you to some new options.
Whatever fundraising activities you choose, Donorbox is here to help your nonprofit raise more funds. Our donation software supports your fundraising efforts and makes it easier to attract new donors and build stronger relationships with existing ones.