While planning a fundraising event can seem like a daunting task, there are many ways to make your life easier when it comes to acquiring funds.
Below, you’ll find a wide range of fundraising ideas, from the simplest event to plan to more daring ones.
Some of the key things to remember about fundraisers include planning well in advance, setting a schedule, and most importantly, adjusting any idea to fit your individual needs.
And without further ado, here are some awesome fundraising ideas!
Online Donation Page
An online donation page is your first stop when it comes to any kind of fundraising. If you find yourself struggling with running a thousand different fundraising events, it’s worth investing in an all-in-one software that does everything for you. Donorbox is a powerful donation system that has many ways of adding fundraising to your organization’s online presence and only takes 15 minutes to set up.
Gift Card Fundraiser
Gift card fundraisers are easy to organize and great at engaging your donors. Here’s how it works: you buy gift cards through websites like Fundscrip or Avgen, and then re-sell them to your supporters. When they use the gift card, you get a portion of the money they spend, without donors having to pay anything extra.
If you’re looking for an easy, online fundraiser, crowdfunding is your first stop. Sites such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo are famous for how many people they reach with their donation campaigns. Online giving is simple for both you and your donors, plus it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to spend money on a big event.
This is one of the most classic ways to raise money, and it has been proven to be one of the most effective, too. Get your community together with various sweet treats, with proceeds going to your organization. Add some extra flair to your event by having a theme – for example, Valentine’s day charity bake sale.
This is another type of sale that can benefit your cause, except instead of baking goods, all you need to do is clean out your garage or locker room. Sales booths are a sure way of striking up conversations, so hosting a yard sale can even double as a networking event. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and a great way to raise money, too.
Garden or Plant Sale
This is a perfect spring-time fundraising event! Buy various plants and re-sell them to your supporters. You can organize different booths for flowers, herbs, and gardening supplies so there’s something for everyone. It’s not just for gardening enthusiasts, too – chic window plants or succulents are in high demand right now.
Pledges are an easy, flexible fundraising method that anyone can do. All you need is to pick a challenge and have your donors pledge to donate money for completing it. Some examples include: donating a few dollars for every kilometer walked, or for every coffee they drink.
This is one of the fastest ways to boost your donation revenue. Sites like Double the Donation challenge your donors’ employers to match their donation, so it’s a great way to expand your support base while getting your donors involved in your fundraising.
Movie nights are a classic way to get a community together, so why not make it for a good cause? Partner with a community theatre or a local outdoor park and show a movie to your supporters. You can charge for admission and even raise more by selling popcorn and candy.
If you have any expert connections, organize a lecture night. All you need is a stage and microphone (which can often be found at local movie theatres), and an interesting discussion topic. Charge an admissions fee, or sell tickets in advance, and make your expert talk both educational and profitable.
A walk-a-thon is a classic fundraiser. Print some promotional T-shirts, and have your supporters walk it out around the community. This is a great way to raise awareness for your cause, as your supporters will talk to people on the street. Make sure to coordinate your walking route with your local city council in advance.
This is a great summertime fundraiser to do in a local park. Have your supporters come out with picnic blankets and a few snacks of their choice, and bring an array of food to sell. You can also have a full selection of picnic foods and charge for admission. If you want, bring a speaker and add some music to the mix. Just make sure to check the forecast in case of rain!
For those with a competitive streak, contests of any kind are a great way to raise money. Tug-of-war, eating contest, running race — the options are endless. Either charge a fee to enter the competition, or have the attendees place wagers on who they think will win.
Photo contests are a more low-key alternative to active competitions; people can pin pictures up on a board, with the community voting on what they think is the best, for a small fee. Some great ideas for photo themes include the cutest baby, pets, travel adventures, and so on. The winner can get a certificate and bragging rights (Best Photographer is a great title!).
This is another fund-raising classic that doesn’t only work in movies; print some themed calendars and sell them to your supporters. It’s useful for your donors (who doesn’t need a calendar?) and profitable for you. For something extra, you can include your organization’s upcoming event dates on the calendar so your donors always have a reminder on hand.
In general, custom stuff is a great way to make money for your organization as well as getting the word out about your mission, especially if you’re just getting starting. Sell stylish merchandise to promote your cause in a fun way. Unleash your creative streak and put your designs on mugs, shirts, hats, or stationery — or something entirely different.
Scavenger hunts aren’t just for kids looking for Easter eggs; they’re also a great way to raise money for your charity. Choose a theme that fits your organization and make a list of items for the participants to find. Announce the prize for the team that checks off the most items, set a timer, and go! You can either charge a group fee, or a fee per participant, depending on the size of your event.
For a unique approach to fundraising, partner with a local restaurant to host a dinner. Choose a local pizzeria and make it a low-key event, or pick a more upscale restaurant, and have a classy evening. A part of the restaurant’s proceeds from the night will go to your cause, as well as your supporters’ donations from the night.
Relays of all kinds are a great way to get your supporters moving and raise money for your cause. Create a variant that suits your organization’s theme on Relay for Life. You can choose running, biking, swimming, even a treadmill if it’s a rainy day. Make sure to have a big enough space to host your relay if you’re doing it outdoors, and to coordinate the event with the local authorities.
Raffles make for a fun and flexible fundraiser, with a lot of options on what to give away as the grand prize, and how to raise money. One of the most classic charity raffle ideas is a 50-50 raffle; here, the winner and the charity split the grand prize in half. Some other fun options for the grand prize are a spa day, a paid-for vacation, or some gorgeous jewellery.
If you want to make as much money as you can for a certain item or service, try an auction, as people’s bets are sure to climb fairly high. There are many options for what you can auction off. Have your supporters donate their art and then host an art auction for the community; have your volunteers offer to complete service tasks that people can bet on; or have a silent auction for a great networking opportunity.
Celebrate style and host a chic fundraiser through a fashion show. Be sure to plan way in advance, as this type of event requires volunteers, models, and clothing vendors. Have a theme to set your show apart from the rest and to connect it with your organization, and choose a location with someplace for the models to walk. If you don’t have a catwalk available, a local theatre will do just fine. Make sure to advertise your event beforehand, so when it comes to buying tickets, people will go all out. You can even sell the clothing worn in the fashion show and split the proceeds with the vendors.
For a laid-back, zen fundraiser try hosting a yoga class with your own special twist on it. Yoga in the park, yoga with puppies, aerial yoga – it’s all sure to attract a large crowd. Hire a teacher (or brave it yourself, if you’re confident in your yoga skills), set up space, and charge for admission. An even simpler version of this idea is a mindfulness session, which can be hosted both indoors and outdoors and doesn’t require any physical preparation for the participants.
Be it family photos, pet photos, or just a really cool photo booth, people are always dying to have their picture taken. Hire a photographer for a day, put up an attractive set (if you’re short on props, just use a local park as your set), and get snapping! If you want to go the extra mile, set up a unique backdrop (or a whole gallery) to set your donors’ Instagram photos apart from the rest.
Much like the expert talks idea, workshops of any kind are a great way to combine education and fundraising. The most important thing here is to make sure that the theme of the workshop fits in with your message. For example, if you’re an environmental organization, you could host a workshop on creative ways to reuse plastic, or if you’re an animal shelter – a doggy sweater knitting seminar. The participants will get a chance to learn something new, and you’ll get a great chance to network.
When it comes to fundraising, there’s a lot of room to be creative. There are a thousand fundraising ideas that are not on this list (you can find 200 more on this list!) and a thousand more that people haven’t thought of yet. Try as many as you can and find what works for you!
Tatiana Morand is the Content and SEO Manager at Wild Apricot, a leading provider of Membership Management Software. When she’s not writing all the nonprofit content you need or researching the latest SEO tactics, Tatiana can be found traveling the world, petting every cat she sees, or working on her brunch blog at a local cafe.