Is your Canadian organization looking for fundraising ideas? Whether you’re a registered nonprofit or a local group, there are plenty of popular options.
Try these ideas to boost donations and raise your organization’s profile.
The Fundraising Landscape in Canada
Canadians are a generous bunch when it comes to donations. There’s great potential for tapping into this for your fundraising.
There are around 170,000 charitable organizations in Canada, and roughly 85,000 of these are registered nonprofits.
In stats from the 2019 Canada Giving Report, around two-thirds of Canadians had donated in the previous year. This included giving to churches and other religious organizations. A third had given to an organization in the past month.
Fundraising season is a big driver for donations in Canada — most giving occurs in December. Make sure your organization is ready for this!
What inspires Canadians to give? Caring about your cause, realizing they can make a difference through their donations and having trust in an organization are said to be the key factors.
Online giving is one of the most popular ways to donate in Canada. If your organization isn’t taking advantage of this, using fundraising software can maximize your donations.
Update – Dec, 2021: Donorbox now supports Canadian direct debits through Stripe. More commonly known as CPADs. It has to be enabled on your Donorbox payment methods page. The option to enable it will only show up on the payment methods page if your Org’s country is set to Canada. Secondly, it is important that the connected Stripe account is also a Canadian account.
Canadian Fundraising Ideas
Stuck for inspiration to boost donations for your Canadian organization? Try these easy fundraising ideas!
1. Scratch Card Fundraisers
Scratch cards are a fun way to raise more funds. Each donor scratches off 2 of the 60 dots and donates the amount that is revealed. This can bring in 30 donations per card.
A scratch card fundraiser can be very profitable for your organization. Most of the time, it can raise around $100 per card once all the dots have been scratched off.
Since most donations are only a few dollars, it’s an easy way for people to support your organization.
In return, they get a sheet of coupons to redeem at popular retailers. You can customize these to your part of Canada when you order. Most websites that sell scratch card for fundraisers have a list of retailers you can pick from to customize your coupon sheets.
Pro tip: Personalize your scratch cards with your organization’s details and logo. Give at least one scratch card to each member of your fundraising team. This inspires trust with potential donors. It also raises the profile of your organization.
2. Discount Card Fundraisers
Discount cards are another smart fundraising move.
When they buy a discount card from your organization, donors receive discounts from well-known and local retailers in exchange for the donation. This can include pizza chains and movie theater chains, for example. You can choose a handful of merchants to include on your cards.
You can set a price of $20 for a discount card with 20 retailers and make a significant profit on the upfront costs.
Since discount cards are popular, your fundraising team can sell several cards each.
Pro tip: Not sure which retailers will appeal to your potential donors? Use donor surveys to see the interests your donors have in common. This can help choose local merchants that will appeal to your donors.
3. Brochure Fundraising
Brochure fundraising can be a low-cost option. Your organization doesn’t need to pay upfront for fundraising products. You can collect donations as advance “orders” and this tells you how many products you’ll need to buy later on.
Once you’ve collected your orders, you’ll know how many fundraising products to buy from the brochure to meet the demand. This can help your organization avoid paying for products you can’t sell.
Pro tip: Brochures can be ordered online through fundraising websites. When you’re ready to buy fundraising products, you can order them online through the same site.
Some of the brochure fundraising options you can choose include:
3.1. Cookie Dough Fundraisers
Everyone loves cookies, right? Cookie dough fundraisers are popular with donors and are simple to run. Offering a range of flavors can help raise more funds since you’re sure to have something for all tastes.
Pre-packaged cookie dough is the most common type and you can buy pre-shaped options too. This makes it convenient for your supporters
3.2. Lollipop Fundraisers
Lollipops and candies are another popular way to raise funds. You can buy different flavors and use holidays or other themes for novelty appeal.
Lollipop fundraisers can be a big success for sports teams and sports groups in Canada. They can work well for any organization though.
3.3. Popcorn Fundraisers
Popcorn is always well received, especially when it involves delicious flavors.
If you’re also selling discount cards that feature movie theater chains, it’s even more likely to be a big hit!
3.4. Trail Mix Fundraisers
Does your organization want to sell healthier snacks? A trail mix fundraiser can work well.
3.5. Candle Fundraisers
Does your organization want to sell something that doesn’t involve food? A candle fundraiser can raise plenty of funds. Earth candles are a popular choice.
4. Online Yard Sales or Auctions
An online yard sale or auction can help your community to get rid of unwanted items. This is a great way for people to declutter their homes and raise funds for your organization.
Take a look at our article on running a silent auction for tips on how to host this type of event.
5. Services Auction
You can also auction off services to raise funds. Encourage members of your local community to offer their services to the highest bidder. The amount raised is donated to your organization.
You might be surprised to see the types of skills that are offered!
A few ideas can include:
- Running errands
- Washing cars
- Cutting hair
- Walking a neighbor’s dog for a week
- Offering personal training sessions for a week
- Helping someone move to a new apartment
This type of fundraiser can be very popular since people can get errands filled and donate to a good cause.
6. Canada Day Fundraisers
Canada Day is a big day for fundraising in Canada. It typically falls on July 1st (unless that’s a Sunday, in which case it reverts to July 2nd).
There are lots of options for hosting a Canada Day event and it’s a great opportunity to involve the local community.
A few ideas include:
Fireworks displays are a traditional part of Canada Day activities. Why not see if you can host your own display as a fundraiser? You’ll likely need to apply for a permit. Selling tickets is the obvious way to raise funds and you can also sell food and drinks.
Hosting a community event in a local park is another option. If you can get permission to do this, you can fire up the grill and sell burgers and hot dogs. Look into who you’ll need to get permission from to do this.
A neighborhood street party is another great way to bring the local community together — and raise funds at the same time! Set out tables in the street and encourage everyone to bring food and drinks.
How Your Canadian Donors Can Fundraise For You
There are lots of ways your donors can raise funds for your Canadian organization.
Try these unique ideas:
1. Casual Work Days
Encourage your donors to ask if their employer will get involved in a fundraising dress down day. In exchange for a donation, the workplace can wear casual clothes for a day. The funds raised are donated to your organization.
2. Office Cook-Off Challenges
Your donors can challenge their co-workers to a workplace cook-off.
Challenge everyone to bring in their cooking creations. They can pay a donation to sample each other’s meals and vote for a winner. The dish with the most votes earns plenty of bragging rights.
3. Donate for Time Off
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance of some time off work — without eating into vacation time?
Encourage your donors to see if their employer will agree for them to have an afternoon or full day off work. They donate the amount they think this is worth.
Create teams from the local community and host a dance-a-thon. The team that clocks up the most dance time is the winner.
Pro tip: Collect pledges from the community for every dance hour that is completed.
5. Amateur Talent Shows
Running a talent show requires more preparation but it’s a fun way to boost donations.
Invite members including kids of your local community to showcase their talents. Ask attendees to vote for their favorite act. See if you can team up with a local business to offer a prize for the winner.
Amateur talent shows are great for community building. It’ll also likely create plenty of interest. People are always curious to see the hidden talents of their acquaintances!
Pro tip: Charge an entry fee for people to sample the talents that the local community has to offer. You can use event management tools to sell tickets or sell tickets at the door.
Whatever fundraising activities you choose to do, it’s good to have the capacity to receive online donations.
Donorbox is a preferred fundraising platform for many Canadian organizations who love our range of features. We make it easy to create effective donation pages and embed donation forms on your nonprofit website, for example.
6. Polar Plunge Fundraisers
The Polar Bear Plunge is a winter fundraising event in Canada and involves jumping into an icy lake (or another very cold body of water!) to raise funds. It typically takes place on January 1st in Canada.
Your donors can choose to “plunge” for your organization and secure donations on your behalf.
Over to You
Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration for raising more funds for your Canadian organization.
There are lots of easy options for your fundraising team to get involved in. Your supporters can also fundraise on your behalf — particularly at work!
You can engage your local community too. This can help raise your organization’s profile, along with raising funds.
Take a look at our nonprofit blog for more fundraising tips.