Fundraising is like a marathon. It takes sustained efforts over a longer period of time and a lot of grit to achieve the desired outcomes and goals.
Successful fundraising starts from effective planning and goal setting. Your fundraising goals and plans should be an integral part of your nonprofit’s overall organizational strategy, and it should be clear to you as to how they support your mission.
While successful fundraising campaigns usually take some time to plan and execute, sometimes, you just need to run a quick and easy activity to fund an immediate need or reach the final fundraising goal.
14 Quick Fundraising Ideas Guaranteed to Bring in Funds Fast:
1. Car Wash
A car wash fundraiser is a proven and quick money maker.
All you need is a team of volunteers, a location, bold signs, and some cleaning supplies. Car washes are also a great way to involve everyone, have fun, and build a community. Access to a water supply is also a must-have! Choose the weekend for the best turnout.
When organizing your car wash, make sure you promote it beforehand. You could use flyers/posters, word of mouth, social media, local media outlets, or even pre-sell vouchers.
On the day of, set up your car wash and split your team into smaller groups. Each group should have one main task (e.g. soaping, washing off, drying). This will make the process more streamlined.
Ensure that your customers have somewhere they can sit and wait. Increase revenue by selling doughnuts and warm beverages.
2. Fundraising Wristbands
Selling customized wristbands, either as a part of a larger campaign or on their own, is a great method of raising money fast.
They are an excellent way to raise awareness and promote your cause. This fundraiser is quick to put together, yet is very effective.
Make sure your wristbands are unique and made from high-quality materials in order to best represent your cause. Silicone wristbands are a popular choice and can be ordered from many websites online – and you can customize them as well.
You can usually get them in a variety of colors, customize the text, and add small logos or emblems to each. These websites often offer bulk discounts for large quantities.
3. Activity Workshop
This fundraising idea is not only quick to put together but is also incredibly versatile and customizable. It’s also very appropriate to host seasonally.
For example, you could organize a flower arrangement workshop in spring, a chocolate making workshop for Valentine’s, or a wreathe arranging class for Christmas. These are guaranteed to attract a crowd, especially if you can get in an expert to host them.
You can adapt them to all the different ages as well. Naturally, activity workshops will look very different if you’re creating it for kids and if you’re creating it for adults.
Host a class and charge an entry fee to cover supplies and collect donations.
4. Donation Jars
Donation jars are simple and effective. They can be used in a variety of situations. You could partner with local cafes or businesses (especially those whose values match yours) – and have them place the donations jar at their check out registers.
Use signs to explain your cause and how to give. Include images and your logo and use your nonprofit’s colors on your message so that it grabs attention and maintains a consistent brand.
Nowadays, there are also digital donation jars which can accept card donations too.
5. Game Night
Game nights are a great way to get people together, have fun, and raise funds for your cause.
Select five to ten different games that require at least four players – and set them up at different stations. Some ideas are: Cards Against Humanities, Jenga, Pictionary, Oh Hell!, Candyland, Poker, Trouble, Wii golf or tennis, Monopoly, and more.
Adjust the games depending on the age and preferences of your audience. Add a theme to make it more fun – ask people to dress up and have all your snacks and décor revolve around the theme. Ask local businesses to donate a prize and/or food and drinks.
Charge per game per participant to raise funds.
6. Swap Event
In addition to being quick to organize, this fundraising idea is environmentally friendly. Promote sustainability and being thrifty by organizing ‘swaps’. These are commonly organized for clothes, but other items like books and accessories can be swapped too.
These can be made big, with teams of volunteers sorting the items dropped off in advance or upon entry into separate areas for tops, pants, dresses, coats, sweaters. You can have catering, entertainment, and even a lecture about sustainability.
However, if you’re short on time, creating a simple token system (you get a token per every item of clothing you bring and you can use it towards another piece of clothing) and limiting the number of attendees will work in your favor.
Advise attendees to bring gently used (no stains or rips), preferably stylish clothes. Do this in during the change of seasons when people tend to shop for new clothes. Charge for entry and donate the leftover clothes.
7. Envelope Fundraiser
This fundraiser is a classic and for a reason. It takes no time to organize, and it’s a perfect way to bring in additional funds.
This works best if you have a physical location that gets a lot of visits or if you’re running an event. However, you could even partner with an organization/local business that could put the envelopes up for you.
Write dollar amounts from $1 and higher on the envelopes. Go as high as you want. Put envelopes on a board or a wall and put up messages that will encourage people to give. People take an envelope and put the corresponding amount of money in it to donate (e.g. $50 inside an envelope with the number 50 on it).
This allows people to give as much as they are able to at the moment, as one can donate a $1 or $200 (whatever range you select).
8. Guessing Game
There are many versions of the Guessing Game, but the principle remains pretty much the same for each. Participants are given the opportunity to guess something and they pay for each guess.
Many popular versions of the Guessing Game include jars. Fill a jar with (affordable) items – usually candies – and ask participants to guess how many are inside. The smaller the items are and the bigger the jar, the more difficult it becomes to guess and the more funds you can raise. You can also use pennies, paper clips, confetti, and more.
Make sure the jar is placed somewhere prominent with a high traffic of people. This fundraising idea is great for schools and universities.
Charge about $1 per guess and make sure you have a prize for the potential winner.
9. Social Media Spotlight
On to the online. Social media is an important component of a modern nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.
Create a post, sharing a compelling photo or a short video – followed by a caption – shining a light on a single donor and how their donation made a difference. Make sure you tag the donor and get their permission before posting.
You can also showcase your beneficiaries, perhaps sharing the before and after story. Seeing the impact donations can have on real people can make all the difference to donors – encouraging them to give.
Just don’t forget to link to your online donation form in the post (idea #11).
10. Specific Date, Specific Amount
This fundraising idea is incredibly simple and ideal for those looking to raise funds fast.
Simply choose a day of the month and then run the campaign on that day asking people to donate the exact same amount of money to your nonprofit (e.g. $20 on the 20th).
This works best if the day is meaningful in some way. For example, World Lymphoma Awareness Day is on September 15, so any nonprofit linked to this cause could run a $15 on the 15th campaign.
Create a couple of powerful social media posts and share them on the day.
11. Warm Beverages Stand
Another classic and versatile fundraising idea. Run a lemonade or juices & smoothies stand in the summer and a warm beverages stand in winter.
Finding an area with heavier foot traffic is important. Whether you choose a busy street in your town or a local mall, it’s important that your booth is visible.
You’ll need a booth, cups, the beverages of choice, and any add-ins. You can even round up long tables and cover them plastic or paper cloths (festive if you’re doing this during the holiday season). To keep as much of the funds as possible, find stores willing to donate cups, lids, napkins, and stir sticks.
Have an organized plan to collect the cash received and enough small change to break larger bills, and don’t forget about signs promoting your stand!
12. Call Sprint
Fundraising calls are relatively cheap and quick to put together and execute. In the age of the Internet, calls can also feel much more personal and authentic – which goes a long way in building relationships with your donors.
Fundraising calls also support all other fundraising strategies, since you can call to follow up an email or even a direct mail.
If you have the basic script ready, you can get almost anyone to do the calls, which makes this fundraising idea scalable.
Dedicate a couple of hours (or a whole day) one day of a week to calling your current and potential donors. Make it into a team activity – this can help make it fun for everyone.
Have your staff and volunteers ask for donations and pledges.
If you want to go the extra mile, create a leader board and have a reward ready for the most successful team.
13. Online Donation Form
Online fundraising has become pivotal in furthering positive social impact and ensuring the financial sustainability of nonprofits.
A very simple and quick way to raise funds is to set up a donation page.
Donorbox is a powerful fundraising software that is very simple and fast to set up. You can start fundraising with a fast, optimized donation payment system in 15 minutes. It’s specifically designed to encourage recurring donations and you can seamlessly embed a custom donation form to your website or use a pop-up widget.
Simple and customizable donation forms, offering multiple payment gateways, and a straightforward donation process all make the donation process very easy for donors – which in turn increases your donations.
Of course, just having a donation page isn’t enough. Share it on your social media profiles and send out an email to your contact list – and watch donations starting to come in!
14. Skills Auction
A twist on the classic auction, in a skills auction, people offer up a skill/service to be ‘sold’ to a bidding member of the group.
Essentially, instead of bargaining off physical items, services and promises are offered. Ask around in advance for contributions to the skills auctions (from your staff, volunteers, community members, etc.).
A lot of different skills and services can be offered: teeth cleaning, tutoring lessons, guitar, piano, singing, or other musical lessons, a logo design, a dedicated poem, a portrait, a cleaning service, babysitting, a ride in the fire truck, a dinner with a local celebrity or a politician, and more.
Then, you run the skills auction the same way you would the ‘regular’ auction.
Looking for more fundraiser ideas? Here are 100+ fundraising ideas for your nonprofit.
Fundraising can be difficult and tiring. As a nonprofit professional, you are juggling any number of tasks on a given day — trying to keep your nonprofit afloat and serve as many beneficiaries as possible.
However well you plan the year ahead, sometimes it just happens that you’re falling a little bit behind. This is when simple and quick fundraising ideas, such as the ones listed above, can really make all the difference.
While it’s important to do what’s tried and tested, quick fundraising also calls for experimentation and innovation. Think about what your donors and supporters would be interested in and appreciate, as well as what could be put together fast by your team, and give yourself the opportunity to go outside of the box.