100 Easy Fundraising Ideas to Crush Your Donation Goals

The Keela Team • Feb 27, 2020

Here are some great fundraising ideas for your team to reach donors.

When your team is thinking about a fundraising campaign, it’s always important to be donor-centered. Put yourself in the shoes of one of your donors, and think about what would be important to you. Empathy is always the best route when trying to connect with a donor and future advocates of your cause.

Creativity is also decisive in your fundraising strategy. With so much going on in the lives of donors, it will be hard to stand out in the crowd. That’s why your campaign should accomplish two things: be refreshingly different and be clear about what you are asking for.

To be successful in your fundraising campaign, follow these 3 golden rules 

  1. Set a goal for how much you hope to raise
  2. Be clear to your donors about the purpose of the fundraising
  3. Use your network to spread the word and find support

The most common way to raise funds is to organize fundraising events. And if you’re feeling out of inspiration, we’ve done part of the work for you. Here are tons of ideas to reach your fundraising goal.

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Sometimes you just need to run a quick and casual event to hit your final fundraising goal. To help you save time, here are a few fundraising ideas that are easy to organize.

1. Service Auction

A great way to cross tasks and chores off the to-do list is to get someone else to do them!

Organize a service auction. This is basically the same as a silent auction, except, instead of putting physical items up for sale, individuals put up services for people to bid on. This can include things like “car washing,” “raking up the leaves for one week,” or even “decorating for the holidays.”

Everyone can get super creative here, and this also lets some people show off their hidden talents!

2. Pie Throwing

Throwing pies at someone has always been a popular fundraiser. It’s often reserved for the board members or the executive director!

You can auction off the opportunity to throw pies at people, with the privilege going to the highest donation. Fundraising ideas like these should always be kept friendly. Be sure to use soft pies or whipped cream in pie tins!

3. Escape Room Challenge

Create an engaging escape room experience and invite teams to participate. Design puzzles and challenges that are both intriguing and mentally stimulating, providing a unique and fun-filled adventure for all. Make sure the tasks are challenging enough to keep participants engaged and eager to solve the mysteries. Encourage teams to work together and strategize their way through the escape room. Consider offering different difficulty levels to cater to a wide range of participants.

This escape room challenge fundraiser promises an exciting and intellectually stimulating experience for all, while also raising funds for your cause in an innovative and interactive manner.

4. Buy-a-Brick Fundraiser

Is your organization building a hospital or a school? If so, this simple fundraising idea is perfect for you. A Buy-a-Brick fundraiser allows for your supporters to contribute directly to the impact this new building or structure will have.  By buying a piece of the material that builds the structure, donors will know they’ve left a mark. After they buy their brick, you can engrave their names and a message on the side to further encourage your donors to share in the progress and excitement of the project. 

5. Send Your Teacher to Jail 

We’ve all wanted to at one point… It’s a simple concept: Classes have the opportunity to raise money in order to have their teacher thrown in “jail” for a certain period. They’ll have more time to play outside while the jailed teacher gets a break from class to catch up on grading or reports.

6. Handwritten Letters

Handwritten and personalized letters are always appreciated by donors.

Gather staff, supporters, and any volunteers to write beautiful letters to solicit donations. They can write poems, draw, or talk about how your mission inspires them – let the creativity flow.

You’ll just need to cover the mailing costs, and wait for the donations to come in!

7. Documentary Film Screening

Learning never ends – and people are always looking to expand their understanding. Screen a documentary related to the importance of your mission in the world. Invite donors and potential supporters, and charge an entry fee.

To minimize your expenses of movie equipment rental, you can ask a local business to sponsor the event. You can also use your network to find someone willing to lend a projector. You’ll only need a white wall, some popcorn to sell, and small talk to put the screening into context. Be ready for the show!

donations documentary

8. Book Swap Fundraiser

Gather those book enthusiasts in a nice place and charge a small amount per book exchanged. This event shouldn’t demand too much organization but it requires great communication to bring as many people as possible!

9. Ask Donors to Give It Up

Everyone has a vice – whether it’s chocolates, fast food, coffee, or a post-work glass of wine. If your organization is in need of some easy fundraising ideas that won’t cost a dime, then we recommend the “Give It Up Challenge.”  Essentially, you’re asking your supporters to pledge that they’ll give up their guilty pleasure for a certain amount of time. All the money they save is donated to your cause. Try and get everyone involved and create a community of solidarity (and accountability).

10. Beard Challenge

There are plenty of beard-themed fundraisers, but you can be very creative with them. The most popular is to have individuals raise money in their community — often through crowd-funding and pledging — to grow a beard, or not shave for a particular time period.

A twist on this fundraising idea would be to find someone who already has a beard, and get them to raise funds to shave it all off! Set a fundraising goal for this individual, and if your organization reaches that goal, you will shave the beard! 

It’s a fun way to engage your community by giving them a common goal to rally around.

11. Envelopes Fundraiser 

Basically, you prepare 200 envelopes marked $1 to $200. Participants grab the envelope they wish corresponding to one donation. The only thing you need to do is purchase envelopes — make it colorful, string, clothespins, and a few hours to pin the envelope to a wall. Simple and 100% effective to raise money!

12. Wine and Cheese Tasting

A classic. Contact a wide variety of winemakers to ask for wine donations. Be sure to explain the purpose of the event and the importance of fundraising to your organization. The same goes for the cheese – You can contact local merchants and try to get sufficient donated food to cover your event needs. You can sell different ticket packages to participants. For instance, the most basic ticket can include a glass of wine and food, whereas the VIP ticket includes different wines to be tasted.

fundraising wine and cheese

13. Garage Sale

Spring cleaning, fall cleaning… Anytime is a good time to declutter! Lead the charge for your community by organizing a community sale. Not only will people in the community be able to clear out their homes, but everyone will be able to raise some money as well. This is a great way to mobilize entire communities because it gets down to a specific pain point that everyone has in common. If it’s successful, you can make this an annual event, and you can watch it grow year after year!

14. Haircut Day

These events are often called Cut-a-Thons. The concept is very simple. Your organization receives donation proceeds from discounted haircuts. Hair salons are usually open to this kind of fundraising event as it is a great opportunity to promote their business and attract new customers. On your side, you’ll raise a lot of money without bothering with logistics. So everybody wins!

15. Create Your Own T-Shirts

This is a successful fundraising idea for nonprofits because of how easy and popular it is. Whether you’re an individual or an organization, you can benefit from designing your own impact tees.  First, find a supplier that is willing to sell in bulk since you’ll save some funds from the outset. Then, design your t-shirts, sell them to your supporters, and raise money for your cause. The t-shirt acts as a memento for the wearer, and it further spreads awareness about your nonprofit. It’s a win-win. 

16. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

One emerging fundraising trend is peer-to-peer fundraising. Essentially, this is a social style of fundraising that allows individuals to raise money on behalf of your organization.  A prime example is the trend of fundraising for a specific cause on Facebook for your birthday. It’s a popular fundraising technique because it helps nonprofits massively increase their reach and get in front of new, potential donors. Before committing, make sure your organization is set up with the correct software.

With Keela’s Peer-to-Peer fundraising tool, you can reach and engage a wider network of donors and supporters. This tool allows your supporters to fundraise on behalf of your nonprofit. Using Keela’s highly customizable peer-to-peer fundraising pages and optimized donation forms, your supporters can spread the word about your campaign, raise money and track their progress. Such a collective effort goes a long way to helping your organization meet its fundraising goals.

Peer to peer diagram

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17. Coupon Books

One cheap fundraising idea is a coupon book. While this is a classic technique, it still proves to be a profitable one – especially if your supporters are involved in community-based groups, religious organizations, or schools.  You can do as much or as little legwork as you want. If you want to keep costs down while simultaneously fostering community relationships, you can reach out to local businesses yourself. If not, you can order pre-made coupon books like the age-old Entertainment Book.

18. Text-to-Give Campaign

Text-to-give, or SMS donation campaigns, are increasing in popularity as more donors are turning to digital methods. If you can’t get donors through your doors, why don’t you get into their hands – through their smartphones?  A text campaign is a quick and easy way to boost donations. Just be aware that there are usually processing fees involved. Learn how to set up the ultimate text-to-give campaign.

19. Coin Drive

Previously known as a penny drive (Canada no longer uses pennies), we’ve decided to take this classic fundraising example and apply the rules of inflation. You can be as creative as you like with this fundraiser. We personally like the idea of a couch coins fundraiser. Whatever your donors find in their couch goes to your campaign. Otherwise, drop jars off at local shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for something other than the usual bake sale or BBQ day, then we have some ideas to organize a fun and unique fundraising event.

20. Poetry Collection Book

Poetry is good for the soul. It’s a way to translate the world and people’s feelings into something understandable. Gather original poems from known or unknown artists and create a poetry collection book. Try to give the book a theme related to your nonprofit’s mission. You can also organize a literary contest to choose who will have the privilege to be featured in the book. You’ll probably need a sponsor to cover the costs of book production. Then, fix a minimum price and ask donors to choose the amount of money they want to pay for the book. Be sure to include your organization’s contact information and a link to your donation page so that people can continue their engagement with you!

21. Food Truck Fiesta

All the rage these days, food trucks are an excellent option to boost your campaign coffer. Reach out and see whether they’d be interested in donating a percentage of their sales to your campaign.    To make it worthwhile for them, encourage your networks to visit that food truck, and share its schedule. This way, the food truck will receive an influx of new business, and you’ll receive an influx of donations to put to good use. It’s a win-win. 

22. Social Media Fundraising Challenges

We all followed along with the ALS Bucket Challenge or the #NoMakeUpSelfies for cancer awareness on social media. These types of campaigns have the ability to spread like wildfire and raise a lot of money. While you may not hit the same levels as Movember, it’s still a successful fundraising idea for your nonprofit to try out.  Think about who your audience is, what you’re trying to achieve, and how you can inject a little creativity into the mix. Need some inspiration? Check out these five successful social media challenges.

23. Sell Handmade Ceramics

If someone in your organization is a crafting connoisseur, they can put their talents to use and sell unique, handmade ceramic pots to raise money for your cause. Set up a booth at a craft fair, or if you’re digitally savvy, set up an online store.

24. Wine and Paint Night

These quirky and fun events involve putting on your beret and getting into the artistic zone as you enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while you paint – either freestyle or by following a visual prompt – on a canvas.  To turn it into a fundraiser, partner with a fancy wine bar that already hosts the event, or ask them if you can run your own night. Sell tickets beforehand to cover the cost of the art supplies. 

25. Shoe Drive

Did you know, the average person throws away almost eight pairs of shoes a year? This seems like an incredible waste, so we want to propose a simple fundraising idea that won’t require a lot of fancy footwork to get it up and running. This company specializes in shoe drives. You collect new, used, and gently worn shoes from your supporters and they partner with small business owners in developing countries who are looking to sell shoes. Not only is this good for you and these small business owners, it’s also great for the planet!

26. Chili Cook-Off

Anytime is good for chili! Gather the best chefs in the community to cook their best chili and have them duke it out in a friendly contest. Have community members come through to judge the different entries and crown an ultimate winner for the year. You can then sell the chili with all the profits going to your nonprofit organization!

27. 0.5K Run  

Yes, you read that correctly. Not a 5K run, but a 0.5K one. No running allowed! Here’s the concept. The race incorporates all the typical race elements but without any training or effort. At the halfway point: cupcakes! At the medical tent: candies! And at the finish line, celebrate with pizza and ice cream. This is an event for community members to have fun and support their cause. Partner with local cafes and restaurants to set up the stands and sell tickets to the participants. Those willing to pay for the VIP ticket will have the privilege to do the ride in a tuk-tuk. Be sure to bring goodies to sell!

28. Experiential Fitness Class

You know about the traditional 5K run and you know about our original 0.5K run, but it might be worth it to look even more outside the box for creative, but simple fundraising ideas for your nonprofit.  Why don’t you host a spin class? Partner with a studio or instructor and ask your supporters to commit to a one-hour cycle for a good cause. The only difference is this tour is stationary and usually has awesome pump-up music to keep you motivated.

29. Zombie Race

Think about an obstacle race with a small twist: runners can be (metaphorically) eaten by zombies. Runners get three flags on a belt. During the course, ”zombies” come up from the other direction and try to take the flags. If you lose all of them, you’ve been eaten. In the end, participants get t-shirts reading either “I went to the [your organization] Zombie Run and Was Eaten”, or “.. and I Survived”. If you’re not into classic run events, watch this video to see what a zombie race for fundraising looks like.

fundraising race

30. Fantasy Sports Pool

If you have any sports lovers in your community, you might want to try a fantasy sports fundraiser. Fantasy sports are basically when individuals get together to build their own team and play against one another every week. Winners are based on the statistics of real players. A lot of strategy and competitiveness come out in fantasy sports – but it can be a ton of fun. As a fundraiser, you can have members contribute to a pool, with the winner taking away half of the pool as a prize. Think of it as a twist on the 50-50 draw!

31. Treat Yourself Day

Don’t you think we all need to treat ourselves once in a while? Offer this special day to your donors! You can sell beauty products, wellness items, massages… It’s up to you what services and products you want to include. Your goal is to get people to relax and raise more money. Get local shops and spas to sponsor your event. Advertise the visibility they will get that day and talk about the impact you are making in the community.

32. Live Life on the Edge

Fundraising can be a dangerous game in today’s world. So why not make your next fundraiser an adrenaline-fueled one?  Over the Edge is a fundraising campaign United Way ran in which their donors rappelled off the side of a tall building. Learn how they raised some serious donation money with a building, some ropes, and a whole lot of nerves.

33. Office Olympics

This workplace fundraiser is free, easy, and fun. Speak to your boss and see whether for the next team-building event, you can raise money for a nonprofit instead. Write down a list of activities or challenges your co-workers can compete in. Each entry to different competitions costs your company (or your coworkers) a fee and they compete for prizes.

34. After-Hours Museum Visit

Offer a unique experience to donors – the opportunity to access a museum outside of regular hours. It will probably be easier to reach out to a small local museum, but there’s nothing stopping you from dreaming bigger. As much as possible, try to link the visit to your cause and the interests of your nonprofit organization. This VIP event could be reserved for your major donors to solicit high-level donations.

35. A Workshop to Customize Your Clothes

Instead of designing swag, and guessing what people would like, why not allow people to create their own designs? Team up with a designer to teach donors how to customize and extend the life of their clothes with style. Participants will come with their own clothes and will learn the basics of embroidery. Each donor will leave the workshop with a unique piece. You can also sell sewing kits and goodies so they can continue this adventure at home.

workshop to raise money

36. Live Street Art Show

Most cities are street art friendly now. And they often invite artists to give buildings a fresh and modern look. Why not participate in one of those projects? Ask an artist to host a private session for your donors. The artist can show part of their work and go through the painting process with the hosts. If you manage to turn the painter into a fan of your nonprofit, a piece could even be dedicated to your cause!

37. Come Dine With Me, Fundraiser

Do you know people in your community who excel at cooking? Set up a competition!

Each amateur chef must host a dinner party for the participants. Then, people rate the host’s performance with the winner earning a prize – and eternal recognition inside the community.

This is not a big fundraising event. It can be organized for major donors who are willing to give a good price for a dinner ticket.

38. Cultural Cooking Class

Take your supporters on a culinary adventure through the Mediterranean, the Middle East, or the Americas. For this fundraising idea to be a success, team up with a chef of whichever foreign cuisine you’d like to promote, and then advertise it to your networks.

  Interested parties can buy tickets for the class which cover ingredients and the chef’s time. Any proceeds go directly to your nonprofit. Usually, guests will leave with the recipes they created during the class. 

39. Battle of the Bands

Drum roll, please. Are you ready to rock your next fundraising push? Why not partner with local musicians in the community and hold a Battle of the Bands?    For this to work, you’ll need to have a space with good acoustics, as well as the help of at least three or four talent groups. You can spread the word digitally and through flyers as well as sell tickets at the door.

40. Dog Wash

Forget about a car wash – the only thing we want to pat dry is a pooch! Many dog owners would jump at the opportunity to have their dogs bathed for a smaller fee than the groomers. Bring together all the dog lovers in your network – we’re sure you won’t have any trouble conscripting volunteers for this event.  Handy hint: Host this event in summer after heavy rainfall to ensure there are as many muddy dogs (and exasperated owners) as possible in your neighborhood. 

41. Dog Walking

Strap on your most comfortable runners, arm yourself with doggie bags, and get ready to unleash your fundraising potential with this idea. Offer dog walking services in your neighborhood.  Just let your community know you’re walking dogs to raise money for your organization and charge them per walk. It’s a great way to increase donations while ensuring you get in your daily steps.

42. Yappy Hour

A furry take on a happy hour, hosting a Yappy Hour is a great way to raise money for your animal welfare organization. It follows the same structure as a happy hour fundraiser – partner with a local bar, and ask them to donate a sales percentage. The only difference is the bar needs to be dog-friendly with a big patio or beer garden where owners and animals alike can enjoy themselves.

43. A Photoshoot for National Pet Day

People LOVE their pets. I can assure you they will be excited about a special photoshoot for their favorite animal. Gather people in a nice place – preferably with lots of natural light. Find a photographer willing to give their time to your nonprofit, and set prices for the photos. You can even give an award for the best picture. A lot of fun is guaranteed!

pet photoshoot raise money

44. Host a Pet Party

There are some people who scoff when someone throws a birthday party for their pet. We are not those people. A pet party is a great chance to bring together the animal lovers in your network. Plus it’s completely free!  All you need to do is choose a park and spread the word. You can set up a donation table, organize dog races and other games, bring a BBQ, and ask people to buy their lunches or treats for their pooches. Just make sure there are enough water bowls out for all the animals in attendance. 

45. Pony Rides

Who says you need to be at a carnival to experience the joy of a pony ride? This creative fundraising idea works best if you’re hosting a fundraising event at a school or community center and know someone who can bring some special hooved guests. Volunteers can sell pony rides and take pictures of the experience to sell afterward.

46. Goat Yoga

Yeah, you heard that right. This unusual event is taking the internet by storm, so why not let it take your next nonprofit fundraiser by storm too? 

47. Plant Trees

This is a creative and feel-good fundraising campaign your organization can try. While it works well for environmental organizations, it’s not limited to just that. Find a wholesaler or tree planting company and ask to buy saplings in bulk. Then you can host an event where you’ll replant trees in a park or nature reserve. 

You can sell the saplings to attendees and community members so they can watch their tree grow. It’s a great way to get the community involved with an environmentally-friendly project. Just remember to get approval from the city or by-law officers first.

48. Easter Egg Hunt

Easter might be one of the most important holidays for many people. An Easter egg hunt is a simple and fun fundraising event to organize for local families.

Try to get donated eggs from local merchants by making use of your fundraising talents. Then, think about a nice place to organize the egg hunt: it could be in a public park or in someone’s garden. You can sell tickets at a very reasonable price, and try to raise more money by setting up side activities like food and drink stands. Or why not a guessing game?

Promote your event through social media to tell your community to bring their children to this special occasion. These kinds of events are great opportunities to give visibility to your cause and solicit donations in the future.

49. April Fools’ Day

Although April Fools’ Day exact origins remain a mystery; it has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures. You can create your fundraiser on a simple concept: a prank in exchange for a donation. Gather some volunteers and original ideas – let the creativity flow! Then, let people know they can call you if they want to prank their friend. Keep the pranks friendly and respectful.

50. Cleanup Fundraiser 

Organize a community cleanup fundraiser to celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd). Similar to a Run-A-Thon concept, a group of volunteers solicits pledges from donors. Pledges are tied to a goal such as the quantity of trash collected. It’s better if you suggest a range for donations. For instance, $20 bits help collect 2kg of debris. Create a page on your website to explain your cleanup fundraising event and to allow people to signup for pledges.

cleanup fundraiser

51. A No-Gala event

Organizing a gala is exhausting. And it’s a lot of extra money donors need to spend: a dress, a ride to the event, etc. Instead, you can ask donors to give the amount of money they usually spent on a gala event to your nonprofit organization. The Norwich Rotary Club does it every year. Of course, it’s a whole different strategy to advertise the event. You can still sell tickets by explaining you’re raising money to help your communities while allowing people to spend a nice evening at home with their families. You’ll also fix a date like a regular gala event.  You can even partner with other organizations and get sponsorships. They won’t be advertised in an actual event, but on your social media and on your website page for instance.

52. Flowers for Mother’s Day

Flowers are a popular Mother’s Day gift. You can partner with a local florist to sell some flowers. One way you could structure this is to have a special bouquet made, and have proceeded from those bouquets go toward your organization. Be sure to let people know that this special offer is coming. You’d be surprised by the number of people lined up to purchase! These flowers are gifts that will be made, anyway — so why not have some of that money go towards helping your cause? Another way you could structure this type of fundraiser is to sell the flowers yourself. Either buy the flowers wholesale and arrange them with volunteers or gather the green thumbs in your office and grow some flowers! It’s all really fun, and your community would love to get engaged with you.

53. Plant Sale

Spring is generally the best time for a plant sale fundraising event. Partner with local farmers to get as many plants as possible and negotiate how you can both win from this event. If possible, host the event outdoors. It could be in a park, a school playing field, or even in someone’s garden. Any green thumb in your contact list? A great thing to do is to invite an expert to give a quick talk about plant maintenance. Charge extra money for those who want their plant to be put into pots. To raise as much money as possible, be realistic about the pricing. Keep it friendly!

54. City Tour

This can be done anytime throughout the year, but it’s always better when the sun is coming back. Taking the time to explore your own city is particularly suited for organizations making a local impact. The tour can aim to educate people to better know their community and to show them that you need support to continue doing more good. Depending on the purpose of your organization, choose a theme: historical walk, local art, or social justice. You can partner with local guides, history professors, or artists to reveal hidden places and good stories.

55. A Luncheon for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a day when families get together for a meal. You can work this into your fundraising strategy by creating an event that will make the day easier for everyone. Get some local chefs on board, and create a four-course meal. Be sure to include some sort of entertainment. Sell tickets to the event and then advertise them as the perfect gift for dad. After covering the cost of the event, all proceeds go towards your organization. And more importantly, you will have a positive stewardship opportunity while everyone is having a good time.

56. Prom Dress Fundraiser 

Prom dresses are expensive – especially since they’ll only be worn once! Why not host a prom dress donation drive where your supporters can donate lightly used gowns? You can host a fashion show event where school girls can try them on, walk down the catwalk, and buy them used for a very good price.

57. Summer Movies (Under the Stars)

Find a movie, grab a projector, pop some popcorn, and you’re set. It doesn’t have to be fancy — it just has to be fun! Advertise within your community, and be sure to invite your key donors. Do you have access to a parking lot and some speakers? You can make this event even cooler by hosting a movie night under the stars. Just let Mother Nature take care of the ambiance!

58. Ice Cream Sales

Cool everyone off by selling frozen goodies: ice cream, popsicles, freezies, and everything in between. When the sun is blazing, these items will fly off the shelf!

Buy some frozen treats from your local grocery store and set up shop somewhere with a lot of foot traffic. A good place is usually the lobby of your building, or on the sidewalk in front of your building. You’ll be sure to have quite a few people come by.

59. Outdoor Yoga Class

Yoga means “union.” What a great way to connect with your community! You can even build the yoga session around your mission as this practice encourages positive feelings, confidence, and self-acceptance. Find someone who’s willing to give a class for free. Ask a local yoga studio about people who just joined a teaching program and want to practice. Next, find a public park or a beach to arrange the class. You can leave the donation open to the participants. If it’s a hit, make it a recurrent event and people will give a donation each time they come to practice.

yoga to raise money

60. Summer Scavenging

One fun event is a summer-themed scavenger hunt around the city. Have teams sign up for this event and send them on a rat race around town, doing some of the most summery things imaginable: build a sandcastle, jump in a pool, blow up 10 beach balls, and grill up the perfect burger. The list can go on and on. Not only will this be fun — it will also help donors associate fun events with your organization, and that’s always a plus.

61. Hiking Day

A hike can be greatly enjoyed by family members, and walking in the wild is a great way to create and strengthen bonds between people. Research friendly hike trails in your area and partner with a wildlife expert to add some knowledge and context to the walk. Take advantage of this special moment to talk about your mission and the importance of fundraising efforts to your organization.

62. Car Wash

The car wash is tried and true! People will always want a clean car — and who doesn’t love cooling off on a hot day? It’s a win-win! Grab some buckets, some soap, and a hose — and you’re good to go. Spread the word beforehand, or just stand outside with some signs. It won’t be long until you’ll be busy with traffic! Just try to keep it clean!

carwash donations

63. Beach Trip

If you have access to the beach, host your fundraising event there! Help your community beat the heat and have fun. Organize familial activities like a volleyball tournament or a sandcastle-building competition. Set up a stand for food and drinks. To keep the mood friendly, you can leave the donation open to participants.

64. Dinner en Blanc

The right event for a fancy audience! Set up an elegant pop-up picnic where participants wear only white. Choose a beautiful venue and serve delicious cocktails. Local restaurants will sometimes agree to give samples for a fundraising event. What about holding the event in a botanical garden? Be creative and carefully plan your budget depending on your fundraising goal. Such events could be reserved for major donors as they are usually expensive.

65. Obstacle Course

Tough Mudder does a fantastic job of bringing together groups of people to put their endurance to the test. A lot of teams even register to support their favorite charities. So, why don’t you learn from them and create your own obstacle course? 

This is a fun challenge for youth and adults and an easy way for you to raise money. Set up an online registration form, advertise the prizes, and get people to sign themselves up solo or as part of a team and let this fundraiser run its course.

66. Summer Concert

Let the magic of music operate. You don’t need to do a big event. You’ll need to find a musician who’s willing to play for free and that fits well your audience, a nice place to organize the fundraising and a lot of communication efforts to sell enough tickets.

concert fundraising event

67. International Potluck

A potluck is about creating social bonds, sharing great food, and having lots of fun. Instead of the traditional potluck, you can try something different. Organize an international potluck fundraiser. Partner with local merchants and ask them to donate food for your nonprofit organization. If you have a multicultural team, ask your staff and volunteers to cook food from where they come from. You can try to keep the donation open. People tend to be more generous when they don’t feel compelled to a fixed amount of money.

68. Pool Party

Summertime goes with… Pool parties! This one requires quite a bit of organization. You’ll need to think about lifeguards, insurance, food to sell, and authorizations if you want to include alcoholic drinks at the party. But, success is guaranteed! It should bring a lot of people, helping you raise money while giving great visibility to your cause. The YMCA and local public pools are usually great resources for this kind of fundraising event.

69. National Day Party

Canada Day, Independence Day, Australia Day… Let’s celebrate and fundraise! There are so many things you could do for that occasion: a patriotic bake sale, a flag sale, a national day play… You can even dream bigger and set up a fireworks show! Revenue for this fundraising event will come in the form of ticket sales.  You’ll need to partner with professionals and be sure to apply for the necessary permits. You can also sell food and drinks to raise even more money. Let’s do it!

70. Happy Hour Fundraiser

Everyone loves a good beer or wine after work. Why not make happy hour even better by organizing a craft beer or whiskey tasting to support your noble cause?! Partner with your local bar or any brewery and ask them to donate a certain percentage of the event sales. This event works best in summer because #PatioSeason…

71. Sell Pumpkins

Fall is basically pumpkin-everything. Take advantage of this trend! Partner with a local farm and purchase a large number of pumpkins. See if you can negotiate a better price based off of a bulk order. Once you have the pumpkins, find an open space in your community to set up your pumpkin patch. If you’re in a pinch, you can always just use a parking lot or even your office to set up a faux pumpkin patch.

72. Pumpkin Carving Contest 

There are probably a few people in your community who are really good at carving pumpkins. Get them together for a contest! Award some small prizes and be sure to celebrate the winners. The result is a bunch of beautiful and creative carved pumpkins – ready to be auctioned off to the community in a fundraiser.

73. Pumpkin Pie Contest

I said that fall was all about pumpkins already, right? Here are other fall fundraising ideas with pumpkins! Why not host a fun competition where talented bakers can pit their pies against one another? All in good fun, of course. Winners can get bragging rights, and participants can sell their pies in fundraisers afterward.

74. Costume Contest 

Halloween can really bring out the creative side in people. If you have an event around October 31st, try adding a costume contest to the festivities to spice things up. Here’s one way that you could do it. For example, if your event costs $5 to attend, perhaps discount tickets to $3 if the attendees show up in costume. You can use the event to showcase some of the most creative costumes, and even have someone judge for the best costume. That individual can get a special prize!

costume contest to raise funds

75. Haunted House

Want to put something together for the thrill-seekers? A haunted house fundraiser might be the right thing for you! Simply get a space that you can decorate. It can be a house if you have access to one, but it can also be an office. Just use whatever you can get. Dress up the space with some blankets, lights, fake spider webs, and other popular Halloween decorations you can pick up at a thrift store. Also, get some team members to dress up in scary costumes and hide in the haunted house. Advertise the haunted house and charge a small entrance fee.

76. Face Painting

This Halloween, why not set up a face-painting station outside of your office? Invite parents to bring their kids to get their faces painted, and ready for their big night of trick-or-treating. For events like this, try leaving the option for donating open.

77. Host a Thanksgiving Dinner

Try organizing a community dinner with all the fixings. Invite families and friends and charge for tickets. Part of the money will go towards cost recovery for food and beverage, but the majority of the ticket sales will go towards a fall fundraiser for your nonprofit.

78. Pumpkin Spice Latte Lessons

Do you love pumpkin spice lattes? Most people can’t get enough of them. In fact, people wait all year round for their favorite coffee shops to have these back in stock. You could host a small workshop where you teach community members how to make their own pumpkin spice latte, and ways to be creative with the recipe. Charge an entry fee, and get some of those coffee lovers into your donor funnel!

coffee fundraising

79. Turkey Cook-Off

Gather some of the best chefs in the community to cook their best turkey for a Thanksgiving event. The community can be the judge. Charge attendees a small entrance fee and then let the feast begin! Just be sure to bring some gravy! Food cook-offs are always fun fall fundraising ideas.

80. Stuffing Competition

Have you ever been to a Thanksgiving meal with multiple types of stuffing? I know.. It’s great, right? Similar to other cooking competitions, you can get community members to come together to cook their stuffing. Have other community members judge for the best stuffing and award a small prize to the winner.

81. Organize a Trivia Night

Trivia nights are an easy win. Many bars host them on a weekly basis anyways. See if you can find one that will donate a portion of the proceeds to your cause. 

Everyone wants to escape inside during fall, so it’s the perfect time to try it out. Either sell tickets in advance (for prizes) or ask whether the bar will donate a portion of the drink sales for all the businesses you’ll bring in. Remember, the key to a good trivia night is a great MC.

82. Corn or Hay Maze

Getting lost in a maze can be a thrilling experience. Fall fundraising ideas that include a physical activity can be fun, especially for families. Often, local farms will put together a corn maze or a hay maze for patrons to walk through. Try partnering with one of those farms to see if you can have a portion of the proceeds go back to the organization in exchange for getting more people to come to the farm.

games to raise money

83. Leaves Guessing Game

Remember those carnival guessing games? Often there would be a large jar set up with jelly beans or marbles in it. You would then have to guess how many items were in the jar, and whoever got closest to the right amount would win a large prize. This is one of those falls fundraising ideas that are super easy to put together! You can take this same idea and give it a fall twist. Instead of jelly beans and marbles, why not throw some leaves in there? There will be tons on the ground, ready for you to pick up! Display the jar in a public place and have people submit their guesses along with a donation.

84. Picking Fruit at an Orchard

Fall is the season for apple picking! Fall fundraising ideas involving fruit picking are easy to put together, and they’re fun to do! Look up a local orchard and see if they are doing any community events around fruit picking. Try to work out a deal where some of the sales from the event go toward your organization. This is a huge win for the community: Residents get fresh fruit, local orchards get more visitors, and your organization gets some donations.

85. Football Ticket Giveaway

Football is in full swing in the fall. One of my favorite fall fundraising ideas is to score some tickets to a local football team and raffle them off. There are often very popular junior teams in local communities or even some professional teams that are willing to donate in-kind tickets for your cause. Connect with the department in charge of community initiatives and do your best to get some donations. This is a great draw for individuals, and you should see the bids come flying in!

86. Create a Holiday Gift Catalog

For those of you unfamiliar with the idea, the holiday gift catalog mimics the gift catalogs of major retailers. Instead of material items for you to purchase, they are community impacts that are related to the organizations. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on food security, one of the items could be a “two-day cooking course for a single family.” Use your internal research to figure out the donation amount that would help achieve this and throw that on the catalog. Any “purchase” would be an end-of-year donation to your organization in that amount.

87. Christmas Caroling

‘Tis the season for holiday-themed winter fundraisers. Scout out the shower singing superstars in your networks and gather them for an evening of carols for a cause. You can station yourself on a busy shopping street or hit the pavement and go door-to-door. Ask for song requests or solos by donation. It’s sure to spread holiday cheer. 

88. Tax Return Time-Limit

What many fundraisers do is talk about the time limit to make a charitable gift for tax purposes? If a donor is motivated to have a tax-deductible gift for the current calendar year, it has to be made before December 31st. Mention this directly in your messaging, and encourage individuals to act now, before they lose their opportunity. This will help to bring those donors who were flirting with a donation across the line.

89. Host an End-of-the-Year Gala

Annual gala events allow nonprofits to build strong and long-lasting relationships. Galas are expensive, so to encourage your donors to show up each year, it’s important that each event matches the price tag. If you hold your gala in the same location year in, and year out, with the same theme and the same food, donors may begin to lose interest, and in turn, your donations will plummet. Try to switch things up a bit by offering interesting, chef-prepared foods. For more practical tips, check out this post.

end of the year gala fundraising

90. Partner With a Local Coffee Shop

People love their coffee — especially during the winter when the weather is cold and the snow starts falling. One fundraiser you could try is to partner with a local coffee shop to “create a drink.” A portion of the sales of this drink for a particular period of time can go straight to your organization. You can advertise the drink and encourage donors to visit the coffee shop to make sure there is some buzz around it.

91. Send Holiday Candy Grams

This holiday season, let someone know you care (about their cause) by sending holiday candy grams with all proceeds going toward your fundraising campaign. Spread the joy by selling personalized messages and sweets and then sending them to the recipients. You can sell them at the office, door-to-door, or through a neighborhood community center.

92. Christmas Sweater Sale

At this time of the year, everyone wants to be cozy and warm, and sweaters are the perfect clothing item to do that in. It’s also a nice Christmas gift to get for family members or friends.

There are tons of companies that allow you to customize clothing relatively simply. Get some branded merchandise and sell it to your community. A great way to position your branded sweaters is to mention that buying one will help you feel warm inside and out!

93. Selling Christmas Cookbooks

What are your favorite Christmas recipes? Invite your coworkers and community members to submit their favorite recipes for the season. Compile the best into a cookbook, have it bound, and sell the cookbook to the community. The result is a true community collaboration, filled with creative things for people to try. If it’s a hit, you can try it for another season!

cookbooks donations

94. Decorating and Selling Wreaths

During Christmas times, one of the most common pieces of decoration for homes is a wreath. Get some creative people together who love arts and crafts and start building some beautiful wreaths. You can sell these wreaths as an effective fundraiser in the community.

95. Gift Wrapping

Try operating a gift-wrapping station for donations as one of your end-of-year fundraising ideas. This can be done in the community, at your office, or even at a mall or grocery store. Just go to a place where you can get a lot of visibility, and people will start coming to you!

How can my nonprofit boost end-of-year donations?

96. Get Your Picture Taken with Santa

No parent enjoys the long mall lines to have a quick snap of their child in Santa’s lap. So why not make it easier for them, and positive for your campaign efforts, and hold your own Santa Pictures Fundraiser?  Find a volunteer who’s good at photography, dress a look-a-like volunteer up as Old Saint Nick, and charge parents a few dollars. Voila. Just make sure there’s endless milk and cookies in supply.

97. Hand Make Ornaments

Nothing is more special than decorating your Christmas tree with handmade ornaments. As a nonprofit, you can harness this feel-good moment and turn it into a simple fundraising idea.  Ask students from local schools or community centers to hand paint Christmas baubles and then auction them off at the school’s winter carnival. While they might not be the most beautifully put-together Christmas decorations, the sentimentality is sure to have family members bidding to win. 

98. Christmas Tree Sale

Christmas trees are for everyone! Buy the trees at a wholesale price and sell them in a crowded spot. Don’t buy too many trees at first to avoid having any leftover stock. If the event goes well, go get more trees. You’ll need some volunteers to help you with transportation and the selling stand.

christmas fundraising

99. Polar Bear Swim

Most commonly done on New Year’s Day, this is a fundraising event that is very cheap – all you need is a cold body of water and a rather large supply of warm towels and blankets.  Ask your supporters to pledge themselves to a cold plunge for charity and have them help you raise awareness and funds for your cause. Just make sure you don’t forget hot chocolate for all your swimmers afterward. 

100. Spa Day

Who doesn’t love to spend a day at the spa when it’s freezing outside? Why don’t you turn this into a fundraiser? By partnering with a spa, you can collect part (or even all) of the service fees for your nonprofit organization. Getting this kind of partnership isn’t easy. You’ll need to take advantage of your network and convince the spa that you’re on a mission to do more good.

Planning a successful fundraising event is all about teamwork, positive energy, and solid organization. To keep donor relationships meaningful, you can track and manage your interactions with Fundraising Software.

Happy fundraising!

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