Take a look at some of the most creative, successful, and inspiring nonprofit fundraising ideas so you can gain inspiration and jump start your next campaign
Take advantage of nice weather and organize an informal bike riding fundraiser. Most everyone has a bike and, if you predetermine a safe route, you can put a bike ride fundraiser together in no time.
Ask riders to commit to a dollar amount per rider to give to their favorite nonprofit, and then set up a quick fundraiser online to encourage teams of families or friends.
Golf outings are the perfect backdrop for a successful nonprofit fundraising event idea. Attendees get to be outside and maybe even potentially skip a day at the office, while also mingling with like-minded people who are also passionate about the same cause.
And, within the structure of a golf fundraising event, there is plenty of opportunity for additional fundraising and incremental money to be raised. Suggest donation amounts at the point of ticket purchase or offer up early-bird incentives to those who purchase the first few tickets. Give the best table at the dinner or the best tee time to the attendee who starts their own fundraising campaign and raises the most.
Walks are the perfect fundraising idea to get your community active and raising funds for your cause. Organizing a walk might take a bit more effort, but using a platform with built in ticketing and registration capabilities, easy-to-use communication tools, and user-friendly fundraiser creation pages can get you off to the races in no time.
Make sure to start sending out communication about your walk-a-thon early in the game. This gives supporters the opportunity to set up their own fundraisers, create training teams, reach out to their networks to ask for donations to their fundraiser, and gives you time to nurture them throughout the process from training to walk day to post-walk.
When your supporters start a campaign on your nonprofit’s behalf, that is one of the best fundraising ideas for charities. Peer-to-peer fundraising allows your supporters to use the power of social sharing to reach out to their network and share not only what is personally meaningful to them, but to ask for their support as well.
Ask your supporters to tell their story about why your cause means so much to them, add pictures, videos, and then reach out to everyone they know to promote their campaign via their social networks.
When you use a platform like CrowdRise by GoFundMe, you can easily set up a nonprofit profile page, ask your supporters to start their own campaigns on your behalf, and reach a network of otherwise hard-to-get new donors and supporters.
Nonprofit fundraising platforms like CrowdRise by GoFundMe make it super easy to launch events and campaigns in a matter of minutes. Don’t have a lot of time or procrastinated too long? No worries, you can still run a successful fundraiser. Check out our CrowdRise Study Hall for best practices, tips, tricks, and guidebooks. And, our proven Success Team is ready to help subscription customers move quickly and position nonprofits to succeed even when the timeline is tight.
Bowl-a-thons can offer up an easy fundraising idea for nonprofits throughout the entire year. Instead of focusing on outdoor fundraising ideas or events that revolve around fancy dinners, supporters will love the opportunity to give back in a more casual atmosphere.
Encourage team captains to set up their own fundraisers and recruit team members by having them set up fundraisers as well. Create merchandise such as water bottles or sweatbands to commemorate the day and offer them up at the time of ticket purchase. This way, your nonprofit isn’t stuck with extra merchandise that isn’t sold ahead of time.
A cook-off, whether chili, baked goods, or even a barbeque, is a great fundraising event idea for nonprofits. People love to show off their skills and, when it’s for a charitable cause, that makes it even more exciting.
Set a time and date, and ask your community of supporters to sign up. Have the cook-off participants start fundraisers and ask their network to support their campaign. Allow patrons to vote with their dollars during the event by setting up mobile donation stations at each table.
Focus less on the prizes and offer up charitable tee shirts and small trophies to the winners. Besides, they’ll be most excited to help your cause.
Fundraising ideas such as bake sales help give your community the opportunity to personalize the way they give back to your cause. This is a great fundraising idea for schools or sports teams where members of the club or school can each bake something of their choice and set a price, then have the proceeds all go towards their nonprofit of choice.
Supporters can take this fundraising idea virtual by hosting an online bake sale, as well. The community can vote with their dollars on your bake sale fundraising page and the ‘baker’ with the most dollars raised can get a special booth at the actual bake sale, or some other easy-to-fulfill prize.
The silent auction is no stranger to nonprofits. This classic fundraising idea usually approaches local businesses or sponsors to secure the items up for bidding. These can be spa gift cards, local restaurant vouchers, gift baskets from a store in town, or even free rounds of golf at a country club in town.
Then, at the charity event, dinner, or gala, your supporters can place bids on the items they’re interested in, often driving up the price and creating a nice sized donation for each prize.
Everyone loves their dog and, when there is a chance to combine the love of a pet with the love of a nonprofit, it’s a win-win. Organizing a dog walk is a great nonprofit fundraising idea to get a good response from supporters.
Set up a ticketed event to meet at a local park or trail, and have supporters commit to walking a certain amount of miles with their pet. They can set up fundraisers to ask their friends and family for money per mile and take their love of their pet to the next level.
A great charity fundraising idea for Earth Day or any time during the year would be to host a clean up party. Fundraisers can commit to participating and then the charity event organizers can assign each participant an area of town.
On the day of the fundraising event, participants commit to making sure their designated section of the town is perfectly clean and doesn’t have any trash on the ground, and everything is thrown out or recycled properly.
Marathons are 26.6 miles so why not host a recycle-thon for 26.6 days? Or round up to 27 days and ask supporters to pledge their recyclables to your cause for 27 days. It’s a great charitable fundraising idea that is not only good for the planet, but also easy for supporters to do.
Supporters can pledge their recyclables and give the amount raised to the charity hosting the event. Supporters can also reach out to neighbors telling them they’d be happy to take their recyclables off their hands in order to donate the proceeds to charity.
Car washes are still great fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Speak with a local business owner who is willing to host your car wash in their lot and then spread the news in the local paper and your social media and email communications.
Ask supporters to show up to not only wash cars, but to also spread the word to their network and see how many cars they can get to commit to showing up as well.
A clean car can lead to extra money for your nonprofit, and you can also include a pamphlet or other communication to give to the attendees in order to boost awareness about your mission.
A pancake breakfast is a great fundraising idea for nonprofits. Especially successful in the winter months, this will get people up and at ‘em to eat warm pancakes in the name of a cause they love.
Ask board members or staff to be the chefs and keep the menu simple with pancakes, maybe a side of fruit or meat, and then drink options. Charge per plate with all of the proceeds going towards your cause. You can even attach a particular mission point to this event so patrons know their money will be going to a particular type of work you’re focused on.
Dogs mean everything to their owners, so when they can give back but also get a clean pup, they’ll jump at this successful fundraising idea. Partner with a local pet store in order to offer up their DIY dog wash center for the day for your nonprofit.
Then, enlist supporters to be dog washers for hour-long shifts. Supporters can even start their own fundraisers and have their friends and family pledge money to your nonprofit for each hour they work as dog washers.
Carnivals bring back memories for adults and bring so much joy to children. And that’s why hosting a nonprofit carnival is a good fundraising idea to bring out families.
Nonprofits don’t have to overthink it with extravagant rides, but rather think about fun party games such as bean bag toss, three-legged races, and cake walks. You can have patrons purchase tickets for each game with all proceeds going to your cause.
Text-to-donate, or sometimes called text-to-give, is one nonprofit fundraising idea that allows supporters to give right from their mobile phone. When you use a platform that allows for text-to-donate, you can easily meet supporters where they’re at, which, you guessed it, is usually on a phone.
And, when you allow text-to-donate on a mobile-responsive donation page, you don’t have to worry about donation caps or not being able to tell your story, and can encourage even more support.
If you have a corporate sponsor or a high wealth donor willing to give you a check for a nice amount of money, why not use that money to create an online match campaign for your cause? This is one of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits.
Because instead of just taking that check for $5,000 or $10,000 and calling it a day, you’re now taking that check and using it as leverage to raise even more money for your cause. You can then go out to your network of supporters saying that your generous donor will match all donations up to the amount given.
You may have supporters who cannot attend your endurance event because they are in another location. When you offer up a virtual version of your event, you are able to include supporters who cannot attend your endurance event because they are in another location or can’t make it on the day of the event.
They can still set up fundraisers and ask supporters to pledge donations for the distance they complete in their own location. You can offer the same registration fees, provide a event tee shirt, and even require fundraising minimums.
The holidays are the best time of year to ask supporters to help you by donating or raising money on behalf of your cause. Starting on #GivingTuesday, host an online fundraiser for your cause and carry it through the end of the year.
Ask supporters to start their own fundraising campaign for your cause reminding them that, when they share with their friends and family, it creates more awareness and money raised for your nonprofit.
Pretty much every event you can think of can have an online component, giving you more reach and keeping your event more organized. You can ask people to ‘bid’ on prizes by hosting an online sweepstakes during a live event. You can encourage team fundraising before a bowling event. You can ask people to fundraise instead of buy tickets to a gala. Really, there’s no reason not to host part or all of your event online.
Create a goal and, if fundraisers hit that goal, they commit to shaving their heads, creating a fun hairstyle, or dying their hair a color that resonates with your nonprofit’s brand.
Friends and family will definitely be encouraged to give to the fundraising campaign and it gives a great message for the campaign organizer to use when reaching out to their network.
Ask all of your board members, or super star supporters, to set up fundraisers for your cause with the top raisers getting a pie in the face at a local event.
Your supporters act as ‘teams’ and reach out to their friends and family to explain their connection to your cause and ask for donations. The top fundraisers will get out of getting a pie in the face at the fundraiser finale. You could offer to video it for those who can’t attend the event as well.
Find a local dog park that’s willing to donate their land for a certain timeframe and encourage dog owners to come to the park in order to support your cause. This is a great fundraising idea for animal charities, but any charity can benefit from getting owners and their pets together for a good cause.
Have branded dog merchandise for sale and charge an admission fee for dogs to come to the playdate.
How many social media accounts have you seen where animals are dressed up and look adorable? Why not take this idea and turn it into a fun nonprofit fundraising idea?
Host it at a local dog park and have prizes for the cutest costume, best owner and pet costume duo, and any other types of awards you want to give out.
Is your nonprofit color branding blue? Maybe pink? How about yellow and green? Whatever your branded color scheme, this creative nonprofit fundraising idea is a great way to expand your brand and have a little fun.
Have a party that involves food, drinks, attire, and decorations in your theme color. Ask attendees to register online and encourage them to also fundraise for your cause in order to leverage the power of the party to raise more for your cause.
Everyone loves doughnuts, so what better nonprofit fundraising idea than hosting a doughnut party. Sell doughnuts at a local sporting event or school and encourage donations along with the sale of your doughnuts.
Ask a local doughnut bakery to offer their goodies at a discounted rate or for free, and even ask them to be frosted in your nonprofit’s color scheme.
Have a bake sale or craft sale or whatever else you want to sell and make it a ‘pay what you want’ night. Patrons are more than likely going to pay more than what you would’ve originally asked, giving you more resources for your cause.
Set a minimum dollar amount, but make it known it’s up to the supporter to choose the price they want to pay. They’ll be asking their friends attending the event what they paid and soon you’ll have people giving you premium for your goods.
One fun fundraising idea for nonprofits is to sell merchandise at a local event. Think a local fair, festival, or sporting event. You can make items at various price points offering something for everyone. From bracelets and koozies to sweatshirts or trucker hats, local communities will love to support a local cause.
Advertise this unique sale in your local paper and ask volunteers to run your booth at the event.
Partner with a local festival, fair, or event to offer a ‘ticket plus’ option. Perhaps there’s a carnival in town. Ask the carnival organizer to offer a ticket price that includes a donation to your cause.
Maybe there’s an arcade festival where a dollar amount gets you a certain amount of tokens. See if the organizer will add another ticket type that gives more tokens plus a donation to your cause. This creative nonprofit fundraising idea offers up a different and fun way to get more donations to your cause.
Grab your cast iron pan and learn how to season it properly by hosting a cast iron pan party. Your friends will love the chance to do something they may not know how to do - all for a good cause.
Host it at a house and create little cards that detail the proper instructions that they can keep after the fundraiser is over. “Charge” a donation per participant, and create an online fundraiser to show the collective impact of your event. This is a great fundraising idea for anyone who has a knack for culinary skills.
Why do marathons, 5ks, cycling events, and walks get to have all the fun? Encourage friends and family to dust off their roller skates or rollerblades and start a fun fundraiser, like a roller skate or rollerblade fundraiser.
You can either talk to your local roller rink or even host a garage or basement roller party. Ask attendees to get pledge dollars from their friends and family for how many loops around they can do or how long they can skate.
One great fundraising idea for nonprofit organizations is to ask your supporters to start a babysitting fundraiser. You can create teams of ‘babysitters’ by encouraging them to reach out to their friends and family to offer ‘donation based’ babysitting.
Tired parents will jump at the chance to have child care covered with the money going to a great cause. Have participants sign up online under their ‘babysitter’s’ fundraising page and pledge an amount to give.
Pair up with a local restaurant or a supporter’s place of business and have a board game night. Charge an admission fee and encourage teams to create a little fundraising competition.
This nonprofit fundraising idea is a fun and unique way for people to spend a weekend night. And because this is such an easy nonprofit fundraising idea, your supporters will rope more friends and family into the festivities, adding to your awareness reach and the amount you raise.
Have a holiday coming up where people are looking to decorate? Create a set of easy and inexpensive craft ideas and host a craft night. Charge a fee to cover the craft supplies, as well as a donation to your cause, and host a craft night at a local hall or restaurant that may be willing to partner with you.
You could do this for a birthday party, a Halloween party, or even a holiday event in order to get decorations ready. It’s a unique fundraising idea that people will definitely look forward to.
Partner with local bars and restaurants and ask them to donate proceeds of your pub crawl to your nonprofit. Have them create signature drinks that match your theme or colors, and ask them to host appetizers at each stop as well.
For the price of the pub crawl, include a nonprofit tee shirt that your participants have to wear during the event. It’s more fun and you’ll create more awareness when you’re all dressed the same.
Certain times of the year call for certain types of baked goods. Why not host a cookie making fundraiser during the holiday season to arm supporters with the sweets they need for the holidays, but also raise some money for your nonprofit.
Create teams online like ‘team sugar cookie’ or ‘team gingerbread’ and have those team members bring ingredients to the party. The teams can raise money with each donation, landing you a dozen baked goods.
Create an online registration form and ask supporters of all ages to come and challenge themselves on your obstacle course. Participants can compete alone or in teams, maybe winning a small prize at the end like a nonprofit tee shirt or sponsored donation in their name to your cause.
Use tires, ropes, slackline, and hilly terrain to create a fun and accessible obstacle course that is fun for everyone involved. Make sure to have a leaderboard and time your participants to create some competition.
Partner with local stores, designers, or anyone interested to decorate tabletop Christmas trees. Allow their business cards or advertisements to accompany their tree and ask supporters to ‘bid’ on the tree they’re most interested in.
You could also have tree designers set up online fundraisers in order to raise money to ‘vote’ for their favorite tree. The tree with the most votes in dollars will win a prize donated by a sponsor.
Get college students involved by bringing design and fundraising together into one fun night. Have students decorate their dorm room and charge an ‘entry’ fee on you online fundraising campaign page. This entry fee gives them the opportunity to tour the rooms as well as vote for their favorite dorm decor.
Whichever room has the most votes at the end of the night will get a small prize and all the money donated goes to your nonprofit.
Kids and adults of all ages love an old fashioned field day. Set up traditional field day events like tug o’ war, balloon toss, capture the flag, and even sack races to add to the fun.
This fun nonprofit fundraising idea is cheap and easy to set up, plus everyone will love reliving their childhood field day memories. Charge a small admission fee and offer concessions or merchandise at the event to raise even more money for your cause.
Bingo is a fun game for anyone involved. Not only is it easy enough where your youngest supporters will be into it, but it’s a good game for groups of people to mingle and play at the same time.
Use a space at a school, church, or a restaurant to host your bingo night. Have participants register online and encourage them to make additional donations to your cause live at the event and during the registration process.
Face painting is an easy, fun way to get kids excited. And parents will be happy to take their kid to an event that not only gives back, but also makes their child’s day.
Enlist some volunteers to be the face painters and set up a table at a local festival or school or even at an athletic field. Think of all the kids watching their brothers and sisters at a sporting event. They’d love the chance to take a break and get their face painted. Have all proceeds go towards your nonprofit and offer mobile donations right at the booth.
Halloween is a great time to host a nonprofit fundraiser. And one incredible fundraising idea is to set up a haunted house, barn, or garage. See if a board member or supporter will offer up their space and then get to work.
Charge an entry fee in the means of a donation and create an online presence by saying if you raise a certain amount, you’ll add a zombie section, and then if you raise a certain amount more, you’ll add more to the scene. Kids and parents will be happy to have a fun, scary event to go to that benefits a cause as well.
Most people have a stack of books they’re done with and aren’t going to use in their house to fill shelves or sit on coffee tables. Why not use these books as a way to raise money for a favorite cause.
A fun and easy nonprofit fundraising idea is to encourage supporters to sell some gently used books for donations to your cause. Host the fundraiser by creating an online book sale campaign and ask supporters to set up their own fundraisers and ask for mobile donations at their event. The ‘virtual’ book sale will show its cumulative impact online and could easily turn into an annual event for your cause.
There are cat lovers and there are dog lovers. Why not combine them both for a cats vs dogs fundraiser? You don’t have to be an animal charity to have pet lovers support your cause.
Set up a fundraising campaign online and have team cats and team dogs. Have each team raise as much as they can for your cause in order to win the title of the competition. Pet lovers will love the chance to give back and showcase their furry friend.
Hire a local trainer to offer their services in a park for a one-hour donation based boot camp. The trainer will be happy to do it with the promise of passing out their card or a coupon for their services.
You can host the event online in order to have online registration so you can keep tabs on how the event is growing and obtain all of the registrant and donor information for your records.
Especially during the cold months when everyone wants to stay in and get cozy, a great nonprofit fundraiser idea is a read-a-thon. You can encourage students or any group of people to pledge a number of pages they can read within a certain time frame.
Pledges can be gathered in the form of donations online and prizes can even be offered to the top raiser, or reader, in the form of a bookstore gift card, perhaps donated by a local shop.
This easy fundraising ideas for nonprofits will allow you to host multiple events all rolled into one. Enlist the help from coaches in all types of sports and offer free clinics for those who register. You could have a soccer coach, baseball coach, basketball coach, football coach, etc., all join in the day of to give clinics on their expertise.
Parents of athletes will jump at the chance at a clinic with a well known area coach. You can have supporters register online for their sport of choice, making the day run more smoothly knowing your head counts and interest per sport.
Never heard of a tank fundraiser? Well, it’s a really unique and cheap nonprofit fundraising idea. The only thing you need is a fish tank, or a few. Ask local businesses to put a tank in their store and see which tank fills up first.
It’s amazing how quickly spare change and bills can fill up a tank. It’s something fun to do, doesn’t cost much money, and stores will love the chance to compete with each other. You can even create an online fundraising team for each store for the option of additional online donations.
Trivia nights are unique fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. They combine games with charitable giving, and is a great excuse for a fun night out. See if a local bar or restaurant will host your event with proceeds going to your nonprofit.
Take your trivia night online by creating teams and asking them to raise money on behalf of your cause. Award prizes to the top raising team, such as the best seat of the house on game night, free food or beverages, or even a trophy.
Talent shows don’t have to be strictly for high schoolers. Everyone wants to showcase their talent, especially when it’s for a good cause. Charge a small admission fee and ask supporters, or local talent, to be a part of your show.
Make sure to have a tablet on hand for onsite online donations and offer up tee shirts or other merchandise to boost your donation volume.
Work with local schools to have students submit their artwork and then invite the community to come to your art show for a small fee. See if a local establishment will donate their space or warehouse, and have refreshments or snacks available for purchase.
You can can either have the art show be admission only, or you could actually put the artwork up for sale to boost donations.
There’s nothing more fun than a barbeque during the warmer months. Take advantage of the weather and host a nonprofit barbeque. This nonprofit fundraising idea is great for raising money for a project coming up or general funds.
Ask a volunteer to be the grill master and see if you can get a local restaurant to donate some of the food. Have an information booth with an online donation opportunity at the event.
A potluck dinner is a unique nonprofit fundraising idea that is extremely inexpensive. Why? Because your supporters will help you with everything you need. Create a sign up for different parts of the meal (don’t forget about silverware and plates!) and voila! Your supporters have cooked a potluck for your fundraiser.
You can even make your potluck donation based. So, for every dish you want to try, you have to give a donation at that station. Whichever dish gets the most donations could win a prize.
This creative fundraising idea for nonprofits is not only fun, but really cheap as well. Get a pack of straws - the bendy kind are best - and write in a permanent marker a prize on each one. Prizes can be extra time at lunch or recess if you’re hosting this at a school. If not, you can offer up gifts from local stores or restaurants, or free services.
Participants pay a dollar amount to pick a straw (eyes closed) out of a basket or box. It’s a fun way to host a nonprofit school fundraiser or community fundraiser that’s also really easy to kick off.
Everyone loves pizza and, thankfully, pizza isn’t all that expensive. By hosting a pizza party you can feed a lot of people for very little money. See if a local pizza parlor will donate some pizza and charge a small donation to come to the event.
You could even tie your pizza party to a bingo or game night to make it an evening of family fun. You can offer prizes if you incorporate a game or give away tee shirts from your nonprofit.
Auctions are a staple in the fundraising world, and for good reason. They’re one of the top fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. When you host a charity auction, you can reach out to local businesses to get items donated to your event.
And, the good news is, you don’t need to hire an auctioneer or any fancy equipment to pull off a charitable auction, all you need is a table to place the items and a printed out sheet where attendees can ‘bid’ by putting down the amount they’d be willing to pay, as well as their name and contact information. By creating this silent auction, you can then announce winners at the end of the night - making it an easy part of your event.
Ask your supporters to submit their favorite recipes for appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks, and more. This unique nonprofit fundraising idea is sure to get a lot of supporters giving their family recipes to your cause.
Have it bound and sell your cookbook as a fundraising idea. Encourage supporters to buy them for holiday or birthday gifts and to spread the word to their friends and family.
Thousands of nonprofits across the world have used athletic events (marathons, bike rides, walks, fishing tournaments, etc) to raise money for their cause. Encouraging supporters to fundraise around a sporting event is a great way to create an engaging campaign, as well as keep your community fit.
Schools are always looking for extra funding. From music programs to more enriching field trips, a great school nonprofit fundraising idea is to host a fundraiser for a need in your school and ask your community to raise money. You can add a link to your school fundraiser in your school eNewsletter, or in a slip that comes home with each child. Create a goal and keep your community posted on every milestone you reach.
Fundraisers don’t have to be boring. One unique nonprofit fundraising idea is to ask your community of supporters what they’d be interested in. Make sure you mention that the idea should be creative. Maybe you’ll be hosting a unicycle race, a rubber duck challenge, or a dye-your-hair campaign. Either way, your supporters will be excited to do something new and different for your cause.
Birthday campaigns are great nonprofit fundraising ideas because you have a reason for your supporter to start their own campaign for your cause. Make sure you’re set up on a platform that allows DIY fundraising so your supporter can easily start their campaign. Also, include birthday campaigns in your messaging to remind your community that this option is not only available, but it’s really impactful for your nonprofit.
Just like birthday campaigns, wedding fundraisers are another top fundraising idea for nonprofit organizations. Couples may already have everything on their traditional registry or just want to give back. Either way, ask your community to start a wedding fundraiser on your behalf and create milestones of appreciation to keep the couple excited to be fundraising for your cause.
A powerful way to honor the passing of a friend or loved one is to raise money around a cause that was near and dear to their hearts. It could be a military nonprofit for those in the service, or a treatment for a disease that they lost their battle to. Remind your community that memorial fundraisers are a great way to give back in a way that impacts not only their family and friends, but a larger group of people as well.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, and natural and unnatural disasters are all too common. And, having a plan for when these things happen can make all the difference in the impact you have on the community you serve. Create a disaster relief campaign that you can easily tweak and send out to your community when and if disaster strikes.
Volunteers are the bread and butter to many nonprofit organizations. But, what if they could do so much more for your cause? Hosting a volunteer campaign is a unique nonprofit fundraising idea that allows volunteers to compete in a little friendly competition for your cause. If you’ve got an event coming up you could have your volunteers fundraise by asking their network to pledge their hours for your cause.
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