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150 Best Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits—The Ultimate List

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Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Welcome to Fundraising Ideas, official home of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits on the internet, sponsored by Funraise, the official sponsor of the best fundraising software for nonprofits!

If you’re here, you must be in need of some fundraising inspiration. Let us help you.

Our 5 best fundraiser ideas for nonprofits right now

Got 5 minutes? We’ve got 5 of the best fundraiser ideas for nonprofits.

Celebrity Doodles

If you’re looking for unique auction items, you’re in the right place! Reach out to celebrities, agents, and PR agencies with a piece of letterhead, a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and a request for a doodle and autograph. You’ll need to start this one far ahead of time, but once it’s started, you can keep up the momentum by sending one request a month, for example, and by the time your annual Celebrity Doodles Auction comes around next year, you’ll have a brand-new batch of doodles at your disposal.

Friendraising

“It’s so hard to make friends as an adult!” All of the adults we know say this really dramatically while we’re hanging out—like, what are we, chopped liver?

What we are is part of the solution: we suggest hosting a speed-friending event where donors sit and chat with many potential friends for 30 seconds each. This is one of the best ideas for fundraising because they’ll all have something in common already—your organization!

Bowling Night

This is family-friendly fundraising at its best and one of the best fundraising events for nonprofits. Get donors to build teams, sign up for a lane, and show up to bowl while you take in the dough.

Cookie Sale

Everyone loves cookies. Especially when they’re benefitting a great cause. Double especially when they’re sold by adorable kiddos. Put ‘em all together, and you’ve got one amazing fundraiser.

Yogel Contest

Ok, hear us out: A stress-busting contest where competitors yodel while in yoga positions. Talk about dramatizing downward dog. Entrants donate, winners take home cash or a prize. Not interested in judging ...yoglers? Turn it into a per-donation class instead. Reduced stress, increased lung capacity, and loads of donations.

School nonprofit fundraising ideas

We need schools. Schools need students. Students need stuffs. Sounds like we need fundraising ideas for schools. Lucky for all of us, we’ve got you covered.

Silent Disco fundraiser

Perfect in-person or virtual, this fundraiser donation idea may be more for adults than kids. Think about it: Adults don’t have to subject themselves to that noise today’s kids are listening to, chaperones can actually talk about what’s going on in the gym instead of yelling over the bass, and no one wakes up with a headache. (Unless you snuck booz into the punch.) Sell tickets to raise funds; then, introduce the fundraiser, mute mics, and everyone blasts their favorite track and dances late into the night.

Bookworm-a-thon

Encouraging kids to read while raising money for a good cause? It’s one brilliant school peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Friends and family sponsor their booklovers by pledging money per minute of reading or per page read. Then, kiddos turn off the television and read as much as possible to meet their fundraising goal!

Photo-licious school fundraiser

Kids really, really love snapping pics. Loan ‘em your smartphones, buy a bunch of disposable cameras, or rent equipment. Then, let out the kids’ inner photogs. Here’s the fun school fundraiser idea: get a volunteer to help kids hone their photography skills, charge a small fee to participate, and choose the best specimens to make a calendar for proud parents.

No-bake bake sale

Most kids are just learning to cook, so no-bake sales are a great way to teach them the ropes without ever turning on your oven—and great nonprofit fundraising ideas for elementary schools. Wait until it’s toasty outside and host a sale of no-bake treats to keep everyone cool, in and out of the kitchen.

Teachers against students trivia contest fundraiser

Next up for senior ideas for a fundraiser: A trivia contest, students vs teachers! You can try to split the categories evenly so that it’s anyone’s game, but be warned: you might be surprised by how much pop culture knowledge your history teacher has! Sell tickets to attend the showdown and support the school.

Virtual (+ online) fundraising ways

“We are liiiiiiving in a virtual world, and III am a virtual girl” ...it’s almost the right words. Close enough to help introduce these virtual fundraising ideas, at least.

DIY terrarium starter and class

Where are our plant parents at? If you want to add to your growing family—or, like us, aspire to a greener thumb—a virtual class is a great way to get started and a good idea to raise money. Partner with a local plant business to send a kit to each participant and livestream a class with a terrarium expert (it’s a real job), leaving time for participants to show off their creations and ask all their terrarium questions.

Happy Yappy hour

The is one virtual happy hour that everyone’s gonna wanna attend and a heckuva fundraising idea to raise money. Ask officemates to log on with their favorite animal friends for this virtual fundraising event. Colleagues donate the cost of a cocktail while their employer makes a matching gift to up the impact. Send over a casually fancy cocktail/mocktail recipe in advance and up the inclusivity by including a recipe for homemade dog biscuits.

Five-minute artistic portraits

It’s like speed dating, but more of an arty party! To put on this virtual fundraiser, you’ll sell tickets for five-minute portrait painting/sketching/collaging (is that a thing?) sessions with an artist. The donor logs on at their appointed time, the artist does their thing, and when their five minutes is up, the next person’s session begins. Those who show up two minutes late will get a three-minute session instead. Mail everyone their signed masterpiece and a thank-you note along with a reminder of how awesome your nonprofit is.

Client takeover, social media style

Ask a client to take over your nonprofit’s social media accounts for a day to give donors an inside look at your work and its impact. Don’t forget to compensate them! Unless you’re an animal shelter letting a lizard do your social media posts; they have no need for compensation. Even more exciting... if you help youth, having a kid do it is the best idea ever.

Reverse your raffle fundraiser

Just like a regular raffle, but in reverse. This fundraising way works best if you’re auctioning off a larger-than-life prize, like a trip or a moose. Here, the last remaining name or number is the big winner, so everyone hopes against hope that they’re not called. A reverse virtual raffle is a great way to build anticipation during a livestream event.

COVID, pandemic & lockdown-friendly ideas for fundraisers

Think you’ve heard every iteration of every single possible fundraising idea during COVID? Think again. We’ve got pandemic fundraising ideas for daaaaays.

Mystery fundmailings

We all love mail, and we all love a deal. If you wanna put ‘em together into an idea for a fundraiser, put together a raffle for mystery boxes, valued at $10-200. (But we all know that most of them are worth closer to $10). More tickets = more chances for surprises! Have a countdown on your campaign site, then livestream the results.

Post a sad baby or puppy

Post a picture of a very cute, very sad baby or puppy. (Or both!) Tell your supporters that they can make the baby/puppy happy when they donate. When you hit donation milestones, celebrate with incrementally happier pictures of the puppy/baby.

Matching gifting-a-thon

Can fundraising activities for nonprofits include donors raising monies? Heck yes. Tons of companies have matching gift programs, but often those matches go unclaimed. Encourage your dedicated supporters to help out without spending any more of their hard-earned cash by using Facebook (and other social media channels) to shout out eligibility for matching gifts.

Documentary + Q&A

Screen a documentary that’s related to your cause and follow it up with a live session featuring someone involved in the film or who has specialized knowledge. Have supporters submit their questions via chat throughout the film. It’s a top-notch funding idea for your nonprofit.

A quest like no other

Did you know: the distance from the Shire to Mordor is 1,779 miles, and the Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,650 miles. Whether you prefer your epic journeys with a side of orcs or waves, this peer-to-peer fundraising challenge is a great way combine team building and fundraising. More miles walked = more money raised.

Quick and easy fundraising ideas for nonprofits

Whoever said fundraising is quick and easy must have made that statement on opposite day. Or they were using Funraise. Either way, we’ve got your quick and easy fundraising ideas for nonprofits right here.

Scream-a-thon

Life is stressful. Never fear, nonprofiteer; we’re here to help with easy ways to fundraise. Get out all your stress and raise money for a good cause by hosting a scream-a-thon. You just need an empty field or lot that your donors can stand in while they scream their lungs out. It feels really, really good!

Bonus: If someone has a punching bag, get in on that action!

Bonus Bonus: Charge a lil’ extra to break something like ceramics or glass. Maybe you can create a “stress-busted” mosaic as a memento of this moneymaker.

Spend-nothing challenge

These quick and easy fundraisers save you money and won’t cost your supporters an extra cent above what they would normally spend. Ask your supporters to cut their spending for one whole day. Meaning, no venti frappulattes, no deli runs, and no impulse online purchases (it’s hard, we know). Instead, challenge supporters to give the money they would have spent to your organization. Gamify the experience by issuing a double-or-nothing challenge: if they do spend money, they donate double!

Art sale

Selling kid-created art is a rock solid way to raise funds for your school—for the low, low cost of art supplies. Get your art teacher to coordinate the setup with each class; then, host an open house displaying all the art in the gymnasium. This is one fundraiser that’s sure to sell out... After all, parents have to buy their children’s art now—or they’ll be paying therapy bills for years.

Lip sync for your life

We’re channeling the always awe-inspiring RuPaul here, friends. Get this: host a lip-sync fundraising competition where aspiring non-singers get on stage and lip-sync like your mission’s at stake. Make it bracket-style, winners facing winners, culminating in the supreme chanteuse. And if you haven’t seen Drag Race, do yourself a favor and do some research.

Clean-a-thon

It may not be one of those “quick fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations” (what is, though?), but a clean-a-thon fundraiser will clean up your town and raise money for a good cause! Think of a walk-a-thon, but with heavy-duty gloves and hand sanitizer. Take it peer-to-peer with supporters pledging donations for every bag of trash—and extra donations for recyclables!

Simple fundraising ideas

These may be simple fundraising ideas, but they’re not elegant or classy. Just simple like... simple.

Something hunt

Kids pay an entrance fee to spend a fun-filled afternoon searching for... something. Whatever you choose—maybe potatoes and other root vegetables. The grand prize? The rutabaga.

Sock puppet workshop

Are we really telling you that playing with socks is the kind of great fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations that'll sweep you off your feet? Well, when you’re looking for no-cost fundraisers, you do stuff like host a sock puppet decorating workshop (online or in-person), so... yeah, we are.

Sock puppet show

Volunteers put on the entirety of “Phantom of the Opera” starring the sock puppets. If your audience doesn’t like musicals, you can go with “Hamlet” instead. See? Simple fundraisers.

34/33/33 raffle

Now we’re just getting wild. It’s like the raffle above, but 34% goes to you, 33% goes to the winner, and 33% goes to another nonprofit organization because community over competition! A (free) successful fundraiser idea with a side of warm-and-fuzzies? Yes, please!

Everything’s-an-obstacle course

This is a use-what-you-got, get creative with it kind of fundraiser. Think tying rope between trees or cars to have people crawl under or getting a volunteer to spray athlete-donors with the hose. Get a brave volunteer to take a nap on the ground while people jump over. And when you can’t make any more obstacles, use chalk to write instructions on the pavement. “Take 5 boogie steps, do three forward rolls, and hopscotch to the end!” Just keep it safe!!

Cheap (+ free) worthwhile ideas

Cheep! Cheep! …oops, we’re mixing adorable baby chicks with cheap fundraising ideas.

Playlist fundraiser

Anyone can hold a peer-to-peer playlist fundraiser in which sponsors pay to add songs to a fundraiser’s playlist, but if you’re looking for unique fundraising opportunities for nonprofits, connect it to a 5k or a step challenge, or introduce it as a way to jazz up supporters’ summer road trips. Finally, we’ve found a way to make everyone listen to the 10-minute version of Tay-Tay’s classic “All Too Well”.

Pet talent show

We know loads of people with extraordinary pets that can do all sorts of stuff from dancing to opening doors to singing. (Meanwhile, we can barely get our pets to sit...) Put out the call for people with showbiz pets they want to show off and use their pride as an idea to raise funds.

P.S. This is a great one to take virtual—pets are confident at home and the owners don’t have to stress over getting scales, feathers, and fur all over their backseats.

Pizza bake sale

Now, if you know us, you know that anything with pizza is gonna be on our list of top fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. Unless it’s from Pizza by Alfredo, obvs. Source a local pizza company to cater at your school, office, or community center and bake pizza pies to order. If this fundraising opportunity for nonprofits sounds cheesy, you’re on theme!

Birthday fundraisers

Birthday fundraisers on social media are a great way to fundraise any time of year—send a reminder to your supporters to organize a fundraiser for their birthday each year, with proceeds going to your nonprofit. Pro tip: you can sync all that precious Facebook donation and donor data with Funraise automatically! Happy birthday to all of us.

Virtual BINGO

Bingo is a classic game that everyone loves and almost everyone can spell, so why not make it into a fundraising event? Host your own socially distanced bingo night, and direct players to your donation page if they’re having a good time. There are virtual bingo cards a-plenty online, and to take it up a notch, get some swaggy prizes.

Most profitable fundraisers ideas

Are you interested in fundraising because it’s fun? Or because you want to bring in sweet, sweet donations? (For us, it’s both!) For the most fun and most profitable fundraiser ideas, look no further!

Bouquet Banquet

We don’t believe in coincidences, so there must be a reason these two words are so similar. (They even look the same in some script-y fonts!) But obviously, they should go together, though, so here’s the profitable fundraising idea: Plan a potluck banquet where people can come and feast (for a donation), and if they bring a delicious dish, they take home a bouquet! Get flowers from a local florist or go to your local flower market and ask for flowers that won’t make it another day.

Karaoke pool

No, it’s not a karaoke pool party, but that sounds great... This is a little wager. A game of chance. Get your karaoke cued up, the singer list populated ahead of time, and then offer attendees a copy of the list as they arrive. They can make bets on who’s going to rock it and who’s gonna choke on the mic. Beware... singers can easily throw this bet.

Pool party karaoke

We had to add this brainstorm into a certified idea ‘cuz it sounds so cool! Imagine... you’re at a pool party on a hot day, and as you float in your doughnut inner tube, you’re regaled by the dramatic stylings of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. We’d donate for that vibe.

Celebrity logo styling

If you’ve got boxes of old letterhead and no way to use it, try this idea for fundraising money: Send a sheet of letterhead and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to a buncha celebs and ask them to draw a recreation of your logo on the paper and send it back. Scan the logo doodles and have them imprinted on a t-shirt that you’ll then sell. Or a series of t-shirts, one for each celeb.

Car wash

This is one of those classic best fundraisers for nonprofits ideas: Get volunteers to suit up and hand over the soap, sponges, and buckets o’ water. For even more convenience (and profits!), have volunteers drive to people’s homes and wash their cars on location. Talk about taking the show on the road!

Fun fundraising ideas

Now that you’ve perused the profitable fundraising ideas, it’s time to bring on the fun fundraising ideas... and the donations.

Outdoor yoga or meditation

As long as everyone’s willing to bundle up, you can host a yoga fundraiser any day of the year. Take it outdoors for some deep breathing and stretchy positioning. Note that this can also be an easy virtual event if you choose to livestream a class instead.

Gather toys for tots

Kids need toys all year ‘round, not just during the winter holidays! Any time of year is a great time of year to organize toys for tots-type fundraising programs that'll provide toys for kids in need.

Take the plunge

Polar plunges are popular in the cold winter months, but that doesn’t mean a plunge can’t be profitable when it’s warm! If you want to make sure there’s an icy element, get some sno-cones or slushies in the mix!

Besides being fun ways to raise money for charity, a plunge is an excellent peer-to-peer fundraiser, too. People sign up, ask their social networks to fund their adventurous activity, and then everyone jumps into a maybe-chilly body of water.

Give-a-Compliment Day

Fun fundraisers like this are a great excuse to flatter your donors—and maybe they’ll donate a bit more. Reach out to supporters with the good news that Give-a-Compliment Day is coming up. Then, sock it to ‘em—with love! And remind them to keep being the phenomenal angel-unicorns they are by supporting your organization.

Salad Week, Spaghetti Day

Get healthy with your donors by challenging them to a week of salads followed by a big ol’ spaghetti dinner. After days and daaaays of salad, everyone’s gonna be ready for you to host a spaghetti dinner, whether it’s handmade or based at a local restaurant. You could also do an online cooking class or sell dinner-delivered-to-your-door.

Charity fundraising ideas

Unless you’re fundraising for your cousin named Charity, you’re probably looking at “charity fundraising ideas” because you’re a nonprofiteer. Either way, welcome!

Military Thank You dinner

Thanking our military veterans properly is an impossible task, but recognizing their sacrifices is the place to start! Advertise a classic-and-classy USO dinner show—and make sure veterans get comped tickets, front-row seats, and appreciative shout-outs.

Tour around the world

This charity event idea can take the form of a progressive dinner, drinks, or desserts... or maybe something even more fun than food! When you expose a group of people to a variety of different cultures as shared by the people who are from those cultures, it can counter the effects of ethnic cleansing and erasure. It’s also a great way to celebrate community diversity and make friends.

Not-so-random acts of kindness

When you’re interested in raising money for charity, ask community members if they need assistance with small tasks and match them with supporters willing to help out. Think home maintenance and repairs, running household errands, or accommodating in-home accessibility by rearranging furniture. For supporters who can’t help out in person, ask if they’ll become a monthly donor.

Make it accessible!

It’s time to recognize people with disabilities by completing a building audit and developing an access handbook for your nonprofit’s facilities. Get the community involved by asking members to fund the accessibility updates and then do your part to dismantle ableism.

Friends-n-Family talent show

Whether or not talent runs in the family, a family talent show fundraiser is how to raise money for charity. By highlighting all types of families and all types of talents, you might get a father-daughter tap dance routine, a besties-belching-spectacle, or a funcle-nibling song-and-dance number. Bonus: This is the type of event that can go virtual (and viral!)

Creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits

Creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Since that intro says it all, we’ll funnel the creativity into the ideas themselves.

All of our favorite things fundraiser

Take a staff poll for hobbies and activities of interest and just... incorporate it all, because... why not? When you think about it, one of the best ways to fundraise money is to do the things you’re passionate about—maybe all at one time. Hey, we never said it was an easy way to raise money, just a creative one.

Winter/Summer Solstice dinner

Whether it’s a candelit, nature-focused dinner in the summer or a moonlit, snuggly family fundraising festival of fun and games in the winter, the Solstice is a perfect opportunity for an outdoors celebration. Go for sledding, snow angels, and warming cider or break out the astronomy apps and celebrate by starlight.

Trivia night fundraiser

A trivia fundraiser is a cheap, super fun, way to successfully raise money for charity. Cheer on your supporters as they prove their deep knowledge in arcane and completely random subjects, and encourage friends and family to try to best their loved ones.

LEGO fundraiser

There are so many LEGO fundraisers out there that LEGO has its own hashtag for all the creative ways to raise money for charity: #buildtogive. Oh, and this is the moment to get creative! Maybe everyone can contribute to one big LEGO masterpiece together, or give out a prize for the best creations, or use LEGOs to recreate your logo.  Le-GO wild!

A-thon-a-thon

It’s triathon time! Just... different. Put together three fun tasks that you don’t usually do together. Instead of biking, swimming, and running come up with fun stuff like dancing, hula-hooping, and bowling! Roller skating sounds fun until your less-mobile folks are forced to cheer from the sidelines. Keep accessibility in mind as you plan your athon-a-thon!

Community fundraising ideas

We love our community, and chances are that you love yours, too. That’s why these community fundraising ideas are gonna knock your socks off.

Community progressive dinner

Every community has a few must-visit, nostalgic restaurants. Map out an evening of eating and learning and sell tickets that include transportation or guides in addition to the food and drink. Hit historic or landmark eateries and offer food specialties and anecdotes to attendees.

Science fair fundraiser

Science Fair time! Set categories and encourage local scientists to show off their STEM skillz with this community fundraiser idea. Keep it focused by narrowing the field to something specific that relates to your mission.

For a different fundraising idea, get prizes from a corporate sponsor, ask for donations at the door, sell raffle tickets and snacks, and repurpose the content for your social and web platforms.

Super Souper Bowl

You don’t have to watch football to eat soup and fundraise. We have two reminders: different fundraising ideas like this fare well when they're styled as competitions, and our gumbo has never been beaten.

Social media = social justice

You know where we’re going with this, right? Take your social justice cause to your social platforms! Post on social media and ask your supporters to do the same, with a specific invitation to create individual social justice community fundraisers on their own social media social accounts.

Schoolroom crawl

You've heard of a bar crawl, but what about a schoolroom crawl? Each classroom hosts its own themed party leading to a big fiesta in the gym, community center, or even on a sports field. Have a student draw a map of your school, provide simple snacks in each classroom, post a host at each location, and even get the teacher's lounge in on the fundraising action!

Local fundraising ideas

Home is where the heart is. And these local fundraising ideas will bring the heart of your community into your home.

Foraging walk

If you're looking for local fundraiser ideas, this is as hyper-local as it gets. You’d be surprised how many edible ingredients grow right in your neighborhood, so get a foraging expert on board to walk supporters through your community. Then, send everyone home with recipes to use their bounty.

Farmer’s market tour

Reach out to your local farmer’s market to give donors an inside look at the market before it opens. Have each farmer introduce their wares, share secret ingredients, and end with a local cooking demonstration and coffees all around. If your nonprofit’s cause is related to food access or the environment, this fundraiser can also provide a great learning opportunity.

Brunch crawl

What would make brunch better? More brunch! We think mimosas make for successful fundraising ideas, so howsabout putting together a brunch crawl—local restaurants will serve small bites and their best champagne-based brunchy drink. Ask a charismatic local celeb—a local comic or drag queen—to host brunch-goers.

Relay-style mise en place race

Hold a friendly, kitchen-y mise en place challenge, pitting teams against one another to see who can prep food the quickest—but the next person can’t start on their task until the first is done. Keep it price-conscious with challenges like onion chopping, egg peeling, and mushroom breaking-down-ing. Use the food to make a delicious meal after the race.

Amazing Race-ing ‘round town

If you’re feeling ambitious and you want a truly memorable fundraising event, host your own Amazing Race around your city or town. For this perfect peer-to-peer fundraising challenge, you’ll need to write clues, plan pitstops, add roadblocks, and gather a small army of volunteer drivers and witnesses. But hey, go big or go home, right?

Fundraising ideas for organizations

These may seem random, but fundraising ideas for organizations don’t always make sense until you see the donations they bring in.

Stone soup

This folk story holds an important lesson, plus, it’s a great nonprofit, school, or company fundraising idea! Get you some extra large pots, some flavorful stones, and have everyone bring one delicious ingredient. Simmer, stir, and then sell bowls of your steamy stone soup. And to keep it accessible, consider making different stone soups to accommodate various dietary restrictions.

Scream-a-thon

Life is stressful, isn’t it? But never fear; we’re here to help. Get out that stress and raise money for a good cause by hosting a scream-a-thon. All you need is an empty field or vacant lot where your donors can stand and scream their lungs out. Whew, that felt good!

Bonus: If someone has access to an old punching bag or a gym with great acoustics, get in on that action!

Lip sync for your life

At the end of every episode, contestants on the chopping block need to lip sync for their life to stay in the competition. Host your very own lip sync-off in a March madness-style contest. Audience members can tip the performers with donations, and a panel of local celebrity judges can grade the performances. No matter who wins, in the end, everyone gets on stage and dances.

Don’t give up; give in

We've all heard about organization fundraising ideas that reward folks for giving up sugar, caffeine, wine, or cheese. But why not host a peer-to-peer fundraiser that leans into our less-healthy habits? Supporters who love wine collect pledges to try and review a new wine each week, while bakers cook up a different treat each week.

Video game tournament

Give your kids the gift of bottomless video games—for a good cause! Choose a game all competitors can play, then, captivate your audience by livestream a kickass gaming tournament right on your campaign website. And a pro-tip from the fundraising pros: add a progress bar to the stream to up the gamification.

Seasonal ideas for fundraising

Year-round fundraising, baby! Get your ideas for fundraising right here.

Winter

Some people think that winter is the most inspirational time of year. Us? We love winter fundraising ideas whether it’s hot, cold, windy, or rainy.

Walk Your Dog Month (January)

Your supporters are gonna be excited for any excellent excuse to spend extra time with human’s best friend BFF. What’s the gig, you ask? A dog-friendly walkathon. Timeless, flexible... make it a P2P fundraiser or a crowdfunding campaign. At the walk, be sure to sell some treats and T-shirts for pups and their people.

Mindfulness fundraiser

Post-holiday blues is a pretty common phenomenon. Once the bright lights go out and the festive gatherings disperse, three more months of winter are all up in our faces. The cure? A by-donation meditation class to encourage your supporters each week during the dark days of winter.

Car washing and weather-proofing

We know what you’re thinking, but don’t scroll just yet...  car washes are the ultimate protection against the snow and ice that does a number on cars in the winter. By offering wintertime services like rainguarding, tire maintenance, undercarriage cleaning, and emergency kit top-offs, you're sure to get lots of happy customers.

Good ol’ Movie Night

There are two types of people: those who love holiday movies and those who pretend that they don’t. Movie nights are easy fundraising ideas—attendees donate a small fee for the opportunity to choose the movie by voting ahead of time on social media. Just make sure that your movie options are donor-appropriate!

National (Organ) Donor Day (February 14)

Are you on board with our take on National Donor Day? From where we sit, it seems like a (fake) holiday perfect to advance stewardship. Instead of fundraising for Valentine's Day, ask your supporters to make a donation in their Valentine’s name.

Summer

Summer fundraising ideas like these aren’t easy to come by, so stop awhile, chill out, and find your perfect summer fundraiser.

Water balloon fundraiser fight

When the temperature rises, it’s time to organize a charity water balloon fundraiser fight! Invite your whole community to sign up, or give students a chance to soak the principal and employees the opportunity to hit the CEO with a water balloon.

Fantasy sports league

Yep, your nonprofit can bring in donations by hosting a summertime MLB, WNBA, MLS, or NASCAR fantasy league, but look for a sport that's new to your donor base: Tour de France, maybe? Lots of people would pay to join a beer-drinking or quidditch league. Or, so we’ve heard...

National Waffle Day (August 24)

Waffles take the top spot on our favorite foods list, so National Waffle Day isn’t really a secret holiday in our books. Put on a waffle bar fundraiser with sweet and savory toppings and raise money for a cause you love.  

Summer concert fundraiser

Whether you’re in a rural or urban area, we’re willing to bet that you’ve got some pretty talented local musicians in your area who would be down to play at a summer concert fundraiser. Find a fun outdoor venue and start inviting your supporters for a night of fun and music!

Drawing contest

Hold a no-age-limit drawing contest with a seasonal summer theme. Ask for a small suggested donation and in return, enter supporters' artwork into the contest and feature all the competitors on your website. The prize can be a swag item you’ve got tons of or maybe just bragging rights on your nonprofit's website, and of course, a social media shout out.

Spring

When spring has sprung, spring fundraising ideas are in full bloom. Fill your bouquet with these fundraisers.

Build-A-Budget

Ok, maybe it sounds boring, but as tax time creeps up, donors may be interested in building their own budget. Help ‘em save and spend by hiring a financial consultant to provide a template or have 1:1 consultations. Don't forget to bake donations right into the budget!

Farm-fresh feast fundraiser

Get your local country kitchens, community gardens, and fresh farms together for a popup meal featuring food fresh from the field. Introduce your supporters to the joys of local produce, beauty products, and even herbal remedies.

Organizing party

Yes, we’re getting old, but are we the only ones who feel like there are few things that can beat the joy of a perfectly organized shelf? Enlist the help of an organizing expert—there’s definitely someone on your board or supporter network—and host a workshop on how to organize closets, drawers, and those lost corners of your home.

Karaoke sing-along

This is the ultimate group event, trust us. Choose a theme (e.g., 80's, musicals, one-hit wonders, musicals, disco), share the lyrics on a big screen, and get ready for an evening delight! Yep, you can do a move musical sing-along, but karaoke gives you more opportunities to take a break from the dissonance.

Fall

We’ll always fall for fundraising in the fall, and these fall fundraiser ideas will have you falling, too.

Hygge kits

Basically, hygge is Danish for warm-n-fuzzy, snug as a bug in a rug. For this fundraiser, create and distribute hygge kits that include candles, a great book, tea bags, a mug, and a small plant. Guaranteed coziness and guaranteed donations.

Happy Hour Day (November 12)

When it’s cold outside, give everyone a great excuse to skip out of work an hour early for hot toddies or hot chocolate. We suggest partnering with a cozy local bar and to create a signature drink that’ll net you a percentage of their daily HH sales.

Great British bake sale

A bake sale, but make it British. Bring on the Bakewell tarts, sticky toffee pudding, and lemon drizzle cake. Be sure to sell tea, too, and keep those pinkies up!

Infused foods workshop

No more giving away cookies or fudge. Instead, give your supporters a way to give the best homemade gifts in town—infused foods! All you need is a workshop leader and the simple ingredients; attendees can bring their own herbs and bottles. They’ll leave with garlic olive oil, lavender simple syrup, or rosemary gin—the world is your infused oyster vodka.

Googly Eyes Night

Gather a boatload of googly eyes and sell 'em to your supporters, near and far. Get everyone to slap those shakey eyeballs in hilarious spots around town and take pictures or video for social media sharing.

Successful campaigns to raise money

Fundraising can swing from “freaking failure” to “stunning success” or anywhere in between, but these fundraising campaign examples are sure to take you far toward your goal.

Cheap wine tasting

Wine tastings may be a popular and trendy fundraiser, but not everyone’s got tons o’ funds for pricey bottles. If you’re like us, you’ll embrace the lack of money + wine knowledge and buy bottom-shelf wines. Get a wine noob who knows nada about vino to host a tasting and just have fun with it.

Historic tour

Get a volunteer from a local museum or historic site to give kids and caretakers a tour of the town in exchange for a donation. Maybe they’ll even wear a historically accurate costume!

Speedy portraits

Similar to speed dating, but, like, speed-arting! For this fundraiser, sell tickets for five-minute portrait painting/sketching/art-ing sessions. The donor logs on at their noted time, the artist arts, and when their five minutes is up, the next session is on. Mail everyone their signed art after the event—with a thank-you note and a reminder of how awesome your nonprofit is, of course.

Mystery mailings

We all love mail, and we all love a deal. Have a raffle for mystery boxes, with a wide range of values. More tickets means more chances for surprises!

The Bachelor

It’s the reincarnation of carnation day! Buy a carnation dedication for $1, and on carnation day, it would be hand-delivered to your chosen recipient. Host a similar, Bachelor-themed event, but with roses instead of carnations.

Final points: good ways to raise money

  • At the end of the day, it’s not the fundraising idea that counts, it’s the fact that you’re putting your cause in the spotlight. Figure out the best way to shine that light, and you’re onto something.
  • A variety of fundraisers will appeal to a variety of donors, at different donation levels, in different locations, and in different stages of life. Don’t tie yourself to just one thing.
  • Think in terms of ROI—sometimes that means putting on a cheap fundraiser that’ll be all nonprofit profit, and sometimes that means putting resources like time, money, and network capital into a far-reaching, super successful event.
  • Finally, listen to your supporters. If they’re asking for fancy galas, give ‘em what they want. If they like outdoors events or P2P fundraisers, go that route.

FAQs on how to raise money fast

What are the most profitable fundraisers

The most profitable nonprofit fundraisers are the ones that are planned out in advance, targeted to a specific audience, and have a clear-cut goal. A budget and timeline are key to bringing in donations, and a communications plan is essential to exposing your fundraising campaign to the right audience.

What is the easiest fundraiser?

The easiest nonprofit fundraiser is the one that you have the time, experience, and budget to put on. Ideally, your nonprofit can rely on volunteers and corporate sponsors to provide you with the tools, resources, and expertise you need to reach your goals and achieve your vision.

How can I quickly raise money?

Put out the call to your networked board members, volunteers, supporters, and donors if you want to raise money for your nonprofit quickly. Use a peer-to-peer fundraiser format to get your nonprofit's fundraising campaign running and raising quickly. If you can manage to go viral, that's the best-case scenario.

What is the most effective fundraiser?

The most effective nonprofit fundraiser is one that gets attention from a wide variety of people, brings in lots of donations, and elevates cause and brand awareness that lasts longer than the campaign timeframe, to more than the nonprofit's standard audience of supporters, donors, and volunteers.

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