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50 Best Fundraising Business ideas You Can Start Today

Do you want to start a fundraising company but you want to go for a unique niche? If YES, here are 50 best fundraising business ideas & opportunities. The fundraising industry is a big industry in the United States.

According to Giving USA, American individuals, estates, foundations and corporations contributed an estimated $390.05 billion to U.S. charities in 2016. Each year, approximately 95.4% of households give to charity. And, on average, each household donates $2,974.

This is why individuals, charities and even businesses resort to fundraising whenever they want to raise finances for a cause. People not only raise funds to back up a charity cause, they also raise funds to start a business.

Till date, there are hundreds of ways one can raise finances either to fund ones business or to raise funds to backup a work of charity. From crowdfunding to car boot sales and walk-a-ton, businesses and charities are getting more inventive as the time goes on.

We all know that fundraising is usually a short lived event. When people get the amount of money they are looking for, they stop the fundraising endeavor and carry on with their business or charity. But what if I tell you that you can turn your fundraising event into your everyday business?

Yes, it is possible to continue earning money that would sustain you from your fundraising endeavor. That is, turn it into a business.

While not all fund raising activities can be turned into a sustainable business (you cannot tell people to gather and bob apples for charity everyday, neither can you send them on a daily treasure hunt), but there are fundraising ideas that you can definitely make a sustainable business out of.

In this article, we are going to show you some of those fundraising ideas that you can turn into a profitable business, and how you can do it.

Best Fundraising Business ideas

1. Charity Auction Service

If you’re looking to startup your business in an endeavor that is known to be in the charity line,the setting up a charity auction service could be the right business for you. One of the best methods for charities to raise funds for their particular need is to host a charity auction.

What happens is that local merchants will donate products and services that you can auction off to raise funds. The focus of this business start-up is to organize the event and act as the auctioneer and solicit local business owners for donations of products and services to be auctioned.

The best charities to build alliances with are local ones that serve the community exclusively. You can make it in such a way that you are regularly having products in stock to auction, and you can pay yourself a decent wage while donating the rest back to charity as it was intended.

2. Become a fundraising consultant

Another business that you can start in the fundraising industry is to become a fundraising consultant. Acting on behalf of charities as a fundraising consultant can earn you as much as $100,000 per year. But before you can earn this much, you need to have the skills and abilities to raise funds for the charities that your service represents.

The first step required for establishing a fundraising service is to build alliances with local or national charities to represent the charities as a fundraising specialist. The next step is to establish a fundraising program for the charities, similar to a business plan.

The plan or program should outline how the funds will be raised, as well as the fee you will charge for your service. Fundraising consultants usually charge a commission for services based on a percentage of the total amount of money raised, and the commission rate will range from 10 percent on amounts in excess of $100,000 to percentages as high as 50 percent for amounts under $1,000.

If you have a background in finance and an experience in sales, you could put both these skills to good use by starting your own fundraising consultancy for charities.

You’ll need to choose the types of charities you want to work with and get networking to create relationships with those you feel most passionate about. From there, all you need to do is prove to them that you can create and implement well-defined and efficient fundraising programs that will help them raise the money they need for their cause.

3. Start a mini film festival

One other way you can take advantage of the fundraising industry to start a business is to start a mini film festival in your area. You can set up a well publicized platform and have participants enter their own unique productions is a very big money making idea.

You can even turn it into a contest, where attendees can give $5 (more or less) in order to cast votes for their favorite films. Instead of doing it once of like a fundraising event, you can continue the business and raise a name for your business in your community. You never know where the business can take you.

4. Trash Art Auction

This is a good business idea is not just for the eco-friendly, but for all zealous individuals who have eyes for the non-profit business.

To start, you can enlist local artists to create some avant-garde masterpieces out of recyclables or other waste products, and auction off the pieces. Instead of  making this a one-off event like you do for a charity, you can continue and maybe start travelling around to get masterpieces that you can stock in your shop. You can also set up this business online.

5. Sell Vintage Clothing

The value and popularity of collectible clothing has been on a steady increase for the past decade and this demand for outfits from the ’40s to the ’80s shows no signs of diminishing. This is a good fundraising idea you can turn into a business.

Starting a business that sells vintage duds from a retail storefront or online is a fantastic venture. If you’re choosing to go online with this idea, there are various money-making options available.

You can charge people a fee to list items for sale, sell banner advertising space, participate in online auctions or, the most obvious choice, scout out collectible clothing yourself in thrift stores, yard sales, online auctions or directly from sellers, and sell it online for a profit.

6. Craft Sales

Craft sales is a very popular fundraising idea for charities, but not rules say that you cannot turn this into a profitable business. If you can make the crafts, then fine. But if you cannot, you can gather talented friends and family members to help create unique crafts for you, whether they are bracelets, buttons, key chains, or other wares.

Because you intend to make a business out of this, you may not have to rely on your friends and family to continue making the crafts for you; unless you have someone who wants to do it for a living. The next option is to go around looking for beautiful crafts you can add to the ones you have.

7. Sell seashell jewelry

If you live near the ocean, then you can easily pull off this business. You could be walking past thousands of dollars in potential profits and not even realize it.

Starting a home based business that designs and sells seashell jewelry is not only an easy and inexpensive fundraising idea to turn into a viable business, it also could prove to be very fun and interesting, that is if you are very creative. Collect various sizes, shapes and colors of seashells right from the beach, and create beautiful seashell jewelry.

Once completed, the jewelry can be sold to local retailers on a wholesale basis or placed in retail stores on a consignment basis. A seashell jewelry manufacturing business is not only easy to start and run, but it could also generate extra income of $10,000 per year or more. If you grow your business big, you can start exporting your items.

8. Organize art Shows

Creating a platform for artists to showcase their works can be a mind blowing business. Local artists and supporters can pay a nominal registration fee to have their pieces showcased, and attendees can pay a registration fee to browse the collection.

Afterwards, artists can choose to auction off their pieces for charity. Note that this fundraising idea can be easily turned into a business, as you can to constantly provide artists a forum to showcase their arts.

9. Organize a Give it up show

A give it up show is another idea that comes to mind if you want to turn your fundraising idea into a business. You can start by organizing a give it up show to demonstrate how the smallest donation can make a difference. Ask fundraisers to give up a daily beverage or meal and donate the money to a worthwhile cause instead.

Intensify the appeal by asking supporters to participate for a certain number of days or encouraging them to meet a personal fundraising goal. This is something that can go on and on, though you may need to move your campaign around from time to time.

10. Blogging on issues relating to fundraising

Do you read blogs to get answers to your questions? Do you have a particular knowledge base that could come in handy to others? Maybe you’re an expert in all things travel, languages, or eco-friendly living? Whatever it is, you can share it with others for free! All you need to do is choose a free blog template and write regular posts.

From there, you can read up on the various ways you could make a living writing about something you love. Some ways you could make an income include, but are not limited to; Using Google AdSense, Starting an affiliates program, Creating webinars, Offering online courses, etc.

11. Organize social crowdfunding

Social crowdfunding is where social entrepreneurs find funding for their projects. You could create a social crowdfunding platform that links humanitarian projects to those willing to fund them.

Instead of charging high interest rates and fees, they are offered a promise in return for their monetary investment. For example, positive advertisements highlighting them as investors or a lifetime membership to their company projects. This is a sustainable money making endeavor.

12. Create a betterment program

Help those in need better themselves by creating a space whereby they can learn new employment skills that will help them get back on their feet.

It could be a restaurant where you train and hire people in need to teach them skills with which they can start a career or even an e-learning course in business, marketing, or web development…the opportunities are endless. The profits of your establishment could go to paying and training them as well as creating new programs, but the fact remains that you can make a good business out of this endeavor, you only need to solicit the right sponsors.

13. Write ebooks

Similar to blogging, e-books allow you to teach others new skills through a digital book that will cost readers a fraction of the price of a printed copy while offering them the same level of education. E-books are free to start and can be sold on huge platforms such as Amazon. You could even donate copies to not-for-profit organizations who believe in your cause.

14. Create an educational travel company

More people are saving their money to see as much of the world as they can before it changes. Not only this, travelers have become increasingly interested in visiting countries where they can be involved in a community project.

Although these types of websites do exist, but why not start an online travel company that, educates people about the country in which they will be volunteering, tells volunteers what equipment they will need, shows travelers where they will be living, offers insights into the country in which they’ll be working, offers all-inclusive packages (e.g., flights, accommodations, food, transport, volunteering, etc.). Soon, your business name would stand you out.

15. Open a dollar store

Dollar or discount stores are popping up everywhere across America, and that can only mean dollar store owners are making money and expanding into new geographic areas of the country to capitalize on consumer demand. You know some dollar stores were initially fundraising ideas for charities and they eventually transformed into a sustainable business.

Competition is stiff, but there seems to be unlimited consumer demand for bargains and discount retail stores. The main objective in the discount retailing industry is two-fold. The first is to source and establish alliances with manufacturers of low-cost products, and the second is that the products have to be of reasonable quality and have a useful purpose.

16. Make and sell E-Bargain newsletters

This is a very viable fundraising idea that someone can use to fund an endeavor, but at the same time you can turn it not a business. To start, you can compile bargains in all sectors so you can sell them to people at a very discounted price.

Then, you will compile an email address list of people that would like to receive your weekly e-bargains newsletter that features discounts on a wide variety of consumer products and services. There are no membership fees or costs associated with receiving the newsletter.

It’s absolutely free of charge. Income and profits are earned by selling a very limited number of advertising spaces to online merchants and service providers that want access to your newsletter subscribers. In addition to paying the advertising fee, merchants and service providers must also agree that the products and service that are advertised in the e-bargain newsletter will be at least 10 percent less than the normal retail price.

17. Open a Car Wash

You remember when people gather to wash cars for people so they can raise funds for an event? Well, you are no longer raising funds, you are now starting a business. Though starting a car wash may require some startup capital, but you can do it in such a way that you can forgo the difficult part and start it with little or no overhead.

18. Become a fashion show consultant

Forget the catwalk, models and expansive clothes, you actually don’t need any of the above to pull off a fundraising fashion show. All you need is floor space, benefit t-shirts and a few staff members willing to put themselves out there and be pretty.

But you can start this fun fundraising idea into a business by opting to organize fashion shows for businesses that need them. If you have the necessary skills and training, you would be getting regular contracts, as long as you are located in an area with a lot of fashion houses.

19. Organize silent auctions

Silent auctions are another way to turn a fundraising idea into a business. It would look like a normal auction here, but without all the noise. Trust me, there are people that prefer places like this. You don’t have to auction off gift baskets.

Get creative with the auction items. Think about experiences instead of things. Perhaps you have a donor willing to grant access to his vacation home for the weekend, for instance, or other things similar to that. The more creative you are, the more profitable this business will be.

20. Become a Talent Agent for Children

One good fundraising idea is to gather children to show off their different talents. But what if after those fundraising, you decide to take it a step forward? You may have to consider starting a talent agency for child actors. This type of business is a very easy to start and there will certainly be no shortage of potential clients as many children dream about being in front of the camera.

Currently, agents for child actors are charging a commission rate of between and 10 and 20 percent of their client’s earnings.

Many agents also represent children in this modeling profession as well those involved in voiceover work for radio and TV. To gain exposure to producers and directors for the business, start an e-mail, letter and personal visit campaign promoting your talent agency, clients and services.

21. Open a Pamper-yourself village

A pamper-yourself village is just a location where people can go and massages and other body treatments that can help them relax. This is often organised as a fundraising idea, but you can maintain the village and market your services as a place where people can come whenever they feel stressed and get some relaxation.

Curate a selection of stalls offering things like luxury beauty treatments, chair massage, makeovers, wellness items, and clothing from local boutiques.

22. Open a Silent disco

Silent discos are usually one-off things that are used to raise funds for charity, but you can as well start this as a business. It would shock you that quite a lot of people would prefer to be able to get some peace and quiet when they want to.

To start, you do not need to hire a professional DJ or performer. Simply plan a killer playlist and provide each attendee with a headset when they enter the door.

23. Doggie Day Care

We know about organising dog washes to raise funds for a good cause, bu you can take it a step further and open a doggie day care.

Day-care facilities for dogs are becoming increasingly popular, especially as more and more caring dog owners are realizing the benefits of leaving their beloved dogs at daycare with other dogs instead of at home alone while they are at work. Dogs, like people, are social creatures and need contact with people and other dogs to become well-behaved and confident.

However, a doggie day care should not be confused with a kennel, which boards animals for short- and long-term time spans. A doggie day care is strictly a drop off in the morning and pick up in the evening, or anytime during the day, type of operation. If space allows and your neighbors don’t mind the barking, you can open at home.

24. Organize photo exhibitions

What happens here is that participants contribute photographs they’ve taken that relate to an event they want to raise funds for.

Have an art opening where event-goers buy a ticket to attend, than auction off the photos. But you can twist this concept around and turn it into a business that can be for the long haul. You can encourage people to bring in their creatively taken photos, so you can sell them for a fee, and they would get a percentage of it.

25. Start an online auction

If you ask people if they’d like to donate a product or experience to an online fundraising auction, you will be pleasantly amazed by those who wanted to be involved. This is a good way to raise money for a charity or business activity, but you can as well turn it into a business, where you auction things and ideas online.

26. Hold garage sales

Most people have tons of stuff they are secretly dying to get rid of. Have them donate it to a neighborhood sale with the proceeds going to your charity. But this time not really a charity, but you can convert it into a business where you get to source valuables from peoples garages and sell them off for profit.

27. Open a dog wash

Dog washing events are a common charity fundraising option, but what if you set up a business where you wash and groom dogs for profit? May people do not have the time to do this chore, so you easily convert this into a business.

28. Sell Coupon book

Selling coupons an acceptable fundraising idea that can be used to raise funds for a business. But you can turn it easily into a business endeavor. Solicit local businesses to participate by offering awesome deals on their products and services.

To get them interested, you can offer to advertise their businesses and deals in your coupon book. If you start getting good recognition, you will easily make a headway for yourself in this business.

29. Yoga with animals

From goats to kittens, animal-themed yoga classes are all the rage right now. Charities usually team up with a local animal shelter or petting zoo who will provide the animals to help spread awareness of their own cause. But you can start this business on a full time basis.

You can set up a yoga class where people can come and do their exercises with animals. This would indeed give you leverage in the industry. Because people love animals, and the competition in this area is not much yet, you will make it big in a short time.

30. Skating event

Charities usually host a roller skating or ice skating event and charge an admission fee. But nothing says that you cannot start this as a business. You have to know that this business is season dependent, but you can still make enough money in the season to take you through most of the year. You just need to find a suitable spot, get things ready, and start publicizing it.

31. Bake sale

This is an oldie but definitely still a goodie as far as fundraisings are concerned. If the theme of a fundraising is for baking goods made from locally sourced ingredients to benefit local farmers, you can continue the business by opening a bakery where you source your baking ingredients from local farmers.

32. Food truck rodeo

This is a local fundraising idea where you simply get a parking lot, a permit, and a handful of local food trucks that are willing to attend. Charge for entrance, and the food trucks can still charge their normal prices inside. You can find ways you can turn this fundraising idea into a business.

33. Peanut and Nut Sales

You can start making money by purchasing peanuts and other assorted nuts in bulk and repackaging the nuts into smaller sizes and sell the packaged nuts to retailers on a wholesale basis. Or alternately, a consignment and revenue share basis or from vending machines that can be installed at locations like malls, pubs and sports complexes.

The vending machines will initially cost a few thousand dollars to purchase. However, the return on investment is quick providing the machines are installed in busy areas. This is a fundraising idea that can easily turn into a business.

34. Seedling sale

Set up in a busy parking lot and ask departing drivers to purchase seedlings of plants or trees. Call it a “carbon exchange” — for the pollution their cars emit, drivers purchase a seedling, and you commit to planting it. You can continue this as a business, but you know you need permits to carry on

35. Referral Service

Referral service is another business can be used for fundraising, and can also be turned into a business. If you’re the one everybody in your circle calls for help when they’re trying to find a good doctor, attorney, plumber or cleaning service, and if you love being on the phone, then a referral service could be the business for you. You can specialize in one area or several, depending on your preferences and the size of your town.

You might run an attorney referral service, matching callers to specialists in family, real estate or criminal law; a physicians’ service matching up potential patients with pediatricians, cardiologists and other health-care specialists; or a homeowners’ network, referring consumers to plumbers, painters, and cleaning and lawn care services, the list is endless.

36. “Junk” donations

Some stuff isn’t worthy of a garage sale, but it’s still worth money. Have community members donate their used ink cartridges, defunct electronics and old magazines. You can resell these to recyclers for a profit. This can be used as an ongoing business.

37. Tote bag sales

Team up with a local grocery interested in encouraging customers to bring their own bags. You supply the bags, for a fee that ties directly back to your environmental cause. It could be long term or short term, but the main thing is thing is that you can easily make a business out of this.

38. Give guided hikes

Guided hikes are good fundraising ideas. You can host a guided hike on a trail led by an expert who can point out the value of the environs and why our natural world is so valuable. You can turn this fundraising idea into a business and take people all year long on these hikes, as long as the weather is favorable.

39. Talent search/become a talent hunter

A lot of people have rock-n-roll dreams. You can give everyone a chance to try out for a band. “The band” is one you’ll put together for the fundraising event, with the grand prize a chance to perform at a local venue. You can continue with this idea and audition locals who would, on their own, never be able to bring their dreams to reality.

40. Make and sell themed t-shirts

People have always printed t-shirts to support their cause. But themed T-shirts are also a great way to start a business. You can start designing and printing t-shirts for charities, or if you are not able to print the t-shirts, you can make the designs and sell them online.

41. Organize Business Plan Competitions

Business plan competitions are a good way startup entrepreneurs earn funds that they can use to set up their business. If you are able to get the right sponsors, you can set up business plan competitions where entrepreneurs can submit their business plans for a chance to win, you can make a nice business out of this. A solid business plan is a must if people want to enter such competition.

42. Book Swap business

Charities have often held book swaps where they charge a small amount for entry and/or per book exchanged. But you can turn this into a business where you get to tell people to bring their old books and swap them for a new one to read for a small fee.

Think of it as a mini library. You’ll need eager book enthusiasts and space. Talk to your local library about resources they have to assist you with your swap.

43. Set up an Online Fundraiser

Nonprofits and charities with supporters eager to do some fundraising themselves sometimes run online peer-to-peer fundraisers. But you can set up such a platform where you help charities run their fundraisers online. To have to provide them with user-friendly interface, technical support, and safe payment processing.

44. Babysitting

Parents are always looking for reliable childcare. If you have the space and folks eager to babysit, then this is a great fundraiser which you can turn into a business.

Though nights are a popular time that parents are looking for babysitters, think outside the box. Try offering babysitting services so that parents can shop for the holidays, for example. The more diversified and qualified you are, the better for your business.

45. Skydiving

There are indeed people who are willing to jump out of a plane for a cause. This is where you can get a good business idea.

You can set up a skydiving club where you can organize and take people on skydiving trips. Though this business can only be organised in clement weather, but you can add other businesses that you can do in cold weather or the winter, such as snowboarding.

46. Become a Telemarketer

Telemarketing is another good way charities raise funds for their cause. You can employ this skill and become a telemarketer for companies. But before you start, you have to know that consumers are now becoming somewhat wary of professional telemarketers.

Consumers can be very savvy and many now know that professional fundraising companies often take more than half of one’s contribution—some even take as much as 70 percent of all donations and sales profits.

Also, consumers are often interrupted at home during dinner only to hear a pitch. Most will ask to be removed from the call list or, it leaves such a negative impression of the organization, they become reluctant to even make direct donations in the future. So if you want to start up a business in this area, know that you have to be more diligent about it.

47. Run a pilot course

A pilot course is usually used for fundraisers where charities would agree to give beneficial courses to the community in exchange for a small fee.

This is a good fundraiser idea you can turn into a business. To get ahead, you need to find topics that would interest the people and have a great impact in their lives. You can go ahead and create online courses around the topics which you can sell online for passive income.

48. Volunteer Grants

Employers sometimes offer volunteer grants. If you are an employee, and your employer is offering some of these grants, you can be encouraged to go for it. These programs offer monetary donations based on how many hours the donor volunteers.

The donors’ volunteer grant programs will vary depending on the employer. Some grants are only $300, but some are $3,000! There’s plenty of potential to capitalize on your donors’ volunteer hours. You can use this capital to start your business.

49. Mobile Foot Massage Service

It is a proven medical fact that foot problems that are not corrected early can result in additional medical problems later down the road. And this creates terrific opportunity for the budding entrepreneur to capitalize by starting a mobile foot massage service.

The target market for a mobile foot massage service is obvious: people who spend a lot of time on their feet. In the spirit of being unique, consider the following method of marketing to gain new clients and generate business revenue:

Prepare a full marketing presentation that highlights all the benefits of foot massages, such as happier workers equals increased productivity. Once the marketing presentation is complete, set up proposal meetings with mid- to large-size companies in your community that have employees who are on their feet for most of the day

50. Barter and Trade business

A barter and trade fair is similar to a garage sale, but instead of purchasing items, you and the people involved will trade items.

Charities raise funds by charging each individual a small entry fee or a fee per item brought to trade. Plus, they also sell concessions to raise even more money. You can make this event into a business and you can make it as small or large as you want. You need to have varieties so that people would always find what they want.