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50 Best Nonprofit Fundraising ideas

Do you run a non-profit organization and you need money to execute your project? If YES, here are 50 best fund raising ideas and opportunities.

Nonprofit organizations are organizations that are started not to make money, but to affect the society positively. A nonprofit organization is set up to raise funds for causes, and these causes could be feeding the poor, raising finances to fund research into a certain sickness like cancer, providing shelter for the homeless and even helping individuals that have certain pressing needs.

Because nonprofits need money for whatever issues they are solving, it is pertinent for them to find creative ways to get these funds since the organizers usually don’t have money of their own.

In reality, most of the income received by nonprofits are generated from fees for services, sale of products, or earned interest on investments and usually not from donations as people think. This means that these organisations have to work for their money.

When nonprofit fundraisers are done very creatively, they yield the desired income and awareness needed for a particular event. To succeed, your ideas must be unique and be able to rally a following. Your participants must have fun and must be motivated to take the event viral so as to attract more donors to your cause.

If you have a nonprofit organization, you may be wondering how you can raise funds to move your organization forward. We have listed quite a number of creative ideas that would not only ensure you have the finances for your activities, but would ensure that all your participants have fun while they are at it.

Best Nonprofit Fund Raising ideas

  1. Hold Charity Auctions

A charity auction is a popular type of nonprofit fundraising stream in which nonprofits collect donations or consignment items to sell off at the event. Auction items need to be valuable, high quality and highly sought after so as to garner bids.

Donors are given the chance to place bids in a silent, live or online auction, typically within the context of a larger fundraising event. The highest bidder takes home the item, and your organization collects the proceeds.

Charity auctions can be a fast-paced and energetic way for your nonprofit, educational institution, or faith-based organization to raise more money and interact with your donors face-to-face. You also have the opportunity to form some solid business connections with your donors.

If you are at a loss on how to get charity auction items, you can seek the help of local businesses, and try to get as many items donated. That way, you can put your budget into creating a great atmosphere for your attendees instead of buying items. You can hire an auctioneer, send out invites, and cater food and drinks.

  1. Sell items Online

An online sale is another way to net income for your nonprofit organization. Whether you designed branded t-shirts or started a cookie dough fundraiser, you should consider selling your products online. By setting up shop online, you can connect with interested supporters outside your community.

Supporters from all over the country (or the world) can contribute to your fundraiser and receive an awesome item in return.

To start selling online, you’ll need to find a wholesale provider to supply you products and you should create an online marketplace — either on your nonprofit’s website or through another platform. You can then share your link on social media to let your supporters know about your products.

  1. Organize Garage Sales

A garage sale is a good way to get rid of lingering items in your house and as well raise some money for your cause. The principle here is to gather up all the stuff that have been occupying space in your house, and go around to your neighbors to see if they have items they do not need anymore.

You can gather up these items, clean up the ones that need to be cleaned and set them out for sale in your front yard or garage. You may have to put up a sign to tell people that the proceeds of the sale are for charity so as to get more people interested.

  1. Organize Walkathons

A walkathon or walking marathon is a type of community fundraiser in which participants raise money by collecting donations or pledges for walking a predetermined distance or course. Funds are raised from walkathons through registration to participate in the event. Walkathons provide donors with a healthy option to support a cause.

Plus, they usually take place within a community, which means you can involve local businesses and supporters. One of the most important parts of a walkathon is deciding on the route. You can use a circuit route, straight routs or virtual routes where participants can join in from any part of the world. Donors usually download an app to track their route.

Walkathons raise money when walkers in the event recruit sponsors to pledge or donate money for each mile they walk. Logically the more walkers you have the more money you will likely raise. So it’s critical to recruit as many walkers as possible.

  1. Crowdfunding

One big mistake people make is to ignore the power of social media. You can create a portal where people can give toward a certain cause and promote it via twitter or Facebook for maximum impact. Donation-based crowdfunding is one of the most popular ways nonprofit organizations raise money.

This is because crowdfunding takes advantage of already established networks of family, friends, supporters, coworkers, and peers to bring in large donations. Crowdfunding platforms have the potential to reach a large audience, including those outside your established network.

You have the opportunity to engage with supporters on the platform itself, as well as interact with people who visit your website and social media accounts from your crowdfunding page, and your campaign is easy to market across many channels such as your website, in email campaigns, and even on social media.

  1. Utilize Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Websites

This method of online fundraising uses the support of people that donate on your behalf. For instance, you might run a campaign that lasts a fixed amount of time and has an overall fundraising goal. Each participant then sets their own mini goal and attempts to raise enough money to meet or surpass their goal.

Another type includes personal challenges, such as a ‘No Shave Month’, which involves people not shaving for a month to raise money for a research like maybe cancer.

There is also the activity-based peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that center around activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, or running. Activity-based peer-to-peer fundraising is highly popular, tends to have a lot of active participation, and brings in a lot of online donations.

  1. Send out Email blasts

One unique way to take advantage of your growing email list is to send out email campaigns asking for donations. If you want to take it even further and personalize your emails, you might even consider segmenting your mailing lists so that only subscribers that show an interest in your cause are targeted in your email marketing efforts.

If you don’t like the idea of sending out regular email campaigns asking for money, consider doing a one-day email blast.

Choose a day that holds some importance to your organization, and as a way to commemorate that day, send out an email asking subscribers for donations. Make sure to include a personal story, add some visual elements, and include a clear call to action that expresses urgency.

The reason email fundraising is so effective is twofold. First, you can reach a large number of people at one time, assuming you have a big email list. Second, it makes donating on behalf of your organization very simple for supporters.

  1. Hold a Used Book Sale

If you’re someone who loves reading, you likely have stacks of books and publications that you won’t read or have read too many times to count. If you need to raise money for a project or cause, you can try to sell some of your gently used books for some extra cash.

If you have used textbooks, you can sell them back to your college or university bookstore or to students who will need them for classes. You can pick a date and set up your book sale event. All you need is a table located in a high trafficked area and price tags on the books, and you are set.

  1. Balloon or Lantern Release

Balloon or lantern releases can be a way to raise money for your cause (or a memorial ceremony that you can host to remember your loved one). Invite friends and family and let them know why you’re raising money. You don’t necessarily have to charge per balloon or lantern.

However, you can have a general donation fund that people can make contributions to during the ceremony. A lantern or balloon release can also be held in conjunction with another fundraising event, like a dinner or a walkathon.

  1. Host a Memorial Dinner

An easy way to raise money and bring friends and family together after the passing of a loved one is to host a memorial dinner. You can ask people to donate the food and drinks and have a general donation jar for individuals to contribute to throughout the evening.

As people eat and mingle, they can reminisce about the life of their loved one. A memorial dinner is a great way to help cover the cost of a funeral or memorial service while remembering the life of the person you care about.

  1. Organize Text-to-Give Campaign

Text-to-give is a fundraising technique that allows donors to give to nonprofits with their cell phones. Supporters can text a keyword and donation amount to a nonprofit’s predetermined number to give to a specific campaign. Text-to-give is quickly becoming a popular fundraising option for religious organizations and other nonprofits.

This method is still being used because it works. Invest in text-to-give software and explain to your donors how to give using mobile phones. You can even use videos and images to show supporters how it works.

Not only is text-to-give incredibly easy for you to implement, but it also makes sense in our digital age. Many people forget to carry cash, but everyone has their phone on them. Let your supporters know about your campaign by sharing a link on your social media and in emails.

  1. Host a Skills Clinic

A skills clinic is a great way to raise money while educating other children or even adults about a particular hobby or skill that you or your kids have. All you’ll need to do is get the word out about your skills clinic on social media and via email and have a registration process.

You can charge a certain amount for kids and a slightly higher fee for adults. You can also set up a general donation table or booth at the clinic and explain what you are raising money for.

  1. Hold a Balloon Raffle

Balloon raffles aren’t usually a stand-alone event; they are often paired with other fundraisers like carnivals, field days, and family fun days. But they’re so easy that you’ll be able to raise money in no time. The only cost to you is a bag of balloons and some raffle tickets.

Place the tickets inside the balloons and sell them to children and adults for a dollar each. Whoever has the winning ticket gets a small prize at the end of the raffle. Depending on how many people come to your event, you could make quite a bit of money.

  1. Cultural Cuisine Night

A cultural cuisine night is perfect for the adventurous and food-loving traveler looking to raise money for a trip, an organization looking to educate supporters on diversity, and so many other causes.

All you will need are some supporters who like to cook and eat. Invite people to submit their unique and exotic dishes with a small donation attached. You can keep the meal specific to a country or region or just cook whatever you want. People can then vote on their favorite dishes with their dollars.

Whoever has the most “votes” at the end of the night can walk away with the pride of being the best exotic chef, while you walk away with cash to fund your cause.

  1. Host a Game Night

Another great idea is to host a game night where your friends, family, community members, and/or coworkers can enjoy a few board games. In fact, you can make it a regular weekly or monthly event and sell food and refreshments to raise even more funds.

Make sure that you have a variety of board games to host your fun night. You can play games like Monopoly, LIFE, chess, dominoes, and so much more. To make your game night a reality, you’ll need a space where you can host your event as well as volunteers to help set up and handle admissions.

  1. Host a House Party

You’ve probably hosted a few get-togethers for your friends and family members, or even a few events for your organization. You can use these opportunities to raise money for your cause. You don’t have to make the night all about raising money, but you can mention your crowdfunding campaign and encourage people to make donations.

For example, if you’re asking for supporters to share your crowdfunding campaign with their network of friends, use your house party or get-together to let your friends and family know about your fundraising goals.

  1. Barter and Trade Fair

Barter is a system of exchange where participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. A barter and trade fair is similar to a garage sale, but instead of purchasing items or services with money, people will trade items.

You can raise funds by charging each person an entry fee or a fee for every item/service attendees bring to barter. Plus, you can sell snacks and drinks to raise even more. Use your monthly newsletter (if you have one) or post flyers around the neighborhood to let your community know about the event.

  1. Host a Seasonal Fundraiser

Seasonal fundraisers can take many forms, but their unifying feature is that they are related to the current season or holiday. For instance, you can sell wrapping paper during Christmas, set up a pumpkin patch in October, or sell tulips around Mother’s day.

The options are endless. Seasonal fundraisers are great because you will always have a way to raise money, regardless of the temperature, time of year, or occasion. Additionally, you can make your seasonal fundraiser as involved or hands-off as you want. The fundraising decisions are up to you.

  1. Hold a Backyard Barbecue

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned barbecue. Whether you’re making ribs, chicken, or veggie burgers, a barbecue is a great way to bring your community together for a common cause. You can use your summer barbecue as a way to raise money for any organization, project, or cause.

All you have to do is advertise. You can either charge a fee for your barbecue or simply set up a donation table with a jar for change. Make sure you explain the cause you are raising money for so that people would be more willing to give.

  1. “Imprison” a celebrity

Doing something different, fun and unique has a way of bringing more people together. If you are looking for such unique ideas, you can decide to imprison a local celebrity like a radio DJ or school principal, in a public cage and tell the public to bail her/him out for a certain amount of money. This kind of event is funny (especially if a prison costume is involved) and can create a lot of social buzz in your community.

  1. Use special events

Get people to donate a certain amount of money on their special events. Target occasions such as birthdays and public holidays where it is easy to net many people simultaneously. Valentine and Christmas would be a great choice. For example, you could partner with a local winery for Valentine’s Day to have people purchase a certain type of premium wine where a percentage of the proceeds go to your charity.

  1. Gift wrapping service

Organize a group of volunteers to warp gifts for shoppers at a store for a small fee. The money is then donated to the charity. This is a life-saver during the holidays, and many shopping centers or malls will be happy for you to set up your event in their store, but you have to ensure that the stores you choose don’t already have a gift wrapping service.

  1. Eat for a good cause

This is one way to get people to eat for a good cause. You can organize with a restaurant to donate a fixed amount of money for every patron on a certain period.

Promote the restaurant wildly to create a buzz around the cause. Many local TV stations will even do a spot to promote it; all you have to do is ask. This method of fundraise not only favours your cause, but also favours the restaurant in question.

  1. Organize a cooking face off

Allow people to show off their skills by paying to participate in a cooking competition. You can have both amateur and professional categories, so everyone can compete. Allow the public to participate by paying a small fee for tasting and voting, or have them vote with cash, and the cook with the most money at the end wins. Of course all the money would have to be donated back to your cause.

  1. Hold a Bake Sale

A bake sale is a fundraising activity where baked goods such as doughnuts, cupcakes and cookies, sometimes along with ethnic foods, are sold. Bake sales are usually held by small, nonprofit organizations, such as clubs, school groups and charitable organizations

Bake sales are always profitable because everyone loves baked goods but not everyone has the time to bake. You can ask your friends to join you and host a bake sale. You can sell lemonade and coffee as accompaniment.

  1. Birthday Gift Pledge

This is a popular way of raising money for a particular cause. If you have a birthday or an anniversary coming up, you can ask your family and friends to donate to your cause instead of buying you a gift.

This is a very simple way to raise money and it will be a lot easier for your friends and family to write a check instead of spending hours trying to shop for you. You can post it on your social media handle to get more awareness for your project.

  1. Raffle Fundraiser

This is another classic fundraising event idea. The raffle requires you to collect prizes of interest and sell tickets. Decide how much you want to raise overall, estimate how many volunteers can help you to sell tickets, and then determine how many tickets each person should sell in order to hit your goal. Keep one or two larger-value prizes to drive up your totals.

  1. Ice Cream Social

This fundraising event idea is perfect for families and children. Ask your community and local businesses to donate supplies for ice cream, get the word out, and charge per scoop. Consider adding an ice cream eating contest into the mix. This type of event would be ideal on a weekend or in the summer, when families have more free time on their hands.

  1. Eating Contests

You can alternatively ditch the ice cream and open up your fundraiser to all types of eating contests. Whether you serve pies, doughnuts, or hot dogs, contestants can pay an entry fee to compete. You could also host a raffle on the side to engage other attendees. Solicit local shops or bakeries to donate the food that will be devoured at your fundraiser.

  1. Movie Night

Host a film screening or movie marathon at a local park or auditorium and sell tickets and snacks for suggested donations.

Another twist to this familiar fundraising event is to ask friends and family to each host their own mini-film screenings on behalf of your cause and invite their networks. They can then speak about your mission afterward and take note of those who want to learn more.

  1. Host a singles charity night

This event involves bringing dating hopefuls together and honour one of your favourite causes at the same time. You can even make it themed so the activity relates to the charity, for example making dog toys for a local animal shelter or cooking meals for the homeless.

  1. Organize a Charity match

Whether it’s a football match, a game of rugby, or any other group sport, why not organize a charity match to bring people together? You could even decide to organize a football match with local celebrities if you are able to get them together. This is a fabulous way to raise money and awareness for your cause.

  1. Organize a Fashion show

You actually don’t need haute couture and top models to pull off a fundraising fashion show. All you need is some space, some clothes and a small team willing to have a laugh. Use this to sell your charity’s t-shirts or to raise money by auctioning off donated clothes at the end of it.

To launch this fundraising event idea, partner with a local venue and sell event tickets. Ask participants to create their own sartorial masterpieces, or reach out to local clothing shops and boutiques for donated outfits. You can also ask makeup artists to donate their services and recruit community members to volunteer as models.

  1. Hold a Dog-and-Car Wash

This fundraiser is all about washing cars and dogs. Many people would be willing to pay to have their car and dog cleaned for a good cause. You’ll obviously want to plan for a warm and sunny day and advertise by hanging up flyers and posting on social media.

Then, set up two stations: one for cars and one for dogs. Have someone be in charge of explaining the prices for each wash and collecting the money from customers. Make sure that you explain where the funds are going during the car and dog wash to encourage more donations.

  1. Indoor Cycling

Popularly known as “Spinning,” this indoor activity asks riders to sweat for a cause. Partner with a local gym or Spin studio and ask your contacts to participate for a suggested donation. You could even ask a local instructor to donate their time and lead the class through a workout. To jazz up the event, throw in mood lighting playlist and some fun side attractions.

  1. Pub Crawl

This fundraising event has started catching on. A pub crawl can make a fun night-out equally as meaningful. Plan your route with local breweries, charge for entry, and invite registrants to secure donations for each stop they make. Put a fun twist on the event by adding a strict dress code. You can spice it up by calling for costumes.

  1. Casino Night

Bring Vegas to your hometown and host a casino night complete with games like roulette, blackjack, and poker. Invite guests to dress up and donate to participate. They can also donate certain amounts for specific numbers of casino chips, and the player with the most chips at the end of the night can receive a prize.

  1. Host an Art Show

Whether you’re a marvelous artist or have a passion for the arts, you can use your interests to raise money for your project or cause.

Search your community for talented artists or use your own works to host an event that puts local artists in the spotlight or displays your creativity. Find a venue that suits your exhibition, and you can look into using a local school’s gymnasium or auditorium to keep costs low.

On the day of the event, charge a few dollars for admission and set up a donation table or booth for general contributions. And don’t forget to price the artwork for sale.

  1. Hold a Pet Party

A pet party can be as elegant or laid-back as you want. It could be a fancy gala-type event where pets and humans alike get all dressed up, or it could be an informal gathering at a local park on a Saturday. Either way, you should set up a donation table so that pet owners can donate to your organization or cause.

Make sure that you have plenty of bowls of food and water set up for the dogs and other pets. You can even buy or make pet-themed snacks for the pet owners to munch on while their pets play.

  1. 5K Run or Bike Race

A 5K Run is a classic fundraising event idea. The 5K is a year-round favorite that can raise big bucks for your cause. Rather than rely solely on entry fees, implement peer-to-peer fundraising so participants can start raising money upon registration.

Throw out a suggested fundraising goal, prepare incentives, and send participants tips and tricks on how to reach out to their networks.

  1. Host a Patriotic Concert

Hosting a patriotic concert can be an excellent way to bring your community together to support an organization or cause. You can enlist the help of local artists and bands to determine the line-up. Alternatively, you could make your concert have more of a karaoke vibe.

Either way, your community is sure to have a fun and music filled evening. Set a date and time, and then sell tickets at the door and offer concessions for a small price. Don’t forget to set up a general donation table to accept other contributions throughout the night.

  1. Buy-a-Brick Fundraiser

A Buy-a-Brick fundraiser is perfect if your organization or cause is raising money to build or renovate a community building, sidewalk, or any other structure that has to be built. Before building commences, community members can buy a brick and have a message engraved on one side.

This strategy invites supporters to share in the excitement of the project. These types of fundraisers are perfect for commemorative walkways, staircases, and archways. They help pay for the structure while allowing people to leave their mark.

  1. Host a craft fair

A craft fair is an event where people can sell goods they have made. A craft fair offers an assortment of artisan-created items. To start, you need to get a couple of artisans on board and charge tickets for entry. This idea is perfect for the holidays, when people are keen to buy unique, original gifts for their loved ones.

  1. Fish Tank Fundraise

A fish tank fundraiser is such an easy and low-cost fundraiser you can use to fund any cause that involves the whole community. All you have to do is acquire a large fish tank. You don’t even have to buy one; try to get it donated if you can, then set it out in a prominent place in the community.

Ask local businesses if they would be willing to keep your fish tank in their restaurant or store. Supporters can then drop in their spare coins and bills to see how quickly they can fill the fish tank. This fundraiser can take place all year long as well, so you’ll be able to raise quite a bit of money.

  1. Scavenger hunt

Puzzle events like escape rooms and scavenger hunts are growing in popularity, so this is the perfect time to start your very own. Get inspired by other successful scavenger hunts and create your own treasure hunt around your town, and get people to pay a fee to register as groups. The team who gets to the final destination first wins.

  1. Plan a Marathon

Marathons are a tried and true fundraiser for nonprofits that seek to raise awareness and get their entire communities involved for a common cause. While they can take months to plan, marathons can be excellent opportunities to generate more revenue for your nonprofit or charity to continue advancing your mission.

Get the word out about your event early and make sure that participants are aware of the cause that they’re running for. You can set up an online registration portal so that supporters can pay their entrance fees, buy t-shirts or other merchandise, and share the event on social media.

  1. Christmas Decoration Service

This fundraising idea can go a couple of different ways. You can either charge a fee to put up Christmas decorations or to take them down after the holidays are over.

Either way, you will need to advertise your services to the community. You can hang up flyers, take out ads in the newspaper, and spread the word with social media and emails. You’ll be able to spread some holiday cheer and raise money all at the same time for the activity you have in mind.

  1. Meatless Monday dinner party

Giving up meat for just one day a week can have a huge positive impact on our environmental footprint. You can promote the idea of “meatless Wednesday” or any day for that matter, with a hosted dinner that guests can pay to attend.

  1. Hold a Field Day

Younger kids usually take part in a field day event in elementary school, but that event tends to get faded out as children move into middle and high school. Get your older kids involved in an active event by hosting a field day. You can plan for traditional games like tug o’ war, three-legged race, water balloon toss, and more.

But don’t hesitate to make up your own fun and unique field day games. Charge a small admission fee or charge per game at the event. You can even sell concessions and merchandise like water bottles, t-shirts, and caps.

  1. Workout class fundraiser

Find a local gym class or personal trainer and ask them if you can host a workout fundraiser. Charge an extra fee for entrance to this special one-time class with everyone’s favorite instructor. Or get permission from your local council to hold a donation-based class in the park.