12 Unique Fundraising Ideas for Emergencies and Disasters

12 Unique Fundraising Ideas for Emergencies and Disasters
Raise money for fire damage costs.
Raise money for properties destroyed by tornadoes or hurricanes
Raise money for repairing earthquake damage.
Raise money for flood recovery.
Raise money or car accident expenses.

12 Unique Fundraising Ideas for Emergencies and Disasters

Matching Gifts

The Most Popular Fundraising Idea for Disasters and Emergencies

  • What Are Matching Gifts?

    Matching gifts are a corporate giving program in which businesses match the donations their employees make to eligible nonprofits. In most cases, companies will match donations at a dollar-for-dollar rate, effectively doubling the initial contribution. Companies that offer these programs typically implement rules, such as:

    • Eligibility requirements for employees
    • Minimum and maximum donation amounts
    • Eligibility requirements for benefitting organizations

    When individuals donate to a disaster relief fund or an emergency response campaign, their contribution may be matched by their employer if they meet the requirements. Overall, these programs offer a way to amplify the impact of donations made to relief efforts.

  • Why Are They Great?

    Matching gifts can serve as a valuable tool to quickly raise substantial funds during emergencies. These CSR initiatives leverage both individual contributions and corporate resources to provide much-needed aid to affected communities.

  • How can I begin?

    Spread awareness for matching gifts by embedding our employer search tool into your donation page. When donating, supporters can research their employers’ programs and determine their donation’s eligibility. You can even enable matching gift auto-submission to simplify the process. A donor will provide their corporate email address and check a box to opt into auto-submission when donating. If they’re eligible to use the feature, our tools will automatically submit their match request to their employer for them.

Elevate Your Disaster Relief Efforts. Unlock the Power of Matching Gifts.

The Best Product Fundraising Idea

T-Shirt Fundraising

The Best Product Fundraising Idea for Disasters and Emergencies

  • What is t-shirt fundraising?

    Custom t-shirts are a great way to secure funds quickly while simultaneously raising awareness for an emergency or natural disaster. Using a t-shirt fundraising platform, your team creates a design that captures your cause, promotes the opportunity, and sells the t-shirts to buyers who want to support your disaster relief efforts.

  • Why is it great?

    T-shirt fundraising is one of the most effective ways to raise money and awareness for your cause. When designed effectively, your t-shirts can signify the impact the disaster had on your community and offer a glimmer of hope amongst the damage.

  • How can I begin?

    Sites like Bonfire make it incredibly easy to combine your crowdfunding campaigns with a t-shirt element. The easy-to-use platform offers extremely flexible options to design t-shirts that encompass your cause, organize them in an online store, and ship them directly to buyers. Best of all, Bonfire doesn’t charge any upfront costs, allowing you to keep any funds you secure.

The Most Cost-Effective Fundraising Idea


The Most Cost-Effective Fundraising Idea for Disasters and Emergencies

  • What is crowdfunding?

    Crowdfunding is a fundraising method that helps individuals raise money for any cause through an online donation page.

  • Why is it great?

    Crowdfunding is a top fundraising option for covering the costs of disasters and emergencies because it takes no upfront money and campaigns can raise a lot of money quickly, which is necessary when unexpected tragedy strikes.

  • How can I begin?

    First, you’ll want to pick a crowdfunding platform. Then, to begin your campaign, you simply set a fundraising goal, create your crowdfunding page, and promote your campaign. See if news outlets covering the disaster will link to your campaign for additional coverage.

Other Great Fundraising Ideas

50/50 Raffle

If you’re hosting an event to fundraise after an emergency or natural disaster, consider a 50/50 raffle. 50/50 raffles are simple and extremely low cost. To prepare, all you’ll need to buy is a roll of raffle tickets.

To organize the raffle, ask event attendees to buy the tickets, and then after the drawing, the winner takes home half of the proceeds and the organizer (that’s you!) takes home the other half. 

As a giving incentive, make sure to display how much money is in the growing pot!

Trivia Night

Test your supporters’ wits with a trivia night. Partner with a local restaurant or bar that understands the impact the disaster you’re fundraising for has had on the community.

You can collect donations throughout the night, and the restaurant or bar might be willing to split the night’s proceeds with you.

Make sure your questions are catered to the expected skill level of your crowd (kids, young professionals, etc.), and pick a light and fun emcee.

Have a Bake Sale

Bake sales are a classic fundraiser for a reason. And the good news is that they’re popular with kids and parents alike. Plus, they are low-maintenance which makes them easy to run, even when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a disaster like a tornado or flood.

You can advertise your bake sale in advance once to get recruit bakers and later to promote the actual sale.

To fundraise, you have the option of charging for the treats or collecting donations or even both.

Car Wash

If you want a fundraiser that lets you raise money to cover the costs of fixing your home after a disaster all while helping other members of your community, consider a classic: a car wash.

As most people know, to host a car wash you’ll gather the supplies, set up shop in a high-traffic parking lot, and offer car washes to passersby.

To fundraise, you can either ask for donations for your handy-work or you can charge a small fee per wash. Either way, make sure you’re early to set up and put promotional flyers around the community.

Teachers in Jail

“Teachers in Jail” is a great fundraising idea for schools. So, if your school or a member of your school community has been impacted by a tornado or other disaster, you should host a teacher-in-jail fundraiser.

During the fundraiser, students in each class raise money. If the collective total of a class reaches a certain threshold, the teacher then gets put in “jail.”

“Jail” simply means students get a free period and a break from class. Prior to the fundraiser, be sure to recruit a team of teachers and students to work to throw each teacher in “jail.”

Shoe Drive Fundraiser

To hold a shoe drive, your organization can have your community donate their gently used (or even new) shoes to an organization like Funds2Orgs. Like with teachers-in-jail, this fundraiser is perfect for schools.

Funds2Orgs will actually come and pick up the shoes, weigh the shoes, and pay your organization based on a price per pound. 

Once Funds2Orgs has collected your shoes, they then sell the shoes to small business owners in countries such as Honduras and Togo with the goal of encouraging local economic growth. It’s win-win-win!

Engraved Bricks

Engraved bricks are the perfect choice for folks looking to fundraise to cover construction and building costs. They work well with disaster-related fundraisers where the money covers repairing damaged buildings and homes.

Sell engraved bricks to donors and either set up the bricks as an art installation or incorporate them into the actual structure you’re building.

Donors will love the permanence of your recognition and you can get creative with how you display them. There are even companies dedicated to providing this kind of fundraising brick.

Jelly Bean Count

Jelly bean count fundraisers are perfect family and school fundraisers. To get started, you’ll need jelly beans, a jar, and a central location to place your full jar.

Then, fill the jar with jelly beans, but make sure to note the exact number in the jar. Next, have participants try to guess the number, and ask them to donate in exchange for a guess. 

After a set amount of time, review the guesses and reveal the winner. You get to keep the donations and the winner gets to keep the jelly beans. If you have an older crowd, you can follow this structure with other countable items.

Grocery Store Fundraisers

With grocery store fundraisers, you have a few options for how to raise money. You can see if the store has a corporate giving program or would be willing to do a checkout charity arrangement.

Additionally, you can set up a grocery delivery program within your community. Have volunteers deliver groceries to members of the community in exchange for donations.

Disasters and emergencies tend to impact whole communities, so it is likely that your local grocery store will be happy to work with you to help the neighborhood heal from the tragedy.

Want to learn more about corporate giving programs?

Marketing A Fundraiser for Emergencies and Disasters

  • Google Ads

    Google Ads can get your campaign page in front of prospects who are searching for causes like yours online. Best of all, eligible organizations can receive access to the platform for free.

    When approved for Google Ad Grants, your organization can receive $10,000 each month to spend on promoting your web content for relevant search terms on Google.

    Know that it can take some time to get up and running, so apply ahead of your campaign! Know that not everyone is eligible. For instance, individuals can’t apply for the program. We recommend working with a Google Ad Grants manager to confirm your eligibility and create compelling ads for your fundraiser.

  • Print Publications and Media Outlets

    Contact nearby news stations and radio stations for some free promotional assistance. To make this happen, look for contact details on their websites.

    Reaching nearby communities is a great way to connect with empathetic supporters who want to help their neighbors.

  • Social Media

    Social media is known for its widespread shareability. Share posts with your followers to generate excitement for your campaign.

    You can share firsthand stories from beneficiaries, letting people know exactly who their donations will go to support. Combine these stories with striking images that catch users’ eyes and drive your point home.

    Then, point them to the donation page for your emergency or disaster fundraiser.

You can market fundraisers for emergencies and disasters using Google Ads.

Do you want to promote your fundraiser on Google?

Top Resources to Help You Fundraise

117+ Fundraising Ideas for all Causes

This comprehensive resource contains over 200 fundraising ideas.

Still looking for more fundraising ideas and inspiration? Good thing we’ve compiled a diverse list of over 100 fundraising ideas to help you! You’ll select a fundraiser in no time!

Crowdfunding: The Beginner’s Guide

This crowdfunding guide will help you plan your campaign if you choose crowdfunding as your fundraising idea.

Crowdfunding is one of our top fundraising ideas. If you’re interested in pursuing it but not sure where to start, this guide will give you all the necessary background.

Donation Requests: 45+ Companies That Donate

Check out what companies will fulfill your donation requests.

Have you requested donations from companies? There are many businesses in your community that might be open to donating. This guide shows you where to look!

Double Down on Disaster Relief. Leverage Matching Gifts To Boost Donors’ Impact.