The 40+ Best Event Fundraising Ideas for your Nonprofit

If your organization needs to raise money but also wants to plan exciting events for your supporters, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve complied a quick list of fundraising events that you can host either inside or outside, for groups of all ages, and during any time of year. Now you can host fundraisers whenever you want!

Fundraising doesn’t have to be a boring endeavor. With these popular and effective fundraisers, you can raise money for a worthy cause and help the members of your community have a fun time playing games, bidding in auctions, and competing in contests.

Check out the best event fundraising software.

Elementary School Fundraisers

It might seem tricky to corral a bunch of elementary school children to effectively pull of a fundraiser. However, their energy and enthusiasm for anything can be a blessing in disguise when it comes to raising some extra money for your school.

The following event fundraising ideas for children in elementary schools can work during any time of the school year and can be implemented with kindergarteners all the way up to fifth graders!

elementary school art auction

Art Auction

If there is one thing that unites kids, it’s their propensity to inspire their parents with their artistic talents. Whether it’s a finger painting, a crayon masterpiece, or a small clay bowl, the artistic endeavors of children are always appreciated by parents and other family members.

Why not take your students’ talents and the admiration of their parents to raise some extra money for your school?

An art auction will take some planning and effort on everyone’s part, but they can be a successful way to raise money and get your students’ parents involved in your school.

Here are some tips for planning an elementary school art auction:

  • A few weeks or months prior to the auction, have your students each create at least one piece of art. Try not to put too many limitations on them since the more diversity there is in the auction, the better.
  • Send out invitations in students’ backpacks or planners to parents. You can also send out direct mail invitations and promote the auction online as well.
  • Hold the auction in the gym or auditorium to allow enough seating.
  • Have a teacher or the principal act as the auctioneer (don’t forget the gavel!).
  • Sell off each piece to the highest bidder!

Keep in mind that not many parents are going to want to bid on another child’s masterpiece. Therefore, you should encourage parents to bring along other family members to bid on the artwork.

Your school will bring parents and students together and raise money at the same time when you host an elementary school art auction.

make a snake

Make A Snake

Wouldn’t it be great if you could incorporate your school’s curriculum into your fundraising efforts?

With a Make A Snake fundraiser, you can!

The premise behind this fundraising event is basic, but the variations are endless. Plus, it requires very little planning!

First, you’ll need to advertise well in advance to let students know that they need to bring in their spare change for a certain amount of time. Depending on how much you need to raise, this could range anywhere from a week to a few months.

Next, have students bring in spare change from home and start constructing a “snake” on a table either in their classroom or outside in the hallway depending on how much room your school has.

After the week or months are over, tally up all of the change from each classroom. Whoever brought in the most money wins a prize like extra recess or a pizza party.

The great thing about this fundraiser is that you can make it as flexible as you want. You can also incorporate lessons into the fundraiser. If your third graders are learning about snakes and other reptiles, use the fundraiser as a teaching opportunity.

When you Make A Snake, your students learn and help you raise money for your school.

Penny Wars

If you want to encourage some friendly competition between the different grades in your elementary school, try starting a Penny War!

The premise behind a Penny War is simple, and you can even host this fundraiser all year long, revealing the big winner at the very end of the year.

All you’ll need to do is place large jars or containers in the front entrance of the school or near any other highly traffic area. Label all of the jars according to grade so that students know which container to drop their pennies in.

Of course, you don’t just have to limit the contributions to pennies. Let students know that they can bring in whatever spare change they want! At the end of the month, semester, or school year, announce the victor of the Penny War and set up a prize like an extra hour of recess or an ice cream party.

Students can always find spare change lying around their house, and you can help turn that spare change into much needed funds for your school.

spelling succes fundraiser

Spelling Success

If you want your students to improve their spelling skills while you raise money for your elementary school, try hosting a Spelling Success fundraising event!

This is an easy fundraiser to incorporate into your yearly spelling bee. All you have to do have the parents of your students sponsor their kids to participate in the spelling bee.

Parents would put up a certain amount of money for every word that their child spells correctly, and the money would be collected after the event is over.

Make sure that you have someone keeping track of which students spell words correctly so that the tabulations don’t get mixed up.

If you want to raise even more money, turn the spelling bee into a real event. Invite parents and other relatives to attend the spelling bee to root for their kids and sell concessions during the event.

When you host a Spelling Success event, your school will come to fundraising success while your students participate in an educational event.

Note

Don’t forget to grab our Free Guide to the Top Fundraising Ideas.

Middle School Fundraisers

If you can motivate your middle school students, you can raise a lot of money for your school.

The key with middle school fundraisers is that they have to be student-centered. Creating fundraisers that don’t appeal to them is going to result in an unenthusiastic fundraising base and not a whole lot of funds for your school.

But, with the right strategy and planning, you can pull off a fundraiser that is fun and enjoyable for your middle school students and is effective at raising more money for your school!

kiss a pig

Kiss a Pig

What middle school student wouldn’t want to see one of their teachers kiss a pig?

Although you’ll have to get permission from faculty and staff to have their names put in the drawing, this fundraiser can be a great way to bring students together to raise money for a great cause.

All you’d have to do is set up different stations to collect money for individual teachers or other staff members. Then, for a few weeks, have students bring in their donations for who they’d want to see Kiss a Pig. Encourage teachers to get in on the fundraiser and save themselves from having to kiss the pig by putting money in the other teachers’ jars.

When the day arrives, bring in a pig for the lucky winning teacher or staff member to kiss!

Your students will love seeing a teacher do something embarrassing, and you’ll be able to raise a lot of money.

lip sync

Lip Sync

Do you need a fundraising event that will showcase some of your middle schoolers’ talent and raise some extra money for anything from a field trip to a new building?

Try hosting a Lip Sync!

Your students would have a great time lip syncing to their favorite songs while raising some money for their school. Follow these general guidelines for a successful lip sync:

  • Advertise well in advance and make sure that students know about any rules that you might implement.
  • Have a sign up sheet in each classroom or in the front office for individuals and groups to sign up.
  • Once sign ups have finished, hold rehearsals so that students know when they’ll be performing
  • At the last half of a school day, have all of the students congregate in the gym or auditorium.
  • Let the lip sync begin!

To raise money, have students pay a small fee to enter themselves or a group in the lip sync. Audience members can also vote on their favorite acts with their money. Additionally, consider selling concessions so that students have something to snack on while they watch their friends lip sync to their favorite songs.

Hosting a lip sync can be a great way for students to get out of the classroom, have a little fun, and raise some money for the school.

locker decorating fundraiser

Locker Decorating Contest

Anyone who has visited a middle school knows that the lockers can look a bit bland. Oftentimes, they’re brown or grey with little extra to them.

If you want to spruce up your middle school’s hallways and raise some money at the same time, try holding a locker decorating contest!

Give students a week to decorate the inside and outside of their lockers. Make sure you provide them with a few rules so that the decorations aren’t offensive to anyone.

Next, host a locker tour for the parents and family members in the community. Encourage parents to vote for their favorite locker by contributing a small amount. Students should also vote for who they think has the best decorated locker by donating spare change.

You can award prizes for each grade level and give out small trophies or other prizes.

A locker decorating contest will help students express their creativity and personalities, make their lockers look beautiful, and raise money for your school!

read-a-thon fundraiser

Read-a-thon

It can be difficult to get middle schoolers to do their assigned reading. Any middle school teacher will tell you that they’ve tried everything to get their students to read more, from offering candy and prizes to using reading logs.

But, you can use a Read-a-thon fundraiser to help encourage your students to read more while they raise money for your school!

A Read-a-thon uses the same principles that drive walk-a-thons or marathons:

  • Your students obtain pledges from their parents, family members, or neighbors for a certain amount of pages read.
  • During a two week span, students read as much as they can.
  • Teachers can set aside an hour during class to allow all students to get in a baseline number of pages read.
  • Students log the number of pages that they read in a booklet.
  • After the two weeks are up, students tally up the number of pages that they read and collect their donations from their sponsors.

It’s that easy! You can also reward the students or the grade levels who read the most pages or collect the most donations.

Hosting a Read-a-thon is a great way to inspire your students to read more while you raise money for your middle schools!

High School Fundraisers

High school students are the perfect age for effective fundraising. They are easily motivated by a cause and love getting together to accomplish goals.

You can plan a great fundraising event for your high schoolers for any number of reasons:

Field trips

Extra equipment for sports teams, bands, or classrooms

Senior trips

Prom or other dances

We’ve got a few great event fundraising ideas for your high school, but if you need more, head over to our School Fundraising Ideas page!

butler auction

Butler Auction

Think about the incoming freshmen at your high school. They’re probably nervous and a little scared of going into a new school environment, having to adjust to a new schedule, and figuring out who they’re going to sit next to at lunch.

With a Butler Auction, you can help calm their fears and raise some money in the process.

This fundraising event works like any other auction:

  • Freshmen (or any other students) get to bid on a “butler.” The butlers are actually Senior students who are more familiar with the school and class schedules who can share their expertise with less experienced students.
  • Students who win the bidding war get to have their own personal butler for a day to help them navigate the new hallways of their high school.

This fundraiser works best at the beginning of the school year when students are not as knowledgable about the school as they will be in a couple of months time.

Not only will you help students make new friends and ease the nervousness that so many freshmen feel, you’ll be able to raise some easy money at the very beginning of the school year. 

carnival fundraising event

Carnival

Have you seen the movie Grease? After all of the drama, the car chases, and the milkshake throwing, the main characters all come together for one last song at the end-of-year carnival.

As cheesy as it sounds, a carnival can be a great way for your students to get together to celebrate the end of the school year while you raise some extra money.

While you don’t have to go to the lengths that Rydell High School went to in Grease (they had a ferris wheel, hall of mirrors, and a catchy musical number at the end), you can incorporate some carnival favorites:

  • Egg toss
  • Balloon toss
  • Ring toss
  • Relay races
  • Tug o’ war
  • Dunk tank
  • And many more!

You can raise money a few different ways at a school carnival:

  1. Sell concessions.
  2. Charge a fee per activity. 
  3. Charge a set amount for tickets that students use to participate in activities.
  4. Sell raffle tickets for a prize.

Whatever types of activities you choose to have at your school carnival, you’ll be sure to have fundraising success!

laugh at the leader

Laugh at the Leader

If there’s anything that unites high schoolers, it’s their aversion to authority figures. This often includes their parents, teachers, and principal.

Tap into this rebellious spirit and host a Laugh the Leader fundraising event!

This type of fundraiser requires the permission of the principal, staff members, and teachers before it even gets off the ground. Once that happens, poll students to see what hilarious or embarrassing thing they would want to see their teachers and administrators do. It could be:

  • Hair dyeing
  • Being duct-taped to a wall
  • Kissing a pig or other animal
  • Getting pied in the face
  • Anything else that would make students laugh!

Students then contribute money to whichever embarrassment they would most like to see. The best way to encourage students and teachers alike to donate is to turn it into a competition.

Instead of setting up one embarrassing task for a single individual, have several options for students to pick from. Not only will students have a wide variety of options, but the administrators will also contribute to the other tasks to prevent themselves from “winning.”

At the end of a few weeks, take the end of a school day to Laugh at the Leader. Students will enjoy coming together for a cause, and your high school will raise some extra money!

teachers in jail fundraising ideas

Teachers in Jail

Hosting a Teachers in Jail is one of the best ways to raise a lot of money for your school in a short amount of time. It’s also a perfect opportunity for teachers and students alike to get a much-deserved break from the classroom for awhile.

Follow these guidelines for a successful Teachers in Jail fundraising event:

  • Pick a day that you know teachers and students will benefit from. The end of the year or semester is usually a good time.
  • Advertise with flyers and morning announcements that students will be able to throw their teachers in “jail” for a class period at a time.
  • When the day arrives, go around to each classroom and ask if the students want to throw their teacher in “jail.”
  • If they do, then collect the money. Depending on the size of your school, you can charge anywhere between $1 to $5 per student.
  • Students get that class period off! They can go to the gym or another designated common area.

Depending on how many students you have and how many class periods there are, your school can stand to raise thousands of dollars from a Teachers in Jail fundraiser.

College Fundraisers

College groups and clubs all need to raise money for one reason or another. Whether it’s a special trip, organization fees, or an event, college students need extra money for all sorts of things.

Luckily, we have a few great event fundraising ideas for college students and organizations. If you’re a fraternity or sorority, a multicultural club, or a sports team, these event fundraising ideas can help you raise more money for your cause.

best seat in the house raffle

Best Seat in the House Raffle

If your college is really into your sports teams, host a Best Seat in the House raffle to raise some extra money!

The Best Seat in the House is a couch or comfy chairs that offer the best view of a football, basketball, or soccer game. You’ll probably have to obtain permission from the coaches and other faculty before you place a couch in a gym or stadium. But once you have the go-ahead, start advertising for your fundraiser!

Allow people to purchase raffle tickets prior to the big game and randomly draw a winner before the game begins. The winners can also win personal attention and someone who will bring them concessions when they get hungry or thirsty.

Sell your raffle tickets for $5 each, and you’ll score a touchdown with this fundraising event!

engraved bricks

Engraved Bricks

Selling engraved bricks is a great way to raise money for your college or university and let alumni leave their mark on their alma mater.

You’ll have to hire a brick engraving company to etch the bricks that you sell, but if you sell a lot of bricks, it will more than cover the cost.

Let your alumni know that they can write any message that they want on a brick that will go either on a building or on a walkway. You can charge a flat rate for each brick, but it might be a good idea to charge per line or character.

Pretty soon, your campus will be covered in bricks with positive messages from your alumni, and you will have raised money for various campus projects.

Rent-a-Date

Do you have any particularly good match makers on your campus or in your fraternity or sorority? Put their skills to work with a Rent-a-Date fundraising event!

A Rent-a-Date fundraiser is essentially an auction for fun dates with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. You’ll need to put in some planning to pull off a Rent-a-Date night, but you can easily raise a lot of money and maybe even help some people find true love.

Follow these general guidelines for a successful Rent-a-Date night:

  • Advertise for eligible bachelors and bachelorettes who would be interested in being auctioned off.
  • Once you have a group of single people, give each of them a unique date experience that will be auctioned off with them. Be as ridiculous or as silly as you want!
  • Promote the event with flyers, and consider making a Facebook event to draw in more people.
  • Charge an entrance fee for the bidders (nothing too crazy! They have to save money to bid!).
  • Have an auctioneer start the bidding and manage the auction.
  • Watch your lucky couples hold hands as they walk into the sunset (this last step is optional).

A Rent-a-Date can be a great experience for your entire campus and can result in some great friendships and maybe even a few relationships. You’ll also raise a lot of money for your organization!

Themed Party

Everyone loves going to parties in college. What better way to get together with some of your best friends and raise some money for your sorority, fraternity, or other organization than by throwing a themed party?

You’ll need:

  • A good theme
  • Someone to stamp hands and collect money
  • A DJ with some good music
  • Decorations

It doesn’t really matter what theme you choose. People like to come out to parties regardless of whether it’s a toga party or a 70s disco dance.

One way to encourage people to show up is to charge a lower fee for a themed costume. For example, if you were hosting a Devils and Angels party, you could charge $3 for someone dressed up as a devil or an angel and $5 for someone not in costume. That way, people get more into the spirit of the dance.

Have fun dancing with your friends and raise some money for your organization by throwing a themed party!

Religious Fundraisers

Congregations of all shapes and sizes need to raise money outside of the standard offering that gets taken up on a weekly basis.

Churches and other religious organizations plan fundraising events to:

Fund mission trips

Build additional structures

Support other community work

Take care of members of the congregation

If you’re looking for event fundraising ideas for your church or religious group, you’ve come to the right place!

appreciation gram

Appreciation Grams

Voltaire once said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in other belong to us as well.”

One of the best ways to make people feel great and raise some money for your religious group is to sell and distribute Appreciation Grams.

The great thing about Appreciation Grams is that they can be sold at any time of the year! You don’t have to wait for a holiday or a season to roll around to let people know that you appreciate them.

This fundraiser requires little set up and can be done within the walls of your building. You simply:

  1. Create slips of paper with a “To” and “From” section as well as space for people to write a message.
  2. Set up a booth or table in a high traffic area.
  3. Have signs explaining what the fundraiser is all about and the cause or project that it’s supporting.
  4. Sell the slips of paper to people who want to show their gratitude to members of the congregation.
  5. Distribute the Appreciation Grams before, during, or after a service one morning.

Another option for this fundraiser is to include candy or some other treat along with your Appreciation Grams.

Everyone likes feeling appreciated. Raise money for your church or religious group and let members of your congregation know that you appreciate them!

Caroling

Help get your congregation and community in the Christmas spirit by trying out a Caroling fundraising event!

There are two ways for your church to raise money during the holiday season by caroling.

  1. Go door to door in your neighborhood and sing for home owners. This version of caroling works best in communities where the houses are close together.
  2. Stand outside in a high-traffic area and sing for passersby. You’ll be able to sing for all of the people completing their holiday shopping and raise some money for your church.

It’s important to remember that both of these methods rely on donations. You shouldn’t be charging people to hear your melodious voices. Individuals are usually more charitable during the holiday season, and they’ll be more likely to willingly give money to hear some classic Christmas songs and hymns.

hymnathon fundraiser

Hymnathon

If you want to showcase your choir’s singing abilities and raise some money for your congregation, host a Hymnathon fundraiser!

A Hymnathon can take place on any day of the week and generally relies on members of the community and congregation to pay money to hear their favorite songs.

Have a designated person collect the money and write down the requested songs and have another individual pass those suggestions along to the choir director or leader.

You can also treat a Hymnathon like a concert and charge an entrance fee for people.

Sell concessions like coffee and sweet treats while people enjoy the music and have a special table set up for general donations. This table should also include information about what the money is going toward and how much is needed.

Have fun singing songs and raising money for your next mission trip or building fund!

religious trivia

Religious Trivia

Nearly everyone loves a good trivia night. You get to hang out with friends and compete for awesome prizes and bragging rights.

If your church or religious group is looking to raise some extra money and bring your congregation together, try hosting a Religious Trivia night!

A trivia night can work a couple of ways:

  • Ask a local restaurant if you can host the event.
  • Host the trivia night in one of your buildings.

You can also split the congregation up into age categories or host a Guys vs. Gals round.

However you plan on hosting your Religious Trivia night, there are a few ways to raise money:

  • Charge an entrance fee per person. It doesn’t need to be a lot – just something for people to get in the door.
  • Charge other trivia teams every time a team wins a round. This will promote competition and raise a lot of money if you have a lot of rounds. Again, the “penalty” for losing a round doesn’t need to be a lot of money.
  • Sell concessions. Competitive people get hungry and thirsty! Have a few people running a concession stand to satisfy those cravings.
  • Have a table set up for donations. Make sure you’re letting people know what the money is going toward and how much you need to reach your goal.

The questions for your trivia night don’t necessarily have to be religious themed. Include whatever questions you think will appeal to the group of people that show up. Have fun getting your community and congregation together to raise money for your church or religious group!

Arts and Culture Fundraisers

Organizations that support and emphasize the arts and cultural endeavors need to raise money for a variety of projects. Museums, art galleries, broadcasting organizations, and nonprofit libraries all need donations to keep their doors open to the general public.

Fundraisers for arts and cultural organizations need to raise money for:

General operation costs.

New buildings.

Special exhibits.

Lectures and classes.

And more!

We’ve got a few event fundraising ideas that will help your museum, art gallery, or other cultural institution raise money for whatever project or exhibit you’re trying to fund.

film screening

Film Screening

Hosting a film screening fundraiser is a great option if your organization has a designated space set up for movies. But even if you don’t, you can still pull off a great film screening that brings in the bucks for your organization.

Depending on the type of film you’re showing, you’ll need to obtain the rights to show the film. However, if you know an up and coming artist who wants to get their work out there, offer to host their film at your screening.

In order to raise money at your nonprofit’s film screening, you can:

  • Charge admission at the door.
  • Sell concessions like popcorn and candy.
  • Offer to sell copies of the movie that you screen if it’s by a local artist.

Additionally, you can have people vote with their dollars prior to the screening to help determine which movie you will show. For instance, if there are three local artists who all want to be a part of your screening, members of the community can vote on which one they’d rather see by contributing a dollar to their favorite film.

Everyone will have fun getting together to eat popcorn and watch a movie, a local artist will get some exposure, and your organization raises more money. It’s a win-win-win!

holiday symphony gala

Holiday Symphony Gala

If your nonprofit is musically inclined and enjoys playing holiday tunes, then a holiday symphony gala might be the way to go!

While a gala will take lots of preparation and planning on your organization’s part, it can be a great way for your supporters and other members of the community to get together, listen to some cheery music, and raise money for your cause.

Some general steps for planning and hosting a holiday symphony gala include:

  1. Setting a date or dates. Depending on the number of people who you expect to attend, you might consider hosting a couple of concerts on different dates.
  2. Deciding whether or not you want food. Will the gala be more like a cocktail reception with the concert before or after? Will there be a sit down dinner?
  3. Planning the concert music. You’ll need a set list for your symphony or orchestra.
  4. Having a way for people to buy tickets in person and online.
  5. Encouraging people to donate throughout the night. Have a speaker talk about current and future projects that need funding and direct individuals to a table or booth where they can make donations.

Of course, you’ll need to start planning your holiday symphony gala well in advance and send out invitations a month or two before the actual date. But all that planning will pay off in donations and extra support for your organization!

museum dinner party

Museum Dinner Party

Museums are great venues to host dinner parties. The various pieces and exhibits are great conversation pieces, and supporters get to interact with one another and your organization in a classy and welcoming atmosphere.

Obviously, you’ll need to plan to feed more than just a handful of people, but you can cover the cost of food by selling tables at different levels.

For instance, you could:

  • Sell individual seats
  • Sell couples seats
  • Offer discounts for people who purchase a table or more

You’ll need to be aware of people’s dietary restrictions and allergies before serving them, but you can include this information on the invitation or the RSVP.

Additionally, you can host a silent auction during the dinner party so that attendees can bid on donated items or experiences like a free painting class or a weekend trip to the beach.

To make your dinner party even more fun, you can incorporate a theme depending on your organization’s mission. For instance, if your museum deals with local history, you could have attendees dress up as a local historical figure.

Sip and Paint

Many people enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. And many of those same people enjoy expressing their creativity.

Why not tap into those two passions and host a Sip and Paint?

A Sip and Paint fundraiser is ideal for an art gallery or other organization that is focused on the arts. You could even turn it into a monthly way for your supporters to get together and express themselves!

You’ll need to decide whether or not you’ll supply materials and wine or if participants will be responsible for bringing their own supplies and libations. Once you’ve determined that, start signing people up for the class.

After individuals have created their masterpieces and chatted over a glass of wine, you could even host an auction to let them sell off their creative works to the highest bidder, potentially helping your organization raise even more money.

Community Fundraisers

Communities have to work together all the time. Whether they’re supporting a neighbor who has fallen ill or building a new playground in the park, a community’s citizens can combine forces to produce positive change.

But communities also need money to help them with the projects and initiatives that they want to accomplish. These projects could include:

Supporting community members during a tough time.

Building a new park or playground.

Erecting a new building or community center.

Providing other spaces for children and families to interact with one another.

And more!

We’ve got some great event fundraising ideas that can help your community raise a little extra money for the various changes that you want to implement.

comedy night

Comedy Night

Pretty much everyone enjoys a good laugh. Whether it’s a great knock-knock joke or a particularly funny stand-up routine, comedy can be a unifying force for good in your community.

Hosting a comedy night can be fairly simple and can be a great opportunity for community members to get together, have a few laughs, and support one another.

To prepare, you’ll need to find local comic talent. You can host open auditions to find appropriate comedians who will make everyone smile. Once you have your lineup, start having auditions and begin promoting your comedy night.

Promotion can take the form of:

  • Radio and TV ads
  • Flyers
  • Word of mouth
  • Emails
  • Direct mail pamphlets
  • Social media posts

Make sure you have multiple ways of accepting payments for tickets at the door and behind the concession counter. If you have a free and accessible venue, you won’t even have to pay the cost of renting a space to host the comedy night.

Help your community get together and give them a reason to smile with a comedy night!

Dance Off

Do you have some community members who can really cut a rug? Do you need to raise more money for your community organization? Why not put the two together and host a dance off fundraiser?

Dance offs can be a great chance for people of all ages to have some fun and engage in a little friendly competition while your organization raises some money.

You can generate revenue by charging participants a few dollars to enter the competition. You can also sell concessions to the audience members who showed up to cheer on their friends and family members. Additionally, you can have people vote with their dollars for their favorite dancers.

To keep the competition fair, you can split the dancers up into different age categories with a champion emerging from each class.

As far as location goes, school gymnasiums or community centers with large banquet halls are great options. You can even invite a local DJ to donate his services for the night.

Family Festival

Family Festivals can be held indoors or outdoors and at any time of the year. They are great opportunities for busy parents to spend some time with each other and have fun. Plus your organization gets to raise a little extra money.

Depending on where you’re holding your Family Festivals and what age groups you’re targeting, you’ll need to plan accordingly.

Some general tips to keep in mind include:

  • Having snacks and other concessions available.
  • Making sure that the games and activities are age appropriate and safe for kids to play.
  • Having different ways to take payments to enter the festival.
  • Keeping it fun for everyone!

Family Festivals are a good way to get the families in your community to interact with each other and engage in activities that are fun for everyone. When you charge a small fee to enter the festival as well as charge for concessions and snacks, you can raise some money as well!

grocery delivery

Grocery Delivery

Many people don’t enjoy the hassle of going to the grocery store, pushing a cart around for an hour, and then loading and unloading the groceries in and out of their car.

Your organization can help alleviate this annoyance for the members of your community by implementing a grocery delivery service.

Partner with a local grocery store and start offering grocery delivery for a small fee. Not only will you be able to help members of your community save some time by delivering their groceries for them, but you’ll also be able to establish a great partnership with a local grocery store and raise money for your organization.

Healthcare Fundraisers

Nonprofits that focus on healthcare and human services have a great responsibility to take care of people of all ages. Whether your organization is a hospital or a research institution, fundraising is an integral part of keeping your doors open and helping people. 

Healthcare nonprofits might need to host a fundraiser to:

Further their research.

Help patients cover some of the cost of their care.

Build new facilities.

Pay for new equipment and procedures.

And much more.

Whatever the reason is, we have some great event fundraising ideas for all kinds of healthcare organizations. Take a look!

Chain of Hearts

Hosting a Chain of Hearts fundraiser is a great way to show patients and the community in general how many people support your hospital or organization.

For a certain amount of time, sell paper hearts (or any shape made out of paper, for that matter!) to members of the community. They can pay one dollar, three dollars, or however much they want! Then, have them write their name or draw a picture on the paper heart.

As the hearts are purchased, tape them on the walls of your hallways or on the doorways of your lobby. That way, patients can see how much their community supports and loves them.

When you create a Chain of Hearts, you demonstrate your commitment to helping people to the community and raise some extra money to cover your organization’s expenses.

coloring contest

Coloring Contest

If you are a healthcare organization that specializes in taking care of and treating children, you can help boost their morale and raise some money for your nonprofit by hosting a coloring contest.

Of course, you’ll want to encourage every child and level the playing field by saying that the contest ends in a tie, but the point of the fundraiser is to give the kids a creative outlet and raise money for your organization.

A week or two prior to the contest, have the children each color a page out of a coloring book or create their own masterpiece. Then, line up each piece of artwork down the hallway or in the lobby with a corresponding box under each one to collect donations.

Give every child a blue ribbon when the contest is over to encourage their creativity and give them a boost.

ugly pants

Ugly Pants

Every patient would love to see their doctor wearing silly or ugly pants for a day or a week. It would lift any patient’s spirit and give them something to smile or laugh about.

You can turn this into a fundraiser by creating a bit of competition amongst your hospital staff. Nurses, doctors, and other staff vote for each other to wear “ugly” pants for a day or week over a two week period. By the end of the two week period, whoever has the most donations in their designated bucket or box has to wear the ugly pants!

You can even turn this fundraiser into a recurring event. After a staff member has worn the ugly pants, he or she has immunity for two rounds. This way, you can ensure that it isn’t just one staff member always wearing the ugly pants.

You can also tweak this fundraiser to go with any article of clothing – hats, shirts, shoes, etc. Be as creative as you want, bring some smiles to your patients, and raise some money for your hospital with Ugly Pants!

walkathon fundraising ideas

Walk-a-thon

If your organization seeks to improve people’s general health and welfare, a great corresponding fundraiser to host is a walk-a-thon!

You can make money from a walk-a-thon in a few ways:

  1. Charge attendees a fee to participate.
  2. Have participants obtain pledges from their friends and family members for however many miles they walk.
  3. Sell concessions or promotional items to participants or bystanders.

Additionally, you should have a donation table (or tables) set up along the walking route and at the finish line for people to make their own contributions.

This list of “a-thons” is endless, though. Some suggestions include:

  • Marathon
  • Bowl-a-thon
  • Hula-hoop-a-thon
  • Jump-a-thon
  • And more!

As long as the “a-thon” allows people to be active and support your organization, you will be successful! Make sure that you pick a sunny day and a route with pretty scenery so that your participants will have a good time helping you raise money for your organization.

Note

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Animal Related Fundraisers

Nearly everyone enjoys playing with a puppy or a kitten. But even the not-so-cuddly creatures need some love! And the nonprofits and organizations that take care of and support these animals need money to help cover their expenses and provide the critters with proper care.

Nonprofits that take part in the support and protection of animals need to host fundraising events for any number of reasons. These reasons could include:

Building new facilities.

Providing food, vaccinations, and healthcare for animals.

Conducting research on endangered species.

Buying new equipment.

And more!

Luckily, we have a list of some animal-themed event fundraising ideas that are sure to be a hit in your community. Nearly everyone enjoys supporting animals of all shapes and sizes, and these event fundraisers will definitely draw a crowd!

Dog Walking

Dog walking is a fundraiser that can be used by nearly every type of organization, but the event itself tends to work best for nonprofits that have a focus on animals.

If you have a large population of dog owners in your local community, send out flyers and other advertisements letting people know that you’re offering a dog walking service. Many people are either too busy or are unable to walk their dogs and give them the exercise they need on a daily basis.

Your nonprofit can help them and raise some extra money!

You can charge per hour or day that you walk individuals’ dogs. Of course, the more dogs you walk, the more people you will need to help out. Recruit local volunteers to lend a hand.

You can also extend a dog-sitting service for owners who are out of town and have to leave Fido at home for more than a few hours.

Taking care of your community’s pooches is a great way to keep them active and healthy while your organization raises money at the same time.

fish tank fundraiser

Fish Tank Funds

Fish Tank fundraising is a great way to visually show just how much money your organization is capable of raising.

All you’ll need is a fish tank and some dry erase markers!

Decide what size fish tank you want (this will depend on how much money you want to raise!), and set the tank in a visible area in the lobby or hallway of your organization’s office.

Use the dry erase markers to draw lines on the fish tank demonstrating your goals. Maybe you want to fill the tank halfway in six months or get it completely full in a year.

Make sure that people know exactly what the fundraiser is and that they aren’t confusing your Fish Tank fundraiser with an empty home for your aquatic friends.

You can also use your Fish Tank fundraiser as a catch-all for all of your other event fundraisers. Hosting a walk-a-thon or gala? Set the Fish Tank up at a designated donation booth for attendees and participants to drop their bills and change into.

Additionally, you can use the dry erase markers as a way for donors to write special messages and doodles all over the fish tank.

Using a Fish Tank fundraiser is a great way to show your nonprofit’s staff as well as other community members just how much money you’ve raised during a certain time period!

Flamingo Art

Whether you hate them or love them, pink yard flamingos are a part of front yard culture. Call them tacky or stylish, but they aren’t going anywhere.

Your nonprofit can use these pink plastic yard birds to raise money for your next project or new building!

First, you’ll need to decide who your “targets” are. Then, send out flyers to those individuals letting them know that you’re trying to raise money using a Flamingo Art fundraiser.

Individuals who don’t want their yard littered with pink flamingos must donate a certain amount of money. Additionally, people can nominate neighbors or other community members to have their yards “decorated.”

Include a self-addressed envelope along with your flyers so that people can send in their donations to keep their yards safe.

When the big day arrives, have members of your staff place donated or rented flamingos in the victims’ yards. If you can’t find actual pink flamingos for a reasonable price, create small ones out of pink paper or cardboard and attach them to popsicle sticks.

The fear of flamingos and the desire to cover someone else’s yard with bright pink birds will spur your community members to donate to your nonprofit.

Rent-a-Pup

People love puppies. Whether it’s their cute little paws, their inherent clumsiness, or the fact that they never seem to run out of energy, puppies are adored by nearly everyone.

And while many people would love to own a puppy, they often can’t due to financial restrictions or space limitations (it’s hard to raise a dog in a studio apartment).

You can give people the joy of raising a puppy for a day and raise some money for your organization at the same time!

If your organization is an animal shelter or any other nonprofit that has easy access to a multitude of animals, this fundraiser will be a bit easier. Simply put the word out about the various dogs that you have up for adoption or who are staying in your shelter. Let people know that they can “rent” a puppy or dog by the hour for a certain amount or for a whole day.

If you aren’t a shelter or have easy access to puppies, you can still host a rent-a-pup fundraiser. You’ll just need the help of some dog owners in your area who are willing to let their precious pups out of their sights for a couple hours.

Whichever route you take, make sure that your organization keeps track of everyone’s names and contact information in case of emergencies.

You can also use this fundraiser as an opportunity to let people know about your organization and the work that you do. You might even gain some new volunteers or help a family adopt a new puppy.

Environmental Fundraisers

We’ve all heard the phrase “Save the Whales!” It’s been plastered across bumper stickers, banners, and billboards since the 1960s. Environmental nonprofit organizations are the ones who are helping save those whales and champion a multitude of other causes.

Environmental organizations can conduct research about the earth and the ecosystems we all live in. They also seek to preserve our fragile and ever-changing environment.

But these organizations cannot complete their missions and projects without generous donations from individuals. Fundraising events are a great way for environmental organizations to get the word out about their cause and raise money to help them keep their engines running.

Some of the reasons that an environmental organization would need to raise money include:

Continue conducting research on a particular topic.

Completing new projects that protect the environment.

Erect new buildings.

And more!

We’ve got some great event fundraising ideas that your environmental organization can use to raise money for whatever project or initiative you champion.

cleanup fundraising ideas

Community Clean Up

Hosting a community clean up is an effective and efficient way to bring people together, raise money for your organization, and, you guessed it, clean up your environment.

The principle behind a community clean up fundraiser is the same one that drives sponsor-based fundraising events like walk-a-thons. Prior to the clean up day, have your volunteers and team members go around to members of the community asking for donations per item of trash they collect.

For instance:

  • Individuals could donate a quarter for every plastic bottle collected, a dollar for every glass bottle collected, and so one.
  • People could donate a certain amount per pound or bag of trash collected.

However people decide to donate to your organization via your community clean up, make sure that you have an efficient way of tallying the trash collected.

Your community will thank you for sprucing up their yards and public areas, and your organization receives some extra money doing what you love!

doggie bag

Doggie Bags

This fundraiser puts a new twist on an old favorite. If your organization wants to host a yard sale but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of pricing every single knick knack that members of the community want to sell, try hosting a doggie bag fundraiser!

All you’ll need for a doggie bag fundraiser, besides an assortment of items to sell to community members, are plastic bags. When people walk into the yard sale, hand them a doggie bag and tell them that they can fill the bag with whatever they want. As long as it fits in the bag, they only pay a certain amount of money.

You can offer different bags for different prices as well. Your organization should also set up a table for people to make general donations.

Not only will your community be engaging in some reusing and recycling, but you’ll be able to make some extra money for your organization, with the only cost being plastic bags. Those bags can even be donated by a local grocery store, resulting in zero monetary cost for your organization!

pennies from heaven

Pennies from Heaven

Nearly everyone has heard the song “Pennies From Heaven” that was popularized by crooners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby. If you listen to the opening lyrics, you’ll hear, “Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven. Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven. You’ll find your fortune fallin’ all over town. Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.”

While it would be nice if money actually did fall from the sky, your nonprofit can still recreate the scenario described in the song with a Pennies from Heaven fundraiser.

All you’ll need is a strong ceiling and a few umbrellas.

Hang the umbrellas upside down from the ceiling in a highly trafficked area of your office or other public building. Put up signs explaining why you’re raising money and how the fundraiser works.

These signs should include:

  • Instructions. Passersby should toss their spare change up into the umbrella. Depending on how high your ceilings are, this will either be fairly simple or rather difficult.
  • Information about your goal. Let people know how much money you’re trying to raise.
  • Dates of the fundraiser. Give people an idea of how long they have to rain their pennies down upon your office.

While this type of fundraiser admittedly won’t raise a lot of money, it can be implemented over a long period of time to result in more donations in the future. You could even have a designated week each month where the pennies rain down from heaven!

polar plunge

Polar Plunge

The Polar Plunge is a fundraiser that has taken the country, and social media, by storm in recent years. It’s hilarious to watch videos of people jump into freezing bodies of water in the middle of winter.

Despite the comic aspect that naturally comes along with watching people shiver and shake from the cold water, a Polar Plunge (or some kind of equivalent) is a great way to raise money for a environmental cause.

Hosting a Polar Plunge event can generate revenue in a couple of ways:

  1. Individuals can pay a certain amount to participate. Depending on how much money you need to raise and how many people you anticipate wanting to jump in the water, you can adjust the price accordingly.
  2. Individuals can nominate each other and vote with their dollars. This method makes the Polar Plunge a bit more competitive. People can vote for their friends and family to jump in the water. In order to avoid the frigid, icy water, participants must out-bid the donations that their friends and family members have put toward their Polar Plunge.

Hosting a Polar Plunge is a relatively inexpensive undertaking. The only cost that you would incur is the cost of advertising for the event.

If you want to raise even more money, sell concessions like coffee and hot cocoa to the observers. Make sure you have safety precautions set up for the people jumping into the freezing water.

Your community will have a great time during a Polar Plunge, and your organization will raise some money to support your cause!

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