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Fundraising Tips

6 summer FUNdraising ideas for nonprofits

May 19, 2023

Put the “fun” in FUNdraising with these twists on classic summer fundraising events.

For nonprofits, summer is synonymous with fundraising. Picnics, beach parties, BBQs, yard sales, camping, ice cream—sure, they’re all fun summer activities but, they’re also FUNdraising opportunities. (We know… It’s a bad pun. But it’s so good!)

Yes, Zeffy is here to help with our event registration software for nonprofits, but we’re also here to inspire with a few creative ideas to help turn your summer event into a successful fundraising event.

1. Why host a classic peer-to-peer 5K walk/run fundraising campaign when a duck race is just as fun!? (Yes, you read that right.)

You’ve probably hosted or participated in at least one 5K walk/run fundraising event—or volunteered in some way. Well, this year, instead of pounding the pavement, why not put some of your favourite bath time buddies to work for your cause?

With a duck race, you can encourage donors of all ages to purchase an adorable rubber racing duck for the cost of a donation.

How does it work? Participants mark their rubber race ducks with their name, release it at the starting line, and then cheer on their duck as it speeds towards the finish line! Winners can be rewarded with trophies, gift certificates, merch, bragging rights… Whatever!

Just be sure to choose a course in a local, public waterway (and ask for any permits you might need) where it will be easy to release the rubber race ducks at one end and capture all of them once they have crossed the finish line.

You can use Zeffy’s event registration software for nonprofits to organize your event and manage your event ticketing.

2. Double your fundraising potential with a picnic + an outdoor movie combo!

A picnic fundraiser is a pretty perfect summertime nonprofit organization event. It’s a great way to engage donors while chowing down on some delicious food. But, next time, why not combine your picnic with an outdoor movie screening.

Donors can purchase tickets for a seat at the screening and, you can even raise a few extra dollars by selling popcorn, drinks, and other movie-friendly treats. Zeffy’s Tap-to-Pay app can help you easily accept payments at your event and, we don’t mean to brag, but our event management software is one of the best online ticket sale platforms for nonprofits.

So, choose a movie—may we suggest one of these movies that are all about the nonprofit life—and get your picnic and a movie on!

3. We asked ChatGPT for a few unexpected summer fundraising ideas. It did not disappoint.

An ice cream social, an outdoor art exhibit, a bubble wrap popping competition… ChatGPT had a few wild ideas, but our favourite was a water balloon dodgeball tournament.

A wild and fun event for everyone, organizing a water balloon dodgeball tournament will definitely set your nonprofit apart and make it a summer fundraising event to remember.

Participants can purchase water balloons and compete for awards like: first place, wettest team, driest team, loudest team, etc. And, naturally, Zeffy’s event management software for nonprofits can help you organize it, sell online tickets, and keep donors up to date.

4. A charity golf tournament for everyone! AKA mini putt for charity.

Organizing a charity golf tournament is an excellent way to engage donors while fundraising for your nonprofit. But, have you ever thought of organizing a mini putt tournament? If you’ve got a mini putt course close by, we think it’s worth looking into. With a mini putt tournament, the whole family can join in and, if you time it right, you can even use the fundraising event to advertise and hype-up your more serious upcoming charity golf tournament. Who knows, you may even have some little pros who want to be part of your next charity golf tournament!

To encourage participants to sign up, make an afternoon of it. Live music, a food truck, golf lessons—anything to keep your donors engaged and up the fun level. If you’re looking for some help brainstorming, ChatGPT can help plan your next fundraising event.

5. A charity BBQ is fun. A grill master fundraising competition is even more fun.

Calling all grill masters! Instead of this summer’s traditional BBQ fundraiser, turn it into a friendly (but VERY serious) BBQ competition. Donors can sign up for your peer-to-peer campaign organized on Zeffy’s event management software for nonprofits and raise money to support your cause and their BBQing skills. Guests can buy tickets online or at the event and taste-test everyone’s signature dish. Once they’ve tried them all, everyone can vote for their favourite!

You can even create multiple grill master categories to give more competitors a chance to win.

The list is endless!

6. Charity car AND dog wash AND drive-thru.

Hosting a car wash to raise money for your cause is a classic summer fundraising event. No one will complain about donating a few dollars for a good cause and driving away with a sparkling clean car. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other money-making possibilities.

What about washing their dog while you wash their car? Offering a dog-washing photoshoot for a few extra dollars. Setting up a drive-thru with human and dog treats on order. (Zeffy’s Tap-to-Pay app lets you accept payments in person for free.)

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with the classic summer fundraising event line-up. But, when you align your fundraising ideas with your cause and keep things interesting and fun you can really up the chance your event will be a memorable one.

A few more fundraising event planning tools:

ChatGPT can help plan your next fundraising event.

How to organize a fundraising even for a nonprofit organization.

Top 3 no-cost ways to promote nonprofit fundraising events

8 Steps to Prepare for Any Charity Gala Event

Your Nonprofit Can Start Getting More Corporate Sponsors Now – Here’s How!