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Fundraising ideas

Top 50+ Fundraising Event Ideas to Boost Donations in 2024

May 27, 2024

Hosting successful fundraising events is crucial for nonprofits to engage supporters and generate vital funds for their cause.

To help you plan your next fundraiser, we've curated a comprehensive list featuring 50 proven event ideas that cater to organizations of all sizes and missions. From classic favorites like charity auctions and walkathons to innovative virtual events and holiday-themed initiatives, you'll discover a wide range of concepts to inspire your fundraising efforts. 

We've also included practical tips, real-life examples, and expert insights to guide you through the planning process and ensure your event is a resounding success. Let's explore these ideas so that you can host successful fundraising events!

52 Top Picks for Effective Fundraising 

1. Silent Auction 

2. Charity Golf Tournament 

3. Charity Gala 

4. Walk-a-Thon

5. Shoe Drive 

6. A Murder Mystery Masquerade Ball 

7. All-Night Dance-a-Thon Event 

8. Fashion Shows 

9. Obstacle Courses 

10. Battle of Bands 

11. Karaoke Night 

12. Community Potluck 

13. Photo Contest 

14. 50/50 Raffle 

15. A Cold Plunge Dip 

16. Online Workshops 

17. Social Media Challenges 

18. eCard Campaign

19. Virtual Book Clubs 

20. Virtual Lip Sync Battle 

21. Advent Calendar Countdown

22. Gift Wrapping Service 

23. Christmas Decoration Stalls 

24. Santa’s Village 

25. Haunted House Tours 

26. Costume Competition 

27. Pumpkin Carving 

28. Trick or Donate 

29. All-You-Can-Cook Potato Competition 

30. Turkey Trot 

31. Pie Eating Contest 

32. Corn Maze 

33. Stuff For Bucks 

34. Charity Dinner or Luncheon

35. Church Calendar Sale

36. Church Trivia Night 

37. Healing and Wellness Fair 

38. Read-A-Thon 

39. Talent Show 

40. Carnival 

41. Scavenger Hunt 

42. Teachers in Jail 

43. Pet Fair

44. Wildlife Discovery Day 

45. Yoga With Pets 

46. Care Classes 

47. Sitting Services 

48. Serve-a-Thon 

49. Farm-to-Table Fundraiser Dinner 

50. Garden Tea Party 

51. Zero Waste Festival 

52. Wildlife Photography Safari 

What Are Fundraising Events? Why Are They Important for Your Nonprofit?

Fundraising events

A fundraising event is hosted to generate awareness and raise funds for a nonprofit organization’s (NPO) mission. 

Nonprofits want community members and donors to engage with the organization rather than just donate as it offers a space to build long-lasting relationships and secure continued support.  

Hosting a promoted fundraising event can draw media and public attention. This exposure will offer enhanced awareness and generate more funds for your organization.  

Fundraising Event Ideas to Encourage Participation

Discover proven fundraising ideas broken down into categories to promote your cause, engage supporters, and craft memorable experiences while raising funds. 

  • Most Popular and Effective Fundraising Event Ideas 
  • Unique and Creative Fundraising Event Ideas 
  • Quick and Cheap Fundraising Event Ideas
  • Virtual Ideas to Plan Your Online Fundraising Event
  • Holiday Fundraising Event Ideas 
  • Fundraising Event Ideas Specific to Nonprofits some text
    - Faith-Based 
    - Educational - Schools and Colleges 
    - Animal Charities 
    - Environmental Nonprofits  

5 Most Popular and Effective Fundraising Event Ideas to Raise Money

1. Silent Auction

Tap into your donors' competitive spirit by hosting silent auctions and give your supporters a chance to engage in friendly competition, take home something valuable, and raise money for your nonprofits.

Silent auctions are a popular event idea and works because they are:

  • Versatile:
    Adapt your auction to fit any audience or cause—from a sports-themed silent auction featuring memorabilia, game tickets, or an animal shelter charity auction.
  • Flexibility:
    You can make your auction the star of the show or combine it with other events, such as charity gala or golf tournaments.
  • Engagement:
    Gives you plenty of chances to engage with donors. As they browse your items, you can mingle with your guests and get to know them better. 
  • Convenience:
    You can organize an online auction, allowing your donors to bid from the comfort of their homes. 
  • Lower Cost:
    Offers lower overhead costs by working with corporate sponsors or donors to secure in-kind donations. 

Provide a perfect blend of experiences like vacation packages and valuable items like gift baskets to donors as auction items. 

→ Explore Zeffy’s 100% free silent auction software for nonprofits

2. Charity Golf Tournaments

As the warm weather beckons, why not seize the opportunity to get your donors outdoors and bask in the sunshine while raising funds for your worthy cause? Combine the joy of soaking up the sun's rays with the satisfaction of supporting a great mission. It's a win-win situation that promises an enjoyable experience for all involved. 

A golf tournament is a great summer fundraising idea and promises a major gift opportunity. Golf usually attracts affluent demographics, with individuals having the financial capacity and willingness to donate substantial gifts. 

Golf fundraisers' relaxed setting will allow your board members and major donor prospects to get to know each other better. Improve your cultivation and retention strategies to strengthen donor relationships. 

Checklist to Plan Your Golf Charity Tournament

For planning your golf charity tournament, you’ll need:

  • A course to play on that you can secure by asking your nonprofit board or other members to be part of high-end clubs. 
  • A tournament date alongside one or two backup dates in case of bad weather. 
  • An event planning team to help promote the fundraiser and attend guests during the event. 
  • Coming up with challenges and contests to infuse friendly competition. 
  • In-kind donations for event day needs such as food and beverages. 
  • A plan for the closing ceremony and awards. 

Download our checklist - How to organize a charity golf tournament.

3. Charity Gala 

Donors appreciate a night of glitz and glamor, making a charity gala the perfect fundraising event idea. A gala traditionally comprises a formal dinner, entertainment, and several activities to keep spirits high.

When executed correctly, charity gala events offer your nonprofits the opportunity to:

  • Engage with donors and build long-lasting relationships that will benefit your charity.
  • Raise awareness for your mission among supporters who may not be familiar with your objectives.
  • Highlight your nonprofit accomplishment to add credibility to your mission and secure donors' trust.
  • Give your supporters the chance to unwind, relax, and have some fun.
  • Accelerate fund collection through peer-to-peer fundraising, ticket sales, appeals raffles, auctions, and other engaging activities.

Like silent auctions, gala events can be tailored to meet your audience's needs. Mix it up with a stand-up comedian, talent show, or live band. There are endless themes around which you can center your charity gala.

Steps to Host a Charity Gala

  • Conduct thorough prospect research.
  • Set up a time and date for the event and secure a good venue.
  • Determine how you will raise funds - through tickets, auctions, or raffles.
  • Find sponsors for catering and live entertainment.
  • Establish an event committee.
  • Market and promote your event to sell tickets.
  • Offer both virtual and physical donation options.

Pro tip
Consider hosting a raffle alongside your gala to raise additional funds and engage attendees in friendly competition. Reach out to local businesses and supporters for exciting prize donations.

4. Walk-a-Thon 

Walk-a-thons combine two of the best things - fitness and fun to raise money for your nonprofits. They appeal to many supporters and those who may not have heard of your organization. 

Casual joggers, mall walkers, adventure souls, and health enthusiasts have a place at this event. To create and promote a successful walk-a-thon fundraiser:

  • Secure an appropriate location and obtain necessary permits.
  • Set a date, time, and fundraising goal.
  • Promote the event through social media, email, flyers, and local media.
  • Hang themed banners and motivating signs along the route.
  • Encourage participants to collect pledges from friends and family.
  • Open refreshment stations across the route so participants can stay refreshed.
  • Set up food and merchandise sales to maximize giving.
  • Follow up with donors and participants to express gratitude.

Nonprofits can secure funds through entry fees and individual pledges. Participants can pay a fee to participate and then have closed ones pledge a specific amount for every mile they pass. This way, individuals who don't want to compete can still support the cause.

Walk-a-thons thrive on group participation. Encourage your supporters to engage their community in your cause. 

Pro Tip:
Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign alongside your walk-a-thon. Provide participants with personal fundraising pages to easily collect donations from their networks. Offer incentives and prizes for top fundraisers to encourage friendly competition.

5. Shoe Drive 

Every year, Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes

A shoe fundraiser is a great idea for eliminating waste and raising funds for your cause at the same time! Partner with a company that will turn your shoes into donations. Companies such as Funds2Orgs are ideal partners for shoe fundraising events.

  • Come up with a drop-off venue where people can donate shoes or recruit volunteers who can go door-to-door to collect shoes.
  • Promote your shoe fundraiser with flyers, social media, emails, or direct mailing.
  • Contact the organization to pick up your collected shoes. They will then ship the items to micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations.
  • Then, they’ll send you a check based on the pounds of shoes you sent in.

5 Unique and Creative Fundraising Event Ideas

6. A Murder-Mystery Masquerade Ball 

Introduce a thrilling murder mystery game to twist the traditional masquerade ball. Attendees will attend the ball dressed in all black and divided into small groups of four or five. Each group will receive clues, and whoever solves the mystery will receive prizes.

Case Study: Family Room Foster Care Resource Center - Masquerade Ball

Amount raised: $10,000 | Saved in fees: $500

Choose a venue with a Victorian theme, make the décor dark and mystical, and give the event a unique, intriguing name like “Murder Under the Ball.” Build on a sense of curiosity and encourage donors to register.

Charge an entry fee and request more donations during the event by highlighting your fundraising needs. You can even let attendees open up exclusive hints in exchange for donating a certain amount, which will bring them closer to deciphering the mystery.

Ensure the thriller mystery is challenging but not highly complicated and time-consuming.

7. All-Night Dance-a-Thon Event 

Keep everyone on their toes with an all-night dance-a-thon! 

This enjoyable event entertains donors and doubles as a dance competition. The award is given to those who dance the longest instead of the best dancers. 

Decide on a well-air-conditioned venue, invite local artists to spin for the whole night, and hire a videographer to capture the event. 

Set different levels for the competition, such as "level one," where attendees stay on their feet for 20 minutes straight, or "level three," where participants try to remain dancing until the music stops.

Encourage onlookers and participants to donate and share your cause and reason for raising money. Ensure people have access to drinks and snacks. 

8. Fashion Shows

You can choose a fashion show as an event idea to raise money in two ways. 

Partner with local boutiques or aspiring fashion students to secure outfits and, in exchange, give them a chance to display their collections and designs. Recruit some members to be your models and find a venue where you can set up the walk.

Or, you can ask your community members to create and style their sartorial masterpieces and walk on the ramp. Let your board members or a few community folks judge the fashion show and pick a winner.

Raise money by charging admission fees and collecting additional donations on-site. You can place boxes to receive more funds or have people text their donations through a mobile giving platform.

To acquire more money, auction off the outfits to the highest bidders. 

Case study: Association des Étudiants et Étudiantes en Administration de l’Université McGill

Amount raised: $5,680 | Saved in fees: $284

9. Obstacle Courses 

Obstacle courses are rising in popularity as they help to attract adventure and thrill seekers.

Since part of the appeal of this kind of event is challenging folks physically, organize them at the time of year when the weather is a bit harsh, like the peak of the winter or the middle of the summer.

With an obstacle course, you can go big, like mud runs, climbing walls, and tire flips, or gear the event toward a more easy level by including rope courses, slides, and monkey bars.

Host the obstacle course at a park or organize one in a simple parking lot using parking cones, baby pools, and rope. Have supporters participate individually or in teams and celebrate their success in completing the course by offering medals or certifications. 

Quick Tips To Host Obstacle Courses

  • To raise money through registration fees, set a ticket price that covers your event costs while remaining accessible to participants. 
  • Promote early bird discounts to encourage early sign-ups. 
  • For merchandise sales, design attractive event-branded items like t-shirts, water bottles, and hats. 
  • Partner with local vendors to produce the merchandise at a discounted rate, and set prices that generate a profit margin for your cause.
  • Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign where participants create personal fundraising pages to collect donations from their networks. 
  • Provide them with email templates, social media graphics, and fundraising tips to help them reach their goals. 
  • Offer incentives like exclusive merchandise or VIP experiences for top fundraisers to motivate them further.

10. Battle of the Bands 

Request local artists to host a concert to fundraise for your cause and, in return, secure exposure for their band. 

Choose an open venue, put together a stage, and invite nonprofit influencers or local popular personalities to judge the performances and spread the word about the event.

  • Charge a registration fee to battle the attendees.
  • Charge an entry fee to your performers to earn their spot on the stage.
  • Create a peer-to-peer donation form and allow performers to create teams or individual fundraising campaigns. Contenders can share these campaigns with their networks to collect donations.
  • Offer prizes to the winning band, and to contenders who raise the most funds through the peer-to-peer campaign.
  • To elevate your fundraising event, live stream the event and take the battle online. 

5 Quick and Cheap Fundraising Event Ideas

11. Karaoke Night 

Invite your supporters to blow off some steam and have some old-fashioned fun with a Karaoke night. 

Organize a lively karaoke night fundraiser with these steps:

  • Partner with a local venue or rent karaoke equipment.
  • Charge an entry fee and sell snacks and beverages throughout the event.
  • Encourage participants to collect pledges for each song they perform.
  • Offer prizes for top performers and fundraisers.

Partner with a local restaurant or bar to host the event. You can even rent out the equipment and organize it in your own space. Before renting out, ask around to see if anyone has the Karaoke set; you can borrow it.

To motivate participants, consider offering exciting prizes such as gift cards, event tickets, or unique experiences to the top performers and fundraisers. This will add a competitive element and encourage attendees to give their best performances and raise more funds.

For example, the Canadian Armenian Alumni Association used Zeffy as its ticketing system and sold tickets for over $776 for its Karaoke night. Along with entry tickets, the price also included light snacks and soft drinks. Using Zeffy’s 100% free platform, they saved $39 in fees. 

12. Community Potluck 

Bring your community together to bond over a shared supporting cause - and good food - with a community potluck. Choose a suitable venue and line up some activities and light music.

Ensure everyone knows what kind of food others are bringing so that there is variety on the table. Give participants the freedom to get any type of meal, dessert, or drink. Let there be a combination of vegetarian food and non-vegetarian meals.

Free Group of People Eating Together Stock Photo

To make the event memorable, ask supporters to submit their recipes to your team before the potluck and craft a cookbook with everyone's unique recipes. Either offer the book as a gift or sell it at a low price for additional donations. 

13. Photo Contest 

Thanks to smartphones, everyone has access to a professional-grade camera in the palm of their hands, so organizing a photo contest is another quick and cheap way to raise funds.

Come up with a theme for the event that relates to your cause. Ask each person to submit one picture directly to your team. Publish it to your event landing pages, where others can vote for it. Post the pictures on social media to acquire more votes, and send an email blast asking regular supporters to help determine the winner.

You can also set up a photography exhibition. Instead of participants submitting the photo online, they will submit it physically, and you can put them on display. 

Participants can enter the contest by paying an entry fee or earn a spot in the competition by raising a pre-defined donation amount.   

14. 50/50 Raffle 

A successful 50/50 raffle can help in raising money for your nonprofit and offer donors the chance to take some of the amount home. It's a great fundraising idea that works well in conjunction with other fundraising events.

When pricing 50/50 raffle tickets, consider your audience and the cost of other fundraising activities at your event. For family-friendly events, selling tickets at $1 to $5 can be appropriate, with winners being excited to take home even a modest sum. 

For more upscale events like a fundraising gala, higher ticket prices of $10 or $20 can help generate a larger pot and create more excitement among attendees.

15. A Cold Plunge Dip 

Make the best of the winter season with a cold-water plunge fundraising event. Host the event around a polar bear plunge in a chilly lake in your local area, or organize one in a local pool. 

You’ll be surprised to see a large number of loyal supporters showing up to dive into cold water to support your organization and cause.

Offer prizes to those who stay for a certain safe period or swim a specific distance.

Charge a small fee for participation and offer additional items for purchase on the day, like hot cocoa or coffee. Provide some items free of cost as well, such as shower caps or heated towels, to participants.

5 Best Virtual Ideas to Plan Your Online Fundraising Event  

16. Online Workshops 

Your supporters and potential donors may be interested in learning new skills or trying a new hobby but may not know where to start or have much time.

Creating a virtual workshop session on weekends where participants can explore popular skills such as drawing, painting, cooking, crocheting, and more offers two benefits. They learn something valuable along with supporting a good cause.  

Enquire within your organization and find members passionate about certain hobbies or activities. Help them to put together a virtual workshop and share their knowledge and expertise with others. 

Charge a certain fee for participation and ask attendees to secure discounts or other perks if they bring in more attendees.

To raise additional funds, save your attendees the store trip and sell supplies they will need for the class. 

17. Social Media Challenges 

Social media challenges have become a huge hit with participation from people of all ages. People love posting and sharing videos and other media, especially if they're tied to an important message. With this virtual fundraising idea, you not only raise funds but also generate awareness for your nonprofit. 

Follow the given steps to create a successful social media challenge:

  • Start by setting up the challenge related to your cause - pick something challenging but not dangerous or life-threatening.
  • Post a video of your staff members or volunteers completing the task and add a hashtag that connects the activity to your cause.
  • Encourage your followers to participate in the challenge and ensure it is directly linked to fundraising or donation pages.
  • Each participant also must share the video on their social page and tag your organization.
  • Request them to volunteer an interested peer at the end of the video.

This idea aims to create a chain of social media videos that will enhance fundraising efforts. 

18. eCard Campaign

Starting an e-card campaign is one of the most creative virtual fundraising ideas for your nonprofit organization. Invite your supporters to offer a donation in exchange for sending a branded digital greeting card to close ones.

Tie this fundraising campaign with your holiday season events to give people a chance to wish their family and friends during Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and other occasions. You can even offer birthday, anniversary, and thank-you cards that supporters can send year-round. 

E-cards increase exposure for your cause and attract new donors. For instance, a devoted donor might share a “Happy Hanukah!” e-card with a friend who doesn’t know about your nonprofit. 

19. Virtual Book Clubs 

Bookworms love to discuss books as much as they love to read them. Stimulate your members’ and supporters' love of reading by hosting a monthly book club where they can discuss titles they all decided to read. 

You can create and share a reading list related to your cause or include genres most of your club members prefer. 

Charge the member's annual dues and meet virtually monthly to discuss what you've read. To make more money, provide them with novels at discounted prices. By partnering with a local bookshop vendor, you can get books in bulk at cheap prices. 

20. Virtual Lip Sync Battle 

Virtual lip-sync battles are fun and friendly and are an easy virtual fundraising idea to secure support for your nonprofit's mission. You can organize one on Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or any other video conferencing software. Create a link and share it with your attendees - it's that simple.  

Apart from raising money from event tickets, ask members to collect pledges for each song they have lip-synced. To make this possible, live stream your event on your Facebook page and other platforms so their friends and supporters can join in and pledge.

Keep prizes for several categories like the most creative performance, the funniest, and more. 

Spice up your event by asking participants to mouth their favorite songs in costumes with quirky moves. 

4 Christmas Fundraising Ideas to Raise Money 

21. Advent Calendar Countdown

When Christmas is right around the corner, this fundraising idea is simple and effective for raising money. 


Start counting the days until Christmas, starting from 1 December. Ask your donors to donate a corresponding amount online, for instance, $1 on 1 December, $5 on 5 December, and so on. This idea doesn’t require much effort on your or donors’ part. 

Draft a compelling online fundraising campaign using powerful imagery and text. Make sure you have a simple-to-use but powerful online donation system to process the donations.

With Zeffy's online donation platform, easily create a simple and fun donation form to share on different communication channels, embed it on your website, or host it on the platform. You can also accept donations securely from multiple methods without losing a penny to transaction or platform fees.

22. Gift Wrapping Service 

Chances are many of your staff and members will have gift wrapping paper lying around. Even if they don’t - no worries; your local grocery shop may be willing to donate. Collect them and set up a gift-wrapping station for the season of joy. 

Free Woman Wrapping Gift near Christmas Tree Stock Photo

You would be surprised to see your community showing up to get their gifts wrapped. Make the atmosphere festive and cheerful with Christmas decor, music, and hot chocolate. Let your supporters line up and pay a fee per gift wrapped. 

23. Christmas Decoration Stalls 

Almost every person starts their holiday shopping by picking ornaments to decorate their tree and home. 

Setting up Christmas decorations stalls in your neighborhood is a great fundraising idea. You can request local businesses or shops to donate some items, request your volunteers to create handmade ornaments, or collect unused items from your locality.

Sell the collected items at a discounted price to encourage supporters to purchase. 

24. Santa’s Village 

Visiting Santa's village is a Christmas staple for many families. To save your community members the hassle of standing in a long queue to enter the village and meet Santa, consider setting up a Santa’s village where people can take a picture with Santa Klaus after paying a fee.

You can also sell hot chocolate, hot cider, and other Christmas treats. Selling Christmas decorations, candles, and wreaths can raise funds even further. 

4 Halloween Fundraising Ideas for Raising Money

25. Haunted House Tours 

Halloween is about a good scare, and a haunted house perfectly fits the bill. Turn an office, school hallway, or home into a scary space and charge a small admission fee to everyone brave enough to enter. 

Turn the event into a competition to make it more interesting. Enlist a few volunteers to dress up as scary ghosts, goblins, and monsters to jump out. 

Come up with unique ways to scare your visitors, making it challenging to complete the tour. For those who complete the tour, offer a prize, like a candy basket.  

Set cauldrons across the setting, particularly at the exit, in case anyone wants to donate more.

26. Costume Competition

Everyone dresses up for Halloween, making a classic costume competition a winning fundraising idea. A couple of weeks before the event, let your guests know about the competition so they can plan an amazing costume. 

Choose some prize categories, such as the scariest, funniest, best couple costume, and more, to make things interesting. Take the competition a level up by adding games. These could be anything from a Zombie-style race to Halloween-theme charades and more.

To encourage more participation, charge a reasonable admission fee of around $15-$25. Reward the winners with a cauldron full of Halloween goodies. 

27. Pumpkin Carving 

Another classic fundraising idea for Halloween is pumpkin carving, which hardly requires you to break the bank. 

You need only a few pumpkins, and you can ask the participants to bring their carving materials. Charge each person for every pumpkin they purchase from you and provide them with a specific area to work on.

Give the participants one or two hours to carve the pumpkin, and then have the friends and family vote for the best one. You can even classify pumpkins by category, such as silliest or scariest. 

28. Trick or Donate 

This fundraising idea is a twist on the classic Halloween activity of trick-or-treating. Assemble a group of volunteers to knock on doors in your locality and ask “trick or donation.” 

The more houses you visit, the more money your organization raises for its mission. It’s a great idea for a nonprofit with strong local community ties or many dedicated volunteers.  

4 Thanksgiving Fundraising Event Ideas 

Free A Group of People Having Dinner Together Stock Photo

29. All-You-Can-Cook with Potato Competition 

Potatoes are synonymous with Thanksgiving, and organizing a fundraising event where you ask guests to prepare different dishes made from potatoes is an excellent idea during this holiday. Have community members come through to judge the different dishes and award a small prize to the winner. 

To make the event more interesting, offer a Thanksgiving dinner afterward, during which you can serve all the potato meals prepared along with other dishes. 

Keep the entry fee separate from the competition and the dinner to raise more funds.

30. Turkey Trot 

Organize a Thanksgiving-themed fun walk where participants dress in turkey costumes or other themed attire. Charge a registration fee for the event and encourage participants to fundraise additionally through donations or pledges. 

Reward winners with pumpkin pie, cinnamon rolls, or other Thanksgiving-inspired treats.  

31. Pie Eating Contest 

Host a pie-eating contest with a variety of pies, from pumpkin to cherry, apple, pecan, and more. Ensure you have enough pies for all the contestants. Participants can sign up with a small entry fee, or you can ask them to gather sponsors who pledge donations based on their performance.

Establish clear rules for the contest about how winners will be identified (e.g., Fastest to finish the pie). Don’t forget to place limits on contestants, such as only eating with your face and no use of hands to create a competitive spirit and keep things exciting. 

32. Corn Maze 

Finding your way out of a maze is a thrilling experience. Local farmers assemble a hay or corn maze for patrons to walk through. Try partnering with these farms to see if you can have a portion of the proceeds directed toward your nonprofit in exchange for getting more people to visit the maze. 

5 Fundraising Event Ideas Specific to Faith-Based Organizations 

33. Stuff for Bucks 

Every one of your congregation members will have stuff around their home that they don’t need anymore. Use these unwanted goods to raise money and give them a new home. Here are a few ideas that you can consider:

  • Books Drive:
    Get your congregation members to donate books, magazines, and comics and sell them to your community. 
  • Clothes and Shoe Drive:
    Give your congregation the chance to swap clothes and shoes with each other. Put them up for sale in a hall or parking lot and invite everyone in your church to be part of the sale. 
  • Home Decor:
    Chances are your church members have a photo stand they no longer need or a flower vase stashed in their storage. Encourage them to donate these items to your church, and you can organize a home decor sale.

Ensure you offer both online and offline payment options and give donors receipts. You can also combine all three into a big sale or drive where clothes, shoes, books, and other items are sold.  

34. Charity Dinner or Luncheon 

For faith-based nonprofit organizations, church fundraising events need to be more than just a means of raising funds. They need to foster community engagement and reinforce community members' ties with their faith and beliefs. 

Organize a charity dinner or luncheon with a guest speaker or a religious leader. Guests can buy tickets, and proceeds can go towards a specific cause within your religious organization or a specific project. 

35. Church Calendar Sale

A church calendar sale is a great idea for fundraising at the end of the year. Everyone looks for a new calendar in a new year and would jump on the chance to buy one supporting their faith. 

Pick a monthly theme related to Bible passages, different aspects of your faith, or any other related topic. Include high-quality pictures, and if you have already planned your church events for the upcoming year, mention them, too. 

Sell the calendar during church service or other charity events, or set up a stall outside your institution. 

36. Church Trivia Night 

Hosting a trivia night in your church promotes fellowship, engages congregation members, and raises funds in a lively and entertaining way that strengthens your community ties. You won’t require much of an investment to bring the idea to life.

  • Decide on a theme that ties with your church values or interests. 
  • Book a venue large enough to accommodate your participants comfortably.
  • Advertise your trivia night within your congregation through the church bulletin board, social media, or word of mouth. 
  • Charge a registration fee for each person or team. Include options for additional donations. 
  • Pick a charismatic host or emcee to lead the trivia night. 
  • Offer prizes to the winning team, such as dinner at a local restaurant, movie tickets, gift baskets, or handmade crafts.
  • Provide snacks and beverages for participants to enjoy during the trivia night.
  • Conclude the event with a brief thank-you message to participants, volunteers, and sponsors. Share information about how the funds raised will support your church's initiatives.

37. Healing and Wellness Fair 

Give people a chance to unwind after a hectic week without driving to a retreat or spa and burning a hole in their pocket.  

Organize a fair focused on holistic healing and wellness within your neighborhood, incorporating elements of faith-based practices such as meditation, prayer, and spiritual counseling. Partner with a local facility or professionals to offer services like acupuncture, massage therapy, and energy healing, with proceeds going toward your programs.

5 Fundraising Event Ideas Specific to Schools and Colleges 

38. Read-a-Thon 

This popular fundraising idea is a teacher and parent favorite because it encourages children to read. During a read-a-thon fundraiser, students commit to reading a certain number of pages or books and obtain pledges from teachers, parents, or other family members for how much they can read. 

Your school will support the students’ efforts by providing free books, free time for reading, and prizes. You can choose to track chapters, pages, or reading hours, but the aim should be to encourage students to read as much as possible during a designated period. To help students keep track, you can create simple worksheets for them.

Create an online fundraising page and help students collect donations through it.

39. Talent Show 

A talent show is another great way for a local school to raise money, as parents will not miss seeing their children performing on the stage. It will offer students a break from their studies and boost their self-esteem and confidence. They will even have the chance to explore their hidden talents and tap into their creative side.

Ensure not to pick dates around exams or tests. To promote the fundraising event, get students to create posters and hang them around the town.

Ask students to audition to participate in the talent show individually or allow them to participate in groups. Keep the door open for all talents, from singing to juggling, dancing to skits, and more.

To turn the show into a fundraiser, sell tickets (both at the event and ahead of time). Set up stalls to sell t-shirts, books, bracelets, stationery, and photographs of the performers to bring in more donations. 

40. School Carnival 

Who wouldn’t enjoy a day full of fun games and prizes? Hosting a school carnival is a great way to engage students, parents, and alumni to raise funds.

You don't need to invest in expensive rides. Games like ring toss, bobbing for apples, and cornhole are all enjoyable and inexpensive. Selling raffle tickets, handmade stationery items, and setting photography stalls will take the fundraising event up a notch.

Seek out in-kind donations for the games and supplies you will require. Local businesses will be more than happy to donate as long as you explain your cause and offer them a chance to grow visibility around their products and services.

41. Scavenger Hunt 

A scavenger hunt is a great idea for local schools and colleges to raise funds for their specific needs. Invite participants to form teams and compete to complete a list of specific tasks or find particulate items within a given time frame.

This fundraising idea requires minimal resources to organize, making it cost-effective for organizations looking to maximize fundraising impact. It brings students together, fosters a sense of teamwork, and develops collaboration and communication skills.

You can host the scavenger hunt anywhere, like inside your school or college, or a nearby park.  

Pick a theme and devise clues or tasks around it to spice up the hunt. Any theme, from survival challenges to movie madness, superheroes to wildlife, will work.

42. Teachers in Jail 

Teachers in Jail is another great fundraiser idea for students of all ages - elementary, high school, and college alike. Challenge your students to raise a certain amount of money in a designated time frame and allow them to “jail their teachers” when they do so!

This means they will get a free period in which they can do anything except study while the teacher will get the time to focus on their pending work or plan ahead. 

To raise additional funds and create a more enjoyable experience, give students a chance to secure a trip to a nearby amusement park, game period, or pizza party if they raise a defined donation amount. 

5 Fundraising Event Ideas Specific to Animal Nonprofits 

43. Pet Fair 

Organizing a pet fair is a great way to bring together animal lovers, raise awareness for your nonprofit organization, and drive donations.

Set up different booths related to foods (both for people and animals), grooming, portraits, homemade toys, treats, and more. You can organize contests and competitions to let them show the talent of their pets.  

Remember to feature animals in your care. This will attract many animal lovers who are unable to keep their own pets because of work or rented accommodations that don’t allow pets. They would jump at the chance to mingle with them.

Remember to share updates with them, such as photos, videos, and live meets, to show them how you care for the sponsored animal. Once they’re re-homed, you can request they support a different one. 

44. Wildlife Discovery Day 

Is your animal charity dedicated to rescuing sick and injured wild animals? You can organize an open day to showcase your work. Offer a tour of the animals you have rescued and how your nonprofit cares for them. Add nature trails, pond-dipping expeditions, photo sessions, and shows to attract crowds. 

Set up stalls selling branded merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, pens, and mugs to secure more funds. This will help reinforce your brand identity and keep your animal charity in people’s minds. 

For this event, you will need many volunteers to engage with the guests and tour them around the charity. You must also create promotional materials such as flyers, social media campaigns, ads, and newsletters to spread the word about the open day. Choose to sell tickets on the same day or offer a link for registration with your marketing collaterals. 

45. Yoga with Pets 

Yoga with dogs, cats, and even goats is a great animal charity fundraising idea. If your nonprofit has an open space or a park, you can arrange a pet-friendly yoga session.

Participants bring their pets, and yoga instructors will lead the session. Charge an entry fee and include pet-related booths and vendors.

Open the event to guests who don’t own a pet but will love the opportunity to participate in pet-friendly yoga. You can do this by allowing them to participate with animals you’ve rescued that are up for adoption. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle with little furry beings while working out?

46. Care Classes 

Another great fundraising idea is pet care classes that combine fundraising with education. Everyone wants to know how to better care for their beloved pets, specifically first-time owners. Have your staff or even local vets regularly offer community classes on different topics for pet owners and animal lovers.

Keep the prices for pet care classes quite accessible, around $10-$20 for an hour or two. Ensure to promote the event on social media and drop off flyers at pet owner homes, local pet stores, and vet clinics. 

47. Sitting Services 

Sure to attract a crowd, this animal charity fundraising idea makes it easy for pet owners to care for their little friends. No one feels safe leaving their pets alone at home, especially when they have to go on tours and vacations and can’t take their pets with them.

Pet owners would greatly appreciate any help with pet sitting.

For this fundraising idea, you simply have to spread the word about your pet-sitting service. 

Charge pet owners less than a professional sitter or hotel would, and let them know about the programs or projects where funds will be used. The owners will feel good and may donate more, knowing that their money will help animals like theirs. 

5 Fundraising Event Ideas Specific to Environmental Charities 

48. Serve-a-Thon 

A serve-a-thon fundraising event idea is great for environmental nonprofits to raise money by performing community service.

Like a walk-a-thon, participants can accept pledges for their volunteer hours or the amount of waste they pick up. You can include different environment-related activities in your serve-a-thon, from cleaning up your nearby park and beaches to planting trees.

Not only will you secure donations for your cause, but you will also clean and improve the environment and promote your nonprofit. Since very few localities are entirely spotless, this will be an easy event to promote and involve your community members in.

All you will need to do is offer supporters cleaning or planting supplies, market the event, collect pledges, and get to the job. 

49. Farm-to-Table Fundraiser Dinner 

With a farm-to-table fundraising dinner, offer delicious delicacies to secure financial support for your cause.

Partner with a farmers market, sustainable farms, or vegan chefs to create a delectable and environmentally friendly menu. You can even ask your community members and volunteers to bring a dish. Highlight the importance of sustainable agriculture practices, food waste reduction, and supporting local food systems. 

50. Garden Tea Party 

Holding an annual garden tea party at the start of spring offers a pleasant and sophisticated way to interact and engage with your donors face-to-face.

Although they can be organized for any donor segment, garden parties are ideal for cultivating relationships with major donors. Provide an array of biscuits, teams, scones, berries, and tea sandwiches. 

Free Various Desserts on a Table covered with Baby Blue Cover Stock Photo

Let your executives or team leads prepare a small presentation about your cause or a specific project for which you need funds.

Allow donors to contribute through various methods, from cheques to online.  

51. Zero-Waste Festival 

Celebrate and build awareness of sustainable living practices and eco-friendly solutions with a zero-waste festival. Invite local vendors, artisans, and business members to showcase their sustainable goods and services. 

Organize workshops on recycling, composting, upcycling, and reducing waste. Encourage donors to share their experiences with sustainability and what practices they preach. Implement waste reduction measures such as water refill stations, composting stations, and reusable dishware.

Charge a small entrance fee or request donations during the event to support your environmental initiatives. Set up boxes with signage about your mission statement or project goal to pull as many funds as possible from the festival.   

52. Wildlife Photography Safari 

Contact any natural habitat center or wildlife sanctuary where participants can capture stunning snapshots of wildlife and landscapes. Obtain essential permits and permissions required for organizing the event in these locations.

Collaborate with experienced wildlife photographers and guides with intimate knowledge of the area and wildlife behavior.

Create a detailed itinerary outlining the safari schedule, activities, and logistics. Determine the duration of the safari – based on that – make arrangements for meals, accommodations, and transportation. Offer opportunities for wildlife observation, nature walks, and birdwatching.

How Did Noelle’s Gift to Children Make the Most of Zeffy’s Free Platform to Plan Fundraising Events?

Noelle's Gift to Children has been committed to improving the lives of children in the Kent and Lambton countries of Ontario, Canada, since 2013. Every year, the nonprofit organization hosts a gala charity event, a 5K run, and a raffle to raise funds.

To address these issues of cost and features, they picked Zeffy's all-in-one fundraising platform with multiple features. From event ticketing to peer-to-peer fundraising and donor management, it made it easy for them to organize events and secure fundraising success.

Noelle's Gift to Children has raised over $325,208 while saving over $16,000 in platform and transaction fees. The nonprofit continues to make the most of Zeffy's fundraising platform for its event success.

Wrapping it Up on Fundraising Event Ideas 

Now that you have access to a wealth of fundraising event ideas to choose from, it's time to raise support for your cause. Mix and match these ideas and give them your own twist to make them appealing to your ideal donor base.  

No matter the fundraising event ideas you decide to pursue, Zeffy's platform provides a host of smart tools and resources, free of cost, to help you out. 

With other fundraising software, you will have to pay a certain amount from your hard-earned donations as part of the processing or platform fee. Zeffy is a 100% free fundraising platform that charges zero fees to nonprofits, directing every hard-earned penny toward your cause. 

FAQs on Fundraising Events 

What is the most profitable fundraising event?

Fundraising events are one of the most exciting ways for nonprofits to generate revenue. They bring together your community, raise awareness for your cause, and ensure everyone has a good time, ultimately encouraging them to donate.  

There are hundreds of profitable fundraising events, but a few work better than others:

  • Charity Golf Tournament:
    Unites golf enthusiasts and philanthropists and leverages the popularity of golf as a recreational activity. 
  • Charity Auctions:
    Offers donors incentives in return for their contributions, which encourages them to participate and give. 
  • Galas:
    Brings together people of high net worth who often are looking to contribute to charities as part of their philanthropy practices. 
  • 5K Fundraiser:
    A community-driven event attracting a lot of supporters and relatively low cost to plan. 

Which type of fundraising event idea is best for your nonprofit?

The best type of fundraising event idea for a nonprofit will depend on its specific needs and goals. Before you decide to look for an event idea, ask yourself:

  • For what reason are you organizing the fundraising event?
  • How much funds do you plan to collect from the event?
  • How much is your budget for planning the event?
  • Who will be your attendees?

With the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to generate an event idea that is within your financial situation, attracts your target donor base, and helps achieve the fundraising goal. 

How do you promote your fundraising event?

To amplify your promotions, follow a multichannel marketing approach that involves:

Social Media:
Craft compelling content across channels your donors frequently use, such as Instagram and Facebook. Focus on highlighting the need for fundraising and share relevant information related to registration and donation. 

Highlight the event in your monthly email newsletter and add a strong CTA to persuade recipients to register. Make sure to link your donation page as well to give the option to contribute prior to the event. 

Direct Mail:
Include all of your event's logistical details, including date, time, and location, and add a QR code to your online event pages or forms so supporters can learn more online.

Local Media:
Partner with your local newspaper or magazines to inform your community about the event. Write a compelling press release that focuses on your need for fundraising and the impact of your donor's support. 

How do you organize an event to raise money?

A fundraising event comes with a lot of moving parts - from coming up with an event idea to managing registrations, promotions, and more. With proper planning, you will host a successful event that goes off without a hitch. 

Here are the steps that will help you get started with planning your fundraising event:

  1. Determine the goals of the fundraising event. 
  2. Establish the budget for your fundraising event. 
  3. Assemble a team to organize and host the event. 
  4. Decide a venue and set a date and time. 
  5. Create a fundraising plan calendar and marketing collaterals.
  6. Promote your event and share tickets with your participants. 
  7. Prepare for the big day by ensuring everything is in proper place. 
  8. Follow up by thanking your donors, supporters, and volunteers.

Check out Zeffy's 2024 Guide to Crafting a Successful Fundraising Plan to learn in-depth how to plan your event effectively and secure a free calendar template.

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