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Fundraising Tips

101+ Fundraising ideas for nonprofits. (2024)

November 22, 2023

We’ve all read the countless Top 10 Fundraising Ideas lists online. You know the ones with the same ideas as everyone else? Well, we thought we’d take those lists one big step further in terms of length and creativity.

We’ve come up with 101 of the best fundraising ideas around and we’re confident that you’ll be able to find at least one idea here to help your nonprofit raise money for your cause.

A glance at our top fundraising ideas for any organization type.

Let’s start things off with a list of easy fundraising ideas that are all great ways to raise money.

Responsive Table
Nonprofit type Easy Cost-effective Creative Quick
Schools and education Bake sale Used book sale Talent show Movie night
Arts and culture Gallery night Community mural project Paint and sip night Flash art sale
Sports clubs and teams Car wash Equipment swap Concession stand Penalty shootout
Religious organizations Family photo day Charity auction Church cookbook Bible trivia night
Animal welfare Puppy/kitten cuddling booth Custom merchandise Bake sale for pets Pet photography contest
Healthcare Medical webinar Patient stories campaign Wellness subscription boxes Online cooking classes
Social and human services Services auction Impactful stories campaign Random acts of kindness campaign Documentary screening
Disaster relief Disaster relief webinar Online silent auction Interactive online map Social media challenge
Advocacy groups Letter-writing campaign Documentary screening A podcast series Corporate sponsorship
Community development Historical walking tour Local business coupon book Neighbourhood block party Tech workshop

Explore our best fundraising ideas based on your type of nonprofit organization.

To put together our list of 101 nonprofit fundraising ideas, we scoured the fundraisers being hosted on Zeffy’s free fundraising platform, read a bunch of articles, came up with a few ourselves, and even asked ChatGPT to come up with an idea or two.

Browse our fundraising ideas based on the type of nonprofit organization:

Schools & education
Arts & culture
Sports clubs & teams
Religious organizations
Social and human services
Healthcare
Disaster relief
Advocacy groups
Animal welfare
Community development

Filter fundraising ideas that fit the following criteria:

Easy fundraising ideas
Cost-effective fundraising ideas
Creative fundraising ideas
Quick fundraising ideas
Annual fundraising ideas
Last-minute fundraising ideas

Fundraising ideas for schools & education-focused organizations.

When it comes to fundraising for your kid’s school or teen’s high school, a student organization, colleges or even libraries, the best fundraiser ideas are often the ones that have something to do with the school or library.

A (insert holiday here) themed bake sale.

A bake sale might not be the most ground-breaking idea on this unique fundraising ideas list, but it’s still a good fundraising idea because bake sales are great ways to raise money.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

A used book sale is a great activity to raise money.

Books are one of those things that tend to pile up at home. A used book sale is a unique fundraising idea, a great way for donors to get rid of the books they’ve already read and pick up a couple new ones while they’re at it.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

A talent show—AKA a creative fundraising idea for schools.

Talent shows are a creative way to get students to show off their hidden talents and a fun way to raise money.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

A movie night can be a fun/scary/sad way to raise money for your school or library.

There’s nothing weirder or more taboo than being in school at night. Take advantage of this by hosting a movie night at your kid’s or teen’s school.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Fundraising ideas for arts and culture nonprofit organizations.

Arts and culture nonprofit organizations have the distinct advantage of being able to create and entertain original art and performances to raise money and awareness for their cause. So, put your talents to work with some creative fundraising ideas!

A gallery night is a creative fundraising idea to raise money and showcase your community’s talent.

A gallery night is the excuse everyone is looking for to dress up, get out of the house, get to know some local artists, and support a good cause while you’re at it.

We’ve complied a list of tips to get your started. But you can also read How to organize a fundraising event on Zeffy’s blog.

A community mural project is a creative fundraiser that will bring people together.

An indoor or outdoor mural is a creative fundraising idea that will not only help your nonprofit raise money, it will also build awareness about your cause.

This fundraising event is a little more involved than some of our other ideas, but the work is well worth the pay off. Just be sure to:

Host a paint and sip with a local artist or teacher.

A paint and sip is a fun fundraising idea that combines two things people love: painting and sipping wine!

Here are a few tips to get things started:

Organize a surprise, flash art sale.

Fundraising ideas for sports clubs and teams.

Fundraising examples to raise money for sports clubs and teams are almost endless. We’ve listed some of our favourites—along with a few tips for each—to get your brainstorm started.

A car wash is an easy way to fundraise for your dance team or any team, really.

A classic summer fundraising idea, a car wash is a tried and tested way to raise money for your dance team, baseball team, pretty much any sports team or club, really.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Host an equipment swap to raise money for your golf club.

An equipment swap for your baseball team, hockey team—any team—is a fun way to bring your sports community together, give gently used equipment a second life, and make it more affordable for everyone.

Get things started by:

Running a concession stand at baseball games is a consistent way to raise money.

Maybe your team (or your kid’s team) play on a field without a snack bar? Maybe you can rent the snack bar in your local park? Either way, opening a concession stand during games is a smart way to raise money.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your concession stand:

Raise money for your sports team with a penalty shootout peer-to-peer fundraiser.

This fundraising event is a bit more complicated to organize, but the pay off will be worth it. A peer-to-peer shootout is a fun way to get opposing teams together, parents and fans to participate in the game, and community members to come out for a good time!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Fundraising ideas for religious organizations.

Churches usually rely on the tried and true fundraising ideas and events. Why? Because they work! Our four top ideas are a mix of easy, inexpensive and creative. Perfect to help you get your next successful fundraiser going!

Hosting a family photo day is an easy way to raise money.

Family photo days are a memorable way to get members of your community to drop by and support your religious organization.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning yours:

Host a charity auction online or in person.

This is definitely a more classic fundraiser idea, but it’s still a good idea so we thought we’d help out with a few tips to kick things off:

Release a church cookbook.

We all know the best way to capture the hearts and minds of most of us is through their stomach. Every family has their go-to recipes. Why not start collecting them?

Mix things up with a bible-themed trivia night.

A trivia night is a great way to get your community involved with your religious organization. It’s a great excuse to get together, learn something new, and have a good time while you’re at!

Fundraising ideas for animal welfare organizations.

Creative fundraising ideas for animal welfare nonprofit organizations are pretty fun to come up with. (Who doesn’t like thinking of ways to help animals!?) We’ve come up with a few to get your creative juices flowing. But the fundraiser ideas are endless!

Puppy/kitten cuddling booth—AKA the best fundraising idea ever.

This fundraiser idea is really, REALLY good. It has everything you could ever want: cute puppies and kittens, stress relief, and an amazingly worthy cause.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Design and make some custom merchandise.

Can you ever have enough dog-print cozy hoodies? Or cat-themed blankets? We didn’t think so.

Keep things interesting with a few tips to get you thinking outside the box:

Host a bake sale for pets to raise money.

We’ve all heard of nonprofit organizations hosting bake sales as a way to raise money. Well, we’ve got an adorable twist: a bake sale for pets!

Organize a pet photography contest.

People love taking pictures of their pets. Why not put those pics to work by hosting a pet photography contest? Participants can submit their best pics (for a small entry fee/donation) and win a day at a pet spa, a matching human/pet wardrobe, whatever!

A few things to keep in mind:

Fundraising ideas for healthcare organizations

From cancer research to funding wishes to helping families visit sick loved ones, healthcare organizations need all the love and support they can get. We’ve put together a few easy fundraising ideas to help your organization raise money.

Host a medical webinar or series of webinars.

When it comes to healthcare, the learning curve can be pretty steep. Whether it’s caring for loved ones, finding ways to pay for it all, changing your diet, looking for support groups, etc. there are always people in need of a little guidance. A series of webinars (available for a donation) can really help.

Launch a patient stories campaign.

Real stories from real patients are always a successful way for nonprofit organizations to raise money. Cancer survivors, family members, doctors, everyone has a story to tell and their stories can offer support to those in need and encourage others to donate.

Assemble and sell wellness subscription boxes.

Subscription boxes are a great way to get your community and local businesses involved in your cause. Offering a monthly box, or boxes for special occasions is a great way to raise money and give donors something in return.

Offer an online cooking class to raise money.

Eating healthier or with specific dietary restrictions can be a daunting task for a lot of us. By offering health-specific cooking classes online you can help take a bit of the stress and unknown out of it all. And, fundraise for your cause while you’re at it.

Fundraising ideas for social and human services.

Host a services auction to fundraise for your nonprofit organization.

An auction is a pretty classic fundraiser idea, but it’s still a good idea so we thought we’d help out with a few tips to kick things off:

Launch an impactful stories campaign to raise money.

Real stories from real people are always a successful way for nonprofit organizations to raise money. Everyone has a story to tell and their stories can offer support to those in need and encourage others to donate.

Start a random acts of kindness peer-to-peer campaign.

Peer-to-peer campaigns are always a little bit more complicated to run, but the payoff is usually worth the extra effort. Hold the door open for a the person behind you. Dust the snow off someone's car in the parking lot. Say thank you to someone who's work often goes unnoticed. Random acts of kindness are an amazing way to connect your community and raise money for your cause.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

A documentary screening to raise awareness and money.

These days there’s a documentary or two for every topic, cause, event, holiday… You name you can learn a lot about almost anything by watching documentaries. So, why not host a documentary screening to raise awareness about your cause while raising money for it.

Fundraising ideas for disaster relief.

Host a disaster relief webinar.

When it comes to disaster relief, the learning curve can be pretty steep. Whether it’s filterinf and treating water, making the most of what you have around, contacting the right departments for your situation, first aid, etc. there are always people in need of a little guidance. A series of webinars (available for a donation) can really help.

Raise money with an online silent auction.

This is definitely a more classic fundraiser idea, but it’s still a good idea so we thought we’d help out with a few tips to kick things off:

Launch an interactive online map.

Creating an interactive online map for disaster relief can be a valuable tool for coordinating efforts and providing real-time information to those affected.

We’ve got a few tips to help get things started:

Try your skills at a social media challenge.

This one might seem easy, but getting a social media challenge to catch on takes a bit of luck and a lot of work.

We’ve got some tips to help:

Fundraising ideas for advocacy groups.

Advocacy groups often fly under our radars. Which makes it all the more important to host creative and engaging fundraising campaigns.

Start a fundraising letter-writing campaign.

Hosting a letter-writing campaign is a great way to mobilize your community and encourage them to advocate for your cause and raise awareness.

Here are a few tips to get your next letter-writing campaign off to a good start:

A documentary screening to raise awareness and money.

These days there’s a documentary or two for every topic, cause, event, holiday… You name you can learn a lot about almost anything by watching documentaries. So, why not host a documentary screening to raise awareness about your cause while raising money for it.

A podcast series is an innovative way to fundraise for your nonprofit.

It may sound daunting at first, but a podcast series is a great way to share stories, spread the word, encourage multiple voices and points of view, and connect with current and new audiences. The trick: ask for help.

Reach out to local businesses to find some corporate sponsors.

Getting corporate sponsors to donate to your nonprofit or sponsor your next fundraising event might not be the first thing on your to-do list. (Especially if you’re a small to medium sized nonprofit.) But, it can be worth the time.

We’ve got a few tips to help you out:

Fundraising ideas for your community-focused nonprofit organization.

Plan and run a historical walking tour to raise money and awareness for your cause.

A historical walking tour is a great way to get people involved in your community’s history and interested in your nonprofit organization’s cause. All it takes is a little research and a few willing volunteers.

Launch a local business coupon book to fundraise.

A local business coupon book is a creative way to support local businesses, attract new donors to your nonprofit, and create a sense of community while you fundraise.

Here are a few step-by-step guidelines to help you launch your local business coupon book:

  1. Reach out to local businesses and invite them to participate in the coupon book. Clearly explain the benefits of participation, such as increased visibility, customer acquisition, and community support.
  2. Decide on the format of your coupon book. It could be a physical booklet, a digital version accessible through a mobile app or website.
  3. Establish terms and conditions for participating businesses.
  4. Develop a pricing structure for businesses interested in featuring coupons in the book. Consider factors such as the size of the coupon, the prominence of the placement, and the overall value proposition for businesses.
  5. Work with a graphic designer or use design tools to create an appealing layout for your coupon book. Ensure that it aligns with the branding of your initiative and is visually attractive to potential customers.
  6. Collect the necessary information and coupons from participating businesses. Ensure that each coupon includes relevant details such as the business name, address, contact information, terms and conditions, and the discount offered.
  7. Find a free online fundraising platform (We’re partial to Zeffy.) to sell your digital or printed coupon books.
  8. Use local newspapers, community bulletin boards, social media, and partnerships with local influencers or organizations to generate awareness.
  9. Encourage businesses to offer limited-time deals or exclusive promotions to create a sense of urgency and drive immediate customer interest.
  10. Stay engaged with the community through social media, newsletters, and events. Share success stories, highlight participating businesses, and showcase the positive impact of the coupon book on the local economy.
  11. Follow up with local businesses, donors, and volunteers to collect feedback and say thank you.

Neighbourhood block parties are a great way to bring communities together.

As far as fundraising events go, a neighbourhood block party is one of the best fundraising ideas around. It’s not the easiest to implement, but once you host one, the next one gets a lot easier to manage!

Hosting a tech workshop is a great way to fundraise.

The gap between technology and those of us who know how to use it is growing constantly. Your nonprofit can help by enlisting members of your community that are a bit more tech savvy than others to host tech workshops that focus on teaching others the ins and outs of the tech we all use today.

Easy fundraising ideas.

1. Themed bake sales.

Choosing a theme for your next bake sale will add an extra layer of fun and creativity to your good old fashioned bake sale.

2. Themed dress-up day.

A themed dress-up party is an easy way to raise money. Participants dress-up according to a specific theme and typically make a donation to participate. You can even sell snacks and refreshments to raise extra money.

3. Fitness challenge.

A fitness challenge is a fun way to encourage physical activity, adopt a healthier lifestyle, achieve specific fitness goals, and raise money for your nonprofit. You can tailor these challenges to various fitness levels and can even make it a peer-to-peer campaign by reaching out to workplaces, communities, online platforms, or fitness facilities. A few examples: a step challenge, yoga challenge, push-up challenge, healthy eating challenge…

4. Trivia night (general or themed).

A trivia night, often called a pub quiz or quiz night, is an event where teams or individuals compete in answering questions on various topics. You can host a general trivia night or make it a themed night and charge people a participation fee, get them to give additional donations for life lines, etc.

5. Movie night and picnic!

A movie night is a great way to easily raise some money for your cause. Pick a location. Set up a projector. Choose a movie or two. And hit play! You can even sell pre-made picnics and branded blankets to raise extra money.

6. Gallery night.

Hosting a gallery night is an easy way to show off your community’s artistic talents. Find a venue, recruit some artists, order some drinks and snacks, and raise some money by encouraging attendees to buy some local art (a portion of the proceeds will go to funding your cause).

7. Car wash.

Hosting a car wash doesn’t take much. A group of willing volunteers. Some basic equipment. And a sunny day! Make it an event by setting a BBQ or finding some live entertainment to keep people busy while they wait.

8. Photo contest.

We all take literally thousands of photos a year. Why not put them to good use with a photo contest. Get donors to submit their best photo(s) of the year (themed or not), assemble a panel of judges, and select the winning photos. You can even host a photo exhibit to showcase and sell the winning photos.

9. Pet wash day.

We all love our pets. Especially when they’re clean. So, organize a pet wash day. Get donors to sign up in advance. Offer a couple packages (full wash and dry, wash and groom, etc.). And, you can even set up a homemade dog treat table to raise a bit of extra money.

10. Family photo day.

Sure we all take way too many pictures these days, but how many of them are good? And not selfies? Exactly. So, it goes without saying that a family photo day is an excellent fundraiser. Find a location, a photographer, get creative with a few backgrounds and sets, choose a free fundraising platform to schedule everyone and sell tickets and various packages.

11. Puppy/kitten cuddling booth.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Find a few puppies and kittens, show up where people are stressed (work, school, the park, etc.) and ask for donations to spend a few minutes cuddling. You can even use Zeffy’s Tap-to-pay app to accept donations in person.

12. Services auction.

There are silent auctions, online auctions, regular auctions, and then there are services auctions. AKA, an auction where members of your community, volunteers, donors, etc. can volunteer a skill to help whoever donates the most.

13. Disaster relief webinar.

When it comes to disaster relief, the learning curve can be pretty steep. Whether it’s filtering and treating water, making the most of what you have around, contacting the right departments for your situation, first aid, etc. there are always people in need of a little guidance. A series of webinars (available for a donation) can really help.

14. Letter-writing campaign.

Hosting a letter-writing campaign is a great way to mobilize your community and encourage them to advocate for your cause and raise awareness.

15. Historical walking tour.

A historical walking tour is a great way to get people involved in your community’s history and interested in your nonprofit organization’s cause. All it takes is a little research and a few willing volunteers.

Cost-effective fundraising ideas.

16. Used book sale.

Books are one of those things that tend to pile up at home. A used book sale is a unique fundraising idea, a great way for donors to get rid of the books they’ve already read and pick up a couple new ones while they’re at it.

17. Community mural project.

This fundraising event is a little more involved than some of our other ideas, but the work is well worth the pay off. An indoor or outdoor mural is a creative fundraising idea that will not only help your nonprofit raise money, it will also build awareness about your cause.

18. Equipment swap.

An equipment swap for your baseball team, hockey team—any team—is a fun way to bring your sports community together, give gently used equipment a second life, and make it more affordable for everyone

19. Charity auction.

This is definitely a more classic fundraiser idea, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a really good way to raise money for your cause. You can even mix things up by choosing a theme for your charity auction or hosting an early bird auction online. Zeffy’s free eCommerce solution can help you set this up.

20. Custom merchandise.

Can you ever have enough dog-print cozy hoodies? Or cat-themed blankets? We didn’t think so. Keep things interesting by asking your community to help with designs. Make limited run merchandise. And try and offer things that make sense for your nonprofit organization.

21. Patient stories campaign.

Real stories from real patients are always a successful way for nonprofit organizations to raise money. Cancer survivors, family members, doctors, everyone has a story to tell and their stories can offer support to those in need and encourage others to donate.

22. Impactful stories campaign.

Real stories from real people are always a successful way for nonprofit organizations to raise money. Everyone has a story to tell and their stories can offer support to those in need and encourage others to donate. Reach out to the people you’ve helped, friends and family, members of your team—anyone with a story tell—and help them tell their stories any way they feel comfortable.

23. Online silent auction.

This is definitely a more classic fundraiser idea with a digital twist, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a really good way to raise money for your cause. You can even mix things up by choosing a theme for your charity auction or hosting an early bird auction online. Zeffy’s free eCommerce solution can help you set this up.

24. Documentary screening.

These days there’s a documentary or two for every topic, cause, event, holiday… You name you can learn a lot about almost anything by watching documentaries. So, why not host a documentary screening to raise awareness about your cause while raising money for it.

25. Local business coupon book.

A local business coupon book is a creative way to support local businesses, attract new donors to your nonprofit, and create a sense of community while you fundraise. Reach out to local businesses and invite them to participate in the coupon book. Decide on the format of your coupon book—it could be a physical booklet, a digital version accessible through a mobile app or website.

26. Webinars.

Webinars are a convenient and inexpensive way to share the knowledge your nonprofit has collected and help others learn something new that can make their lives easier. Plus, you don’t need a lot of equipment to pull this one off.

27. Virtual fitness classes.

Virtual workouts are the same as regular workouts, but you can do them from the comfort of your home for a lot less money. Start small by offering a selection of one or two types of workouts and slowly grow your library of workouts. You can even eventually launch a line of branded workout merchandise.

28. DIY craft kits.

A DIY craft kit is a great fundraiser to launch right before a holiday, a long weekend, a Wednesday night… Anytime really. Parents are always looking for ways to entertain their kids. Adults are always looking for new projects. And, if you can find that and support a good cause, it’s almost too good to be true!

29. Mystery box fundraiser.

A mystery box is a box full of unknown products or crafts that are related to a specific theme and, in the case of a nonprofit organization, sold for a suggested donation.

30. Online gaming tournament.

To host an online gaming tournament all you need is an online game such as Mario Kart or Among Us and a free peer-to-peer online fundraising platform to help you organize the teams. Teams or individuals can pay to sign up and you can even offer additional lives and even pre-made snack boxes for extra donations.

31. Themed story night (ghost stories, love stories, etc.).

Themed story nights are a quick and easy way to raise money for your nonprofit. Do a bit of research, find some great story tellers, find a cozy venue, plan some snacks and drinks and spread the word!

Creative fundraising ideas.

32. Talent show.

Hosting a talent show can be an entertaining way to raise money for your nonprofit and it makes a great annual fundraiser. Sure, it’s a bit more work than your average fundraiser, but it’s a great way to build awareness and do something nice for your community.

33. Paint and sip night.

A paint and sip night is as easy to organize as finding a painting teacher, ordering some wine and supplies, and getting donors to sign up.

34. Concession stand.

Maybe your team (or your kid’s team) play on a field without a snack bar? Maybe you can rent the snack bar in your local park? Either way, opening a concession stand during games is a smart way to raise money.

35. A church or community cookbook.

We all know the best way to capture the hearts and minds of most of us is through their stomach. Every family has their go-to recipes. Why not start collecting them to put in a book and sell to raise money for your church or nonprofit organization.

36. Bake sale for pets.

We’ve all heard of nonprofit organizations hosting bake sales as a way to raise money. Well, we’ve got an adorable twist: a bake sale for pets!

37. Wellness subscription boxes.

Subscription boxes are a great way to get your community and local businesses involved in your cause. Offering a monthly box, or boxes for special occasions is a great way to raise money and give donors something in return. You can make subscription boxes for any theme or time of year, including a wellness version.

38. Random acts of kindness campaign.

Peer-to-peer campaigns are always a little bit more complicated to run, but the payoff is usually worth the extra effort. Hold the door open for a the person behind you. Dust the snow off someone's car in the parking lot. Say thank you to someone who's work often goes unnoticed. Random acts of kindness are an amazing way to connect your community and raise money for your cause.

39. Interactive online map.

Creating an interactive online map for disaster relief can be a valuable tool for coordinating efforts and providing real-time information to those affected. Just choose a user friendly platform. (Google maps is common and well-known choice.) Define your area and what you want to include. (Healthcare, food, emergency services, evacuation routes, community centres, etc.) And reach out to collaborate with local government agencies and departments.

40. A podcast series.

It may sound daunting at first, but a podcast series is a great way to share stories, spread the word, encourage multiple voices and points of view, and connect with current and new audiences. The trick: ask for help.

41. Neighbourhood block party.

As far as fundraising events go, a neighbourhood block party is one of the best fundraising ideas around. It’s not the easiest to implement, but once you host one, the next one gets a lot easier to manage!

42. A glow in the dark bike ride or run.

We’re all familiar with the classic 5K run or bike ride for charity. You can make them a bit more creative by encouraging or selling participants glow in the dark kits!

43. Fashion show swap.

You’ve heard of a fashion show, well, this is a fashion show swap! Participants show off the clothes they’ve grown out of or tired of and people can buy them for a donation to your cause or swap them for some of the clothes they’ve brought.

44. Outdoor movie night.

There’s just something unique about watching a movie outside. The stars above you. The fresh air. The picnic blankets. The snacks! It’s a great way to bring people together for a good cause. You can even host a series with a new movie in a different location each night so people can get to know their communities a little better.

45. Home spa day kits.

We all love a relaxing spa day but not all of us can make it to the spa. A home spa kit will let everyone bring the spa to them. Just select a few products (maybe even ask local businesses to donate them), wrap them nicely in a box, and sell them online.

46. Pet photo calendar.

Landscape calendars, fire fighter calendars, activity calendars… There’s a calendar for everything, so, why can’t there be a calendar for your pets! There are many website online that can help you put a calendar together and you can even brand them with your nonprofit’s colours and logo.

47. Water balloon dodge ball tournament.

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.

48. Soup and bowl fundraiser.

Empty Bowls began as an international project to fight hunger and has grown into a larger movement used by nonprofits around the world to raise money for their causes. The bowls are normally handmade or personalised by artists and art organisations, filled with homemade soup, stew, chilli, etc. and sold to donors to support local nonprofits.

Y’all—a queer nonprofit that seeks to care for queer + trans/gender diverse communities—hosts them regularly using Zeffy’s platform.

49. Let your anger out.

Keeping our emotions inside is a common and unhealthy reality. Your nonprofit can help and raise money for your cause by hosting a Let your anger out event. Participants can make a donation to smash, chop, throw, stomp, and break anything and everything you’ve been able to collect.

Quick fundraising ideas.

50. Movie night.

A movie night is a quick way to raise money for your cause. You can make it a themed one, a summer or winter series, sell popcorn and drinks, create custom merchandise, and even host a local film festival to spread the word.

51. Flash art sale.

Just like a regular art sale, but a lot quicker. All you need is a selection of local art, a location, and a free online fundraising platform that lets you accept in-person payments. You can host your flash sale at local farmer’s markets, in the town square, at festivals, or on a random Saturday afternoon at the grocery store.

52. Penalty shootout.

A penalty shootout is a great peer-to-peer campaign that brings community and competing sports teams together for a good cause. Spread the word, encourage people to sign up and raise money, and then let the friendly competing being!

53. Bible trivia night.

Like your good old fashioned trivia night, but with a bible themed twist. Participants can make their own teams and then sign up for a donation. During the trivia night, you can sell life lines, snacks and refreshments.

54. Pet photography contest.

People love taking pictures of their pets. Why not put those pics to work by hosting a pet photography contest? Participants can submit their best pics (for a small entry fee/donation) and win a day at a pet spa, a matching human/pet wardrobe, whatever!

55. Online cooking classes.

Eating healthier or with specific dietary restrictions can be a daunting task for a lot of us. By offering health-specific cooking classes online you can help take a bit of the stress and unknown out of it all. And, fundraise for your cause while you’re at it.

56. Documentary screening.

These days there’s a documentary or two for every topic, cause, event, holiday… You name you can learn a lot about almost anything by watching documentaries. So, why not host a documentary screening to raise awareness about your cause while raising money for it.

57. Social media challenge.

This one might seem easy, but getting a social media challenge to catch on takes a bit of luck and a lot of work and a free peer-to-peer fundraising platform will help you organize it all and allow participants to set up and run their own mini-campaigns.

58. Corporate sponsorship.

Getting corporate sponsors to donate to your nonprofit or sponsor your next fundraising event might not be the first thing on your to-do list. (Especially if you’re a small to medium sized nonprofit.) But, it can be worth the time.

59. Tech workshop.

The gap between technology and those of us who know how to use it is growing constantly. Your nonprofit can help by enlisting members of your community that are a bit more tech savvy than others to host tech workshops that focus on teaching others the ins and outs of the tech we all use today.

60. Text-to-donate campaign.

Text-to-donate is a form-based mobile fundraising method that allows anyone make a donation with a simple text message. It’s as easy as that. (There are quite a few online fundraising platforms that can help your nonprofit set one up.)

61. Quick raffle.

A quick-fire raffle is a raffle in which the tickets are sold and the winning number is drawn in short period of time, for example within 10 minutes to half an hour. This is a great way to impart a sense of urgency and add a bit of a twist to your next raffle. You can learn more about running a raffle here.

62. Day of service.

A day of service is a day your nonprofit organization sets aside to encourage participants to do something good. It can be a small favour for a neighbour, some community service, or the generous gift of their time to a nonprofit in need.

63. Personalized shout outs (candy grams, etc.).

Personalized shout outs are messages sent via candy gram, carols, code, elf, ghost, whatever! Each message is sent for the cost of a donation.

64. Virtual thank you jars.

A virtual thank you jar is exactly what it sounds like: a digital jar that donors can drop a few coins into.

65. Recipe swap.

You know it. I know it. We all know it. Or, wish we did. Well, a recipe swap is the perfect time to get it: the recipe you’ve always wanted.

Annual fundraising ideas.

66. Charity walk or run.

We’re all familiar with this one. You can learn more right here.

67. Community yard sale.

A lazy long weekend. A street full of neighbours. You know what they say, one person’s stuff is another’s treasure. Encourage participants to sell as much as they can with proceeds going to a good cause. Don’t forget to throw in a BBQ and some entertainment!

68. School fun night.

A school fun night is a fun way to spend a night with your family and friends. Families buy tickets, treats, snacks, drinks and go from activity to activity winning tickets and prizes as they go. A creative way to raise money for your school every year. (An online fundraising platform that allows you to accept in-person payments for free would be a big help here.)

69. Food truck festival.

This one is a great way to raise money for your cause and, if it’s successful, a good one to repeat every year. Reach out to local and visiting restaurants and food trucks and invite them to your food truck festival. Remember the live music!

70. Pet fashion show.

A pet fashion show is just like a regular fashion show, but for pets. You can even encourage participants and their pets to wear matching outfits!

71. Annual plant sale.

This one will take a bit more organization but, with the help of a local green house, can be a beautiful way to raise money for your nonprofit. You can even make an event out of the pick-up day with a BBQ, live music, and courses on taking care of your plants.

72. Online raffle.

Charitable raffles and lotteries are nothing new but, they are a great way to attract donors and increase your nonprofit’s revenue. That being said, running a successful raffle or lottery for your nonprofit organization can seem daunting due to the various local regulations. So, we’ve made our raffles and lotteries forms customizable!

73. Golf tournament.

A charity golf tournament sounds like a lot of fun. But, planning a charity golf tournament is a whole other story. These 11 steps are here to help.

74. A miniput tournament.

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.

75. Corporate sponsorships.

Getting corporate sponsors to donate to your nonprofit or sponsor your next fundraising event might not be the first thing on your to-do list. (Especially if you’re a small to medium sized nonprofit.) But, it can be worth the time.

76. Read-A-Thon.

When it comes to fundraising for schools and libraries, there aren’t a ton of educational fundraising ideas that appeal to a wide range of people, ages, likes, etc. In fact, there might only be one: a Read-A-Thon. A Read-A-Thon is a peer-to-peer fundraising event that encourages people (often children or students) to read a as many books or pages within a certain amount of time as they can.

77. Swim-A-Thon.

A Swim-A-Thon is a lot like a Read-A-Thon, but participants will swim as far as they can instead of reading as many books as they can. It’s also a perfect peer-to-peer campaign to run on a yearly basis.

78. Virtual book club.

A virtual book club is a creative way to get people reading and involved with your nonprofit organization. And, with a bit of creativity, you can get existing free online fundraising platforms to do a lot of the organizing work for you. (Use eCommerce stores to sell books and branded merchandise, use peer-to-peer solutions to encourage members to choose a book and prepare questions, etc.)

79. 24-hour challenge.

A 24-hour challenge is where participants sign up to do something for 24 consecutive hours. They can sign up as a team or individually and, in classic peer-to-peer style, will raise money for their efforts.

80. Pet parade.

Well, we’d definitely attend a pet parade. Wouldn’t you?

81. A charity BBQ.

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 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!

82. Charity car and dog wash.

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 car. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other money-making possibilities. What about washing their dog while you wash their car? (Zeffy’s Tap-to-Pay app lets you accept payments in person for free.)

83. Leaf-raking fundraiser.

Everyone’s favourite yearly fall activity can be even more fun if you make an event out of it. Ask donors to sign up to help others rake their lawns and celebrate the end of a good day’s work with a potluck dinner and a live show.

84. Costume swap.

A lot like a clothing swap or an equipment swap, a costume swap is exactly what it sounds like: an event people can sign up for and attend where they swap halloween costumes.

85. A formal gala.

Planning a fundraising gala can definitely seem daunting at first. But don’t worry—or worry a little less. We’ve come up with a few essential steps your nonprofit can take to ensure your preparation phase runs smoothly.

86. Carolling for your cause.

There’s nothing like being sung to during the holidays! Gather a group of carollers, practice a few carols, and start spreading that holiday joy, while asking for donations for a good cause.

Last-minute fundraising ideas.

87. Social media blitz.

Reach out to your team members, volunteers, current donors, local businesses and celebrities and get them all to share a pre-written message to encourage donations and build awareness for your cause.

88. One-day online auction.

Maybe you have a collection of left-over donations. Or some merchandise you’d like to clear out. Or a local business just made a generous donation. A one-day online auction is a great way to build a sense of urgency and raise some money for your cause.

89. An emergency appeal email.

A well crafted email with a clear, strong call to action may sound simple, but it can be a successful way to encourage donors to donate—especially if it’s for an urgent cause.

90. Limited-run or limited-time merchandise sale.

Partnering with local artists or celebrities to create limited-edition merchandise is an excellent way to promote your cause and raise money. You can offer the merchandise online for a limited time or produce a limited number of each piece.

91. Personalized thank you messages.

It’s not news that saying thank you is good for us. We all know that a simple thank you builds trust and closer bonds with the people around us. But what is news is that just witnessing a thank you can bring entire groups of people closer together, strengthening relationships and creating a desire to help and connect even more.

92. Virtual bingo night.

A virtual bingo night can be thrown together pretty quickly is a fun way to raise money for an urgent cause.

93. 50/50 raffle.

A 50/50 raffle is a simple fundraising tool to add to any event. All you need is an enthusiastic crowd, a group of volunteers, and raffle tickets. The prize is half of the money collected, so everyone should be interested in purchasing a ticket. The more tickets you sell, the higher the pot!

94. Emergency fundraising countdown.

Nothing raises money faster than a sense of urgency. A simple countdown on local radio or TV stations, on your website, or on your social media can engage donors and raise money for your cause.

95. Minute-to-win-it challenge.

A minute-to-win-it challenge takes it’s name from an international game show franchise and involves participants taking part in a series of 60-second challenges to raise money for a good cause.

96. Morning coffee challenge.

Instead of buying a coffee on your way to work or on your next coffee break, encourage your donors to stay home or drink the (probably less good) coffee at work once a week and donate the money they would have spent on coffee to a good cause.

97. Reach out to lapsed donors.

Regardless of the reason why some donors lapse, a nonprofit should consider re-engaging them. Why? Well, they were once interested in donating their time, energy, and money to your cause. So, with the right messaging, they might just be convinced to give again.

98. Community clean-up.

With a quick call to action you can engage your donor base to spend a day or afternoon cleaning up their community while raising money for a cause they care about.

99. A virtual Dance-A-Thon.

A Dance-A-Thon is a fun way to get people moving while they raise money for a good cause and have fun while they do it!

100. Holiday gift wrapping.

Every year we all go through the stressful, present buying and wrapping spree. Why not relieve a bit of that stress by offering to wrap everyone’s gift for a small donation? You can even get custom wrapping paper or gift tags made.

101. Pancake breakfast.

A delicious pancake breakfast always attracts a crowd. You can host one almost any time, for any reason. After all, who doesn’t like pancakes? Or, if you’re feeling wild, waffles!

Online tools and platforms to help you with your nonprofit’s next fundraiser.

When it comes to online platforms and tools to help your small to medium sized nonprofit organize it’s next fundraiser, there are a few options that stand out for their humanitarian or business-for-good angles.

  1. Zeffy: the only 100% free event ticketing and event management solution for nonprofits.
  2. Ticketspice: known for their transparent pricing, which can be helpful and rare for nonprofits.
  3. Qgiv: flexible tools to empower your nonprofit’s fundraising events.
  4. Wild Apricot: a solid option for nonprofits that need to manage memberships alongside event registration.
  5. Eventzilla: a simple and cost-effective event registration and ticketing platform great for smaller nonprofits.
  6. Ticketleap: eliminated service tiers so all event organizers can access event and ticketing tools similar to the larger sites.
  7. Localist: an event management platform that’s great for community-focused nonprofits.
  8. Humanitix: the humane ticketing platform with lower booking fees that all go to charity.

Tips for organizing your next fundraiser.

Maybe you’re a checklist person and maybe you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person. If you’re a checklist person, this section’s for you. If not, we definitely recommend taking a look anyways.

Our checklist isn’t meant to be set in stone. Use it as a guideline to get started:

(Oh, and it’s a good idea to check out any local rules and regulations. Especially when it comes to raffles, alcohol, and food!)

You can check out a detailed how-to guide in: How to organize a fundraising event for a nonprofit organization.

Ready to host your next fundraiser?

Hosting your first or next fundraising event doesn’t have to be a daunting, impossible task. With a little creativity, a lot of help (Just ask!), and a free online fundraising platform (like, say, Zeffy), you can make your next fundraising event a success!

Other fundraising ideas:

8 Fall fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

6 Summer fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

10 Holiday fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

7 Halloween fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

8 Ways to make your next fundraising event kid tested and parent approved.

10 GivingTuesday ideas for nonprofits.

How to organize a fundraising event for a nonprofit organization.

Read-A-Thon fundraiser: The ultimate guide to success.