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48 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits (During & After Lockdown)

Posted on June 23, 2021 // All, Marketing and Sales

A constant task for nonprofits is fundraising to sustain your activities. 

There are myriad fun, fabulous, and quirky ideas to get the donations rolling in. 

With over 180,000 nonprofits and charities in Canada and 1.5 million nonprofits in the USA, there are lots of organizations vying for people’s money, so you need to find unique fundraising ideas to stay relevant. 

Here, we’ve gathered together a list of:

  • Quick fundraising ideas
  • Fundraising ideas for a high-end audience
  • Proven successful fundraising ideas
  • Fun events that can work online and offline

To inspire you when you’ve got an event or campaign on the horizon. 

We’ve got plenty of ideas to share, so let’s hop right into it. 

48 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits (During and After Lockdown)

Idea #1: Apparel Fundraising

Idea #2: Read-a-thon

Idea #3: Board Games Fundraiser

Idea #4: Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Idea #5: T-shirt Fundraiser

Idea #6: Peer-to-peer Fundraising

Idea #7: Silent Auction Fundraiser

Idea #8: Online and In-person Wine Tasting Fundraiser

Idea #9: Car Wash Fundraiser

Idea #10: Scavenger Hunt

Idea #11: Karaoke Fundraiser

Idea #12: Baked Goods Fundraiser

Idea #13: Cooking Class Fundraiser

Idea #14: Online Concert

Idea #15: Social Media Contests

Idea #16: Community Members Clean-up Fundraiser

Idea #17: Online Birthday Fundraiser

Idea #18: Run or Walk Fundraiser

Idea #19: Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Idea #20: Organize a Dance Marathon

Idea #21: Movie Night Fundraiser

Idea #22: Restaurant Fundraising

Idea #23: Raffle Tickets Fundraiser

Idea #24: Rent-an-Athlete Event

Idea #25: Water Balloon Fight for a Good Cause

Idea #26: Donate for a Vote

Idea #27: Fashion Show Fundraiser

Idea #28: Ice Cream Social

Idea #29: Trivia Night Fundraiser

Idea #30: Potluck Dinner Fundraiser

Idea #31: BBQ Contest

Idea #32: Eating Contest

Idea #33: Crowdfunding Campaign

Idea #34: Matching Gift Fundraiser

Idea #35: Summer Items Sale Fundraiser

Idea #36: Field Day Fundraiser

Idea #37: Dog Walking Fundraiser

Idea #38: Used Books Sale

Idea #39: Garage Sale

Idea #40: Branded Merchandise Fundraiser

Idea #41: Food Truck Fundraiser

Idea #42: Grocery Store Fundraiser

Idea #43: Letter to Santa Fundraiser

Idea #44: Online Swag Store Fundraiser

Idea #45: Face-Painting Day Fundraiser

Idea #46: Video Games Contest

Idea #47: Community Picnic

Idea #48: Corporate Grants and Sponsorships

Fundraising Idea #1: Apparel Fundraising

First up on our list of fundraiser ideas for your nonprofit is the apparel fundraiser. 

Image Source: Apparel Now

This is a great way to not only raise funds for your organization but also get your name and brand out there to increase awareness. 

It’s a super simple and proven way of raising money – simply add your brand to t-shirts, hats, jackets, and the like and sell the items online, at an event, or even in your physical locations. 

Make sure your branding is on trend so that it’s super wearable; it should get you some user-generated content on social media, too!

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #2: Read-a-thon

Our next idea to boost your fundraising efforts is to hold a Read-a-thon.

Image Source: Read-A-Thon

The premise of this school fundraising idea is pretty simple; students are encouraged to read books and time how long they spend reading using online tools. 

Friends and family members pledge money for every milestone the child reaches, helping your nonprofit to raise money and also encourage kids to read more books. 

Read-a-thons are generally used as school fundraisers, but the idea could be adapted for an after-school club or other youth organizations. 

Campaigns ran through the Read-a-thon site average $10,000 with the average individual donation just below $30, meaning there’s a lot of potential for a short-term campaign.

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #3: Board Games Fundraiser

Looking for a fundraiser that gets the whole community involved? Check out board games fundraisers. 

You can adapt lots of board games to localize them to your town or community, such as Monopoly or snakes and ladders. 

Sell advertising space on your board to local businesses – think “Sandy’s Pet Parlor” rather than “Central Avenue”, or “Sam’s Hardware” brand on the ladders – and use this revenue to cover your production costs. 

When you sell the board games to people in your community, all the takings will go towards your nonprofit. 

An added bonus is an increase in community engagement and a sense of civic pride in the local area. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #4: Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Another way to reach your fundraising goal is to run a shoe drive in your community. 

“What’s a shoe drive?” we hear you ask. 

All you need to do is work with Funds2Orgs to get your fundraising plan in place and start to collect new, lightly worn, or used shoes from people who want to help out your organization or nonprofit. 

Image Source: Funds2Orgs

The donated shoes are collected by the organization and sent to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries to refit, repurpose, and resell them. 

Not only is this a great way to engage people around your nonprofit, it’s a great eco-friendly idea since shoes can be made of materials that can take hundreds of years to decompose – repurposing them means they get fully used before being discarded. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #5: T-shirt Fundraiser

Similar to the apparel fundraiser we looked at a moment ago, you can create a standalone t-shirt fundraiser instead. 

Image Source: Instagram

There must be few people in the world who don’t own a single t-shirt; they’re ubiquitous. 

Lots of nonprofit organizations have t-shirts for sale, some that are the same all year round, whilst others will create funky and eye-catching designs depending on celebratory periods like Pride Month

Choose good quality fabrics to ensure that your tee and your brand will get worn again and again. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #6: Peer-to-peer Fundraising

To take your fundraising campaign truly global, consider using peer-to-peer fundraising

The first peer-to-peer fundraising site was Indiegogo, founded back in 2008, allowing people to donate funds to charities, organizations, projects, and nonprofits. 

There are lots of other sites available too, some of which allow monthly donations and others only have one-off payments. 

Choose one that has the funding model you want and fees you agree with, and simply create a fundraising page. 

You may need to verify details of your cause to the website and you’ll need to put in some effort to let your potential backers know the campaign is live. 

It’s also possible for you to give away small gifts for donations over certain amounts. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #7: Silent Auction Fundraiser

Rather than the bustle and close contact of an auction house, consider running a silent auction

First, you need to gather a selection of valuable prizes from local businesses and service providers. 

Next, you either need to create an online space to hold your silent auction or find a space to display your auction items. 

For the online option, you can use a tool such as Charity Auctions Today to upload and manage your items. 

Once you’ve got a space to show off your donated wares, people who are interested bid for each item, without knowing what anyone else has bid already. 

As you’d expect, the person who bid the most within the timeframe you set will buy the item and their money goes straight to your nonprofit. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #8: Online and In-person Wine Tasting Fundraiser

When you have an audience who appreciate the finer things in life, an online or in-person wine tasting fundraiser may be in order

Usually, you need to partner with a wine merchant during your event – they’ll provide the samples and the expertise to guide people in the tasting. 

The money for your organization comes from you getting a slice of the proceeds from the wine sales and monetizing other elements of the event. 

For an online event, you can sell other branded merchandise and apparel or even direct people to your online auction or online donation form. 

In person, you’ll be able to sell other items, whether in partnership with other local vendors or some branded swag you’ve had customized for the occasion. 

Cost: High

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #9: Car Wash Fundraiser

Most people find washing their car a chore, so a car wash fundraiser is a great community event idea. 

Image Source: Instagram

You need to find a venue, ideally by asking a local car wash company if you can take over their site for the day, otherwise, a school or sports venue parking lot would work. 

Next up, gather volunteers who want to help – bringing in members of a local club or sports team is a handy idea. 

Now, you need to promote your one-day-only car wash to the local community and encourage them to come along and have their car washed on a donation basis. 

It’s the type of event that you’re unlikely to run too regularly, but if you need to fundraise for a specific goal, this is a good place to start. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #10: Scavenger Hunt

Next up on our nonprofit fundraising ideas list is the scavenger hunt. 

Image Source: Teaching Mama

This one will take a little time to organize and plan, but it should pay off in the end. 

You need to have teams sign up and pay a small fee, or if it’s businesses taking part you can price the entrance fee a little higher. 

Give every team a list of items they need to find with specific details and instructions, such as “a 3.5lb kosher chicken” or “a selfie holding a golf club”, and a deadline to return by. 

You can increase the sense of competition by assigning points to each item, with difficult items attracting higher points. 

This can make for a high-energy afternoon with groups racing from place to place in your local mall or town center, raising awareness to people who may not know about your cause. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #11: Karaoke Fundraiser

We all love a good sing-song, so a karaoke fundraiser can really bring people together. 

To set up a karaoke event, you’ll need a venue with the right equipment or a local company that will lend you what you need. 

Then, you can charge an entrance fee or a fee to sing a song – or both, depending on your audience. 

Offer prizes donated by local shops and restaurants in categories like the best song, best group performance, and awards by age category may also be appropriate. 

It’s a surefire way to have a bit of fun and can go down well in a corporate environment where colleagues are often used to seeing the more formal side of each other. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #12: Baked Goods Fundraiser

We all love a good bake sale, so a baked goods fundraiser is an obvious one for our list. 

Image Source: Bake Sales Toronto

Bake sales can generate money for your nonprofit fundraiser in a few different ways, such as simply selling scrummy cakes and other baked items or auctioning off elaborate, showpiece cakes. 

You could even offer baking classes and have a cake decorating stand to draw in extra donations. 

Source your cakes as donations from local cake shops and amateur bakers to bring members of your community together. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #13: Cooking Class Fundraiser

Ideal as a virtual event or an in-person fundraiser, try a cooking class fundraiser for your next event. 

Image Source: Child’s Life

Cooking was a hobby that lots of people took up during pandemic lockdowns and social distancing so hosting a cooking class to fundraise for your nonprofit cashes in on that. 

You can hold a cooking class in a local restaurant and charge for entry, or if you have someone tech-savvy on your fundraising team, you can live-stream the event and charge for access. 

Friendly competition can even be encouraged, with the chef who runs the class rating the plates of the attendees. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #14: Online Concert

Take inspiration from artists like Lady Gaga who organized an online concert during the pandemic, and put one together yourself. 

Image Source: YouTube

Starring a local musician or few that you’re connected with, you can use a platform such as YouTube to host a live-streamed concert. 

The stream can be embedded into your website or hosted on Facebook so you can simply use a donate button to get donations coming in. 

People want to see live music after a year of lockdown, so this event should go down a storm, and you’re not restricting yourself to a local audience. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #15: Social Media Contests

Many of us will remember when the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014, so understand how effective social media contests can be. 

Image Source: Instagram

The Ice Bucket Challenge required participants to have a bucket of ice and water poured over their head whilst being filmed and post it on their social media channels. 

With the aim to raise awareness of Lou Gherig disease, or ALS, the charity organizing it received nearly US$100 million in August 2014, compared to their normal donations of around US$3 million per month. 

You can’t guarantee your social media challenge will be as successful as that, but you can still harness the power of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook to ask your supporters to post silly, funny, or cute selfies and post a link to a donation page at the same time. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #16: Community Members Clean Up Fundraiser

Public events can be messy, so organizing a community members clean-up can be a great way to help your nonprofit and the environment. 

Image Source: Facebook

Work with local event organizers, such as celebrations, parades, or even music concerts, and ask them for the clean-up contract. 

Your nonprofit will get paid for organizing the people to pick up the trash and other detritus, and since your crew works on a volunteer basis, there’s little to no cost. 

This type of fundraiser can only happen sporadically but it is a good one-off way to bring your volunteers together and help the environment – remember to sort through the recyclable trash and sell it to the local recycling center for extra cash!

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #17: Online Birthday Fundraiser

Next on our list is an easy fundraising idea – the online birthday fundraiser

Image Source: Facebook

There are many ways you can do this, but the basic premise is that your supporters ask their social media friends and followers to donate to a charity rather than buy them birthday gifts. 

Following the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge that we looked at a little earlier, Facebook added functionality for organizations to raise money directly through the platform including for people’s birthdays. 

To date, there has been $5 billion raised for charities and nonprofits on the platform this way, so it’s definitely a successful route to explore. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #18: Run or Walk Fundraiser

Holding a charity fun run or walk is a classic fundraising idea you can try for your nonprofit.  

Although it might seem like exclusively an in-person event, a walkathon or fun run can still be a virtual event. 

Ask participants to have friends and family pledge money for every mile they walk and either create a course locally or have people complete their miles in their neighborhood or garden. 

One super successful example of this type of fundraiser was Captain Tom in the UK. 

He decided that in the run-up to his 100th birthday, he would walk 100 laps of his garden and raise money for the National Health Service during the pandemic. 

Image Source: The Guardian

The media covered the story of the former war hero and his aim of raising a few hundred pounds turned into £32 million, or roughly US$45 million, by the end of his campaign. 

This type of event can definitely be a success and is great if your nonprofit is in the health and wellness sector. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #19: Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Many people enjoy a good round of golf, so holding a golf tournament fundraiser can be a handy idea. 

You can structure your tournament in lots of different ways, but the fundraising idea remains the same – people sponsor their friends and family to play golf and the players also pay an entry fee. 

Consider doing a parent and child tournament, partners tournament, or pitting two local golf clubs against each other. 

Creating friendly competition can drive donations, and you’ve also got an engaged audience at your disposal to promote other activities such as a fundraising raffle. 

Looking for a way to make this virtual? 

You can have contestants play golf in an online game and stream it online to earn those sponsorship dollars. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #20: Organize a Dance Marathon

Dating as far back as the 1920s in the USA, the dance marathon fundraiser is tried and tested. 

Image Source: Iowa Now

This type of fundraiser takes a lot of effort from the participants, i.e. the dancers, but should prove to be great fun. 

You organize an event over 24 or 48 hours and invite dancers to gather sponsorship through peer fundraising platforms like GoFundMe. 

Those taking part dance for absolutely as long as possible, with some safety measures like short breaks for the toilet and hydration, of course!

Since this type of event will be a long day full of fun, you can have other fundraisers alongside, like running your silent auction, bake sale, or raffle. 

Cost: High

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #21: Movie Night Fundraiser

As a post-lockdown event, you can run a movie night fundraiser

Image Source: Facebook

Choose your audience for your fundraiser; whether it’s going to be for kids or families or a more mature audience will dictate which movie you show. 

Find a venue that has the capacity you’re looking for, working with a local movie theater could smooth over the requirement to get permission to show the movie you want. 

If you go with a different venue type, it’s important to get the rights to show the movie in public so check with your local government who should be able to guide you on this. 

Next, sell tickets to your target audience! 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #22: Restaurant Fundraising

Looking for an idea for an easy fundraiser? Restaurant fundraising might be just what you’re looking for. 

Image Source: Bertucci’s

It’s generally much easier to raise funds when you’re asking people to pay for something they’d buy anyway. 

Dinner, anyone?

Work with a local restaurant or a chain that already has a fundraising policy and make an arrangement where you bring in a lot of customers for your fundraiser and your nonprofit gets a cut of the takings for the night. 

It works as a one-off event but can also be a regular occurrence in your community and help you build lasting relationships in the area. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #23: Raffle Tickets Fundraiser

Selling raffle tickets is a common way to raise funds for your nonprofit. 

Raffles have become even easier in the last few years with online fundraising tools like Rallyup

Image Source: Rallyup

Collect donations of prizes from your local area – offer to add their branding to your campaign to get them really interested in your fundraiser. 

Then, sell tickets either in-person, online, or both, until a set cut-off date. 

Draw tickets to determine the winner of prizes and total up the amount of cash you’ve generated. 

It’s common to have a raffle in conjunction with other events like your bake sale, karaoke event, or dance marathon, for example. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #24: Rent-an-Athlete Event

When your fundraiser is locally-based, you can consider running a rent-an-athlete event. 

Partner with a local sports team, which will be super easy if your nonprofit works with local schools and colleges, and “rent out” their players. 

People can pay to have your athletes do tasks like mowing their lawn, walking the dog, or even coaching a rival local team!

You can run it as an auction, too, which can help increase the donations you receive. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #25: Water Balloon Fight for a Good Cause

To inject some fun into your fundraising, especially in the summer months, you can organize a water balloon fight for your good cause. 

Image Source: GreenPointers

Ideally, you’d run this on a local park or in a parking lot at a pinch, so you don’t damage property with so much water around. 

There are different ways to monetize a water fight, such as charging people a small fee to enter or charging per filled water balloon they take. 

Add on a bake sale or BBQ, or any other summertime activities to increase attendance at your water balloon fight, and make it part of a fun family day fundraiser. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #26: Donate for a Vote

If you want to introduce some friendly rivalry into your nonprofit fundraising efforts, look in a donate for a vote scheme. 

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about elections here!

One example of how this would work is by running a competition like your own version of “Dancing With the Stars” or “The Great British Baking Show”. 

Have your audience vote by making a donation, with one vote equal to one dollar – the person or team with the highest donations wins a grand prize!

To facilitate this type of competition, you can use mobile bidding software like Onecause or Bidding Owl to make your fundraiser interactive for your participants. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #27: Fashion Show Fundraiser

A fashion show fundraiser is a great opportunity to showcase some local talent. 

Image Source: Models for Charity

Whether you bring in local fashion retailers, art and fashion students, or kids from your local schools, you can produce a catwalk show that’ll raise a decent amount of money. 

For a high-end show with local designers, you’ll be able to sell corporate sponsorship to cover any costs and charge entrance fees plus take a cut of the bar. 

It’s also an opportunity to auction off, or even silent auction, some of the clothes being modeled on the day. 

If you run your event with younger children or teenagers, you can have a competition where teams pay to enter and possibly use the “donate for a vote” model to choose a winner. 

Cost: High

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #28: Ice Cream Social

For a super fun summer afternoon, host an ice cream social fundraiser event. 

Image Source: Cheshire Conservation

It’s pretty much as it sounds – you bring together lots of people and sell them ice cream!

Choose to source your ice cream locally, buy wholesale, or even make your own, and sell it with a range of toppings available. 

There are quite a lot of logistics involved in this fundraiser, from buying or making the ice cream, to storage, finding a venue, and having enough volunteers and other entertainment on hand. 

If you can cover all of that, building a fundraising event around ice cream should be a high donating day for your nonprofit. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #29: Trivia Night Fundraiser

Give your supporters a chance to flex their intellectual muscles with a trivia night fundraiser. 

Image Source: KVC Kansas

This is another fundraising idea that can work just as well as an online event as in-person, and you could even make a hybrid event with a live stream of teams mixing with those who can attend in person. 

Charge a small registration fee to the teams, sell tickets to spectators, and even have an apparel stand and other merchandise on hand to generate more income. 

This could work really well as a school fundraiser, just be sure to aim your trivia questions at the right age level for your participants. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #30: Potluck Dinner Fundraiser

For a simple way to raise funds and bring people together, consider a potluck dinner fundraiser. 

The premise is that you ask a group of people to cook a dish for dinner and everyone brings it to one place. 

Tickets to the dinner can then be sold, including to the cooks, and the whole family can have a hearty meal and try something new. 

This type of event can be as large or as intimate as you like – you can encourage people to group together as five friends and each pay to attend, or have a large venue and serve the food buffet style. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #31: BBQ Contest 

When you’re sure you’ll get long sunny days, a BBQ contest is an ideal fundraiser. 

Image Source: PCNA

It can be challenging to organize, but should be rewarding when you bring together members of the community.

You need to secure a large venue that allows you to set up grills and ideally is close to a place where you can store a lot of meat. 

To run a competitive event, you can challenge teams from local restaurants to cook the best BBQ meal and have either expert judges or your attendees vote for their favorite. 

Alternatively, you can charge an entrance fee and make the day all-you-can-eat or have each grill station charge for their food. 

However you set it up, if you’re good at logistics this can be a big fundraiser for your nonprofit. 

Cost: High

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #32: Eating Contest

A great North American tradition is the eating contest, so why not adapt it for your fundraising efforts?

Image Source: Boca Ciega Bay

You may have a local restaurant that already has an eating contest, think “Eat the whole plate and eat for free” or “finish the burger in 2 minutes for a $100 voucher” type of ideas. 

You can ask such a restaurant to hold an event in partnership with your nonprofit and sell tickets or share revenue from the people who attend. 

The other type of eating contest works around how many hot dogs, dumplings, cookies, etc. can be eaten within a limited time. 

You can ask contestants to seek sponsorship based on how many they can eat and keep the competition open throughout the day. 

Be sure to work with a local organization that encourages healthy eating habits and can offer any support where needed. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #33: Crowdfunding Campaign

When your support base is spread across the country, a simple crowdfunding campaign can help increase your donations. 

This can be similar to the peer-to-peer fundraiser idea we offered a little earlier, but this one tends to have a fixed goal in mind. 

Whether you work with a local marching band and need to buy new instruments or fund a medical center in a developing country that needs a new x-ray machine, crowdfunding can help reach the target. 

You can set an amount of time that you need to reach the goal, and with some crowdfunding sites, you will only receive the money once you hit your target, such as on Kickstarter. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #34: Matching Gift Fundraiser

Tap into the charitable efforts of local corporations and go for a matching gift fundraiser. 

Image Source: Classy

Most big businesses will be aware of how these schemes work – their employees donate whatever amount they’re able to and the business matches their donations dollar-for-dollar. 

You can run this type of campaign one time only or you can work it as a long-term partnership with the corporation with regular donations from employees and their employer. 

Approach businesses that have similar values and goals to your nonprofit so that the executive team buys into your idea.

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #35: Summer Items Sale Fundraiser

As the summer holiday season fast approaches, consider a summer items sale fundraiser. 

This is where you ask community members to donate any summer items they don’t use and sell them for a small donation.

Image Source: Gemline

Another way you could run this is to create a range of summer-specific apparel and travel items and sell them in the same locations you sell your normal apparel items. 

When people have reason to buy beach balls, sunscreen, and travel pillows anyway, they’re likely to buy them from your organization to support your goals. 

Be sure to have killer branding and keep your items on-trend and you can get some valuable user-generated content, too. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #36: Field Day Fundraiser

A school field day, or school sports day for our British readers, is a great fundraiser for your school. 

You can charge entrance or take donations on the door for your track and field day to generate income. 

It’s possible to have more than the school athletes compete at a field day; encourage parents and other attendees to compete by having local businesses donate prizes such as gift cards and gift hampers. 

This idea can work from elementary school right through to high school and college, with plenty of potential donors willing to help out for an educational cause. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #37: Dog Walking Fundraiser

We’ve already looked at fun runs and walks, so why not add an extra element and run a dog walking fundraiser?

Image Source: News Channel 9

Bring together supporters of your animal-related nonprofit and have them walk their furry loved one to raise money for you. 

It can be an event held at a central location with everyone and their dogs gathering for a long walk in a nature reserve or large park. 

Alternatively, a virtual event works in which dog-owners walk their dogs for sponsor money in their own area. 

Everyone loves doggo photos on their social media channels, so this is a great way to bring awareness as well as some much-needed cash into your organization. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #38: Used Books Sale 

Books are an item with lots of value and no one likes to throw them out, so put together a used book sale to raise money for your nonprofit. 

Work with a local coffee shop, library, or community center to have a place to gather used book donations from the local area. 

Then, you can choose to have your sale as a long-running campaign, with donations accepted and books sold regularly, or you can have one big day where you sell all the books. 

For any books left unsold, your nonprofit can donate them to organizations that can find people in need of books, too. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #39: Garage Sale

A classic fundraising idea is the garage sale.

Image Source: Scarce

In the run-up to your garage sale, you can encourage people to clear out their home of any clothes, toys, and other items they no longer use. 

Have a location ready to receive such items for a week before your sale is planned and bring together volunteers to categorize and price all the donations. 

Publicize your fundraising garage sale well to generate interest and get buyers to come along. 

We all know the phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”, and people generally love to get a good bargain at a garage sale. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #40: Branded Merchandise Fundraiser

To create a steady income stream for your nonprofit, you can run a long-term branded merchandise fundraiser. 

Image Source: Instagram

Pick a few items of fundraising merchandise that’ll resonate with your target audience and sell them across a range of channels. 

This could be anything from water bottles and other drinkware to pins, tote bags, or notebooks – have a good design based on your logo or a strong message and people will be keen to buy into your nonprofits brand and mission. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #41: Food Truck Fundraiser

Food trucks are very on-trend at the moment, so bring them in to create a food truck fundraiser

Image Source: Richmond Grid

There’s a lot of food involved in fundraisers, as we’ve seen throughout our list, and a food truck fundraiser is a modern spin on the idea. 

Work with local food truck owners to bring them together in one event, maybe in a sports stadium parking lot or other local space. 

Create a celebratory atmosphere, charge an entrance fee, run some activities, and people will be rushing to the food trucks for lunch and dinner. 

You can also charge the food trucks to place their stand at your event, or negotiate a cut of their income from the day or evening to generate even more cash for your fundraising efforts. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #42: Grocery Store Fundraiser

Grocery stores are at the heart of the community, so running a grocery store fundraiser is a good opportunity to bring in donations. 

The general idea is that you gently and kindly solicit for donations at your local grocery store with collection tins and donation boxes. 

To avoid making people feel pressured, stay away from the checkout question: “do you want to donate $ to charity?” 

Instead use flyers, banners, etc. and run your fundraiser for a limited period of time, and at weekends you can have people offer help unpack bags into cars for an extra donation. 

Be sure to inform people of where their donations will end up with some positive posters in the store, too.  

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #43: Letter to Santa Fundraiser

As winter approaches, it’s time to think of ways to fundraise for the season, so why not try a letter to Santa fundraiser. 

This type of fundraiser works best when your audience is families with young children. 

Invite children to write their own letter to Santa – or email, since Santa moves with the times. 

Your nonprofit can then organize a personalized response using information about the child supplied by their parent or guardian. 

Capitalize on the time of year and how generous and open people feel whilst also contributing towards a magical holiday season for kids. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #44: Online Swag Store Fundraiser

Everyone loves swag, and running an online swag store for your nonprofit can give your coffers a boost. 

Here’s an example of a popular swag store:

Simply team up with a swag supplier or build your own swag store online with branded goodies. 

People can buy swag to support a good cause and there is little effort required after the initial setup.  

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: Low

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #45: Face-Painting Day Fundraiser

Kids love to get into character so have a face-painting day to raise money and awareness. 

Image Source: Charnwood Fundraising

Enlist the skills of professional face painters to make your day worthwhile, and either charge per face that gets painted or just a general family entrance fee. 

You can combine the face-painting with classes, sell face paints, and even bring in a storyteller to bring the creations to life at your event. 

This type of event is really useful for holidays such as Halloween. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #46: Video Games Contest

With the rise of esports as a genre of entertainment, you can bring this trend into your fundraising with a video games contest

This can be an online or in-person event, with donations taken for how long a player can stay in the game without losing or with entrants paying a fee to take part. 

You can engage fresh demographics with this type of fundraiser, such as teenagers and young people who may not be interested in some other fundraisers you do throughout the year. 

Cost: Low

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: Medium

Fundraising Idea #47: Community Picnic

A nice, gentle day out in the local park or national park can be complemented by a community picnic

Image Source: Mamma Knows West

Sell tickets and either encourage families to bring along their own food or include a picnic hamper filled with goodies in the price. 

Make sure to include eco-friendly utensils when you organize the food, too. 

This is a useful way to engage people in nature, the environment, and the outdoors so is a great fundraising idea when that’s the message of your nonprofit. 

Cost: High

Difficulty: Medium

Chance of success: High

Fundraising Idea #48: Corporate Grants and Sponsorships

Seeking corporate grants and sponsorships can take your nonprofit to a whole new level. 

This fundraising idea can take time and patience; you’ll need to do a lot of outreach to potential sponsors after lots of research to see if their values align with your mission. 

You get in touch with businesses who resonate with your nonprofit and either apply for grants from their philanthropic fund or ask them to sponsor a particular program. 

It’s worth thinking of things you can offer in return, such as social proof by adding their name to your website or sharing some of their corporate responsibility content on your social media channels. 

Cost: Medium

Difficulty: High

Chance of success: Medium

Now Over to You

That’s all 48 of them. 

We’ve reached the end of our list of effective fundraising ideas that you can try for your next campaign. 

There’s been ideas to engage families, kids, and adults, as well as local neighborhoods all the way to global audiences. 

When you need to bring a team on board to work on your apparel, merchandise, and swag, work with us at PRG for all your needs. 

With a few decades in the swag business, we know how to stock your fundraiser to get it popping – drop your details in the form below and we’ll get in touch to have a chat about your needs.

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