Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Fundraising event ideas have become a staple in many organizations as a way to help with fundraising event planning, entertaining and engaging your donors.

The key to having a successful nonprofit fundraising event is by encouraging engagement while still keeping it fun. If you can’t get your attendees engaged then your event will quickly lose steam. So make your initiatives fun, try new ideas and see what your donors value the most.

One idea to get your nonprofit started is to use text reminders and more traditional promotional channels to boost participation which is the first step in guaranteeing the success of your event.

FREE BONUS: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it for your nonprofit organization’s next event meeting. Includes 10 extra bonus ideas!

Below is a list of over 50 event fundraising ideas that you can easily implement at your organization. Whether you’re a small or large organization, there’s definitely something here that will be sure to fit for your organization.

Fundraising Event Ideas From A to Z

run walk fundraising event idea

5K Run/Walk

Low-cost with high ROI…easy to promote fundraising event idea…team crowdfunding fun for all ages. A 5K Run/Walk fundraising event can be all these things for your nonprofit organization. Not only can you raise funds for your cause by incorporating crowdfunding for nonprofits into your fundraising event, but through the sharing of your campaign by participants with their network of friends and family, you’ll also organically raise awareness for your org’s mission.

First choose the size and location of an event you can reasonably manage. Then save a date and set some realistic fundraising goals for your nonprofit. Themes add an extra element of fun…survival races and fun runs seem to attract more participants! Here’s what you need:

  • Location, Theme & Fundraising Goals
  • Sponsorship sign-up form
  • Participant sign-up form
  • Crowdfunding teams
  • First-aid staff/insurance/safety plans
  • Pre-scheduled mobile messages with event info like event location and route maps

Finding sponsors will help you stick to your budget, raise more money and promote your race. Sponsorship sign-up forms make the collection and organization of information simple plus mobile-first design and shareable links let sponsors come onboard from any mobile device or computer.

Communicate event information with everyone through pre-planned mobile messaging that includes event location and race route maps to make sure participants have everything they need to stay on-track. During the event, you can also send update texts so everyone from participants to supporters (even the cheerleaders on the sidelines) can keep track of the progress until everyone reaches the finish line.

Want more tried and true ideas like this? Or more creative and unique fundraising event ideas?

Keep reading below or download a PDF list that will show you all the ideas listed on this page as well as a handful of bonus ideas not found here.

50/50 Raffle

Your first step in planning a 50/50 raffle is to check your local and state laws to verify that this type of fundraiser is permitted in your area. If you have the green light, then get ready for a fundraising event idea that is fun, fast and easy. Either hold it yourself or approach community businesses such as theaters, music venues, and sporting events that generate a lively crowd, to hold it for you. Here’s what your nonprofit needs:

  • Raffle tickets. You can typically find these at your local party supply store.  Make sure to get the kind that is double-rolled, with pairs of tickets displaying the same numbers – one to get tossed into a container for the drawing and the other for the lucky buyer to keep.
  • A bucket, bowl, hat, fishbowl or other large container.
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for collecting ticket purchases via credit card (because not everyone carries cash these days)

Here’s how it works:

  • Supporters purchase raffle tickets (usually $1, $5, or $10 each, or in bundled packs like 5 $5 tickets for a discounted price of $20).
  • They write their name and mobile number on the back side of the ticket they’re going to toss into the drawing.
  • The winning ticket number is drawn after ticket sales close  with the winner splitting the net proceeds 50/50 with the organization.
  • Encourage supporters to use Mobile messaging to notify the lucky winner too.

You can increase the number of raffle tickets sold by letting supporters know they don’t have to be present to collect their prize because you can contact them via text message on their mobile phones to let them know they’ve won.

auction fundraising event idea


Fundraising auctions can take on various forms like live, ballroom, online, sealed bid or silent auctions. One thing is certain, they can all deliver big results. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Event RSVP form
  • Auction items
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for winning auction payment processing
  • Mobile marketing before the auction with event info. & sneak peeks of items via mobile messages
  • Subscription keyword for anyone interested in staying connected with your org all year

Deciding on the type of auction (traditional, silent, online, etc.) that’ll work best for your organization is a great place to start. Next, pick your theme, location and fundraising auction event date.

For auction items, reach out to sponsors, supporters, corporations, local businesses and the community. Gift baskets make great packages for auctioning off and are perfect for groups of individuals to assemble and donate. You can also collect donations of themed items and assemble the baskets yourself.

An event RSVP form or registration form will be necessary whether you are holding your auction as the event or incorporating it into a larger celebration. Use mobile marketing to help generate a buzz of excitement before the event by allowing sneak peeks of auction items and a chance to get in on any exclusive, pre-event auction opportunities.

Before your auction attendees leave, ask them to text a subscription keyword so they can stay connected with your organization and receive important updates & other valuable messages from you all year long!

Bachelor / Bachelorette Auction or Raffle

Auctioning or raffling off eligible bachelors/bachelorettes for a great cause can be a fun and entertaining, and surely one of the hottest fundraising events your nonprofit will ever host (with or without the rose ceremony). Participants are asked to bid or buy tickets for the chance to win a fabulous date with the volunteer bachelor/bachelorette of their choice. Here’s what you need:

  • Auction location
  • Eligible men and women willing to donate a date with a supporter
  • Mobile-friendly date registration and activity interest survey
  • Date package sponsors for fun activities and meals

A good way to get your for-profit partners involved in this type of fundraising event is to ask local restaurants and businesses to donate or sponsor date packages. Their involvement will help raise awareness and add to the quality experience of the winners’ dates. If you’ve decided on an auction, a live event thermometer can help you capture and display the winning bids (pledges) for each bachelor and bachelorette. Just watch the excitement build as it shows each bid getting you closer to reaching your fundraising event goal. Another way to run this event is to assign a keyword to each bachelor/bachelorette for easy capturing of text-to-donate raffle entries. You can then use real-time reporting and a third-party randomizer to select a winner.

basketball fundraising event idea

Basketball Hoops for Hope Game

Who needs Shaq and Kobe when you have your awesome supporters? Your nonprofit organization can quickly raise money and awareness for your cause with a friendly round of hoops.  Here’s what you need:

  • Basketball court (check availability at local schools, gyms, recreation centers and parks)
  • Player registration and team crowdfunding forms
  • Volunteer sign-up form
  • Mobile, print, and social media marketing strategy

2 to 3 weeks before your fundraising event, post flyers that include your keyword and shortcode text directions and/or a QR code linked to your mobile-friendly registration form. Hang them in local stores, gyms, sports centers, and restaurants. Better yet – invite registrants to sign up directly on a team crowdfunding page, which will empower them to start fundraising on behalf of your nonprofit’s cause.

With crowdfunding as your registration mechanism, you can set a minimum donation goal as a requirement for playing on the team. Remember, the average crowdfunding individual raises $612 with all donations are securely routed to your org’s merchant services account. You also get to keep all the donor data since it can be easily added to your nonprofit org’s CRM.

battle of the bands fundraising event idea

Battle of the Bands

If you’re looking to raise awareness and funds for your cause with a diverse audience, a battle of the bands fundraising event idea is one that will not disappoint. You’ll have the opportunity to raise money from band entry registration fees, ticket sales and crowdfunding donations raised by the acts and their fans as a way to cast votes in their favor. Here’s what you need:

  • A fun venue
  • Equipment and PA system (or ask bands to bring their own)
  • Mobile-friendly sign-up/audition participation form
  • Crowdfunding team forms & keywords (per band for voting purposes)
  • Mobile-friendly ticketing forms that feature sponsors & partners

Your venue availability and selection will determine the size of your event or vice versa. Try school gyms, community halls, malls (think outdoor summer concert series-style), or local coffee shops, which may offer discounted or donated space in exchange for extra foot traffic/business. Their contribution as a sponsor can be recognized event digital donation forms, social posts, and promotional material for your battle of the bands fundraising event.

Reach out to restaurants and businesses (esp. music related ones) in the community for prizes for contestant performers and crowd raffles. Throw some love their way in return by including them in social posts, on your digital forms and mobile-friendly Thank Yous.

Share your mobile-friendly participation form keyword and link with local schools, music stores and academies and music venues to promote your event and recruit talent. Who knows? Top-quality talent may be hiding right in your organization’s own backyard. Don’t feel like you’re limited to just bands. Recruit solo musicians, dance troupes, spoken word artists/poets, and even magicians to participate. Each act can receive a mobile-friendly crowdfunding page they can customize and promote to their own network of friends, family, loyal fans and supporters.

The winner will be determined by the audience who will cast their votes via the donations they make to your cause. The band with the most donors or highest donation total wins!

bingo fundraising event idea


Everybody LOVES Bingo! Create admission packages that include entry to your nonprofit’s event, a book of bingo game sheets and an added bonus, like a dauber or a ticket for a complimentary refreshment. Packages can be pre-sold at the door or via a mobile-friendly donation form. Selling individual bingo game cards gives serious players additional chances to win and can be a great source for additional donation revenue.

Need a bingo caller or ticket seller? Ask volunteers to sign up via your custom volunteer sign-up form that includes a checklist of areas of interest for which you’ll need help during the event. Here’s what you need:

  • Bingo game & playing cards
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for selling bingo cards and concessions via credit card
  • Digital volunteer sign-up form
  • Prizes! (cash, donated items, etc.)

Be sure to check local laws and licensing requirements to determine requirements for bingos in your area.

caroling fundraising event idea

Caroling for a Cause

Spreading the holiday spirit and raising money for your nonprofit organization couldn’t be more fun than caroling for a cause. If your group of spirited singers can go door-to-door in your community, at each stop, you can let your audience know how easy it is for them to text your keyword to make a donation. It can also be as easy as opening the doors to your offices and stepping outside if you’re in an area that gets good foot traffic. Contact your Chamber of Commerce to see if your group can visit local businesses with the gift of song in exchange for their support to promote your fundraising campaign.

You can also let your community audience control your playlist.  Before your song-filled event, let the members of your community know they can text a keyword to receive a message with a mobile-friendly form they can use to add their song of choice for the caroling event.

Here’s what you need:

  • Branded keyword for donations and requests
  • Carolers
  • Portable music device & speakers, or go acapella!

This type of fundraising event is perfect for religious group choirs, high school glee clubs, local music talent and family & friends. Together, they can multiply their voices to help raise awareness, funds, and holiday spirits for your nonprofit.

handyman fundraising event idea

Chores for Charity

Nobody likes doing chores. But if you have a group of families, business partnerships or community members willing to donate their time and handy skills in exchange for donations to your nonprofit, then you have yourself a great handyman/chores services fundraiser! Here’s what you need:

  • Worker volunteer sign-up form
  • Work Request submission form
  • Mobile messaging reminders for service scheduling & updates

Start by gathering volunteer interests with a digital sign-up form, or decide on the types of services and scope of work your volunteers are willing to perform.

Next, your org should assign a minimum donation value to each task and build your custom mobile-first work request form for supporters to request a service and make a donation.

Exporting organized work request data from your account makes it easy to track projects and schedule service dates. Plus, you can upload donor and volunteer information for mobile messaging so you can send scheduling reminders and updates.

Ask community members, especially the elderly, if they have a decorating, cleaning, small repairs, yard work or other odd jobs in need of completion. Local businesses might even be interested in sponsoring a clean-up of a public space that would benefit your nonprofit’s community.

Share the link to your mobile-first Work Request submission form through email and on all social media channels. Ask supporters to instruct friends and family to text your corresponding keyword & shortcode. They can also share the link to your form. Make sure you include website or form URL, keyword, shortcode, text instructions, and your QR code on any posters that you create for your nonprofit’s event.

cupcake wars fundraising event ideas

Cupcake Wars Fundraiser

This friendly and deliciously sweet competition is sure to add a little sugar to your fundraising goals. Here’s what your nonprofit needs:

  • Master baking teams’ & judges’ crowdfunding pages
  • Viewer ticketing form
  • Prizes
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for concessions payment processing
  • Venue with ovens & kitchen space (or have contestants pre-bake cupcakes, then make frosting and other goodies they can use to decorate their entries during competition)

Before the event, promote your keyword & shortcode and sign-up link supporters can use to crowdfund for the chance to be an official judge.

In addition to judging and elimination rounds to determine the winner of the ultimate cupcake war, have baking teams crowdfund before and during the event in lieu of votes. Ask teams to sell tickets to family and friends for the event with a minimum donation on their page and a RSVP option on the form. A reward can be given to the team with the most donors or highest donation total.

Your nonprofit organization can easily create a branded form to sell tickets to the general public for the delectable event.

Since the sweet smells of the baking goodies will leave the crowds hungry, be sure to offer concession items, coffee, beverages and cupcakes (of course) for sale. A credit card swiper and integrated fundraising app will instantly turn any mobile device into a digital register.

fashion show fundraising event idea

Fashion Show

There’s no trendier way to raise funds for your cause than with a charity fashion show. Here’s what you’ll need before you hit the runway:

  • Sponsored, crafted or borrowed outfits and accessories
  • Catwalk space & venue (think outside the box)
  • Model sign-up form
  • Digital event ticketing form
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for ticketing and other in-person payment processing

Local boutiques often lend clothes for charity fashion shows or you can ask your event’s models to bring their own creative outfits. Typically models have 2 or 3 changes during a show, so keep that in mind when planning the number participants and length of show you want to produce.

Anyone can be a model in your fashion show fundraising event. Flatter family, friends, donors and community members by asking them to participate. Your nonprofit can collect participant information with a mobile-first sign-up form that can be shared via keyword and shortcode on printed posters or for those in-person asks, and through shortened links for social posts and mobile messaging.

Sell tickets before your event by sharing your digital form across every channel of communication imaginable. For purchases at the door, use a credit card swiper and an integrated fundraising app to keep sales records organized in one convenient place. Credit card swipers will also come in handy for concessions and boutique sales during or after the event.

gala event fundraising

Gala Event

A staple fundraising event, galas usually mean elegant, themed evenings that can include dinner, dancing, entertainment, silent auctions, raffles and more, all for a good cause. Make your gala more meaningful to your nonprofit’s supporters by choosing a venue and a theme that fits your mission, then connect them to your cause through subtle detail in decorations, menu selection, and entertainment. You can also use the power of text messaging to build excitement and anticipation in the weeks and days leading up to your gala to sell more tickets and ensure a good turnout for a successful fundraising event.  Here’s what you need:

  • A venue that fits the size of your event
  • Volunteer & event committee sign-up forms
  • Mobile-friendly ticketing forms that feature sponsors & partners
  • Strategic mobile messaging for pre- and post-event supporter engagement or last-minute updates
  • Subscription keyword to keep in touch with people that want more info. from your nonprofit all year long
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for auction, raffle, and on-the-spot donation payment processing

Galas are not one-person tasks. Enlist the help of a committee of passionate and hard-working volunteers to carry out every aspect of planning, decorating, clean-up, follow-up and everything in between. Mobile forms will make it easy to sign up volunteers and match their talents/skills with areas of need.

Don’t be shy about asking for in-kind donations, favors, and additional help from your community.

  • Local newspapers and tv/radio stations are valuable sources for pre-event marketing and Master of Ceremonies talent.
  • A silent auction and raffle items or baskets are a great way for businesses of any size to contribute to your cause.
  • Food and beverage donations at your event help cut major costs and highlight local fare.

Sponsor and partner logos can be incorporated and featured on your mobile-friendly ticketing and donation forms, as well as event signage and printed programs.

Mobile-friendly forms securely capture donations and donor data during the peak emotional moments. At the same time, results are displayed and donors are recognized on your projected real-time event thermometer. Share buttons on the ‘Thank You’ page give donors the option to share their passion for your nonprofit with friends – helping your fundraiser reach beyond the walls of your event. Finally, recorded donor data allows you to reach out to supporters throughout the year with Thank You’s, updates and info on future events.


Games Night Fundraiser

Finally! A family-friendly version of the popular Vegas-style casino fundraising event that kids of all ages will enjoy! Here’s what you need:

  • Board games, decks of cards and/or trivia questions (donated or borrowed from volunteers)
  • Admission or ticketing registration
  • Competition entry form
  • Volunteer scorekeepers
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for bake sale, concessions and raffle sales

Advertise with a quick mobile message to current supporters in your database, across your social media channels and in community centers, schools, bookstores, businesses, and restaurants. Including a link, QR code and or keyword with shortcode instructions will instantly put your mobile-friendly donation/ticketing form in the hands of anyone interested in your event.

Enlist volunteer scorekeepers and concession stand bakers/sellers. A mobile fundraising app and integrated swiper cab turn anyone’s smartphone into a POS sales system – perfect for concession sales.

Game nights are great recurring fundraisers for nonprofits that can easily turn into regularly held competitive gaming rounds. Another way to go would be to make your games night fundraising event 100% digital by hosting a video game tournament.


Golf Tournament

Whether it’s a round of Stableford, a big ole’ game of Money Ball or a little Scramble, pulling off a successful, stress-free golf event that suits your nonprofit’s needs requires 9-12 months of planning. a committee to manage the plan, and plenty of volunteers to carry it out. Must-haves for a successful golf fundraising event include:

  • Goals & timing. What’s your angle of approach? Your target line? Have a plan of attack before things get swinging.
  • A course that’d make any player who can’t attend, green with envy
  • Digital forms for easy registration, volunteer sign-ups, and post-event surveys
  • Mobile marketing and messaging for effective event promotion, volunteer/committee/player updates and follow-up engagement
  • Sponsors/Partners…you don’t have to do this alone (we don’t recommend it, either)
  • Event enhancements to enhance your fundraising
  • Prizes….everyone loves to win something!

In addition to selling individual tickets, customize your mobile-friendly forms for twosomes, threesomes, and foursomes, making it easy for teams to sign up and for you to sell out your event. You can also approach local businesses and community groups who may want to sponsor teams to support your event. You can award trophies for the foursome who raises the most money, gets the highest number of individual donors to contribute and most creatively shares their custom fundraising donation form over social media.

How about replacing your registration process by asking participants to set up crowdfunding teams instead? You can set a minimum base goal per virtual fundraising ambassador in place of, or in addition to, minimal registration fees.

haunted house fundraising event

Haunted House

Set up a scare-fest that’ll raise funds instead of the undead. Here’s what your nonprofit need’s:

  • Halloween decorations – including a fog machine or dry ice for extra creepy effects
  • Space for your haunted house/hallway (school gyms, hallways, an office lobby, pop-up tents, etc. work…be creative!)
  • Admission donation form
  • Ghoulish volunteers
  • Entrance banner with house of horror’s name, hours of haunting and announcement of the event’s charity focus

Before you begin, create a frighteningly awesome donation form as your ticketing system for admission to your haunted house. Set up and decorate the exterior and interior of your event space. Go traditional or create a twisted theme for extra screams! Save your organization some money by asking supporters and the community for decoration donations or loans of their own spooky stuff.

Once volunteers sign up on your mobile-friendly form, you can put their talents for terror to good use by matching their areas of interest with event tasks and decorating needs. Update your vampires…err, volunteers….with event details (like assigned scare zone schedules) with mobile messaging.

movers, moving, fundraising event idea

Moving for a Cause

Most people can always use an extra hand when moving.  Gather a team of strong men and women to do some heavy-lifting to help the community (and your cause). HINT: Fit and capable high school or college athletes make great movers. Here’s what you need:

  • Volunteer sign-up form
  • Moving Request form
  • Mobile messaging reminders for service scheduling & updates

In exchange for a donation fee to your nonprofit, community members can fill out a moving request form to designate the type of help they need. Maybe it’s boxes that have to be packed or unpacked. Or they’re looking for some extra help to reorganize their attic, basement or garage. Perhaps the local elderly support group might want to hire out your volunteers to carry in groceries for their clients.

Collect information regarding volunteer availability, physical capabilities and areas of expertise on the sign-up form to help you match volunteers with moving job requests.

Information about your nonprofit’s moving services can be shared with supporters, staff and volunteers via text and email. You can ask interested moving clients to connect and donate to your cause via keywords and shortcodes for respective donation/sign-up forms, URL links to the form and a QR code for printed media like event posters or flyers.

Use mobile messaging to send scheduling reminders and updates to volunteers and donors.

obstacle fundraising event idea

Obstacle Course Fundraiser

Instead of your normal race event, raise the bar with an obstacle course event that will challenge participants in exciting and rewarding ways. Psychological studies have proven that harder, painful and unpleasant events attract more participation and support because people are drawn to a challenge. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Obstacles course (rented or made)
  • First-aid staff/insurance/safety volunteer form
  • Ninja warrior team crowdfunding pages
  • Crowd support ticketing
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for in-person ticket sales and concession item credit card payment processing

Teams and individuals looking to participate can sign up through your mobile-first crowdfunding sign-up page. Sharing event information, team sign-up page and viewer ticketing form over mobile messaging, printed flyers, social and email is easy with an event keyword, link to your sign-up form and a QR code linked to the same form.

Decide on a location and date for your event. There are companies that can set up obstacle courses at your location of choice, or you can rent out an obstacle course facility for your nonprofit to use. The location you choose will likely determine what type of obstacle course event you hold – mud pits, ropes, obstacle crawls, climbing walls…the harder and dirtier, the better! Encourage teams to fundraise their entry fee and additional support on behalf of your cause to create friendly competition even before the real competition begins.


Sports Skills Clinic for Charity

Gather amateur and professional athletes, guest pros, coaches and trainers to host a techniques or skills clinic to help participants improve their game. Digital forms will help your nonprofit organization keep all volunteer information organized and available at any time. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Digital athlete mentor & trainer volunteer form
  • Participant registration form
  • Appropriate training or sports venue

This type of fundraising event works great for all sports whether basketball, baseball, soccer, football, wrestling, volleyball, tennis, hockey, swim, equine sports, surfing, track and field, dance or cheer teams. Decide on the type of clinic and age group (youth, teen, adult, all ages, etc.) you’ll focus on. Then find a community venue like a gym, school physical education room, field, park, etc. that will happily host your event. Set up a mobile-first registration form with corresponding keyword and shortcode, QR code and URL link to share via email, mobile messaging, social media and posters placed in schools, sporting event venues and gyms.

Whether it’s a half-day event or a week-long sports camp, your nonprofit can give less experienced athletes access to pro help to perfect their game while helping your org hit your event fundraising goal out of the park.

Virtual lemonade stand fundraising idea

Virtual Lemonade Stand

Avoid the hassles of bad weather, or like Jerry Seinfeld experienced, requiring a permit to have a sell your thirst-quenching refreshment with a virtual lemonade stand fundraising event powered by crowdfunding. Easily set up a virtual lemonade stand crowdfunding campaign and share it with your donors, volunteers and staff to empower them to create their own stand (crowdfunding donation page), which they can share with their social and professional networks. Here’s what you need:

  • Crowdfunding keyword and donation page
  • Logo or photo and any other elements to customize your campaign
  • Consider making a video you can post to YouTube and share with your crowdfunders for encouragement and recognition.
  • Also optional, Thank You cards for handwriting notes to donors.

It takes less than 5 minutes to set up a crowdfunding keyword and fundraising page, which you can customize with logos, images, buttons, colors, custom fields and other elements that will let your campaign stand out. Once your page is set up, you can invite a centralized group of your nonprofit’s biggest supporters to kick-off your lemonade stand. Keep the momentum going with daily mobile messages, emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts that include tips, updates, words of encouragement for virtual fundraisers or links to videos. Don’t forget to recognize donors during and after the campaign! Mention them on social media and even follow up with handwritten ‘Thank You’ cards for a truly memorable and personal show of gratitude. Each of your virtual lemonade sales persons (or crowdfunders) can raise an impressive average of $612 in donations. How’s that for a little lemonade stand? Plus every donation counts towards the goal, no matter how big or small.

wacky wager fundraising event

Wacky Wager

Wacky Wager crowdfunding can become one of your nonprofit’s most fun and creative fundraising ideas. Encourage individuals or teams to set mini fundraising goals and offer donors unconventional wacky incentives that will entice them to give. For example, it will be easy getting five people to donate $50 each to see a video of their friend ice skating in a tutu, or wearing bunny ears and communicating with only a made up language and hand gestures for an entire workday.  Wacky Wager crowdfunding donors will have a ball competing to the be the biggest contributor and the privilege of picking the temporary new hair color of their favorite volunteer crowdfunder.  Here’s what you need:

  • Mobile-friendly crowdfunding teams & keywords set up
  • Creative goal ideas to get the craziness started
  • Volunteer Crowdfunder social media account(s) where they can promote the wackiness

Leave it to your virtual fundraising ambassadors to come up with goal incentives or get them to let their own social network decide the wager at stake. Wacky wagers are lots of good, clean fun and a great way to share engaging pictures, videos and stories about your nonprofit and your fundraising efforts over social media.

yard sale fundraising event idea

Yard Sale

Gather some friends and start collecting all those unwanted items in search of a new owner. It’s a great way to clear the clutter and create change! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rummage item donation sign-up
  • Location for your yard sale
  • Volunteer salesperson form
  • Mobile marketing and event signage
  • Mobile swiper and integrated app for secure credit card payment processing

Use mobile messaging to let supporters know about the sale and then designate a drop-off location or share your mobile-first item donation sign-up form so donors can request a pick-up. This is also a great time to start taking volunteer information through a digital form so you can easily access and organize information.

Then it’s time to collect, sort & price donated items for the sale. Check items over for stains, broken/missing pieces and personal items that may have accidentally been left behind (money, receipts, etc.).

Promote the sale throughout your community using your social media channels, Craigslist, community event posting sites, newspaper ads, Penny Savers and printed flyers in local businesses. Don’t forget to hang signs that effectively direct traffic to your sale.

On the day of the sale, have volunteer salespeople ready to display items on racks and tables. Organized items are easier for shoppers to see all the items and make purchasing decisions. With a mobile credit card swiper, integrated fundraising app and any mobile device you’ll be able to securely accept credit payments all day long!

Annual Event Fundraising Ideas

Annual fundraising event ideas help organizations increase donations and boost loyalty. A great event allows you to build awareness and excitement in the community while securing a large amount of revenue at once. Memorable events can even serve as a fantastic source of publicity.

Planning Annual Fundraisers

Annual fundraising events can’t be thrown together a week before the big day. They often require months of planning and scheduling. Here’s a checklist of questions to consider before you get started:

R What has your organization’s historic event performance looked like?
If you’ve held annual events in the past, it’s important to look at them as benchmarks. What were some of your successes? How much did you raise? What were some areas for improvement? If you have struggled to meet your fundraising goals in the past, it may be time to try a new tactic.

R Have your previous events been more about providing entertainment than communicating your mission?
While events should be enjoyable for participants, your mission needs to clearly shine through to ensure you meet your fundraising goal.

R Why is an annual event right for you?
There are a number of reasons to host a fundraising gala. But these events often come with a lot of costs, and you need to consider whether this is the best approach. In addition, you need buy-in from everyone in the organization. If just a few board members want to host an annual event or you’re doing it because organizations in the same sector as you are holding them, the chances of success aren’t great.

R Do you have the capacity for an event?
A huge mistake that some organizations make is planning an event without really considering if they can support it with their current workforce and funding. It costs money to hold a gala, and you need to ensure your resources are well spent.

Incorporating Mobile Solutions to Maximize Your Annual Fundraising Event Ideas

Another mistake some event planners make is not directly asking for donations on the big day. You can still ask for donations even if the event isn’t directly tied to fundraising or there was a donation campaign beforehand. Live calls-to-action at fundraising events often provoke an emotional response from attendees, which can make them more motivated to give.  Using the event thermometer can help encourage attendees to donate in real time.

Here’s a list of the top fundraising ideas for annual events your organization may want to undertake.

Awards Gala
Charity Calendar
Golf Tournament

Cheap and Easy Fundraising Event Ideas

Here are some fun and creative fundraising event ideas that your organization can pull off when you have limited resources and funds.

50/50 Raffle
Bake Sale
Basketball Game for Good
Car Wash
Carolers for A Cause
 Ice Cream Social
 Wacky Wager
 Yard Sale

Colleges and Universities Fundraising Event Ideas

Be smart about your fundraising events with this comprehensive list of ideas for your college, university, sorority, or fraternity.

50/50 Raffle
Alumni Networking Mixer
Apparel Sales
Battle of the Bands
Campus Car Wash
Dorm Decorating Tours
Fashion Show
Fraternity Formal
Mid-Terms/Finals Week Yoga for a Cause
Move-In Week Helpers
Movie Night
Lip Sync Battle
Pancake Breakfast
Philanthropic Pub Crawl
Powderpuff Football Game
Punch A Bunch (self-defense workshop)
Sweet on Greek Bake Sale
Tailgate Social

Faith-based Fundraising Ideas

Your religious organization will surely find inspiration in these unique, all-ages, family-friendly event fundraising ideas that are sure to be rewarding and profitable.

50/50 Raffle
Bake Sale
Bingo Night
Board Game Tournament
Caroling for a Cause
Casino Night
Chores for Charity
Family Movie Night
Family Photo Fundraiser
Gift Wrapping for Good
Hoops for Hope
Pancake Breakfast
Pop-up Restaurant
Rummage Sale
Talent Show

K-12 Schools Fundraising Ideas

Check out this fun list of K-12 fundraising ideas at events to engage students, parents, faculty, donors and alumni of your institution.

Bingo Night
Walk, Hula or Jog-a-thon
School Yard Sale
Talent Show
Teacher/Principal Wacky Wager
Singing Valentine Grams

Kids and Teens Fundraising Event Ideas

Kids can change the world too! Youth groups, families, and mini-philanthropists know how to put the fun in FUNdraising, so rest assured this crazy list will get their fundraising juices (and donations) flowing.

Neighborhood Car Wash
Virtual Lemonade Stand
Battle of the Bands
Board Game Tournament
Computer/Video Game Tournament

Sports Teams & Clubs Fundraising Event Ideas

Rally your local sports teams and clubs to give it their all for your cause and start tackling your next fundraiser with some of these fun ideas.

Charity Car Wash
Duct Tape the Coach to the Wall
Everyone’s a Winner Raffle
Haunted House
Moving for a Cause
Obstacle Course Fundraiser
Pancake Breakfast
Sports Skills Clinic for Charity

Fundraising Calendar Builder

Event Fundraising Webinar

Watch the video below and get additional fundraising ideas from nonprofit experts to maximize donations at your next event.

Gain insight from Senior MobileCause Customer Success Managers. Learn how to execute a digital fundraising plan for fundraising ideas including: TV and Radio Appearances, Runs-Walks-Swims-Rides, Golf Tournaments, Camps-Trips-Retreats, Volunteer-Petition-Membership Drives, Dinner Galas and Luncheons, Days of Giving and #GivingTuesday, and Year End Giving. Text PLAN to 51555 to send this presentation to your phone.

Webinar topics include:

  1. Proven best practices for live events
  2. Real world success fundraising ideas from nonprofits
  3. Essential insights for maximum donations
  4. Live demo of dynamic real-time event donations
  5. Questions and answers with expert panel


Recent Event Fundraising Articles

12 Fundraising Event Tips to Boost Success

The heart of event fundraising never changes: The most important thing about planning your fundraising event is your invitation list. Make sure your attendee list is diverse and varied with a nice mix of people, long-time supporters and those who may have never heard...

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