Best Fundraising Event Ideas
Nonprofit Crowdfunding & Peer to Peer Fundraisers, Online Raffles, Auctions, and More
Event Fundraising for Nonprofits and Charities, Schools, Churches, and Sports Teams
Find the Best Ideas for Your Organization Here!
We’ve compiled this list of great fundraising event ideas to help your charity or nonprofit organization find the perfect fundraising event for your cause. There’s something here for everyone. Browse through these fundraising ideas and find one that works for your organization and start raising money for your cause today!
COVID-19 UPDATE: See our top Virtual Fundraising Ideas here.
Our Top Fundraising Event Idea: Active Peer to Peer Fundraising Events
Walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, swim-a-thons, and other peer to peer fundraising events have become a very popular means of fundraising. And for good reason! These types of events generally raise a good amount of money, reach new donors, support health and wellness, encourage teamwork, and create a fun community gathering. Tying in local sponsors and offering event participants and attendees food, beverages, entertainment, and prizes will increase fun and funds raised.
Extend the reach of your peer-to-peer fundraising events with mobile giving best practices and our P2P crowdfunding software. Many organizations report raising twice as much when taking their peer-to-peer fundraising events online with us. Consider any of these events or create one that works for your nonprofit mission and speaks to your supporters.
- Bike-a-thon Fundraisers
- Walk-a-thon Fundraisers
- Spin-a-thon Fundraisers
- Swimming Fundraisers
- Golf Marathons
- Baseball or Softball Hit-a-thons
- Serve-a-thon Project Fundraisers
More Great Fundraising Event Ideas
Charity Poker Events
A fun way to raise money for your cause could be hosting a charity poker event or Vegas Night. Organizations raise funds by charging an entry fee which includes a number of poker chips and hors d’oeuvres. Play for fun or in some cases, charitable organizations may collect a percentage of every pot. Remember to consider other ways to raise additional funds such as selling additional food and drinks, and incorporating a silent auction or fundraising raffle as part of the poker fundraising event.
Golf Tournament Fundraising Ideas
With a standard charity golf tournament, funds are raised through golfer registration fees, sponsorships, and online donations made on your golf tournament website. There are many creative golf fundraising ideas that provide a great opportunity to support your cause while bringing your organization together with members of your community. Additional funds can be raised at the tournament by tying in a fundraising raffle or golf tournament contests. You can also spice up any golf outing by including a luncheon or happy hour at the clubhouse.
Another creative, family-friendly golf tournament idea is hosting a mini-golf fundraiser.
Golf Marathons are peer-to-peer events where participants raise money for your cause. Generally, these events ask golfers to golf 100 holes for your organization in a single day or weekend.
Themed Gala Dinners
Gala fundraisers are a great way to raise a large amount of money for your cause. Guests purchase tickets to attend the dinner on your event management website. The success of the campaign depends not only on how well the event is planned and promoted but also on conducting a proper analysis of your supporters and target audience. Make sure the theme, type of food, and entertainment is suitable for your audience. Themes make the event more fun! We’ve seen James Bond 007 events, Circus Galas, A Night in Paris galas, and more. Consider incorporating a charity auction or fundraising raffle as additional fundraising opportunities. Showing a short video and distributing information about your cause and goals can be an excellent way to discover new donors and bring in additional funds.
Raffle fundraising is a great way for nonprofits, schools, churches and groups to raise money with very little overhead. Just reach out to local businesses to get prizes donated and then sell raffle tickets to raise funds for your cause. Raffle prizes can include gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, weekend getaways, electronic equipment, tickets to events (sporting or theater), autographed memorabilia, and more. But if you can’t get a large grand prize donated, you may wish to purchase or consign a grand prize such as these unique vacation packages. You need something to make the raffle very appealing, after all. A fundraising raffle is a great add-on to include along-side any of your fundraising events. You can showcase all the possible prizes and then sell raffle tickets and announce winners.
Charity auctions provide a great way to raise money for your charitable cause. The logistics of an online charity auction can be much easier to coordinate than a live event. Start the planning by securing donated or consigned No Risk auction items. Then create an auction website to display items, suggested retail values, reserve amounts, and optional Buy Now pricing. Be sure to promote the event at least one month in advance to give people ample time to review your website and make bids.
School Fundraising Event Ideas
Whether you are raising money for tuition, a new computer lab, extracurricular activities, or volunteer programs, school fundraising is a must for most schools. There are plenty of great fundraising activities for schools.
- Student Serve-a-thon
Create a twist to your typical walk-a-thon or jog-a-thon event and host a serve-a-thon where parents and students work together to serve their community. Instead of walking for a cause, students donate their time raking the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or cleaning up trash at a local park, or tutoring a younger student… this is a great way to earn money while helping those in need. Make your event a greater success by offering prizes to top performers and classrooms.
- School Garage Sale
At least once a year, people clean out closets, basements and garages to discover things that are accumulating dust. A community garage sale is a great way for people to get rid of these items while donating to a great cause. An event like this also brings parents, teachers, students and members of the local community together in a social environment. There can be virtually no costs to hosting the event especially if it’s held at the school (in the gymnasium or cafeteria). All people do is drop off their items, and then organize a group of volunteers to help with sales. Consider adding a coffee and bake-sale as part of the event so people can eat and drink as they shop.
- School Bake Sale
Ok, so a bake sale may not sound like a unique fundraiser, but bake sales have been used for decades to help raise money for schools and charities because they work.
- School Carnival
Some schools achieve great success by hosting a fun, interactive event for the local community. Not only can these fundraising events bring in a great deal of money, but they also provide an excellent opportunity for families and students to socialize. You can raise funds by charging a small admission fee for attendees. Then raise additional funds by selling raffle tickets to participate in games, contest, or purchase food. You may want to consider bringing in a vendor with inflatable rentals or a climbing wall. Recruit local yoga teachers to host kids yoga classes, and ask each classroom to put together a different themed basket to raffle.
- School Sales Contest
Product sales are a great way to get students involved in raising funds for your school or organization. Many schools sell candy, magazines, holiday items, and gift or discount cards. There are many benefits to selling discount cards. They are small and portable with a low overhead cost and can be easily mailed at the cost of regular mail because of their size. Be sure to add in incentives and awards for top fundraisers to build in some healthy competition and encourage participants to raise more money.
More school fundraising ideas by group and age:
Sports Fundraising Event Ideas
Sports fundraising provides a great way for coaches, parents, and schools to raise funds for new equipment, team uniforms, or travel funds for competitions. In addition, sports fundraising teaches kids the importance of community service and being part of something larger than themselves. Sports fundraisers can also tie in values such as teamwork, sportsmanship, and more. See below for fundraising ideas by sport:
- T-shirt sales are a great sports fundraiser. Your team already has fans – so why not create cool t-shirts that they can buy to show their team spirit? Use an online platform such as the Bonfire nonprofit fundraising platform to make it fun and easy.
- Baseball Fundraising / Softball Fundraising is a great way for ball teams, summer leagues, and traveling teams to earn extra money for team uniforms, new equipment, training tools, tournament entry fees, and umpire fees for traveling teams. One of the biggest money-makers for baseball and software fundraising is soliciting team sponsors. Another idea is to plan a fun fundraising event such as a “hit-a-thon” where players raise pledge donations per completed hit or for a fixed amount.
- If you are a dance or cheerleading team, consider hosting a dance-a-thon. This type of fundraiser works just like any a-thon, however instead of walking… participants are dancing. Pick a day where dance team members and teachers teach dance lessons to others in the community. Incorporate fun dance performances as well to keep attendees entertained. Bring on a local business to sponsor and give all participants a t-shirt.
- Another interesting idea for teams with older participants is a team-building fundraising event, such as a fundraising scavenger hunt or relay race. Teams must strategize about the most efficient route to take, assign team members’ roles, and work together to accomplish their goals. This could be a great fundraising idea for a debate team or chess team. Funds are raised through team registration fees, plus individual pledge donation requirements.
Church Fundraising Event Ideas
Whether you are raising funds for a mission trip, programs for youth groups, or the development of your establishment, there are lots of creative church fundraising ideas to help you organize a successful fundraising campaign. Church fundraisers are a great way to bring members of the church community closer together while raising funds for your cause. These can include the old standbys: bake sales, community yard sales, car washes, breakfast fundraisers, and other special events.
- Religious Sales Contests
Product sales are a great way to get church youth groups involved in raising funds for your church. These can include rosaries, bibles, candles, and Christmas items. Consider implementing a fundraising sales contest during seasons where certain items are in high demand such as Christmas when people are interested in buying nativity sets, advent calendars, angel tree-toppers and religious-themed wrapping paper. Consider adding awards for top fundraisers! This can provide additional incentives for children to sell more and learn about setting goals and striving to achieve them.
- Church Talent Show
Invite church youth groups to share their special talents in a fun event for the congregation. Between singing, dancing, playing instruments or surprising crowds with other fun talents and tricks, you could come up with an interactive show to put on for your congregation and community. Charge an entrance fee for your fundraising talent show and sell food and beverages at the event for additional revenue. Your entire community will enjoy spending time together while watching the talents of youth who will someday be the leaders of your congregation.
- Mission Trip Fundraising
With mission trip fundraising, donations raised will go towards travel costs, supplies, and funding missionaries’ needs while they are on their mission. Writing a letter can be one of the most effective ways to raise money for a mission trip, especially if coming from youth group members. And don’t just send a letter…reiterate your request for help by posting an announcement on your social channels. Church leaders may also consider passing an additional donation basket during services to raise funds specifically for your mission trip or by providing donation envelopes for people to pick up after Sunday service.
Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Event Ideas
Plan your fundraising event in conjunction with an upcoming holiday or season. There are plenty of holiday fundraising ideas, starting with GivingTuesday fundraisers and following into the Christmas season. Sales such as custom Christmas cards, gift-wrapping services, catalog sales, photos with Santa, and more work well.
Read more on year-end giving strategies.
There are also exciting opportunities year-round; think about the timing of your event and perhaps ride the excitement of the season. Some more holiday fundraising ideas outside of the year-end giving season include:
- Valentine’s Day Fundraisers provide an opportunity to raise money while your donors do something nice for that special someone
- How about an Easter Carnival during the Spring?
- Mother’s Day brunches are great breakfast fundraising events
- Or perhaps a festive 4th of July fundraising picnic or Red, White, and Blue golf tournament
- Host a Haunted House or Pumpkin Patch fundraiser around Halloween
- Turkey Trot Fun Runs around Thanksgiving
Unique Fundraising Event Ideas
With creative thinking and the proper tools, your organization can create a customized fundraising event perfect for your group. Think outside the box. Although we’ve talked about walk-a-thons, golf tournaments, and gala events, don’t feel boxed in by standard fundraising activities. Here are some fun examples of creative special event ideas from our clients.
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hosts an annual event called The Amazing Race. Similar to the television show, teams are challenged to travel to various checkpoints and conquer many challenges, detours, etc. in order to make it to the finish line. Funds are raised through team registration fees, plus individual donation requirements.
- Another client hosts a very “cool” event with our crowdfunding platform. The organization organizes a Polar Plunge where each participant is expected to raise a minimum amount of money by collecting donations and pledges and then plunge into the chilly Atlantic Ocean – in the middle of winter! Participants are eligible to win a variety of prizes, and the day of the plunge is made into a fun community event with food and entertainment.
- A Chili Cook-off is a unique fundraising idea that is sure to draw attention. Sell tickets and promote sponsors and teams online via our event management software.
- Don’t forget to consider tying in your mission here – A nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about healthier eating habits may host a cook-a-thon with well-known chefs dedicated to healthier food preparation and lifestyle choices
- Check out our Unique Fundraising Ideas page for 75+ more one-of-a-kind fundraising ideas!
DoJiggy’s Fundraising Software Platform Makes Planning and Managing Fundraising Events Simple and Effective
How do you determine the best fundraising event idea for your organization?
Many nonprofit organizations host fundraising special events, but what sets your event apart from others? These fundraising event ideas can help your organization create a unique fundraising event that allows you to achieve financial goals and spread awareness for your cause.
The best place to start is by looking at the core of your organization or business. What is the mission of your organization? You want an event that helps to convey your mission to your supporters and the community at large. What are you trying to accomplish? Yes, spreading awareness for your cause and meeting financial needs is key, but be specific here. How can you create an event that will appeal to your audience and local community while helping you accomplish your goals? These questions should be asked by your fundraising committee at the beginning of your planning cycle. Start with the basics to find a fundraising strategy that works for your non-profit.