13 Fun and Easy Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

Effective strategies to increase income are the keystone of nonprofit organizations. Fundraisers do not only bring in money. Fundraisers also allow organizations to build relationships with their supporters.

Factors to consider when choosing a fundraiser include

  • Budget
  • Target audience
  • Available time
  • Available personnel

We will look at a wide variety of fundraising ideas for all sorts of nonprofits. You should be able to find something that will work for you. Something may spark inspiration for the perfect fundraiser for your organization.

Low-Cost Fundraising Ideas

An important goal is to bring in funds without having most of it go to pay for the fundraiser. Fundraisers that cost little to run allow the funds raised to go for the cause, which is the reason most people give.

1. Have a Field Day

Field days are a lot of fun! There are a lot of possible activities, such as:

  • Obstacle courses
  • Relay races
  • Three-legged races
  • Sack races
  • Balancing acts
  • Egg toss
  • Water balloon toss

Activities keep people excited. Offer refreshments for sale and have donation receptacles available around the area. 

2. Have a Marathon

Whether it’s a walk-a-thon, a read-a-thon, or something similar, this classic idea is always fun. It is great for schools and other child-oriented organizations. Participants ask family and friends to pledge money per mile, hour, or page the student completes.

Use a small reward for the student that finishes the most of whatever the goal is to encourage diligence. Marathon fundraisers are great for a long-term fundraiser encompassing weeks or months.

Another option in the same vein is a step challenge. Those who have Fitbits or other step counters can get pledges for how many days they get 10,000 steps in.

3. Host a Cook-Off

People love a cook-off, and you could follow it with dinner. A standard chili cook-off is one option, but other foods are good, too.

For a college fundraiser, try a ramen cook-off. For a missions organization, try a worldwide cuisine contest or choose one country.

Offer a prize. Charge for contest entry. If the contestants agree to let their dishes become dinner, you can also sell tickets to the dinner after.

4. Host a Trivia Night

Gather questions or buy a trivia game. Prepare a venue, sound equipment, and prizes. Sell tickets for entry into the quiz and have refreshments available for purchase. 

5. Put on a Show

Many locations such as churches and community centers may donate the venue. Recruit people to perform music, magic, or whatever they like. Auditions may be a good idea to know what to expect from the performers.

Sell tickets to the show. If possible, have concessions or merchandise available, as well. Have small prizes for categories like the best song, best sleight-of-hand, and similar.

As a twist, try the opposite: a no-talent show. Get people to perform awfully. Advertise it and charge more to exit than to enter – for example, $2 per person to come in, but $5 to leave.

6. Play Games

Plan a location with lots of tables and chairs. Get a bunch of board and card games. Arrange it as a tournament where people register to play their favorite game. You could also sell tickets to spectators for people who would rather watch than play.

You can also sell refreshments. Bottled drinks with lids that close firmly are a good choice to prevent them from spilling on the games.

Video games are another option if you can get a few people to donate their games and consoles (or at least the use of them). Several systems and games available at a time will encourage participation. Charge an entry fee to those who take part, and have small prizes for the winners.

7. Sell Raffle Tickets

You can ask individuals or businesses to donate the item or items to the raffle. If you have several items, have separate tickets for each item. Separate tickets boost fundraiser income. They also allow people to buy tickets only for items they would like to get.

For transparency, do the drawings live on social media or the organization’s website.

8. Sell Stuff

A rummage sale or yard sale is a great fundraiser! Get items donated from individuals and businesses. Spread it all out and price it. You can sometimes get removable stickers to put the prices on. Or divide it into sections, with a price for each section (a table where everything’s a dollar, for instance).

Try a quintessential bake sale, but check local regulations to prevent problems. Some towns and cities require certain permits for anyone selling food items.

Have people donate books and sell them by the book or by the pound. If the school year is coming up soon, textbooks sell well, especially if you have current editions.

Seasonal Fundraisers – Spring

9. Race a 5K

When spring finally arrives, people are eager to get outside. Set up a 5K bike or running race. Charge for registration and run it like a walk-a-thon for more donations.

10. Plant a Tree

Spring is a great time for planting. Partner with a nursery to sell trees. Request donations for trees you will plant in honor or memory of a donor’s chosen person.

Seasonal Fundraisers – Summer

11. Ice Cream Social

Talk to grocery stores about donating ice cream and toppings. Sell cones with a per-scoop price or offer all-you-can-eat tickets. Consider including a contest to create a beautiful cone or sundae, with a small prize for the winner. Alternatively, you could post all entries on your social media. 

12.Dunk Tank

If you get the right volunteer to sit in the tank, you will have people lining up to pay to try to dunk the person. Sell tickets to make their attempt. If nobody volunteers, have an internal fundraising contest and the loser gets to be in the tank.

Seasonal Fundraisers – Fall & Winter

13. Community Bonfire

Set up a bonfire and provide or sell hot chocolate and fixings for s’mores. Sell tickets to attend. Offer live entertainment (ideally a group willing to donate their time).

Final Thoughts

People are often willing to donate to your cause. Providing a fun way to do that helps you to engage with the community and keep your organization in their eyesight. These are only a few of the possibilities available.

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