Fundraisers are events that present a unique set of challenges. These events can take many different forms and sizes, from a middle school bake sale or raffle to a large gala or political event.
With so many different fundraising event ideas floating around and so many ways to raise money, it can be hard to know which type of event will be the best fit for your needs.
The trick to maximizing your return is to keep things creative and interesting!
Whether you’re raising money for a charity or non-profit organization, for your school, or for a personal cause, these events are sure to help you increase your donations, meet your fundraising goal, and have fun doing it.
Here are 10 creative fundraising event ideas that can provide the inspiration you need to truly be successful!
Small Scale Fundraising Ideas
If you’re trying to raise money for a personal cause or a small organization like a school, the following fundraising event ideas will help you get started on your next fundraiser without too much difficulty.
These ideas are relatively easy fundraising options and require very little investment to execute.
Bake-sales have remained popular and successful over the years for good reason: who doesn’t love homemade baked goods? People are happy to donate to a charity or other cause in exchange for a sweet treat. Bake sales are especially effective as school fundraisers and can be a fun way for students and community members to work together in order to raise money for a common goal.
Bake-sales can also be organized for other charitable opportunities like supporting the local library or community center.
To attract more attention and create an extra special feel, try organizing the fundraising bake sale around holiday themes or something that is of particular interest to the group you are attempting to benefit.
It is a good idea to have an extra donation jar on hand so customers who have made a purchase can add a little more to your pot. Social media is one of the best ways to promote fundraising events, so be sure to post your plans to your accounts and encourage others to do the same.
Organizing a garage sale kills two birds with one stone: it can reduce clutter and raise money all at the same time!
A garage or yard sale is the perfect fundraiser if you have a lot of belongings that you’re looking to get rid of and some time to pull it all together. In fact, finding the time to organize this kind of sale is often the biggest challenge!
Another big advantage is that you don’t have to find an outside venue to host your event or charge a fee to attend—you can host it from the comfort of your home (or yard). You can also ask friends and community members for donations if they have items they’re willing to part with to help your cause.
To turn your garage sale into a truly creative fundraising event, make it a community affair. Rally your neighbors to your cause and together, see if you can’t raise some money!
A trivia tournament is another classic and creative fundraising event idea. Trivia nights require a bit more planning but are very effective fundraisers. Make sure you charge an entry fee and have prizes ready for the winners! You’ll find more tips on how to promote your event and ticket sales in our guide to selling tickets online. You can even make your own trivia questions if you’re feeling extra creative and want to give your attendees a special challenge!
For this type of event, you’ll also need a venue. A local restaurant or bar can make the perfect hosts venue as they can serve food and drinks to the guests and are often willing to donate a portion of the proceeds to your cause. If it happens to be summer, partnering with an ice cream parlor and turning the event into an ice cream social is another great idea.
Cook Off Ideas
Events revolving around food tend to attract a large crowd, so they’re always a good bet for a fundraising opportunity. Hosting a cook-off challenge can be a great way to get community members to come together for a day of fun while also making donations to the campaign. You can charge a fee to compete, and you can also sell tickets for guests who would simply like to attend the competition and taste the competitors’ entries. Local businesses also make great partners for this type of event.
A cook-off is also a prime opportunity for peer-to-peer fundraising if you require participants to raise a certain amount of money instead of charging a flat entry fee. Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the best ways to encourage organic promotion of your event as well as increase donations as competitors will be able to create their own event pages to reach out to friends and family for donations.
A raffle is always a popular fundraiser. The opportunity to win a prize is a big incentive for people to donate. There are several different types of raffles you could organize to raise money, including a typical raffle where everyone pays for raffle tickets and are then entered for a chance to win.
You could also plan a 50/50 raffle, where the prize is half of all the money raised. The other half would then go towards the charity or campaign.
Raffles are easiest to execute in conjunction with another event, such as a bake sale or even a gala but they can also be hosted online using software such as Accelevents’s mobile raffle platform.
A t-shirt fundraiser is perfect for anyone who has a great cause and some design skills. There are various websites that allow you to create custom t-shirts, which you can either sell online or buy in bulk to sell in-person. You can easily spread the word on social media about your fundraising campaign to your community and beyond, and anyone willing to donate and contribute to t-shirt sales will get great apparel in return! This idea works just as well for individuals as it does for nonprofits.
Large Scale Fundraising Ideas
The following are slightly more involved events that are perfect for small businesses and nonprofit organizations looking to raise money for their cause. They present more of a challenge to get off the ground, but your fundraising efforts are sure to pay off if they’re done correctly.
Galas are one of the most tried-and-true charity event ideas and have great potential to raise money especially if you’re looking to host an important crowd, such as corporate sponsors or major donors.
The entry fee for a gala can be quite substantial, which means large donations for your cause. The fees can also be grouped by table if donors are planning to bring guests. However, these events also take a lot of advance planning and a substantial amount of time and resources to pull off.
If you’re looking for a more unique idea, you can put a twist on your fundraising gala by turning it into a themed costume event or a mystery dinner party, where the guests will take on character roles and try to solve the mystery by the night’s end. You can also include a raffle to add some more fun and anticipation to the event.
Sports tournaments, especially golf tournaments, are well suited to large scale nonprofit fundraising.
An event like this is the perfect opportunity to raise money by selling sponsorships to local businesses or other organizations. The entry fee will be the other main source of donations, and depending on the magnitude of your event, these can be quite high. Finding a venue will be the main challenge, but there are many golf courses that would be happy to host your event during off days or times.
A golf tournament provides another opportunity to encourage peer-to-peer fundraising, as you can require attendees to form teams and gather enough support before being allowed to compete. If this sounds like it could work for you, we’ve got you covered. For everything you need to know about hosting a successful golf tournament fundraiser, click here.
A silent auction is another classic way to raise money in support of a nonprofit or other organization. Unlike a traditional auction, participants in a silent auction are not shouting out their bids. Instead, they write down their bids on bid sheets placed in front of each item OR they take a modern approach and use a mobile bidding solution. Winners are announced when the bidding concludes.
Silent auctions tend to be very popular and can be a great way to raise a considerable amount of money.
Try to be creative when it comes to the items up for auction in order to garner extra interest. For a list of creative silent auction items, check out our recommendations here. These events don’t typically involve an entry fee; instead, the donations will come from the auction itself.
If you’re interested in hosting a silent auction, we’ve compiled a list of 5 silent auction rules that will help you make it as successful as possible.
Like food, alcohol tends to be a good incentive for people to come out and support a cause. By hosting a pub crawl, you’ll offer attendees a fun experience while also getting to partner with local businesses.
Generally, bars will offer to donate a share of the proceeds from the event, so it’s a win for everyone, and there is no need to charge a fee to participate. Pub crawls are often shared on social media, so try to capitalize on that to promote your event.
Hosting an event is a challenge in and of itself, and adding fundraising into the mix can be overwhelming. However, not all fundraisers need to be over-the-top and complicated.
Now that you’ve been armed with these creative fundraising event ideas, you’re one step closer to reaching your fundraising goals!
Once you’ve decided on the type of event that fits your needs, and you’re ready to raise money for your campaign, be sure to check out our comprehensive fundraising event checklist to make the planning process a breeze!