If you lead a nonprofit, you know how important your fundraising events are. A fundraising event is the best way to engage with donors, garner support for your mission, and meet your revenue targets.
But one question you might find yourself frequently asking is “What kind of fundraising event should we host next?”
With technology improving, virtual and hybrid events rising in popularity, and new event ideas coming to fruition, it can be hard to determine the best fundraising event that aligns with your audience, goals, and overall mission.
If you’re looking for a creative, fun fundraising idea to engage supporters and boost your funding, you’ve come to the right place! We at Qgiv have compiled this extensive list of fundraising event ideas that you can peruse, all divided into different types for easy browsing:
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas
- Auction Fundraising Ideas
- Family-Friendly Fundraising Events
- Recreational Fundraising Ideas
- Fundraising Event Ideas for the Creative
- “A Night on the Town” Fundraising Events
- Fundraising Sales Events
- Simple Fundraising Events
- Adventure Themed Fundraising Ideas
- Class Fundraising Events
Before we dive in, we’ll quickly talk about the current state of fundraising events and what the future looks like for modern nonprofits. Let’s get started!
The Future Of Fundraising Events
The fundraising event landscape has changed tremendously within the last two years. Because COVID-19 paused in-person engagements and thus traditional fundraising events, many organizations had to quickly scramble and pivot their operations to virtual.
As life is turning somewhat back to normal, what will fundraising events look like in a post-COVID world?
Even as events become in-person again, incorporating virtual elements to make them hybrid will likely be the norm. In fact, according to our Navigating the Unknown Report, almost 70 percent of people are planning to include at least some virtual elements in future events.
While virtual fundraising events were simply a quick alternative, they actually proved to be a convenient and effective way to engage with donors. And, instead of limiting your events just to those in the local area or to those who have the means to travel, you can actually open them to anyone on the internet!
Additionally, virtual elements offer a safety net in case you do have to cancel an in-person event with short notice. Even when all the pandemic-related restrictions end, it will be important to have a backup plan and expect the unexpected.
Therefore, our fundraising event list combines virtual, in-person, and hybrid event ideas to cover any situation you may encounter in the future.
100+ Fundraising Event Ideas to Try Out
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas
Peer-to-peer fundraising is an incredible opportunity to leverage your supporters’ personal networks and expand the reach of your campaign. This strategy involves recruiting supporters to fundraise on your behalf.
When your volunteer fundraisers reach out to their friends and family members, they’re building on established relationships. Donors are more likely to give when they know the person who’s doing the asking. This social aspect makes it a powerful way to boost visibility in your community and raise money for your programs!
Specifically, for organizations using our Qgiv peer-to-peer platform, we saw the mean donation amount of $87.46 in 2019 increase to $108.62 in 2020!
To conduct a peer-to-peer campaign, you’ll need a dedicated peer-to-peer fundraising platform. This way, each of your volunteers has their own online fundraising page that they can customize to explain their connection to your mission.
- Board fundraisers – Your nonprofit board of directors is the governing body of your organization. They oversee activities and play a large role in determining how you spend your budget and the goals you set. Empower them to fundraise on your organization’s behalf by equipping them as peer-to-peer fundraisers. Since many of your board members are professionals in the charitable space, they likely know other high impact supporters to contact and request gifts from.
- Virtual house parties – This is an event that rose in popularity in the past year. With this fundraising idea, you gather supporters together online to join different “house parties” led by each of your peer-to-peer volunteers. The St. John Center for Homeless Men recently did their own virtual house party peer-to-peer event called Raisin’ the Rent, with some of their participants raising over $10,000 in their house party.
- Dodgeball tournament – When conducting a peer-to-peer campaign, a great event to host is a dodgeball tournament. Participants garner support from their friends and family leading up to the big day and accept gifts during the game itself. All you need is a place to play and the appropriate equipment. Then, divide your participants into teams. If you can’t host a dodgeball tournament in person for some reason or another, you can look for online game simulations that mimic it.
- Donate and dare – This is a popular peer-to-peer fundraising strategy that involves participants enticing their friends and family to donate by promising to do a dare if a goal is met. For instance, fundraisers can post on social media that if they raise $100 they’ll do the fire ramen challenge. Then, once the funds are raised, they’ll livestream or post a video of their experience online as proof.
- Cornhole tournament – Host a fun cornhole tournament for your peer-to-peer participants and have them fundraise among their friends and family beforehand. You’ll likely need some cornhole bean bags and boards if you do this in person. If this needs to be virtual, don’t worry! There’s plenty of online cornhole games to try out.
- Trending viral challenges – Virtual trends like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or the “Tom Holland” handstand t-shirt challenge are extremely popular ways to not only raise awareness of an issue but also bring in needed funds. Make sure that your peer-to-peer participants complete the challenge, post a video online, use the necessary hashtags, and link their fundraising pages. This will encourage others to also do the challenge and give!
- Give-it-up challenges – These challenges can be used to give up sweets, social media, or another vice for a certain time period. During this challenge, your peer-to-peer participants can get involved and encourage others to do so as well. Make sure they share their progress on social media and use any appropriate hashtags or branding.
- Workout challenge – Have your peer-to-peer participants pledge to complete a workout challenge where they request gifts from their friends and family that correspond to a fitness challenge. For instance, every $100 raised could be 100 steps, sit-ups, squats, or any other type of workout.
- Tribute fundraisers – A great peer-to-peer fundraising idea is one that is in tribute to someone else. For instance, you might want to raise money in remembrance of a loved one who passed away or to support a whole group like veterans.
- Over the edge – This fundraiser is a challenge where participants rappel down the side of a building to raise money for a cause. Participants must raise a minimum amount to be able to go “over the edge.” This is only for the brave at heart but is also a great way to raise awareness of your mission. The Over the Edge organization can help organize this for you.
- DIY – Do-it-yourself events are skyrocketing in popularity, with people on Facebook starting their own fundraisers for causes they care about. Encourage your supporters to become fundraisers themselves by giving them information on how to get involved. For instance, CityTeam is an organization that encourages its supporters to create their own personal fundraising page to share.
- Races – Bikeathons or walkathons are some of the most popular event ideas for a peer-to-peer campaign. You can even host one virtually by letting your participants walk, run, or bike on their own with a specific distance or track.
- Trivia bowl – Host a trivia night for your peer-to-peer campaign as a fun way to bring your fundraisers together in a friendly competition. Not only will they enjoy competing to answer the most trivia questions, but they’ll also be fundraising on behalf of your organization. Find out what this type of fundraising event looks like in action with the Junior Achievement Metro Denver Virtual Trivia Bowl.
- Supply drive – Instead of fundraising for money, have your peer-to-peer participants ask for in-kind gifts instead. A supply drive works great for organizations that need supplies like food donations, office supplies, and more! If you need to do this virtually, you can set up an online store where donors can buy items and supplies and directly send them to the community members in need.
- Fashion show – Everyone loves a good fashion show! Gather your peer-to-peer participants and have them raise money to watch your volunteers try on fun outfits. Pivot this to virtual by having each participant upload a photo or live stream themselves walking their “at-home” runway. Check out the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County to see this idea in action.
- Holiday-themed event – A holiday is a natural time when people come together and feel a little bit more charitable. Leverage this feeling with a holiday-themed peer-to-peer campaign. For instance, the Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity hosted a wildly successful Gingerbread Home Build contest, bringing in 132% over their goal.
- Dance-a-thon – Have your peer-to-peer participants show off their moves while also raising a good bit of money. The more they keep dancing, the more supporters will keep giving! And, you can easily pivot this to virtual by having participants livestream their dancing online.
- Comedy night – Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Ask your funniest peer-to-peer volunteers to write down their best jokes and have an old-fashioned comedy night. Audience members can even continue to give as the show is happening with text fundraising!
- Pet photo contest – Everyone loves looking at adorable animals and showing off their pets. With a pet photo contest, ask supporters to submit photos of their furry friends beforehand. Then, post them online on an ecommerce site so that donors can scroll through as if shopping online. They can then vote for their favorite by donating. Want to see this in action, check out the Brandywine Valley SPCA Picture Pawfect Pet Photo Contest!
- Tennis event – Have your peer-to-peer participants garner support and fundraise for an exciting tennis event! Set up a tournament so that supporters have a little friendly competition. Their friends and families will love to support them and give to your cause.
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Auction Fundraising Ideas
Auctions are a classic go-to fundraising event—and for good reason. Guests bid on items, have an exciting time, and go home with a valuable prize. And, this type of fundraiser can be applied to all types of organizations and their audiences!
You’ll need to finalize a couple of logistics first, like the auction items, a theme, and how guests will bid on items. It’s recommended to invest in an auction platform and a versatile bidding tool. This will make it much easier to host a hybrid auction event or pivot an in-person one to virtual.
If you do want to include virtual elements in your auction event, consider investing in a live streaming tool and posting all of your items online so that people can view them no matter where they are.
- Trunk or Treat Yo Self Auction – This is a fun event that involves parents or other community members banding together and decking out their car trunks with decorations. Easily turn this into an auction by creating an item viewing area. People can look at items (in-person or through a mobile giving app) and then go back to their tailgate. The Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County successfully pulled an event like this off during the pandemic, allowing supporters to also participate while at home virtually.
- Get to Know Your Hometown auction – Host an auction selling fun items that relate to your specific community or hometown. You can procure items that encourage residents to explore the city in a fun way, such as local restaurant gift certificates or tickets to museums or sports games. People can bid either in-person or virtually with a mobile app.
- Travel auction – Who doesn’t love to travel? Consider hosting an auction where you only procure travel-related items. This can include vacation packages, luxury luggage sets, sleep headphones, or even a Kindle! Be creative with this.
- Food-themed auction – A food auction is sure to attract supporters and raise some money. You might auction off recipes from your community members, gift certificates to popular restaurants, food baskets, and other food-themed items.
- The collectibles auction – This might be a little difficult because the items can be hard to procure, but this can still be an effective event because of the popularity of vintage items. Find a collection of unique and hard-to-find items that you supporters would love to win. This can be sports memorabilia, antiques, or other rare finds. The key is to know your audience and figure out the type of items they might be drawn to.
- Adventure-themed auction – These types of auctions are great for your more adventurous donors (or those who want to try and be more adventurous). You can auction off packages like a skydiving experience or a white water rafting trip.
- Sports-themed auctions – Sports fanatics really love these auction events. If you have any passionate supporters or those who just love being active, auctioning off sports-themed items is a great idea. This can be high-end equipment, lessons, or tickets to a game.
- Summer fun auction – Perfect for schools or anyone who wants a vacation, a summer fun auction can attract supporters and quickly raise funds. You might auction off items like theme park tickets, beach gear, surfing lessons, and other experiences.
- Gift basket auction – Gift baskets are pretty simple to procure and even make yourself, so hosting this type of auction is doable for any type of organization. Create different themed baskets, like for food or electronics, and watch as people eagerly bid!
- Mystery auction – You can be creative with a mystery auction and even make a “Whodunit?” theme. Assign one mystery item per category (like tech, food, or experiences) and ask attendees to guess what it is. If people are blindly bidding, make sure the item is exciting to win. Something like an expensive gift certificate or new piece of technology are great ideas.
Ready to host your best auction ever? Download the Qgiv Auction Planner to get started!
Family-Friendly Fundraising Events
If your nonprofit organization often works with kids and is known to be family oriented, you’ll likely be seeking family-friendly fundraising event ideas. These events involve activities that not only keep kids occupied but encourage families to continue to support your organization and mission.
Though the type of tools and equipment you’ll need will depend on the unique event you choose, there are a couple of crucial resources you can’t fundraise without. For instance, you’ll probably want to collect donations through ticket sales, so an event registration tool is essential. To encourage giving during the event itself, you’ll need a giving solution with text fundraising or a giving app to use on-site.
If you want to incorporate virtual elements, some sort of livestreaming or video conferencing tool is your best bet. Look for one with chat functionality and other engagement tools.
- Family field day – Bring the whole family together with a fun field day. Each family can pay a ticketed rate depending on how many people they’re bringing and register as a team. They’ll compete against other families in games like a potato sack race or food eating contests. You’ll likely need an open field venue and some equipment. If you want to incorporate virtual elements, think of activities that families can do at home, like a home supply scavenger hunt! You might even send each family that participates virtually a package with supplies to make it easier.
- Scavenger hunt – For all those mystery and treasure hunting lovers, scavenger hunts are one of the most exciting family-friendly fundraising events. Have each family work as a team or create teams of different families banding together. Then make a list of common things they can collect or take photos of around your community. The team that finds all the items first can win a fun prize!
- Costume contest – Perfect for Halloween (or just a fun activity for kids), a costume contest can garner lots of support and even attract new audience members. Along with collecting gifts from your tickets, you can have each audience member “vote” by donating a set amount, like $5. If you want to pivot this to virtual, encourage participants to upload a photo of their costume and then create an ecommerce site where people can vote for their favorites by sending in a donation.
- Balloon pop – This is a fun fundraising event for people of all ages. All you’ll need are some balloons and slips of paper with a range of different prizes printed on them. Then, put each slip into a balloon and fill them with helium. Sell each balloon to supporters at a set price. Once they’re all sold, instruct everyone to pop their own balloon and see what they’ve won. The winners are then awarded with their prizes!
- Crafting parties – For your craft-loving audience, you can throw a crafting party fundraising event. This is a great family-friendly idea and can be adapted to a lot of different organizations. Choose a crafting idea that relates to your mission or the current times. For instance, a costume crafting event is a great idea for Halloween. If you have virtual participants, you can send a package to their houses with all the necessary tools.
- Trivia night – Gather your supporters for a fun trivia night fundraising event. You can even center your questions around your specific mission or choose a theme like Pop Culture or Movie Trivia. Remember to have a fun prize or a small trophy for the team or individual who wins. This is an easy idea to turn virtual— all you need is a live streaming or video conferencing tool.
- Ice cream social – Everyone loves ice cream! Invite your supporters and their families to an ice cream social. They can pay a set price to attend and then try out some fun ice cream flavors. If you have virtual supporters who want to participate, consider using a food delivery service to send them the treats.
- Game night – Stir up some friendly competition with a family game night fundraising event! Have a collection of board games for people to try out together. You might even create a tournament with a prize for the winner. For a virtual version of this event, consider co-op online video games as an alternative.
- Carnival – Hosting a carnival is a great idea to bring your community members together for a fun fundraising event. You can have a set ticket price for the event but also sell more tickets for individual games or rides at the carnival itself.
- Lock-ins – A lock-in at a school or a library with your supporters and their families can be a fun idea. Kids love group sleepovers and staying overnight somewhere. You can set up tents or sleeping bags as well as provide entertainment like a movie. Don’t want to do this in person? Host a lock-in virtually and ask your participants to stay indoors. Encourage them to post photos of them chilling at home and have ample video chatting opportunities for them to engage with others.
- Chores for charity – Families will love having a little help around the house. Gather a group of volunteers and task them with completing simple tasks like car cleaning, lawn mowing, or dog walking! In exchange, each family will contribute a donation.
- Classic car shows – Host a classic car show for your supporters and their families. A lot of collectors tend to be philanthropic with their hobby, so consider reaching out to those in your local community with exotic or vintage vehicles (Offer to wash their cars in exchange or pay for their gas!). You can even contact car clubs in the area by looking up “vintage car clubs” or make-specific car clubs (corvette clubs are a popular one). Then, have families pay a ticketed price. Raise more money during the event itself with a fun raffle!
- Afternoon tea event – A tea party fundraiser is a fun way to entertain families with young daughters and sons. Set up a cute venue with teacups and assorted tea snacks. To make this virtual, send an at-home tea collection to participating households and encourage them to post their setup on social media!
- Concert – To host a fundraising concert, the first thing you’ll need is the talent. Depending on your budget, you may be able to get a popular artist, but you can also reach out to local musicians. It’s also easy to livestream the event to your virtual attendees!
Recreational Fundraising Ideas
Want to host a fundraising event that is also a source of fun and excitement for your supporters? Consider a recreational event!
Occasions like 5Ks and poker tournaments can attract quite a few supporters and raise a good amount of funds. You’ll likely need a capable event registration tool and collect an admissions fee as the main gift. To garner even more support, you might host a peer-to-peer campaign alongside the event.
To raise money during the event itself, set up a text fundraising number or invest in a donation solution with an onsite giving component.
- 5K – These are extremely popular events, with many organizations hosting them annually with consistent attendees each year. All you’ll need is a venue or a permit to host the 5K. If you want to open this to virtual attendees, have them do the race on their own. To keep them connected and involved with the event, have them send social media updates or display a live tracker with their location online.
- Marathon – For your most athletic supporters, a marathon will definitely pique their interest. Open the race to both in-person and virtual attendees, with the latter completing the marathon remotely. Consider sending t-shirts with the event name and your organization’s logo to your attendees. Not only does everyone love a free t-shirt, but whenever your supporters wear them, they are subtly advertising your organization.
- Costumed fun run – To make your runs a little more entertaining or coincide with a theme or holiday (Halloween, anyone?), throw a costumed fun run! Not only do these events bring community members together, but it’ll be fun seeing everyone’s creative costumes. Encourage all participants to post their costumes on social media with a dedicated hashtag for the event.
- Pet-friendly 5K – Consider combining a 5K with cute, furry friends! Having a pet-friendly 5K not only garners lots of excitement, but you also may have non-participating supporters come just to see all of the cute animals. Encourage giving on the event day where attendees can “vote” with a gift for the pet that they think will complete the 5K first!
- Bowl-a-thon – Get your supporters excited with a fun bowling fundraising event. You can either have people participate individually or split them into teams for a tournament. You’ll probably need to rent lanes beforehand and collect a set registration fee from participants. For a virtual experience, all you need is a virtual bowling simulator that is accessible on both desktop and mobile.
- Golf-a-thon – A golf tournament nonprofit event can attract a lot of enthusiastic supporters looking for a relaxing day on the range. However, you’ll need to consider the game format and where it’ll be. There are several format options for a golf tournament, with each having its own time constraints and other guidelines. Be sure to choose the variation best suited to your nonprofit’s goals.
- Dance off – For a fun competitive event, host a dance off! For this, you’ll need participants pledging to dance for as long as possible in exchange for gifts. To motivate them to keep dancing, offer a prize like a gift basket or an experience ticket. Then, friends and family can give in support of their loved ones. Easily turn this to virtual by asking participants to livestream their dancing!
- Poker run – Instead of any old poker night, host a poker run! These involve players using various forms of transportation to visit 5-7 locations. At each of them, the player draws a card, with the goal to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. While this is more luck than strategy or skill, it’s still an incredibly engaging and exciting way to raise some money!
- Cycling event – This event can be adapted to any organization or mission, and all you need is some passionate supporters who also love to bike! You’ll need to plan the distance and format, and have participants pay an entrance fee. This can easily be virtual by allowing cyclists to complete the distance on their own with a distance tracking device!
- Obstacle course event – Get your supporters excited with an obstacle course fundraising event! Plan activities like rope climbing, wall climbing, bag races, tire-based obstacles, and more. Be creative with this, as you can make obstacles with anything. Interested in how this might look virtually? Encourage your users to create their own obstacle course using household items, like toilet paper, or by doing a series of exercises like crawling and pull ups.
Fundraising Event Ideas for the Creative
Inspire your most creative supporters with a fundraising event that caters to their passions and talents. Since many of these ideas are competitive events, they garner a lot of excitement and are extremely entertaining for your other supporters.
Allow supporters to sign up to both participate or simply be an audience member, with different tiered ticket rates for both. Then, audience members can further give during the event if they’re inspired or really want to show support for an individual. To choose a winner, either recruit a panel of reliable judges or have the audience vote on their favorites.
Want to make these fundraising event ideas virtual? Invest in a reliable livestreaming tool or (depending on the idea) collect pre-recorded video content beforehand.
- Talent show – Recruit some passionate supporters to showcase their talent and award the most popular one with a fun prize! Once you have a list of all your participants, figure out a setlist. You can raise more money during the event itself by selling concessions like snacks or merchandise like t-shirts!
- Fashion show – Have your participants design/put together an outfit and then show it off on the runway. Have staff or volunteers be in charge of taking photos to really emulate the fashion show feeling!
- Art show – Are there any local artists in your area? Encourage them to show off their latest creations with a fundraiser art show! And, with their permission, you can even sell some of the pieces with a portion going back to the artist and the rest going to your organization.
- Cooking contest – Gather your supporters for a tasty fundraising event with a cooking contest! From chili to pie to burgers, you can choose almost any type of food for this idea. And, who wouldn’t love trying an assortment of good food?
- Battle of the Bands – This type of event can attract a lot of different audiences, especially if you host local bands with varied fan bases. These bands get more recognition, and it’s a fun and entertaining night for the audience members! Recruit local bands and offer an enticing prize for the winners.
- Theater performance – Everyone loves a good theater performance! Have audience members buy some popcorn and sit down for monologues or another series of performances.
- Sandcastle art – If you live near a beach, consider hosting a sandcastle art contest! These are great because participants can be as creative as they want. If you have virtual attendees, they can simply submit photos of their creations to show off their art!
- A craft-off – For this type of event, you’ll enlist your most crafty supporters and DIY lovers for a little competitive fun. Have different categories like knitted goods or t-shirt design, with audience members voting for their favorites!
- Costume contest – Some of your creative supporters will love the opportunity to create a costume. Have the public vote for their favorites in a bunch of categories, like scariest, most creative, funniest, and more. This idea can also be adapted to many different missions. For instance, if your organization is dedicated to children battling cancer, you might also send costumes to the kids in need.
“A Night on the Town” Fundraising Events
Everyone needs to have a night on the town to just let loose and celebrate. Combine that with the philanthropic inclination to do some good, and you can host a great fundraising event for your supporters.
For this type of event, you’ll likely sell tickets to supporters. Because you’re offering a unique and lavish experience, they’ll be lining up for the chance to register!
- Gala – Fundraising galas are popular events for organizations of all sizes. You’ll likely only host a gala once or twice a year since they are larger undertakings and will probably need a bigger budget than your more casual events. To raise money during the event itself, you might even host an auction. To pivot this to virtual, consider sending attendees a meal through a delivery service, livestreaming entertainment, and encouraging them to dress up. They can even post their fancy outfits on social media with a dedicated event hashtag!
- Pub crawl – These are popular events that garner support from all types of audiences, with a large opportunity to meet new prospects. All you’ll need to do is partner with a couple of bars within walking distance to each other. You might even have the proceeds of the drinks be split between your organization and the pub. If you have virtual attendees, consider sending them an at-home package of different beers that they can try out.
- Dinner parties – Fundraising dinners not only raise a significant amount of money but also provide an exciting opportunity for your supporters to mingle and reconnect with your mission. Consider the type of food you’ll be serving, as well as entertainment. If this event is going to be hybrid or virtual, you can partner with a food delivery service to send meals directly to participants’ houses.
- Awards banquets – If your organization recently hosted a competition or game or you sponsor a local sports team, you might host an awards banquets fundraiser. You’ll need an entertaining emcee and some prizes, trophies, or certificates as awards. To raise money during the event, sell some food and beverages, or host a raffle!
- Singles event – Do you know anyone who is single and ready to mingle? Invite all of your single supporters to a singles fundraising event where you encourage individuals to meet and talk to each other. You might even incorporate fun games or a speed dating element. Easily make this event virtual with a video conferencing platform so that attendees can still engage with each other.
- Restaurant tour – Take your supporters on a food adventure with a restaurant tour fundraising event! You’ll need to partner with local restaurants to make this happen, so remember to clearly explain the benefits to them as well, like the good publicity. Attendees can either tour different cuisines in person or you can send a variety of dishes to their homes.
- Silent disco – Get ready for a night of fun with a silent disco! This event has risen in popularity because it offers all the excitement of a disco without the excessive noise. To pull one off, you’re going to need wireless headphones and a good DJ. Then, each attendee will wear the headphones and start dancing to the music!
- Alumni mixers – If your organization is education-based, a huge chunk of your donations probably come from alumni! Host an alumni mixer fundraising event to mingle with these passionate supporters in one place. Frame this as a reunion and encourage attendees to catch up with each other as you update them on your organization’s latest accomplishments and new goals.
- Themed fundraising dinner -You can adapt this type of event to all different missions and organizations. Encourage your attendees to dress up and provide a delicious meal for them, all while raising some funds. For instance, let’s say you’re hosting a 20s themed event. You might have everyone dress in flapper attire or incorporate other relevant elements.
- Murder-mystery show – Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Partner with a local restaurant to host a murder-mystery show and serve dinner. Guests will love the chance to gather all the clues and figure out who the culprit is. If this event is virtual, you can tell the story online through videos, images, and audio.
- Casino night – Invite your supporters to a casino night fundraising event! Provide games such as a craps table, poker, slot machines, and more. Have them buy into the event, with some of that fee going to your organization and the rest acting as their chips.
- Winery/brewery tour – If you have any local wineries or breweries, you might consider partnering with them to host a fundraising event! Charge attendees a fixed price and have them enjoy a couple of hours just relaxing and drinking. For any virtual attendees, you can send drink samples to their homes.
- Parents’ night out – Provide your parent supporters with a fun night—with babysitters included. You might partner with a local babysitting agency or have approved volunteers and staff members step up. While the kids are being watched, entertain parents with a concert, auction, dinner, or any other type of experience.
Fundraising Sales Events
Fundraising sales are one of the most popular ways for organizations to quickly raise a good amount of money. To do so, you’ll likely need an online fundraising page or ecommerce page, as well as a way to give in person like a giving app or text fundraising number.
Then, supporters can buy whatever you’re selling by making an online gift or purchasing from your online or in-person store. Depending on the event type, where you get the product or service will differ. You might want to partner with local businesses or collect in-kind gifts from community members to sell.
- Swap shop – For this fundraiser, your supporters will gather items at home they no longer have use for. Then, they’ll open up a “shop” where they’ll swap items. To swap an item, each participant has to also bring an item. If they don’t have any more items to swap, they can pay an extra fee to continue participating.
- Craft fair – Have all of your community members and supporters donate some of their crafts for a craft fair! Have a variety of crafts for people to peruse (both in person or on an ecommerce page), and let them pay however they want, whether that’s online or through your giving app.
- Plant sale – Partner with a local plant nursery or another relevant business and sell some plants together! You can share the profits and your supporters will be excited to take the plants home.
- Farmer’s market – Do you have local farmers in your community? Hosting a farmer’s market fundraising event is a great idea! You can even charge a ticket for supporters to enter, with each of the farmers making their own profit as well.
- Book sale – Collect used and old books from community members and host a book sale fundraising event! Separate the books by genre or type so that it is easier for donors to peruse.
- Pet treat/toys sales – Anyone who has a pet will love a fundraising event dedicated to their animal friends. Sell treats or toys or both to your community members and invite the pets to come along! Who doesn’t love hanging out with a bunch of dogs?
- “Sell” your skills event – Have different community members, volunteers, and staff members sell their “skills” to your supporters. This can include a free art project, home maintenance, and other helpful skills that not everyone has.
- Rummage sale – In a rummage sale, your organization can collect a bunch of knick-knacks and household goods from the community and sell them. While this might not bring in the big bucks, as you’re likely only selling common and used items, it does bring your community together and grow your brand.
- Restaurant partnerships nights – Do you have any close relationships with local restaurants? Partner with your favorite for a fundraising event! Have supporters pay a fixed price for a dedicated meal and brand the event with the restaurant’s name so that they also get some decent exposure.
Simple Fundraising Events
Get back to basics with these simple fundraising events! We recommend investing in an online donation solution, event registration tool, and a dedicated way to give in person.
It’s good to note that some of these might be a little harder to emulate virtually. Instead, you might offer certain services one on one!
- Car wash – Donors will be lining up for the chance to get their cars washed, and they’ll also be happy knowing they’re supporting your mission. They can either pay in person through a giving app or with cash, or simply donate online!
- Pet grooming – What pet owner wouldn’t jump at the chance to have their dog or cat groomed? Host a pet grooming event where you recruit volunteers to help out in brushing and cleaning pets. Have a set price for each service and watch your supporters line up!
- Lemonade stand – To pull off this fundraiser, all you need is delicious lemonade! Set up a stand in a popular area, like outside of a sports game or on a popular block.
- Bingo night – Bingo nights are not only engaging but also easy to plan. You’ll need to get tables, bingo boards, and someone to call out the numbers. If you want to pivot this to virtual, there are also bingo simulators that you can use online.
- Movie night – Invite your supporters to a fun movie night. Either rent out a theater, have an outdoor viewing in a park, or even livestream it to some online attendees. You can even sell concessions like popcorn and drinks for extra funds.
- Serve-a-thon – This fundraiser involves recruiting a group of volunteers or peer-to-peer participants to raise money by committing to complete a service project in the community. Service projects can be feeding the homeless, writing letters to inmates, doing an environmental clean up, and more!
- Face-painting/caricature drawings – Enlist some of your artistic staff members or volunteers to offer face-painting or caricature drawings of your supporters. Sell these at a fixed price, and people will be lining up for a personalized art piece!
- Read-a-thon – Perfect for schools (and any type of organization!), read-a-thons encourage people to read for a good cause. Donors can continue giving to show support and incentivize readers to complete even more pages!
- Pajama day – Everybody loves the chance to dress up in comfy clothes! Simply have people donate a set amount and then encourage them to break out their pajamas together. Have them take pictures and post them on social media with a dedicated hashtag!
Adventure-Themed Fundraising Ideas
Your adrenaline loving supporters will love an adventure themed fundraising idea! For this, you might need to partner with another company or organization to pull the endeavor off.
You’ll also likely need some waivers to ensure that everyone knows the risks (if there are any) to participate!
It’s important to note that these types of events are a little harder to emulate virtually. However, you can encourage participants to undertake these activities on their own instead of in a group, and then document the process and share it online.
- Polar plunge – If you live near a cold body of water, this is the idea for you. Participants take the plunge in icy waters to raise awareness and funds for your mission. Not only are these events fun, but they also can attract a bit of a crowd of community members.
- Weekend Warrior event – Consider hosting a Weekend Warrior event, a program dedicated to providing a weekend of fun and relaxation for veterans and their families!
- Skydiving fundraiser – This isn’t your everyday skydiving event, but it is a clear way for supporters to show their dedication to your mission. Have your skydivers garner excitement before the big jump and fundraise on behalf of your mission.
- Ninja Warrior course – This is a race filled with different obstacles reminiscent of the Ninja Warrior course. This can include walls to climb over, rope obstacles, and other difficult challenges. Award prizes to participants who complete it first!
- Escape rooms – Partner with an escape room company to host your very own escape room fundraising event. Allow participants to sign up in teams and then award a prize to the group that is able to escape first! If you want to host a virtual escape room event, there are online simulations that you can also use.
- Triathlons – Your fitness fanatic supporters will love the chance to participate in a triathlon for your organization. You’ll need venues for each activity, like a running track, swimming pool, biking track, and others.
- Mud run – Not only are mud runs fun to participate in, but they’re extremely entertaining to watch. This is a course centered around mud themed obstacles. They can include mud pits, mud crawls, mud slides, mud inflatables, and more.
Class Fundraising Events
Some of the best fundraising events are the ones where people learn! Recruit staff members or volunteers with special skills to lead a workshop and teach other supporters a fun skill!
Attendees can register through your online event solution and pay a fixed price for the experience. The best part is that these types of events are pretty easy to conduct as a virtual fundraising event too. You can either livestream the lesson, or upload a video for supporters to follow along. For your at-home viewers, make sure to send them the necessary supplies so that they can participate.
Then, they can post their creations and products on social media for everyone to see!
- Cooking lessons – Have someone lead their own cooking workshop and teach others how to make a delicious meal or baked good. If this takes place in person, it’s important to get the right venue and acquire the necessary tools and ingredients. Or, send the ingredients to your virtual attendees’ homes!
- Crafting classes – This fundraising class is not only a great way to raise funds, but you can also be creative with it and relate it to your mission. For example, an animal fundraiser might lead a class crafting pet toys! And, supporters can go home with a fun craft!
- Intro to gardening classes – Do you know anyone with a green thumb? Enlist them to lead an introduction to gardening class! Collect all the necessary tools and have attendees pot a beginner plant and learn all the best ways to care for it.
- Sports workshops – If your nonprofit mission revolves around sports or physical health, a sports workshop is a great fundraising idea! Have someone teach donors about specific skills, play mini games, and just have a fun time.
- Guitar lessons – Have any musically inclined staff members or volunteers? Or do you know any musicians? If so, consider hosting guitar lessons (or classes for another type of common instrument!) This might be a little harder if everyone doesn’t have guitars, so consider partnering with a guitar shop or a music school.
- Online webinar series – Virtual events have made online webinars and learning extremely popular. Consider hosting an online webinar series where you educate your supporters on different topics and connect them deeper to your mission.
- Voice lessons – Do any of your supporters want to be singers? Consider hosting a voice lesson class where you teach them how to control their range and practice scales.
- Improv classes – If your organization is based in the arts, an improv class is the perfect fundraising event to host! People will be lining up to learn some tips on how to react in the moment and learn the ins and outs of improv.
- Acting classes – Similar to improv, acting classes can be extremely attractive, especially if you have a good instructor. If you know any drama teachers and they want to lend out a helping hand for a charity event, an acting class fundraiser is a great idea.
- Tech classes – Not everyone is as tech savvy as they’d like to be. Consider hosting a fundraising class where people learn how to build their own computer, do basic coding, and other tech lessons.
- Language lessons – If you have some fluent foreign speaking volunteers or staff, enlisting them to host their own language lesson is a great idea. You can even make this a recurring course so that people can continuously brush up on their Spanish and Korean.
Did any of these fundraising events pique your interest? Remember, most of the events can easily include virtual elements and be pivoted to hybrid if needed. To help you plan the best fundraising event for your nonprofit, here are other resources that you can use:
- Virtual Event Planner – Still not sure how to pivot your event to take place online and how you can engage your virtual attendees? Check out our virtual event planner for more specific guidance and tips.
- Hybrid Events | A Guide for Nonprofits – Hybrid events are the future, as it allows both in-person and virtual supporters to participate. Explore our dedicated guide to ensure that you’re fully prepared.
- Tools and Ideas for Virtual & Hybrid Fundraising Events – Here’s a dedicated resource we’ve created for virtual and hybrid event ideas, event tips, specific strategies for each event type, and how you can best leverage our tools.