10 Fundraising Ideas for Mental Health Nonprofits

Fundraising Ideas

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Mental health is important. Just like physical health, one’s mental well-being directly influences their quality of life. That’s why we want to encourage mental health nonprofits to succeed in their fundraising efforts to provide better mental health outcomes to those who use their services. Take a look at these 10 unique fundraising ideas for mental health nonprofits  you can use at your nonprofit. 

Destress fundraising challenge

Self Care Isn't Selfish message posted on a marquee.

Like the ALS ice bucket challenge, mental health nonprofits can actually do a destress challenge instead of one that adds pressure to one’s life. Challengers can challenge people to relax for an extended period of time and not worry about daily life stressors that often contribute to poor mental health outcomes.  

Ask supporters to seek out and nominate their stressed friends and family members to give them the challenge to destress by taking time out of their day not to worry. Then, ask them to contribute to your nonprofit for giving them that moment to destress.  

You can set up a destress challenge donation form specific to the challenge that shares different ways supporters can take ten to fifteen minutes for themselves. 

Community art project

Create a community art project at your mental health nonprofit. Start by treating the project as a form of art therapy and ask those you serve to create their picture of good mental health. Then open it up to the community and charge to take part in the community art project. 

People can come together to draw their own pictures of good mental health alongside those you serve. While the pictures are different, it promotes unity and a connection to those you serve who can often feel separated from mainstream society because of their mental health struggles.  

This fundraising idea is a great way to do some good, display some art, and raise crucial funds at your nonprofit. 

Host a yoga or meditation fundraiser

Like the destress challenge, this next fundraising idea for mental health nonprofits is all about lowering stress through calming activity. Instead of issuing a challenge, host a fundraiser in the form of a yoga or meditation workshop. 

Encourage people to come and take part in the workshop for a small fee. The yoga should be easy for beginners and promote deep breathing and stress relief. If you go the meditation route, consider hosting several sessions of guided meditation to help people visualize a less stressful situation for themselves. Charge fees to attend and afterward present on your nonprofit and ask for their continued support, explaining how their entry fees will be used to better mental health outcomes of those you serve. 

Coffee break fundraisers

Barista making coffee art.

Another fundraising idea involves the lifeblood of many of us out there, coffee. Why not encourage people to take their coffee break with your nonprofit and engage in some conversation? Topics can be about mental health or about lighter subject matter such as pop culture.  

The goal here is to offer a virtual break for people to slow down and socialize with one another in a safe environment. You’ll want a Zoom moderator to keep conversation civil and flowing with good conversation starter questions and icebreakers. Don’t charge to attend this virtual fundraiser, and instead, ask for tips from attendees during the event. The more your guests enjoy destressing with you and their fellow supporters the more they’ll donate to your cause. 

You can fundraise this way with a simple online donation form

A-thon events

Your mental health nonprofit likely knows that physical activity does a world of good when it comes to mental health too. Your fundraiser can promote your nonprofit while promoting wellness. How? With our first fundraising idea for mental health nonprofits, a-thon events. 

What is an a-thon event? These are marathon type events that encourage supporters to take part in a healthy activity, often a physical activity, while raising funds for your nonprofit. You can host a bike-athon, run-athon, or even a read-athon to get people fundraising for your nonprofit. 

This is a peer-to-peer fundraising event. Those taking part in the event secure pledges from their friends and family so that for every mile traveled (or each page read) they receive a donation. The goal is to keep performing the activity for as long as possible to raise as much money as possible during the event. This can promote health and wellness while making your nonprofit a lot of money in peer-to-peer donations. 

Host a mental health awareness event

Another fundraising idea for mental health nonprofits is to host an awareness event during which your organization has the opportunity to share how you help and ask for donations from your captive audience.  

You could host a lecture on a popular topic in mental health or even host a Q&A session answering questions from the audience. This could be an eye-opening experience for attendees that earns your nonprofit donations from those who care about the work that you do.

Fundraising gala

Fundraising gala seating featuring a pink and white theme with flowers as centerpieces and bows on the chairs.

A fundraising gala is a great fundraising idea for any nonprofit. Get guests to sit down for a meal and drinks together and provide them with entertainment during the event. You can go as classy or casual as your audience would appreciate. Then, be sure to explain the important work you do during the dinner and ask supporters to give to your charity. 

While not specific to mental health nonprofits, a gala fundraiser is a great option for raising funds by selling tickets and tables, hosting a silent auction fundraiser during the gala, and even hosting sub-events like wine pulls during the gala event. 

Entertainment can be in the form of an inspiration speech from a mental health professional or you could hire a band or DJ to perform during the gala with breaks in between to discuss your nonprofit, the work you do, and the support you need to be successful. 

Learn more about fundraising galas.


As mentioned in the last fundraising idea, an auction is a great way for your mental health nonprofit to raise crucial funds. By securing donated auction items that your supporters will love, you can raise funds during your auction fundraising event. 

What kinds of auction items are attractive to bidders? We’ve got you covered with this list of 50 auction item ideas. When you have your items secured it’s important to get the word out about your auction and tease the auction items going up for bid.  

During your auction consider hosting a paddle raise to raise donations for crucial supplies you need at your nonprofit.  

Looking for help planning the perfect auction? Our auction planner has you covered from auction concept to completion. 

Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising

The work you do is inspiring. So inspiring you can probably convince people to fundraise on your behalf. That’s exactly what a peer-to-peer fundraiser is all about. Choose an activity for everyone to take part in, like a 5K or another form of healthy activity. Then convince participants to fundraise on your behalf. 

You can convince participants to fundraise for you by sharing your mission and how funds will be used. If they need more convincing, provide incentives for fundraising like exclusive branded swag that only those who fundraise earn. It’s especially effective to offer different merchandise at different fundraising goals. As milestones are reached, participants renew their enthusiasm with new swag from your nonprofit. 

In addition to peer-to-peer fundraising events, you can also encourage supporters to create peer-to-peer fundraisers for their major milestones. Many people are willing to donate their birthdays to causes that matter to them, for instance. Help them fundraise by setting up a custom fundraising page for their fundraiser and showing them how to share their page with those they think will donate. 

Need peer-to-peer tools to power your nonprofit’s fundraisers? Give us a try

Create a fundraising video

A man shooting video on a DSLR camera.

Did you know that 57% of people who watch a nonprofit video go on to donate to the nonprofit? That means that more than half of the people who view a video about your mental health nonprofit will support your efforts! 

The best part is that video editing is no longer a task that only someone with a design degree can pull off. Instead, the once-herculean task of making a video can be accomplished in a few clicks with video editing software like BombBomb, Promo.com, and Camtasia

How do you make a successful fundraising video? 

Encourage donations in the video by highlighting the work you do and the work still needing to be done. Be sure to make a direct ask for support in your video. Share it online on your website and social media channels. You can even create video ads to get more eyes on your video. You want to make sure your video is watched by as many people as possible. 

Final thoughts

We hope these ten fundraising ideas for mental health nonprofits inspire you to create an engaging, successful fundraiser that benefits those you serve. 

For more information on how you can use Qgiv for your online and event fundraising, request a demo

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