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Easy Fundraisers with Big Impact

by New York University
June 10, 2024
10 min read
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Fundraising is crucial for nonprofits and charities. Good fundraising ideas provide the necessary resources to raise money and drive initiatives forward. Without effective fundraising, many organizations would struggle to support their causes, from education and healthcare to environmental conservation and social justice.

Easy fundraisers are a great way to quickly make a big impact. Fundraising ideas for schools can help support the education of the next generation while partnering with local businesses can foster community building. By using simple fundraising ideas, you can:

  • Engage your community
  • Raise funds efficiently
  • Reach your goals faster

Raising money doesn't have to be hard. These uncomplicated strategies help rally support and generate the funds needed for meaningful change. allows donors to easily create scholarships to raise funds for students. This is a simple way to raise money for a great cause— education. Sign up as a donor to get started and come up with some fundraising ideas to help increase your scholarship fund.

Donations with are 100% tax-deductible, allowing you to focus on how you want to raise money instead of the logistical aspects. Check out the donor page for more details on how we make scholarship creation easy.

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The Power of Fundraising for Nonprofits and Charities

Fundraising is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations and charities. Quality fundraising ideas not only help them raise money but also bring people together around a cause. Here's why fundraising is so important:

Benefits of Organizing Fundraisers

Fundraising activities offer a multitude of benefits for nonprofit organizations and charities:

Increased Financial Support

Fundraisers help raise money essential for operational costs, program implementation, and expanding outreach. High school fundraising ideas, for example, can make a huge difference in covering the operational costs of student organizations or programs.

Community Engagement

Bringing people together around a cause fosters a sense of community and shared purpose. A local fundraising event doesn't have to be boring— some might want to bring their friends, or even go for date night, depending on the theme.

Awareness Building

Events highlight your mission and the issues you aim to address, attracting media coverage and public attention. That's why a creative fundraising idea is so important. An innovative event makes people get involved because they want to, not just because they feel obligated to support a cause.

Setting Clear Fundraising Goals to Measure Success

Successful fundraising efforts begin with setting clear, achievable goals. Here's how to ensure your goals are effective:

  1. Specificity: Define precise targets, such as the amount of money to be raised or the number of participants to engage.
  2. Measurability: Use quantifiable metrics to track progress, like ticket sales or donation amounts.
  3. Time-Bound Objectives: Establish deadlines to create urgency and motivate action.

Clear goals not only guide your strategies but also enable you to measure success and make necessary adjustments.

donating and fundraising

Understanding Your Audience, Mission, and Brand for Effective Fundraising

Identifying and Engaging Your Target Audience for Successful Fundraising Events

Knowing who you're reaching out to is crucial. Identify the core demographics of your potential donors—whether they are community members, high school students, or corporate partners. Tailor your communication and event planning to resonate with them.

  • Community Members: Engage local residents through events that foster a sense of community, like bake sales or car washes.
  • High School Students: Capture their interest with interactive and fun activities such as social media challenges or virtual gaming fundraisers.

Aligning Your Fundraising Activities with the Mission and Values of Your Organization

Every fundraiser should reflect the mission and values of your nonprofit. This alignment builds trust and ensures that your audience feels connected to the cause.

  • Mission-Centric Events: If your nonprofit focuses on education, consider events like book drives or scholarship fundraising dinners.
  • Values-Driven Activities: Promote sustainability by organizing eco-friendly events like recycling drives or clean-up campaigns.

Leveraging Corporate Partnerships to Increase Your Chances of Raising Money

Corporate partnerships can significantly boost your fundraising efforts. Companies often seek opportunities to give back to the community and enhance their corporate social responsibility (CSR) profiles.

  • Sponsorships: Secure sponsorships from local businesses that align with your cause.
  • Matched Donations: Encourage companies to match employee donations during fundraising events. This is an easy way to raise funds as it incentivizes donations from both sides.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media Challenges to Expand Your Donor Base

Social media is a powerful tool for broadening your reach and engaging new donors. Create viral challenges that encourage participation and donations.

  • Hashtag Campaigns: Develop a unique hashtag for your fundraiser and encourage participants to share their involvement on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers who support your cause to amplify your message and reach new audiences.

Identifying your audience, aligning with your mission, leveraging corporate partnerships, and harnessing social media are key strategies in nonprofit event planning that ensure successful fundraising efforts.

fundraising ideas

Creative Fundraising Event Ideas with Easy Setup Guides

Below is a comprehensive list of different fundraising ideas you can adapt for your own events. These are easy ways to raise money while generating community interest. We'll also include pointers on how you can set up the fundraising event.

Community Fundraising with Local Businesses

1. Hosting a Successful Bake Sale Fundraiser: Setup, Promotion, Key Considerations

A bake sale can be a delightful way to engage your local community while raising funds for your cause. Here's how to set it up:


  • Location: Choose a high-traffic area such as a local park, school, or community center.
  • Volunteers: Recruit enthusiastic volunteers, including bakers and salespeople.
  • Permits: Check if you need any permits or health regulations for selling homemade goods.


  • Flyers and Posters: Distribute these in local businesses, schools, and community boards.
  • Social Media: Create event pages on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach a broader audience.
  • Word of Mouth: Encourage those involved to spread the word within their networks.

Key Considerations:

  • Variety: Offer a range of baked goods – cookies, brownies, cupcakes – catering to different dietary needs (gluten-free, vegan).
  • Pricing: Set affordable prices to attract more buyers while ensuring profitability.
  • Presentation: Attractive packaging and clear labeling can enhance appeal.

2. Organizing a Profitable Car Wash Fundraiser: Logistics, Volunteer Management, Marketing Strategies

A car wash fundraiser is another simple yet effective way to raise funds quickly.


  • Location: Secure a spacious area with access to water supply, like a school parking lot or local car dealership.
  • Supplies: Gather essentials such as hoses, buckets, sponges, soap, and towels.
  • Safety: Ensure volunteers have protective gear and are briefed on safety protocols.

Volunteer Management:

  • Roles: Assign specific tasks – washing, drying, and handling payments.
  • Shifts: Organize volunteers into shifts to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
  • Training: Brief volunteers on efficient car-washing techniques for quality service.

Marketing Strategies:

  • Pre-Sale Tickets: Sell tickets in advance at local businesses or online to guarantee initial participation.
  • Signage: Use eye-catching signs at busy intersections to draw attention on the day of the event.
  • Online Presence: Promote through social media channels and local community groups.

3. Showcasing Local Talent with an Art Show Fundraiser: Venue Selection, Artist Participation, Ticket Sales

An art show can highlight local talent while generating significant funds through ticket sales and art purchases.

Venue Selection:

  • Space Requirements: Choose a venue that accommodates art displays comfortably – think galleries or community halls.
  • Accessibility: Ensure it's accessible for all attendees and has adequate facilities.

Artist Participation:

  • Call for Artists: Reach out to local artists via social media, art schools, and creative communities.
  • Incentives: Offer artists exposure and the opportunity to sell their work during the event. Some may even donate pieces for auction.

Ticket Sales:

  • Pricing Strategy: Decide on ticket prices based on your fundraising goals and target audience's budget.
  • Sales Channels: Sell tickets online through event platforms like Eventbrite or physical outlets like local businesses.

Each of these ideas offers unique opportunities to engage your community while supporting your fundraising efforts effectively.

fundraising ideas that are virtual

Virtual Fundraising with Online Platforms

1. Engaging Supporters through Virtual Fitness Challenges

Virtual fitness challenges are a great fundraising idea that can bring communities together seamlessly, even from afar. Here's how you can set up an effective virtual fitness challenge:

Selecting a Platform:

Choose a user-friendly platform like Strava, Fitbit, or MyFitnessPal to track participants' progress. These platforms allow users to log their activities, share updates, and engage with other participants.

Creating Incentives:

Offer rewards for milestones reached or top performers. This could include branded merchandise, gift cards from local businesses, or free entries into a raffle ticket draw. Incentives keep participants motivated and engaged.

Promoting the Event Online:

Utilize social media channels, email newsletters, and your organization’s website to promote the event. Create engaging content such as videos, testimonials, and progress updates to maintain momentum throughout the challenge.

2. Leveraging the Popularity of Video Games with a Twitch Fundraiser

Twitch fundraisers capitalize on the massive audience and interactive nature of live-streaming platforms. To execute this perfect fundraising idea effectively:

Partnering with Streamers

Reach out to popular streamers who align with your cause. Their existing follower base provides instant visibility for your fundraiser. Collaborate on a streaming schedule and promote it across both parties’ social media channels.

Encouraging Donations during Live Streams

Use features like donation alerts and incentives for viewers who contribute. Streamers can set milestones or challenges (e.g., playing a game blindfolded) that unlock when donation goals are met. This interactive element keeps viewers engaged and encourages more donations.

Creative fundraising ideas such as virtual fitness challenges and Twitch video game fundraisers offer innovative ways to raise money while connecting with a wide audience.

These events not only support your mission but also foster community spirit and engagement in today's digital age.

Entertainment Fundraising with Themed Events and Parties

Creating Memorable Experiences with a Date Night Fundraiser

Planning a date night fundraiser can be a great fundraising idea that brings your community together while supporting your cause. Here's how to get started:

Planning Unique Activities:

Think about activities that will make the night special. Consider options like dance lessons, cooking classes, or movie nights under the stars.

Partnering with Local Businesses or Restaurants:

Collaborate with local businesses to provide food, drinks, or entertainment. This not only enhances the event but also strengthens community ties.

Ticket Sales:

Set a reasonable ticket price and promote the event through social media, newsletters, and local flyers. Offering early bird discounts can incentivize early purchases and help gauge interest.

virtual fundraiser

Hosting a Thrilling Murder Mystery Party Fundraiser

A murder mystery party is another creative fundraising idea that promises fun and excitement while raising funds for your cause. Here's what you need to know:

Script Selection:

Choose a compelling script that suits your audience. There are many themes available, from classic whodunits to more contemporary settings.

Costume and Set Design:

Encourage attendees to dress in character by providing costume guidelines. Create an immersive environment with themed decorations and props—consider hosting at a local park or community center for added ambiance.

Ticket Pricing:

Determine ticket prices based on your costs and fundraising goals. Promote the event through various channels, emphasizing the unique experience it offers.

Both of these themed events not only raise funds but also create lasting memories for participants, making them some of the best fundraising ideas for engaging your community.

Creative fundraising ideas can easily bring in more donations and are more effective in raising money than simply asking for donations.

It's worth the effort to spend a little extra time thinking of innovative and easy fundraising ideas.

4. Maximizing Donor Engagement for Long-Term Support

Donor engagement strategies are critical for maintaining momentum and ensuring the sustainability of your fundraising efforts. Building strong relationships with donors not only secures immediate support but also fosters loyalty and long-term commitment. Here’s how you can nurture these relationships effectively:

The Importance of Nurturing Donor Relationships for Continued Impact

  • Personalized Communication: Regular updates about how their contributions are making a difference can go a long way. Highlight success stories and impact metrics to make them feel valued.
  • Exclusive Events: Invite donors to special events where they can see firsthand the impact of their donations. These could be behind-the-scenes tours, meet-and-greets with beneficiaries, or exclusive webinars.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Publicly acknowledge donors in newsletters, social media posts, or at events. A simple thank-you note can also strengthen the bond between your organization and its supporters.

Offering Recurring Donation Options to Sustain Ongoing Support

Recurring donations provide a steady stream of income, allowing nonprofits to plan and execute long-term projects more effectively. Here’s how to encourage recurring contributions:

  • Ease of Setup: Simplify the process by offering easy-to-use online platforms where donors can set up monthly or annual contributions in just a few clicks.
  • Incentives for Recurring Donors: Offer perks such as early access to events, exclusive updates, or branded merchandise to make ongoing support appealing.
  • Clear Communication: Explain the benefits of recurring donations clearly on your website and promotional materials. Highlight how sustained giving helps achieve larger goals and create lasting change.

By focusing on donor engagement strategies and providing options for recurring donations for nonprofits, you can ensure a consistent flow of support that drives meaningful impact over time.

This approach not only helps you reach your fundraising goals but also builds a community of committed supporters who are invested in your mission's success.

If you're a prospective donor yourself looking to raise funds, check out's donor FAQ for details on how to effectively raise money.

virtual fundraising ideas to raise money

Frequently Asked Questions About Easy Fundraisers

How can we make fundraising easy for students to participate in?

Making fundraising accessible for students involves:

  • Simplifying tasks: Break down activities into manageable steps. Even younger students can participate in elementary school fundraising ideas if tasks are simplified for them.
  • Leveraging technology: Use apps and social media to promote events and track progress.
  • Providing clear instructions: Ensure students understand their roles and how to succeed.

What are some effective ways to encourage students to help raise money?

Encouraging student participation can be achieved by:

  • Offering incentives: Rewards like extra credit or small prizes can boost involvement.
  • Creating a sense of competition: Organize challenges or contests between classes or groups.
  • Highlighting the impact: Share stories about how their efforts directly benefit the cause.

What are some high-impact fundraising ideas that require minimal effort from students?

High-impact, low-effort ideas include:

  • Raffle tickets: Students can sell tickets with minimal setup required.
  • Online crowdfunding campaigns: Easy to share on social media, reaching a broad audience quickly.
  • Donation drives: Collecting items like clothes or canned goods that people already have at home.

Are there any low-cost or no-cost fundraising ideas that can still have a big impact?

Absolutely, consider these budget-friendly options as a way to raise money:

  • Bake sales: Ingredients are often donated, making them cost-effective.
  • Car washes: Utilize school facilities and volunteer labor for maximum profit.
  • Social media challenges: Encourage donations through viral challenges that cost nothing but time.

These strategies ensure your fundraising goals are met efficiently while keeping student engagement high. Sign up as a donor on and start pitching fundraising ideas for schools, manage your own scholarship fund, or tap into the resources we offer donors to get started raising money. 

New York University
Content Writer

About Elise

Elise is a skilled and knowledgeable writer. Her understanding of scholarships and internships enables her to craft insightful and informative content that resonates with students, helping them navigate the often complex processes of applying for financial aid and career opportunities.

Elise graduated from New York University with a double major in English and Psychology, as well as a minor in Creative Writing.


Through challenging university coursework and corporate experience, Elise has become an expert in several different types of writing, including literary analysis, content pieces, formal scientific writing, SEO editing, and more. Elise expanded on her knowledge while interning in marketing, using her understanding of SEO to boost website traffic and customer engagement.

She’s published a short story in The Foundationalist literary magazine and has also won several short story writing awards at the regional and international levels. Elise loves to craft content that helps students navigate college life and scholarship applications. She makes use of syntax and tone to write readable, engaging pieces. Elise has a solid understanding of linguistics and grammatical structures across multiple languages thanks to her fluency in English and proficiency in Mandarin and Cantonese. 

Elise first joined in 2022 during her undergraduate studies, explored other pursuits in 2023, and happily returned in 2024 as a Content Writer. Motivated by her writing skills, she aims to make educational resources more accessible for students of all backgrounds. Additionally, she believes it's important to add to the available information on student loans and student finances in a way that's user-friendly and easy to understand.

Quote from Elise

“I try to create content that would have helped my younger self— stuff I wish I knew when I was starting college.”

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