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Top Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits in 2024

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by Columbia University In The City Of New York
June 10, 2024
9 min read
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If you are wondering how to raise money for a nonprofit organization or a fundraising event, you are not alone. Finding the right funding method isn't about creating complex and draining campaigns. Instead, it's about researching which option best aligns with your goals and resources to achieve optimal results.

When I worked for a nonprofit, we would try to pick the best innovative and traditional fundraising ideas. Finding creative ways to raise funds is crucial for any nonprofit organization. If you are an expert in fundraising or just want to brainstorm possibilities to raise money, this blog is packed with innovative and traditional fundraising ideas, perfect for experienced fundraisers and those just starting their journey.

Start Your Campaign Today! Support education by giving scholarships!

10 Innovative Fundraising Ideas Every Nonprofit Should Consider

Online Scholarship Campaigns:

Online platforms that help fund education are another perfect way to invest in the dreams and aspirations of deserving students.

With online fundraising platforms like Bold.org, every contribution, big or small, makes a difference, enabling students to reach their full potential. Raising money on Bold can only be used to administer scholarships, unlike crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, which can be paid out to a beneficiary. Here's how Bold.org simplifies the process:

Define Your Scholarship:

Clearly outline your scholarship criteria, such as academic merit, financial need, or a specific field of study.

Set the Funding Goal:

Determine the total amount you want to award and leverage Bold.org's tools to manage donations effectively.

Craft a Compelling Story:

Tell the story behind your scholarship and why education is important to you. This will resonate with potential donors.

Spread the Word:

Promote your scholarship on Bold.org's platform and through your own network to attract qualified applicants.

Bold.org takes care of the rest, including applicant screening, secure online donations, and scholarship management. You'll have the satisfaction of directly impacting a student's future while enjoying a seamless experience.

Ready to invest in the next generation of leaders? Visit Bold.org today and get started on creating your transformative scholarship!

Make a Difference Today

Launch a fund to help individuals overcome financial barriers and pursue higher education.

Create Your Free Donor Profile

Community Fundraising Events:

Organize a variety of events to raise funds, from food-focused activities, community barbecues, or activity-based events like car washes, charity auctions, and game nights. You can promote active events in nonprofit organizations such as walkathons, 5k/10k runs/cycles, or charity sports tournaments. Showcase local talent with talent shows, art shows, or community theatre productions.

To maximize your impact, check if you can partner with local businesses to secure sponsorships, donations, or venue space. Recruit volunteers from the community to help with planning, set-up, and execution. A local event is a great way to raise money while fostering a sense of community.

Volunteer Driven Campaigns:

These campaigns leverage the passion and connections of your volunteers for a high-impact approach to fundraising. Organize volunteers to lead fundraising efforts through phone, door-to-door, social media outreach, and grassroots community engagement. Consider incorporating fundraising campaigns where volunteers create personalized pages and posts to reach their networks and raise funds.

With this method, businesses gain brand recognition while your organization receives a portion of sales to support your mission. Let's say you collaborate with a grocery store chain to offer a product line where a percentage of each sale goes towards your environmental initiatives. Or go beyond sales and co-host events, offer volunteer opportunities for employees, sell tickets or donate to products.

Online Merchandise Sales:

An online store allows your board members and supporters to proudly showcase their commitment to your mission while generating revenue for your organization. There are many user-friendly e-commerce platforms designed for non-profits, such as Wild Apricot or Bonfire, or you can do your own research and find what best fits you (don't worry, I am not personally promoting these platforms).

Some of the most used products are t-shirts, hats, tote bags, or even environmentally friendly items like reusable water bottles. With online merchandise sales you can leverage social media marketing to promote your online store and reach a wider audience and local business.

fundraising ideas

Matching Gift Programs:

Encourage donors to double their impact by securing matching gift commitments from corporations or foundations willing to match donations made by their employees or customers.

Donor Appreciation Events:

Did you know your donation could be doubled if you offer matching gift programs to employees or customers? To express your gratitude and embrace lasting relationships with your donors, consider hosting an appreciation event.

Whether it's a small gathering for personal interaction, a showcase that brings your mission to life with beneficiary testimonials, or a creative celebration themed around your cause, expressing appreciation will help maintain those relationships and create new ones.

Follow up with thank you notes or gifts to solidify the positive experience and your connection with donors.

Legacy Giving Initiatives:

Considering planned giving options. A planned gift sort of membership, charitable trust, or other ongoing fundraising ideas allows you to support our mission for years to come, ensuring a lasting impact on the causes you care about most. Planned giving offers one of the best win-win situations. You can make a significant contribution to our organization while receiving tax benefits and fulfilling your philanthropic goals.

Grant Writing and Foundation Funding:

Grants from foundations, government agencies, and other organizations can significantly support your projects as well. Start by researching potential funders whose priorities align with your mission and programs. Many grantors publish their detailed guidelines and application materials online. Carefully review deadlines and eligibility requirements to ensure a strong application.

Major Donor Cultivation:

Again, embrace relationships with individuals who have the potential to make contributions to your cause. Through personalized engaging opportunities, you can build trust, inspire generosity, spread awareness and secure long-term support for your mission.

Maximizing Impact: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Fundraising Event

Planning a fundraising event can be a fantastic way to generate revenue, connect with your community, and raise awareness for your cause. But with so many details to consider, how can you ensure your event is fun and engaging while also securing the biggest impact possible for your organization? Let's dive in!

1. Define Your Goals and Target Audience:

Before anything, take a step back and define your goals. Are you aiming to raise a specific amount of money? Increase volunteers? Boost brand awareness? Identifying your goals will guide your entire planning process.

Then, consider your target audience. Understand their values and needs. Ask yourself, who are you trying to reach with your event? Understanding their preferences will help you choose the right format and tone for your event.

2. Explore Engaging Event Ideas:

There's a whole world of possibilities when it comes to fundraising events! Community-focused events: Organize bake sales, car washes, grand prize contests, or talent shows to foster a sense of togetherness.

- Activity-based events: Consider charity auctions, game nights, trivia nights, or themed movie nights.

- Athletic events: Host walkathons, 5k/10k runs/cycles, or charity sports tournaments to encourage a healthy and active atmosphere.

- Creative events: Showcase local artists' talent with art shows, musical performances, or theatrical productions.

3. Your Fundraising Potential:

Consider incorporating other fundraising strategies into your event, such as match donations, silent auctions, raffles, or volunteer opportunities.

4. Plan for Engagement:

Creating a memorable experience are key to successful nonprofit fundraising ideas and events. Make sure to promote your event and utilize social media, email marketing, and local media to reach a wider audience. Tell the story of how your event and the funds raised will make a difference. Don't forget to create a fun and engaging atmosphere with live music, interactive activities, and always express gratitude to your participants.

fundraising for nonprofits

Thinking Outside the Donation Box: Creative Ideas to Raise Funds

Fundraising is necessary for non-profits, but traditional methods can feel stagnant. Think of organizing video game tournaments, board game battles such as trivia night, or even a drag-queen bingo event. Create online or real-world clue trails with a participation fee and prizes. Ticket sales will encourage supporters to attend and engage with the local community.

Another perfect fundraising idea is a silent auction. I recently attended a fundraising event organized by a group of friends from college to support the people of Ukraine. Not only was the photographer's work beautifully showcased in the walls of the gallery, also the audience members were able to see it through a QR code on their phones. It was a success. The fundraising goal was achieved by selling 90% of the art.

I thought this hybrid format was one of the best fundraising ideas I have attended in a while. They leveraged traditional methods of fundraising with digital trends while offering free drinks and a short presentation from the artist and the organizers. (You can check his photography Instagram page @willhullphoto).

Host virtual fundraising galas with online entertainment, auctions, and interactive elements. Use platforms like Facebook or Instagram to create virtual fundraising campaigns where supporters can choose to share their name and solicit donations from their networks.

Unlocking the Power of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Also known as social fundraising, this kind leverages the power of your existing supporters to tap into their networks and exponentially increase your reach.

But how do you make these successful fundraising ideas happen?

  • Empower Your Supporters: Provide them with the resources they need to succeed. This includes creating user-friendly pages, offering online posts, and supplying compelling campaign materials.
  • Spark Engagement: Make it fun and rewarding. Consider contests, leaderboards, or rewards to incentivize fundraising efforts.
  • Celebrate Success: Publicly recognize your top fundraisers and showcase the impact of their contributions. Maybe if your event has an entry fee, offer them recurring free tickets so they feel supported and included in their contributions.

Build a Sustainable Revenue Stream

Relying on a single source of income can be risky. To create a financial foundation, explore fundraising methods such as individual donations, grants, events, peer-to-peer fundraising, cause-related marketing, and earned income through social enterprises or merchandise sales.

Focus on donor retention with personalized communication and engagement opportunities. Then, optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness by tracking expenses, investing in digital technology, and seeking pro bono services.

The world and non-profit landscape is undergoing a digital revolution. Traditional methods must adapt to a donor base that expects seamless online experiences, engagement, and transparency. Although we can't forget about the value of traditional methods, tech-savvy supporters want compelling narratives that showcase the impact of their donations.

Nonprofits must ensure user-friendly websites with secure payment options to capitalize on this shift. The future also lies in crafting compelling and truthful narratives. Video content, online campaigns, and email marketing become powerful tools to keep in touch with your supporters and collect donations.

Social media fundraising platforms allow the creation of personalized fundraising pages and reach their networks to contribute. And last but not least, AI can also analyze donor data to personalize communication and identify giving trends.

Transforming Passion into Action: Raise Money

First, find your cause. What issues upset you? Environmental protection, animal welfare, social justice - the possibilities are endless. Research organizations working in your area of interest and find those whose values mirror yours.

Remember, giving isn't limited to just money. Volunteer your time, your skills, and your voice. Many organizations rely on volunteers to fulfill their mission. Donate your time, from administrative tasks to event support, and make a direct impact. Use your social media just like every dollar counts, every conversation matters.

Support businesses that align with your values. Look for companies with charitable giving programs or those committed to social responsibility. Every purchase can be a vote for a better future.

funraisers for nonprofits

Frequently Asked Questions About Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

What are some creative fundraising ideas that go beyond traditional events?

Consider fundraising ideas such as video game tournaments, drag queen bingo events in a local restaurant, virtual fundraising galas, and in-person interactive fundraising campaigns. Perhaps even sell event tickets or raffle tickets to further support your fundraising campaign and raise additional funds.

Looking for another fundraising idea? See: What Are Some Fundraising Ideas?

How can I leverage my existing supporters to raise more money?

Fundraising through personal interaction is a powerful tool to tap into your supporter network. I suggest empowering your supporters and community members with resources, creating contests to incentivize them, and celebrating their fundraising success to keep them engaged.

How can my non-profit become more sustainable in the long term?

Diversifying income streams beyond just donations for your charity fundraising idea. This includes grants, events, cause-related marketing, and earned income through branded merchandise and sales. I suggest focusing on donor retention through personalized communication and engagement opportunities. Also, remember the importance of efficiency by tracking expenses and utilizing technology.

Ready to start supporting a new cause? Consider giving or raising funds for education and create your own personalized scholarship or scholarship fundraising page at Bold.org.

Columbia University In The City Of New York
Content Writer

About Jaeme

Jaeme Velez is an exceptionally dynamic writer, researcher, and avid enthusiast for science and technology. He brings a deep understanding of securing scholarships, obtaining student loans, and navigating the transition from community college to university.

As a first-generation college student, Jaeme began pursuing the dramatic arts and made a significant transition to pursuing academic studies at L.A. Valley College, focusing on Communication and English. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Creative Writing at Columbia University in the city of New York. His academic excellence has been recognized through the Casdin Family Scholarship Award and his membership in the Columbia University Honor Society.

Jaeme's academic path is marked by a profound passion for literature and storytelling, particularly in exploring the confluence of diverse cultures and languages while addressing social disparities. Alongside his literary interests, Jaeme maintains a keen curiosity for science and technology, actively engaging in research and projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Design, and human-computer interaction.

Experience

Balancing work and full-time studies as a first-generation college student has endowed Jaeme with a wealth of experience and insights. In his role as a Content Writer at Bold.org, Jaeme shares invaluable wisdom and advice, drawing from his personal journey to provide the guidance he wishes he had received at the start of his academic journey. 

His work is fueled by the desire to equip the next generations of students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate their unique academic paths. From financial literacy to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Jaeme strives to contribute to the ongoing discourse on education and support the next generations of scholars, regardless of their age, background, or current stage in life, as they traverse the complexities of higher learning.

Since joining the Bold.org team in 2023 as a Content Writer, Jaeme has employed his distinctive background as a first-generation student alongside his familiarity with scholarships and student loans to guide students through the intricacies of academic life, emphasizing that every student's journey is distinct and worthy of recognition. 

Through his writing and advocacy, Jaeme leverages his personal and professional experiences to provide comprehensive support to students. He is dedicated to empowering students and addressing the challenges they encounter in their pursuit of higher education. 

Quote from Jaeme

“Who is the person? What's their problem? Do your research. Offer solutions.”

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