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What Are Some Fundraising Ideas?

Written by Editorial Team
Updated: December 26, 2023
13 min read
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Are you looking for creative ways to raise funds for your organization or cause? Diversifying your fundraising plan with various unique fundraising ideas can make a significant difference in raising money and achieving your goals. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various creative fundraising ideas to help you find the most effective strategies that fit your specific needs.

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Understanding What Makes a Successful Fundraiser

Before launching any fundraising campaign, it's important to understand the fundamental concepts that underpin successful fundraising efforts. Successful fundraising efforts enable individuals or organizations to expand their reach, increase their impact, and create lasting change. Effective fundraising campaigns capitalize off of the loyalty of an existing audience or establish a new audience that is invested in a particular cause.

Fundraising is not just about financial support; it is about building a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about the cause and are willing to contribute their time, skills, and resources to make a difference.

Clearly defined goals and objectives are essential to lay out before launching a fundraising idea. By establishing specific targets, you can focus your efforts and measure your progress, ensuring accountability and transparency. A well-defined fundraising goal provides a sense of direction and purpose, guiding your organization and your supporters toward a common objective.

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It's also important to build relationships with potential donors and supporters. Effective communication and engagement help create a sense of connection, trust, and shared values, making individuals more likely to contribute to your cause. Building relationships is not a one-time effort; it requires ongoing nurturing and cultivation.

Diversifying your fundraising ideas and strategies is another key to success. Relying solely on one method may limit your reach and potential. Exploring different avenues such as fundraising events, social media campaigns, peer-to-peer fundraising, and partnerships with local businesses can help increase the money you raise by diversifying your fundraising efforts.

Effective storytelling is a powerful tool in fundraising. Sharing compelling stories highlights the urgency and impact of your organization's work, which can inspire and motivate individuals to contribute. People connect with stories on an emotional level, and when they see the tangible difference their support can make, they are more likely to get involved.


Partnering with Local Businesses

Launching a fundraiser as a partnership with local businesses enables you to capitalize off of their existing customer base to support a common cause. Such a partnership can take place as a singular fundraising event or as a longer-term, ongoing relationship between you and your organization and the business. If the relationship is beneficial to both parties, business owners will sometimes even connect you with other interested local businesses or investors.

Partnerships with local businesses are a unique fundraising idea because you can specialize the partnership according to what your cause is. For example, if you are raising money to support an issue in a particular country, you can partner with a local restaurant that makes the cuisine from that specific country.

Local businesses are often excited to partner with community members for fundraisers because it attracts more customers to their business while supporting an important cause. Because these partnerships are highly visible in your local community, such a partnership will attract the press and raise awareness of your cause. When raising money in partnership with an established local business, that business will usually get a percentage of the money raised in exchange for their support of your cause.


Charity Auctions

Organizing a charity auction can be an exciting way to raise funds while offering participants the opportunity to acquire unique items or experiences. By securing donations from local businesses, community members, and supporters, you can create an enticing auction catalog.

A skilled auctioneer will share stories about the items up for bid and relate them to your cause, creating a deeper sense of connection between the attendees and the cause they are supporting. Attendees' contributions make a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by your cause while purchasing something special for themselves.

Another similar way to raise funds is by selling raffle tickets, either at the charity auction event or at any other fundraising event. Attendees could purchase raffle tickets to enter a drawing for any number of prizes, with the proceeds raising money for your cause.

Bake Sales

Food-related fundraising events, such as bake sales, are a tried and true method to raise money for any number of causes. These events bring communities together while raising money for particular causes, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support.

Bake sales and other food-related events are easy fundraising ideas for student organizations since the support of friends and family members or community members can be enlisted to help with preparing the food. It's also a fun bonding exercise to prepare the food items together. You could also partner with a local bakery or restaurant to solicit donations of food.

Bake sales are a great place to sell raffle tickets for larger prizes. This fundraising event format is easy to combine with other fundraising ideas, like raffles, in order to raise additional funds.

You could even scale up the bake sale event into a market by inviting local artists and local businesses to sell things at the event, with a percentage of all proceeds going towards your cause. This is one of the best fundraising ideas for the holiday season since people love picking up unique gifts for their friends and family and are excited to support a charitable cause in the process.


Encouraging people to participate in sponsored walks or runs at a local park can be an excellent way to raise funds while promoting health and fitness. Establishing partnerships with local businesses and community organizations can provide additional support and visibility for the fundraising event.

Though it may seem daunting to organize a fundraising event of this scale, such a sporting event is a great way to raise money because it engages so many community members in the process. This high-visibility event will bring a lot of attention to your cause, attracting even more donations. Holding the event at a local park makes it a relatively inexpensive fundraising idea, with the actual organization of the event being the most time and energy-intensive component.

There are multiple ways to scale up the amount of money raised through this type of event. You could charge an entry fee for participating athletes, with the proceeds going towards your cause. You could also encourage participants to collect money for your cause from friends and family or community members in advance of the sporting event. It is easy to integrate peer fundraising into this fundraising event format. You could even offer a small prize donated by a local business or local restaurant, awarded to the winning team or individual at the event.

Local businesses and community organizations play a vital role in these events, sponsoring participants and providing resources. Their logos adorn banners and t-shirts, showcasing their commitment to the cause. Through these partnerships, the event gains visibility, attracting even more participants and supporters.

Social media is also essential to this type of fundraising campaign. It is essential that community members are aware of the fundraising event so they can participate and contribute to the cause in advance. Without a strong marketing campaign, it will be challenging to put on a successful event of this magnitude and raise money in the process.

Crowdfunding Campaigns

Crowdfunding is a type of peer-to-peer fundraising that has gained immense popularity in recent years to raise money for a variety of causes. Crowdfunding leverages the collective power of many small contributions through online platforms that allow individuals and organizations to create campaigns, set fundraising goals, and reach out to potential supporters.

Social media is instrumental to an effective crowdfunding campaign. This fundraising idea enables people to showcase their causes and gain support from a wide range of individuals, both on their fundraising page within the crowdfunding platform and across other social media platforms.

Through peer-to-peer fundraising, individuals can tap into the power of social media and reach a larger audience than traditional fundraising methods, which would allow them to raise money and awareness for their cause. It is essential to have cohesive and attractive marketing materials to spread the word.

One of the key advantages of crowdfunding is that it allows for direct engagement with supporters. Campaign creators can provide regular updates, share stories, and express gratitude to their backers. This level of transparency and interaction fosters a sense of community and encourages continued support throughout the fundraising campaign.

Crowdfunding campaigns often offer various tiered rewards to incentivize contributions. These rewards can range from exclusive merchandise to personalized experiences, giving supporters an extra incentive to donate. By offering unique and appealing rewards, campaign creators can attract more backers and increase their chances of reaching their fundraising goals.

You can also crowdfund your student loans!

Charity Performances

Charity Performances

Partnering with local artists and local performers for a talent show or similar performance-based fundraiser event is a great way to encourage community members to support your cause. Local talent will be excited to show off their skills and perform for an important cause. This is a great fundraising idea to bring together the community, spread the word, and create a sense of unity around your cause.

Audience members could raise money by buying tickets in advance of the event, with a tiered ticket system to encourage donors to make larger contributions. For example, you could offer tiered rewards based on how much audience members contribute as another method of raising funds. Larger donations could earn donors complimentary tickets to the next event or branded merchandise.

You could incentivize artist participation through a grand prize offered to winners chosen by a panel of guest judges or voted by the audience members. Participating talent would be motivated to promote the event on social media in order to sell tickets to their fanbase and increase their likelihood of winning the fan favorite prize. You could even set up fundraising pages for each participating artist and offer a prize to the artist who raises the most money or sells the most tickets in advance of the event. The grand prize itself could be sponsored by a partnering local business.

You could lower the cost of this fundraising event idea by hosting it at a local community center or local school. You could also partner with local restaurants to sell snacks and refreshments at the event. This is a great fundraising idea to combine with other types of fundraising, like selling raffle tickets or branded merchandise to raise more money.

Social Media Challenges

Creating viral challenges is a means to capitalize on the vast reach and influence of social media platforms and an inexpensive fundraising idea to raise money for a cause. By encouraging individuals to participate and spread the word, you can exponentially increase peer-to-peer fundraising. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for instance, raised over $115 million worldwide for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.

Social media challenges are a powerful tool for fundraising because they tap into people's desire to be part of something bigger and make a positive impact. In these challenges, participants complete a specific task or activity, post it on social media, and nominate others to do the same. The viral nature of these challenges allows them to spread rapidly across social media platforms, reaching a vast audience to raise awareness and funds for your cause.

When designing a social media challenge, it's important to create a compelling narrative that resonates with your cause. By connecting the challenge to your organization's mission and values, you can create a sense of purpose and urgency that motivates people to get involved. Additionally, incorporating elements of fun can make the challenge more engaging and encourage wider participation.

As a creative fundraising idea, social media challenges are not just limited to individuals. Nonprofit organizations and businesses can also participate by pledging to donate a certain amount for every challenge completed or by offering matching funds. This collaborative approach not only increases the impact of the challenge but also strengthens partnerships and fosters a sense of collective responsibility.

Learn more about whether fundraisers are tax deductible. Browse our blog now to learn more!

Virtual Fundraising Events

Virtual Fundraising Events

With the rise of remote work and digital connectivity, virtual fundraising events have become increasingly popular. Whether it's hosting webinars, online concerts, or virtual galas, these events allow supporters from anywhere to engage with your cause. Nowadays, there are a variety of online platforms you can use to put on this unique fundraising event.

There are a number of advantages to hosting a virtual fundraising event. For organizers, virtual fundraising events eliminate geographical limitations, allowing them to reach a global audience and attract supporters from different parts of the world. Participants also benefit from virtual events as they offer convenience and flexibility. Attendees can join from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for travel and accommodation expenses.

Virtual events often provide interactive features such as live chats and Q&A sessions, allowing participants to engage directly with speakers or performers. This level of interaction enhances the overall experience and strengthens the connection between supporters and the cause. Beyond the basic event registration fee, you can sell tickets on a tiered basis in order to raise funds, offering different levels of access to the event and additional benefits depending upon how much an attendee contributes.

This fundraising event can be combined with other forms of fundraising. You could sell raffle tickets, branded merchandise, or interactive experiences like networking opportunities with participants from the virtual event in order to raise additional funds.

When planning a virtual fundraising event, it's important to prioritize creating a seamless and engaging online experience. This can be achieved through professional production quality, interactive elements, and opportunities for networking and socializing. By providing a memorable and enjoyable event, you can leave a lasting impression on attendees and encourage continued support for your cause.

School Carnivals

School carnivals provide an opportunity for the local community to come together for a day of fun and fundraising. Through a combination of ticket sales, food stalls, and game booths, you can raise money for local schools while fostering school spirit. While it may seem challenging to host fundraising events of this magnitude, ideas of this scale are executable when working in a team.

You can encourage participants to make donations in addition to the entry fee for the carnival itself by offering a tiered system in which larger donations earn access to special games, food, and prizes. Partnering with local businesses will offset the cost of the carnival itself. It is easy to combine this fundraising idea with other fundraising events, such as a scavenger hunt or a talent show, in order to raise more money.

Looking to fundraise for a school club? Read our blog about fundraising for school clubs now!


Donor Recognition Events

Organizing donor recognition events is an excellent way to express gratitude and strengthen relationships with existing donors. By showcasing the impact of their contributions and presenting future plans for your organization, you can foster a sense of pride and encourage continued support.

Tiered levels of participation in this event will encourage supporters to raise funds. You can sell tickets for future events or for experiences happening at the donor recognition event, like purchasing a social media shoutout or plaque recognition of the contribution.

Alumni Donations

Cultivating relationships with alumni can have a significant impact on raising funds for schools and universities. By establishing alumni giving programs and encouraging donations through targeted communication, you can encourage former students to raise money to support educational initiatives.

Scholarship Fund Drives

Creating scholarship fund drives enables individuals or organizations to sponsor student education. By highlighting the transformative impact and future potential of educational opportunities, you can motivate donors to contribute to scholarships and raise money for current and future students.

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Membership Drives

Implementing membership drives can be an effective way to build a community of supporters who contribute regularly to your organization. Offering exclusive benefits and access to events can incentivize individuals to become members who donate or raise money for your cause on a regular basis.

Employee Giving Programs

Engaging with corporate entities can provide significant opportunities for fundraising. Many businesses are committed to social responsibility and are willing to support causes aligned with their values. Encouraging employees to participate in giving programs and matching donations can significantly boost money for your cause. By partnering with companies that offer employee giving initiatives, you can amplify the impact of individual contributions.

Cause-related marketing involves collaborating with businesses to raise funds through the sale of products or services. By linking the sale of a particular item to your cause, you can tap into the business's customer base and generate funds while raising awareness.

Now that you know some fundraising ideas. Check out how to host a fundraising event!


Frequently Asked Questions About Fundraising Ideas

How do I know if my fundraising idea or event is successful?

Collecting feedback from supporters, volunteers, and participants is invaluable in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your fundraising initiatives. Of course, you could measure the success of the event by your goals prior to the event, such as raising funds, spreading awareness online and in person, and/or increasing community engagement around your cause.

What are some cheap fundraising ideas?

Some of the best fundraising ideas are the least expensive to plan and execute. A bake sale is a classic, inexpensive fundraising idea. A few other ideas include launching a crowdfunding campaign, starting a social media challenge, or organizing a charity auction or raffle with prizes provided by local businesses and restaurants.

What are some easy fundraising ideas?

Easy fundraising ideas utilize the resources and audiences of existing entities like businesses and restaurants, for example, a partnership to sell a particular item with a portion of the proceeds going towards your cause.

You can raise money for your cause through virtual fundraising ideas like crowdfunding or starting a viral challenge, which is easier to launch than an in-person event. However, it requires more consistent promotion online and a preexisting audience.

Wondering how to host a fundraising event? We’ve got you covered! You’ll find helpful tips for hosting a fundraising event on our Scholarship Blog Editorial Team
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