Raising funds for your nonprofit organization can be challenging, especially when you lack the resources to throw a large fundraising event. That is why we created the ultimate guide to cheap fundraising ideas.

While funds do matter, in order for a fundraiser to be successful, you need to put your mind and heart into it. That being said, some of the best fundraiser ideas don’t require loads of resources.

So, are you ready to discover our cheap and easy ideas? Then, let’s get started. 

Top 20 Fun and Cheap Fundraising Ideas

From cakes to crafts, you can raise funds with almost anything. After all, charity auctions are about raising money for a good cause and bringing the community together, not about throwing lavish events.

So, are you ready to start raising money for your cause, but don’t know where to start? No need to worry, as CharityAuctionsToday has all the inspiration you might need. From fundraiser inspiration for schools to sports fundraising ideas, our blog can help you take your next charity auction to the next level.

Having said that, a mobile bidding software like ours will make running your auction even easier. Still not sure? Try CharityAuctionsToday and see for yourself.

1. Bake Sale

The good old bake sale is a tried and tested fundraising method. Not only is it easy to organize them as the treats are usually donated by local businesses, but they are also great for bringing community members together.

The best part of a bake sale is that it attracts both young and old supporters, thereby ensuring a successful fundraiser.

After all, who doesn’t enjoy baked goodies?

While this is a classic fundraising idea, you can always think outside the box and add a few personal touches. For example, you can organize games and activities for the participants and reward the winner of each activity with a baked treat.

Running a profitable bake sale fundraiser will be a piece of cake if you follow certain steps. No wonder this is one of those effective yet easy fundraising ideas. 

2. Craft Sale

From handmade earrings to collages or canvas work, when it comes to art and crafts sales, you can get as creative as you want to.

Even if you are not an artist, do not fret. You can allow local artists to rent a tent to sell their art, or you can even ask them to hold a weekend craft and art shop for kids.

If you lack inspiration, check out these fundraiser crafts we love. 

3. Beverage Stand

While some might consider a beverage stand basic, it is an effective yet simple fundraising idea.

First, choose a suitable place to set up your beverage stand. Good places to start are near a park, a school, or beside a busy road. After all, where there is a crowd, there will be more money.

It would be best if you also considered the season. For example, during summer, you can embellish your beverage stand with flowers and sell ice cream, lemonade, or snow cones. This is, indeed, a fresh fundraising idea

4. Car Wash

Gather a group of friends and family members and set up a car wash in your area.

Keep in mind, that you will need a large open space for this fundraising idea, so a field or a parking lot would be ideal. You should also check if permission is required before you start advertising the event. You can partner with a local park or venue so that you don’t have to rent a space for the day.

That being said, advertising is key if you want to raise awareness. Not sure how to start? Then, check out our article on the most effective ways to attract publicity

To make the car wash more interesting and receive more donations, you and your team can dress up in costumes as you service your customers.

By adding a twist like this, you can turn an ordinary car wash into a truly entertaining fundraiser. For instance, you could set up an 80s-themed car wash and include a few activities for people to take part in as they wait. 

5. Boat Wash

Yes, you read that right.

The only difference between boat and car washing is what needs to be washed. If you happen to live close to a water body or in a community full of fishermen and boatmen, then this is the perfect fundraising event.

Recruit volunteers and put together a concrete plan for the boat wash. You can make a few hundred dollars per weekend by offering to clean boats for people.

As mentioned earlier, the more inventive you are, the more money you will raise. Include fun activities or food stalls to increase your total funds and keep the customers busy while they wait for their boats to come out of “the shower”.

6. Sporting Event

What better way to raise money and entertain the audience than organizing a sports competition?

The most common option is to set up a charity run or cycle race, where the participants enter the competition by donating a certain amount. The amount may be paid for participating or per mile if it is a marathon. You can also encourage supporters to donate. 

You need to be creative if you want to encourage donors to offer more. In fact, there are lots of different sports fundraising ideas if you want to switch things up. For instance, you can set up a costume race, where participants can dress up as their favorite animated character. Similarly, instead of simply setting up a bike race, you could organize a freestyle bike event.

If you want to arrange a more active fundraiser, you can start by reading our sports ideas

7. Consignment Shop Sales

Too often, we hold on to things that we do not need anymore. What if we told you that by selling those obsolete items, you could raise money for your organization? 

Instead of keeping these unused goods out of a sense of nostalgia, you can turn them over to consignment stores. A consignment store specializes in selling one person’s goods to another person. From furniture and apparel to books, and even antiques, almost anything can be sold in a consignment shop.

Although the shopkeeper will keep a commission on every sale the shop makes, you can still collect more than when these items were lying around unused.

8. Donation Jars

One of the best fundraising ideas on the list, donation jars are a hassle-free method to raise money.

Get a few jars with large openings and make a sticker for each with the name of the charity you are collecting for and some information about it.

Then, visit local shops and restaurants and ask if you can place the jar on their counter.

This is a prosperous option as there is no limit to how much you can collect. Once you have enough money, empty the jar and put it back to continue the cycle.

9. Fun Games

Not only do activities like drawing games attract a large crowd of all ages, but they also make donating to charity enjoyable for the participants.

Gather a few volunteers and plan some simple yet fun games. Participants pay a few dollars to take part and get to take home attractive prizes if they win. Still, you should not spend too much on the prizes, as this would defeat the very purpose of fundraising.

Keep the games interesting so that they appeal to a wider crowd. After all, the more crowds you can draw in, the more funds you will raise.

In need of some inspiration? Then, check out these fundraising game ideas

10. Online Fundraiser

Online fundraising is growing in popularity, primarily because it allows nonprofit organizations to reach out to people globally.

Free auction sites like CharityAuctionsToday provide valuable tools that can make your life easier by saving you time when planning and running a charity auction.

Do not worry if you have nothing worthwhile to sell. You can partner with a drop-shipping company that will offer you items to sell without any upfront costs or the need to maintain an inventory. Put up an item for auction and when someone wins the auction, you order the item at wholesale price, enter your customer’s address and the shipping company will deliver the product right to their doorstep.

Want to find out if a virtual auction is right for you? Then, check out our definitive guide to online auctions

11. Activity Workshop

What better way to keep the attendees engaged than setting up a workshop? From painting workshops to yoga classes or even a dance-off, these are only a few of the activities you can organize. In fact, you can also set up a virtual event like a quiz or a cooking class and have an online donation form for the participants.

This is one of those fundraising ideas that not only raises money but also brings the community together

12. Catalog Sales

A classic fundraising idea, catalog sales involve going door to door and asking people if they want to buy something from the catalog. In fact, virtual options are available now from many catalog fundraising companies. This way, you can email or post a picture of the items on your social media and fundraise remotely. 

Besides, there are many companies online that specialize in selling fundraising products. Get in touch with them to check if they are offering such a catalog. Once you have the catalogs, get your group members to go from door to door to try selling the products.

13.  Cleaning Services

Many businesses need their trash taken out, their parking lot cleaned, and various other tasks to be done. This is where you come in handy.

Contact local businesses or stores and offer them cleaning services. In return, you charge them a fee which goes to your charity. This is a very simple fundraising idea, one that requires no additional skills. 

All you must do is clean up and clean up well.

14. Pajama Day

Turn a fun event into a fundraising campaign by charging your colleagues a small amount so that they can wear pajamas to work or school on a designated day. You can change it up a little by doing a hat day or a costume day. Have a few contests like ‘quirkiest hat’ or ‘silliest pajamas’ to keep the participants excited. Of course, you should discuss this fundraising idea with the principal or the boss first.

While this may not be as prosperous as our previous ideas, it is still one of the most entertaining and creative fundraiser ideas and can, therefore, earn you a few loyal supporters. Having said that, supporters are necessary for the long-term success of your charity.

15. Yard Sale

Yard sales are an opportunity to raise money but also to declutter. It’s also one of the easiest fundraising ideas as it does not even require you to go somewhere. Your backyard is the perfect place to start.

You can start by making a list of all things that you no longer need. Then, you should divide them into categories. It would also be helpful if you asked other members of your organization to donate.

If you want to find out how to successfully set up a yard sale, check out these tips for organizing a fundraiser garage sale

16. Community Service

Round up a few of your best people and approach the community elders to offer to help them with chores for a minimal charge which you will use for a good cause.

From helping the elderly with household tasks to hosting activities or removing the snow, these are just a few of the activities you can do. The fact that you are not only raising money for your cause but also helping the community makes this activity one of the best fundraising ideas.

Moreover, when people from the community see the work you are doing for the community they will be more eager to help you out with your cause.

17. Change Is Here

One of the best free fundraising ideas, this activity consists of you and members of your group going door to door and asking people for any extra change they might have in their pockets to support your chosen cause.

This idea may sound a little simple but when it comes to collecting funds for charity, every penny counts.

There is also an app that helps people donate their change to charity. Download it here.

18. Recycle

We use a lot of plastic bottles and aluminum cans in our everyday lives. So, why don’t you collect all this recyclable waste from your neighbors and turn them over to your local recycling center for cash? This is a great way to raise money and clean up the environment at the same time.

Publicize the campaign in your neighborhood and pick an open space where the community members can drop off their recyclables. You can also charge them a few dollars for getting rid of their junk for them.

19. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

This is one of the best fundraising ideas as it increases awareness for your cause and earns you new donors. Supporters create fundraising pages on your behalf as part of peer-to-peer fundraising. Essentially, they collect donations from their friends, families, and even their coworkers. 

Also known as social fundraising, this fundraising idea will for sure increase your exposure and expand your network

20. Backyard Barbecue 

Supporters can pay a small entry fee to take part in your summer barbecue. You can set it up in a local park and also collaborate with a local restaurant. It would be a win for them too as this would help with their reputation and increase awareness. 

At some point in the night, you can give a speech about the cause and ask for donations. In fact, you can even include QR codes on the tables that will take the participants to the fundraising page and the online donation page.

Ready to raise money and awareness for your charity? 

While fundraising events do not need to be expensive to be successful, they need to be well-planned. In fact, sometimes those quick fundraising ideas bring the best results.

Be patient and brainstorm new and exciting fundraiser ideas with your group. Make donating exciting and interesting and your fundraising efforts will be fruitful.

The proceeds from your events will go to the charity of your choice or your own non-profit organization. 

So, happy fundraising. In fact, if you want to build your auction in minutes instead of spending days coming up with bid sheets, labels, and payment solutions, have a go at creating a demo auction in no more than 3 minutes.