fundraising ideas for nonprofits

Congratulations. Your organization selected you as chair of the steering committee to develop new fundraising ideas for nonprofits. If you’re a little nervous about your new title, no worries—that’s precisely what we do. We are experts at helping organizations like yours raise money. We will help you. Stick with us and you’ll get a gold star for your amazing fundraising performance for your nonprofit. We’ve got you.

For starters, below, we’ve listed seven ways to put money in your fundraising bucket, plus a twist on using these ideas to capture even more charitable dollars for your cause. Let’s start with a plan that we recommend time and again for nonprofits like yours. Ready?

Here’s the plan:

Of course, we recommend that you have an online auction fundraiser gala because it’s what we do and what we know best. (We have thousands of success stories—read our Google reviews!). So let’s say you decide on an online auction fundraiser. A smart step is to raise money for your auction’s operational expenses before the big event by selecting one or more of the seven fundraising ideas below to do now.

1. Online Auction Fundraiser

An auction is the top fundraising tool for raising money through an online event. Your auction can be created on a desktop or mobile phone in less than five minutes. You can choose a silent online auction where no venue is required or add elegance by having a gala auction at your favorite venue. Doing it this way allows your organization to meet and greet donors so that you can build rewarding relationships for future donations.

With the help of our free and easy-to-use online auction platform, planning for and running the auction is easy. It’s easy for a reason—so you can focus on getting auction donations, which is the most important aspect of any auction because relevant donations appeal to a bigger scope of bidders.

When asking for auction donations, one thing to remember is that people generally like to help. You can promote local businesses that donate some promotional opportunities, such as their logos on the auction website or the event’s program, as a value-add. The community will recognize businesses that donate as caring, which is a good way to develop or add to a favorable persona.

If you choose to use the plan mentioned above to collect operations money, you can create gift baskets with goodies from local shops, as bidders will love them. Here are some interesting ideas for gift baskets to help you create attractive baskets. Some baskets contain a cruise or a vacation, surrounded by small travel items. Be creative! What would you like to see in a gift basket?

2. Sporting Event

Sports-related fundraising events for nonprofits are creative fundraising ideas that are always well-received. When recreational runners hear about a competitive race, they’re in! And they spread the word to fellow runners. Sporting goods stores, shoe stores, and gyms, to name a few, are excellent candidates as sponsors.

A football game, a basketball game, a running event, swimming, unicycle races, rock climbing races at the rock gym, drone scavenger hunts, or anything else your community deems popular are terrific fundraising events to capture donations. They can be very exciting events! (Remember the gift baskets? This is how you earn money to pay for them.)

With competitive sporting events, there is much opportunity for sponsors to get their name and logo in front of the community. You’ve seen the t-shirt guns that shoot the shirts into the audience—that’s an excellent way to sell a sponsorship to a local business.

Another sports-related idea when it comes to fundraising events for nonprofits is organizing a game between established sports teams—a charitable football game or even a boxing match. It’s guaranteed to sell tickets, especially since people will know it’s also for a good cause.

Something to consider is the time it takes to complete a sports event. Spectators get thirsty and hungry, so be sure to set up food and drink booths, as you can make a lot of money selling easy-to-serve food and drink.

There are plenty of ways to use sports to raise funds. You can read our article for some of the best sports fundraising ideas.

3. Charity Dinner

This is a classic fundraising idea for a reason. It’s relatively easy to organize, not necessitating any extraordinary fundraising efforts. Instead, donors pay a price to attend and enjoy a pleasant night meeting new people and dining on delicious cuisine.

Suppose you also want to keep guests entertained by something other than each other’s company. In that case, it’s a great idea to invite a musician or a comedian, or a popular public figure to host. It’s also an opportunity for sponsors to hold a raffle or have a quick round of trivia to keep the audience entertained. You can take a few minutes to talk about your cause and then see who can answer three questions about it to receive prizes.

The key to successful charity dinner fundraising is finding a restaurant owner who would donate the dinner or at least discount it heavily so that you raise considerable funds. Someone on your committee or within your organization surely has a connection with a restaurateur. Just ask!

4. Art Show

Do you have a local artist or two who might want to donate some time or art or both? That would be ideal, as they typically have a following and will attract much interest. You might ask the artists if they’d hold a workshop to teach budding artists. If you don’t have any artists available, you might check a local university for students or professors who enjoy donating their time to help your fundraising cause.

Another idea that also draws a lot of interest is a “learn to paint” business. These typically hold a class of six students who paint on a canvas through teacher instruction and all students go home with a painting. You can ask the painting business if they’d attend your event and donate their time to your cause. The class cost will cover supplies with plenty left to put in your fundraising bucket.
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Do you know a potter who might bring their pottery wheel and throw a few bowls for the attendees? Then, invite them and also have them bring their pottery to sell. You can negotiate to receive a percentage of nonprofit fundraising ideas pottery wheel mintheir sales or even all of it, depending on the artist’s philanthropic outlook.

Since this isn’t the Museum of Modern Art, it’s okay to ask artists who may be considered “crafters.” Quilters, crocheters, jewelry makers, etc., will have plenty of products to sell. You can ask any of them to do a workshop, too. Charge an admission for the workshop that is reasonable enough to draw a crowd.

Ask a local gallery owner to donate a piece of art and hold a raffle. Also, ask them if they could recommend any artists who would like to display their work at the show.

Have a coloring contest for kids to ensure you get all ages to attend. That’s a sure way to get moms and dads to your event and spend money.

Be sure to sell drinks, food, and sweets. This is a great way to raise funds.

5. Game Night

The easiest fundraising ideas for nonprofits strategy to use for a game night is to charge each participant a small admission fee that covers playing time and food. You can also set up a donation box at the event to encourage more contributions, possibly near the snack table.

Who doesn’t like to play games? That is exactly why game nights are so well attended.

You’ll need a large space, such as a school gym or cafeteria to set up game stations. You can have tournaments for board games like backgammon and chess or multi-player games such as Life, Monopoly, or Rummikub. Poker stations, dice games and even made-up games like who can uncork a wine bottle the fastest! Don’t forget the kiddos—set up a station for them to play and color while the parents have fun with friends, meeting new people and playing board games.

You can charge an entrance fee, have prizes for tournament winners and have a donation box. Invite the media and blast the event live on social media. Have an emcee who provides updates from the stations throughout the evening to build excitement.

laying cards and dice on a table minYou’ll need to promote the game night well. Use social media, email, flyers, and word of mouth plus it never hurts to ask the local suburban newspapers to publish a blurb about the event. Can you get the mayor to chime in? Be as creative as you can with the promotion of game night—someone on your committee might be a marketer or perhaps someone knows a communications professional who will help spread the word. A lively and fun game night is one of the most rewarding creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

One more thing—have drink stations with soda, water, and juices. Consider a cash bar. A food truck or table will make donors happy and put more money in your fundraising bucket. And don’t forget the popcorn for the kiddos!

6. Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a tried-and-true fundraising idea for nonprofits that gives people the power to raise funds on their behalf. Social proof, the idea that your supporters’ networks are more inclined to contribute merely knowing their friends or dear ones support the mission, is the driving force behind peer-to-peer fundraising. In other words, asking your friends, coworkers, and family to donate will garner more donations than if a stranger asked them. Makes sense, right?

In such a social media-driven world, it can be as easy as encouraging people to share a link or repost one of your posts to generate a domino effect that will boost your fundraising campaign. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are conduits to successful fundraising!

Here’s an easy guide to promoting your fundraisers through social media. You’ll learn that each social media platform has a personality of its own and how to write posts for them.

7. Trivia Night

Trivia Night is a winner! It’s a great idea for a fundraising event for nonprofits. Why? it’s fun. Super fun. Adults love to show off their trivia chops to win rounds and prizes. They have a fun evening—have a few cocktails, socialize, and relax a little while supporting their favorite nonprofit.

Think big. Think Jeopardy on a smaller scale. Charge admission to the game by individuals or teams. It’s more fun when you get several competitive teams going for the win.

Consider having a 50/50 raffle draw during the game’s last quarter, as this draws crowds. Have donated raffle prizes available between rounds. Sell “mulligans” for teams to use when they get the answer wrong. Ask businesses to sponsor categories.

The big money maker is selling food and drinks. See if a restaurant will sponsor the venue and provide the food/drink for the night as their donation, or at least donate a percentage of the food and drink spend. Use your community connections to create an amazing fundraiser.

Are you Ready to Raise Funds for your Nonprofit?

There are endless fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Your fundraiser doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It takes a committed team and a solid plan, coupled with compassion for your cause. If you have that, you’re in great shape to embark upon your fundraiser, but you will need a sounding board or guide.

CharityAuctionsToday is happy to answer questions or give advice as you plan and perform fundraising as a means to get operational funds for your charity auction fundraiser gala that’s just around the corner.

Learn more about creating an auction online.
Call 844-234-2335 Mon-Fri 8 am – 9 pm CST or email CharityAuctionsToday.