60+ Fundraising Event Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

Check out more than 60 of the best fundraising event ideas so your nonprofit organization can bring in revenue and engage your donors.

Top fundraising event ideas for nonprofits

1. Peer-to-peer fundraising

This photo of joined hands demonstrates the collaborative nature of the peer-to-peer campaigns as fundraising event ideas.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is perfect for all types of events! You can run a P2P campaign on its own or pair it with events such as walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, or fun runs. P2P fundraising encourages donors to reach out to their friends and family to engage a larger community in their fundraising effort.


2. Charity auctions

This photo of a gavel represents one of the most profitable nonprofit fundraising event ideas: charity auctions.

Whether live or silent, auctions are some of the most profitable fundraising events. As bidding wars ensue over high-value auction items, donors will get excited to contribute to your cause. Plan ahead to get the best auction items and pull of a great in-person, virtual, or hybrid auction today!

Start organizing your first charity auction today.

3. Donation kiosks

This photo of a donation kiosk shows a way nonprofits can add a giving option to any of the fundraising event ideas they try.

Giving kiosks are the perfect addition to any fundraising event. You won’t have to rely on cash and checks anymore as supporters can easily give with their debit and credit cards through a user-friendly piece of hardware tailor-made for donations. Plus, with their cellular connectivity, you can use a donation kiosk from anywhere!

Check out giving kiosks to add to your next fundraiser.

4. Online donations

This photo of fundraising software shows the insights of an online donation page as combined with a variety of nonprofit fundraising event ideas.

Accept donations online before, during, or after your next fundraising event with an optimized donation page. Providing your supporters with the opportunity to give online increases the number of potential fundraising donations and leads to higher fundraising totals.


5. Custom t-shirt sales

This photo of t-shirts hanging in a row demonstrates how branded merchandise sales can add to a variety of fundraising event ideas.Selling branded merchandise like t-shirts can be a great addition to your next fundraising event. T-shirts can pair with your existing fundraising efforts or be an add-on item provided to volunteers for their help. Custom merchandise gives participants something to keep as a memento after the event is over.

Design T-Shirts for Your Next Fundraising Event.

6. Crowdfunding campaigns

This graphic of hands pushing coins into the center of a circle promotes a crowdfunding campaign as a fundraising event idea.

Crowdfunding campaigns are a great way to engage a large population of small-dollar donors. They often work well when paired with annual fundraising events or giving campaigns. Additionally, they're inexpensive to create and can attract new supporters through social sharing.


Annual fundraising event ideas

This graphic of a cooking pot that says “potluck” represents a fundraising event idea that brings the community together.


Community potluck

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +++

Community building is a key benefit that comes with hosting a fundraising event. Bring your community together to bond over a common cause—and good food—with a potluck.

To pull off this event, you’ll encourage everyone to contribute their best dishes and then gather to share a meal. Make sure to give everyone plenty of time to sign up to bring something so you secure a variety of main dishes, sides, desserts, and beverages.

When the big day arrives, your community will come to your venue (a park or other spacious area works well). Then, everyone can fill up their plates with an array of food and chat about your organization’s cause while eating.

Attendees will cover the bulk of the costs by providing the food for you. All you have to do is find a suitable venue, secure tables and chairs, and potentially line up some activities or music. With low overhead costs and a highly engaging atmosphere, a community potluck can easily become an annual fundraiser for your nonprofit.

This graphic of a raffle ticket on a beach represents a travel raffle, one of the most popular fundraising event ideas among supporters who enjoy vacationing.

Travel raffle

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ ++

You’ll need some great contacts to pull off a travel raffle. But if you do, one or more lucky supporters will experience the vacation of a lifetime. 

Get your staff together to brainstorm some popular getaways. For the prize packages,  you should at least secure airfare and accommodations, but it’s also recommended to plan activities and experiences to fill out the winner’s travel itinerary.

Then, work with your team to secure the various trip items as in-kind donations. If your organization has connections to a travel company or airline, you could start looking for flights and accommodations through them. There are also organizations that specialize in providing travel packages for nonprofit fundraisers that you can research.

Once the package is finished, set your raffle ticket price and start advertising. You can host a reveal party to pick the winners’ names or combine the raffle with another fundraising event. Either way, make sure the winners have a way to finalize the details of their vacations as easily as possible through your nonprofit or your sponsors.

This photo of a golf club and ball demonstrates the enjoyment level of charity golf tournaments among fundraising event ideas.

Golf tournament

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Charity golf tournaments put the fun in fundraising. Your organization can enjoy sunny weather, beautiful scenery, and bountiful funding.

For your golf tournament, you’ll need:

  • A course to play on.
  • A tournament date, plus one or two backup dates in case of inclement weather.
  • An event planning team to help attract sponsors and participants.
  • In-kind donations for event day needs, like golf balls and beverages.
  • A plan for the closing ceremony and awards.

When the big day arrives, make sure you have systems in place to handle registration efficiently and get everyone out on the course as smoothly as possible. Wrap up the tournament with an awards ceremony for the top performers and a brief presentation about how the event funding will advance your nonprofit’s purpose.

This close-up photo of someone wearing running shoes represents 5K runs and walks, which are fundraising event ideas that often have a high ROI.

5K walk/run

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

5Ks are easy to promote, easy to secure supplies for, and therefore often have a high ROI. They appeal to many supporters, as well as those in the community who might never have heard of your cause. Casual joggers, road race enthusiasts, and mall walkers all have a place at this event. 

In addition to entrance fees and merchandise sales, you can also raise funds through a peer-to-peer campaign. Through your campaign site, participants can create their own pages and solicit donations from friends and family members. Participants will raise extra money for your cause in addition to spreading awareness. Even if those they reach out to don’t donate to or attend your current race, they might participate in the future.

This photo represents the one-of-a-kind fundraising event ideas that can help your organization’s purpose stand out.


One-of-a-kind events

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ ++

Stand out from the crowd by hosting an annual one-of-a-kind event. These events often play off of your cause in some way and are unique to your nonprofit, which makes them especially memorable. Plus, with your cause at the center, you have a built-in strategy for raising awareness.

Some one-of-a-kind events that have worked well include:

  • Car smash fundraisers
  • Kiss-a-pig opportunities
  • Sleep-in-a-box nights

With these events, you can be as creative as you want. The only requirements are that the event has something to do with your cause and that it provides you with some method of raising money, of course.

Fundraising event ideas for K-12 schools

This photo of alphabet blocks spelling out “trivia” demonstrates that a trivia tournament is a great fundraising event idea for students of all ages.

Trivia tournament

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Many people enjoy a good trivia competition, so chances are, your school’s students will as well! Pick a night and host a tournament for teams of students to compete in. Charge an admission fee, and consider raising extra funds by selling concessions or event t-shirts.

You can develop your own rules for the event, but it will need some structure. Ask your event team the following questions as you plan:

  • How many rounds should we have?
  • How many students should there be per team?
  • What topics will trivia questions cover?
  • How will students answer the questions?
  • Who will write and ask the questions?

If you’re hosting a tournament for elementary school students, it’s best to divide up the competition by grade to ensure fairness. However, middle schoolers will likely be fine competing against all other middle schoolers, and the same goes for high school. Offer prizes for the top finishers in each division—appealing rewards often make more students want to participate.

This photo of miscellaneous school supplies with a yard sale sign shows how well a yard sale can work as a school fundraising event idea.

School-wide yard sale

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ ++

In most cases, the larger a yard sale is, the more likely visitors are to find items they want to purchase. Take this principle and run with it by hosting a school-wide yard sale! Ask students, parents, faculty, and staff to donate their gently used items for the sale, then set up tables outdoors or in the gym and invite the local community.

See if you can get some refreshments and snacks donated and sell them to increase your revenue. Whatever doesn’t sell from the day can then be given to a local charity that accepts the kinds of used items that you have.

This photo of a tall tree represents the “I won’t come down until…” creative fundraising event idea that works well for schools.

"I won't come down until..."

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

In most cases, the larger a yard sale is, the more likely visitors are to find items they want to purchase. Take this principle and run with it by hosting a school-wide yard sale! Ask students, parents, faculty, and staff to donate their gently used items for the sale, then set up tables outdoors or in the gym and invite the local community.

See if you can get some refreshments and snacks donated and sell them to increase your revenue. Whatever doesn’t sell from the day can then be given to a local charity that accepts the kinds of used items that you have.

This photo of a microphone demonstrates the fun of a student talent show as a fundraising event idea for schools.

Talent show

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ +++

Letting students present their special skills can make a great school fundraising event. You can turn the evening into a real theatrical production by selling tickets to friends and family and providing concessions.

Post sign-up sheets in the school hallways to get students to participate. Then, have a committee work with participants to group together similar acts and ensure the show flows from set to set.

At the end of the night, ask the audience to vote on a winner using an online form and give them a trophy. Students will likely leave considering what their next performance should be and how they can win that trophy at next year’s show.

This graphic reads “school lock-in” with a combination lock, creatively demonstrating the concept behind the school fundraising event idea.

School lock-in

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

A school lock-in is fun for your entire community. Kids will be excited to hang out with their friends and participate in fun activities, while their parents will enjoy the time to themselves.

For this idea to work, you want the lock-in to be as enticing as possible so everyone will want to attend. Start by picking a theme to plan your activities around. It could be anything from a day at the carnival to a movie night pajama party where kids can sleep over at the school. Then, make sure to pack the day (or night) with plenty of theme-related activities and lots of snacks and drinks to keep your students entertained. You’ll raise funds by selling tickets in advance and collecting additional donations as parents drop students off.

This photo of a haunted house shows a fun school fundraising event idea that’s popular around Halloween.

Haunted house

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ +++

Get into the Halloween spirit by hosting a haunted house fundraiser! Decorate areas of the school with cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and spooky spiders, and ask volunteers to dress up in creepy costumes. 

To make this event as cost-effective as possible, see if you can get parents or a local party store to donate your decorations. You may also want to find a volunteer who is good at stage makeup to help your actors look the part.

Fundraise by charging a small admission fee and selling Halloween-themed concessions. You can either host the event once or make it a weekly attraction during the month of October to raise even more.

College and university fundraising event ideas

This photo of a happy hour sign outside a bar shows an event that can be adapted into a university fundraising event idea for alumni.

Alumni happy hour

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

Partner with a local bar, preferably a student favorite, and host a happy hour for your alumni. You can host it as part of homecoming weekend or as its own event for graduates who have stayed in the area. Allow some free time for socializing, but including a trivia component or raffle can make the event more engaging.

You could sell admission tickets to raise money or ask attendees for donations. The bar itself may offer you discounted food and drinks for those in attendance. They might even be willing to do a profit share during the event. In that case, your fundraiser makes a preset portion of what’s spent by your guests at the bar.

With the right planning, your event will stretch way past the confines of happy hour. Your guests will feel like they’re still part of your university community, and your school will have raised significant funds.

This photo of poker chips on a card table demonstrates the college and university fundraising event idea of a casino night.

Casino night

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$$ +++

Invite alumni, faculty, and staff to try their hand at popular casino games while fundraising for your college or university. A casino night fundraiser may consist of some or all of the following elements:

  • A catered dinner
  • Blackjack and poker tables
  • Craps tables
  • Rented slot machines
  • A raffle

Make sure that every ticket holder gets a set amount of chips or tokens, and then sell extra chips in exchange for donations throughout the night. Secure a small group of prizes for the attendees with the biggest winnings. Recruit volunteers to serve food and run the games (as long as they have some card-dealing experience).

The night can be formal or casual depending on the attendees that you want to attract. If this fundraiser needs to draw money from some of your wealthier alumni, go black tie. However, if you want this to largely be a social fundraiser for your university community, keep it casual and go with a quirky theme instead. When all is said and done, hosting a casino night is a surefire bet for fundraising success.

This photo of young professionals having dinner and chatting shows the effectiveness of an alumni networking dinner as a fundraising event idea.

Alumni networking dinner

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

When you’re looking for ways to diversify how your college raises money, consider what you can offer donors in return for their gifts. If alumni are your target prospects, host an alumni networking dinner or luncheon. Networking is an important practice for professionals of all ages, but especially for those that are newer to the workforce.

Use the event to help connect your various alumni in similar fields and raise money for your organization. Send out promotions to your entire alumni network and post the event on your social media accounts. Charge per seat at the meal and serve drinks beforehand if you go for an evening event.

To encourage attendance, book a guest speaker. You could ask a faculty member who teaches in the field that the event is focusing on or a distinguished alum. If you want to make alumni networking dinners into a recurring fundraiser, you could set up a speaker series.

These meals provide ample opportunity to build early alumni-university bonds with recent graduates who will be able to make major contributions at later stages in their careers. Focus on fostering those relationships early—you’ll be glad you did.

This photo of a young person performing on stage with a microphone demonstrates the appeal of a student variety show as a university fundraising event idea.

Student variety show

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Let your talented student body show off their skills with a variety show entirely produced and populated by volunteering students. Sell tickets to faculty, alumni, staff, students, and parents to bring your university’s community together.

Appoint a group of students to organize the show and put out an open casting call for talent. Your college is sure to be full of gifted performers, so make sure to showcase a variety of acts, from singing and dancing to stand-up comedy and poetry readings. To create some friendly competition, consider allowing different clubs, fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations to each enter an act and present awards to the winners.

To raise additional funds, consider using the performance space’s lobby to sell student artwork before the show. Have graphic designers put together collectible programs to sell as well. A variety show can be a night not only to fundraise, but also to celebrate students’ artistic abilities in all areas.

This photo of a couch under sports stadium lights represents a couch raffle, which is a creative and unique college fundraising event idea.

Couch raffle

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ +

Hold a raffle that offers a prize students with school spirit won’t be able to refuse: the best seat in the house at a game for your college’s most popular sport.

First, find the comfiest couch you can. Depending on your budget, you can either buy one or ask students, alumni, faculty, or a local store for a donation. Then, scope out the spot with the best view in the stadium. On the night of the game, this is where you’ll put your couch.

Sell raffle tickets at two or three games leading up to the event. To maximize your fundraising efforts, let each person purchase as many tickets as they want. At the end of the game directly preceding your event, choose the lucky winner.

During the big game, the winner and a friend will get to sit on the couch. Consider providing free food and beverages throughout the game to make the prize even more special. At the end of the season, you could host a second raffle to determine who gets to keep the couch—students looking to furnish off-campus apartments will jump at the opportunity to pay the lowest possible price for one!

Fundraising event ideas for sororities and fraternities

This photo of young people holding a disco ball represents the Throwback Thursday dance as a fundraising event idea for sororities and fraternities.

Throwback Thursday dance

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

If there’s one thing college students love, it’s reminiscing about the recent past, whether they lived through it or not. Tap into the popularity of the Throwback Thursday concept and hold a dance themed around the 90s or early 2000s. Fundraise by charging an admission fee and collecting additional donations on-site.

Have everyone come dressed in their favorite throwback styles, include pop culture references in your venue décor, and create a playlist of songs from the chosen decade. The more committed you are to the theme, the better!

This photo of a lighted Ferris wheel at night shows an example of the campus carnival fundraising event idea for sororities and fraternities.

Campus carnival

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$$ √√ ++

Ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, step right up to your next major fundraising event — a campus carnival!

It’ll take a strong team to coordinate the event. To help disperse responsibilities, partner with a few other sororities and fraternities. Put together a planning committee with representatives from all participating organizations to ensure that all parties have a voice and the carnival goes off without a hitch.

Try to get permission from your university to host the carnival in a common area on campus so that the entire student body will see it and attend. Divide up the booths according to individual organizations and have members take shifts managing them.

Keep the initial expenses as low as possible, so that you can make a big fundraising profit on the day of. Seek out in-kind donations for the games and supplies you’ll need. Local businesses will be happy to donate as long as you explain the cause that you’re raising money for and your organization’s connection to it.

Most of your funds raised will come from tickets and food sales, but don’t be afraid to intersperse donation boxes with signage about the cause throughout the carnival. A successful campus carnival will raise money and awareness for the charitable causes your organization supports, all while uniting your university’s community.

This photo of a glass of beer on a bar demonstrates the sorority- and fraternity-focused fundraising event idea of a pub crawl.

Pub crawl

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Your organization’s alumni and your brothers and sisters who are over 21 will love a philanthropic pub crawl. Members get to enjoy a great night out on the town together while raising money for your organization’s philanthropy.

Map out your route ahead of time. Then, call the bars to let them know about your plan, and ask if they’ll split the profits from drink sales with your organization. Promote the fundraiser around campus and on your organization’s social media.

Additionally, appoint a few members to be in charge of donation buckets. Place the buckets on the bar at every pub and see if the servers will let other patrons know about the fundraiser. Make sure your donation buckets are attention-grabbing—bar patrons that are considering donating should be able to quickly discern the cause and make a donation.

This photo of a speed dating sign represents a unique fundraising event idea for Greek organizations.

Speed dating

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Speed dating is at worst a good way to meet a lot of new people, and at best the first date with your soulmate. Plus, either way, you’re fundraising for a good cause.

Plan the event and get your single brothers or sisters to volunteer their time for the night. Make sure to post about it on social media and put up flyers around campus and in the student center to attract participants from all walks of campus life.

Reserve one of your college’s event spaces and set up a line of tables so that maneuvering between dates can be seamless. As hosts, those from your organization can stake out the seats they want, and the visitors will rotate.

Charge a flat fee for entrance and give people somewhere between 7-10 minutes per date. Afterwards, give people time to mingle and exchange contact information with anyone they’d like to get to know better.

Ensure that the charity that the proceeds are going to is promoted front and center. College students might be a little apprehensive about speed dating, but they’ll likely be more open to it if they know it’s a quirky fundraiser.

This photo of a gavel and two people reads “date night auction,” a fundraising event idea for sororities and fraternities.

Date night auction

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

To run a date night auction, have each fraternity and sorority that wants to participate nominate one or two brave volunteers to be the auction prize. Whoever offers up the highest bid will get to take the volunteer on a date, so the volunteer has to be willing to go out with any participant who takes interest.

Next, promote your fundraiser. In the weeks leading up to the event, have each volunteer create a fundraising page that features a brief personal profile, as well as a description of their organization’s charity and a form where people can donate online.

Make your auction a special event by:

  • Holding it at a nice venue.
  • Providing a catered dinner or bar with multiple drink options.
  • Assembling themed date night activity baskets for the participants to enjoy on their dates.
  • Recruiting the services of an engaging auctioneer to run the live-auction portion where attendees bid for dates.

At the end of the auction, each participating fraternity or sorority will donate their proceeds to charity, and volunteers will go on their dates!

This photo of fashionably dressed cardboard cutouts demonstrates the concept of the fashion show fundraising event idea.

Fashion show

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ ++

Take your fraternity brothers’ or sorority sisters’ passion for fashion and turn it into a fundraising event! Start by recruiting some members to be your models and finding a venue where you can set up a catwalk

You can either request that they bring their own outfits to show off or see if a local store will donate some clothes. Some organizations will even take this event a step further by having their models make outfits out of unconventional materials like duct tape or newspaper, which can also spread awareness if the charity you’re supporting is environmentally focused.

Raise money by charging admission and collecting additional donations on-site. You can either put out buckets to collect donations or have people text their donations through a mobile giving platform. 

Online fundraising event ideas

This photo of hands gripping cell bars represents the creative and unique, jail and bail fundraising event idea.

Jail and bail

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ +++

For this unique event, you’ll recruit volunteer “criminals”  to be arrested for various silly, cause-themed crimes. For instance, if your organization focuses on providing clean drinking water, a participant might be jailed for “spreading harmful bacteria.”

Prior to the event, participants will have set up online fundraising pages and shared them with friends and family. Once arrested and bail is set, they’ll race to reach the financial goal and obtain freedom.

Detain your criminals at your organization’s facility with only the items they need to raise the funds to pay bail. There has to be a time limit to prevent people from remaining jailed indefinitely and to incentivize donors to act quickly.

This photo of a road shows the idea of a virtual road race, one of the online fundraising event ideas that works for many organizations.

Virtual road race

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

The only downside to fundraising through in-person runs and walks is that the events are limited to locals only. However, that problem is solved if you host a race virtually. Everything about the event stays the same, minus the location.

Participants are still encouraged to use peer-to-peer fundraising ahead of time to secure pledges. Racers still pay a registration fee and get event t-shirts (mailed, instead of picked up). Competitors cover the same distance, but in their own neighborhoods.

Encourage nearby racers to run together to help foster communities of support in areas outside of your organization’s reach. Fundraising events bring like-minded people together, so it’s best to strive for a bonding experience no matter the event, virtual ones included.

This photo of cookies spelling out “bake sale” captures the idea of the virtual bake sale fundraising event idea.

Virtual bake sale

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

Bake sales are the comfort food of the fundraising world, organized year after year in various locations. Taking a bake sale online expands the fundraiser’s reach.

Post a bake sale menu and donation page that interested parties can browse. As they make donations, they can also put in their order information, and your bakers will ship them the requested goods.

Check out popular food bloggers and food-centric social media accounts to learn about food presentation and photography. That way, when you take pictures of the various baked goods for the fundraising page, the items will look irresistible.

Each menu item needs its own enticing description, in addition to its appetizing photo. Make sure each item sold can be shipped easily—for instance, pies tend to hold up better than fruit crumbles. Your supporters likely buy many everyday items online, so why should bake sale treats be any different?

This photo of a video camera demonstrates the viral video challenge fundraising event idea, which has been highly successful.

Viral video challenge

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

Viral video challenges are an excellent way to bring fundraising events to the digital age. You’ll likely remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $115 million in 2014.

Start by setting the challenge. It should be just uncomfortable enough that participants wouldn’t be willing to do it without a good cause to back them up, but not to the point that it’s dangerous. The best challenges, however, have something to do with your cause.

Once you’ve determined the challenge, set a time limit and get each participant to create a personal donation page with a form where people can make pledges. The total pledge amount will be donated after your volunteers have carried out the challenge.

At the end of the fundraising period, your volunteers will record themselves completing whatever activity you requested. They also must share the video on their social media pages to raise awareness and tag your organization. Request that they volunteer a willing friend at the end of the video. The goal is to establish a chain of video challenges that will blow up the web—and your fundraising!

This photo of a nonprofit eCard shows how this tool can be used as an online fundraising event idea.


Custom eCard campaign

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Allow supporters to recognize the important people in their lives while raising funds for your organization and spreading awareness of your cause by starting an eCard campaign. You could run this campaign at a specific time of year, like during the holiday season or before Valentine’s Day, or provide birthday and thank-you cards that supporters can send year-round.

Using eCard design software, your nonprofit can create custom cards featuring your logo or even an aspect of your purpose. For instance, an animal shelter could feature dogs and cats on their cards. Then, your supporters can make a donation in exchange for each card they send to their family and friends.

In addition to this straightforward fundraiser, your organization can also use eCards for peer-to-peer outreach, marketing, thanking donors, and more!

Fundraising event ideas for sports teams

This photo of a football, soccer ball, basketball, and baseball represents the skills clinic fundraising event idea for sports teams.

Skills clinic

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$$ ++

Have your players coach a skills clinic for younger athletes in the area. Parents will gladly donate to your team if it means a healthy and active day for their kids.

Group the kids and have them rotate through mini lessons for each position. Each mini lesson should focus on fundamentals, in addition to position specifics. Have everyone play in scrimmages for the second half of the day, with the clinicians partly coaching and partly playing alongside the kids.

The plan for each clinic will vary according to the sport at hand, but they’ll all roughly follow that format—skill-based lessons and then practical applications, all while fundraising for your team.

This close-up photo of someone completing an obstacle course demonstrates a fun fundraising event idea for sports teams.

Obstacle course

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Obstacle courses are growing in popularity as people realize how exciting and rewarding they can be. Rather than a normal road race, competitors have to tackle various obstacles as they traverse diverse terrain.

Mud pits, rope courses, climbing walls, and much more make these races exhilarating. The events are great fun and great exercise, but not designed for the faint of heart.

Have members of your sports team participate together, and also promote the event in the wider community. Fundraise through registration fees, event merchandise sales, and a peer-to-peer campaign.

This photo of someone moving a sofa into a room filled with moving boxes could show a fundraising event idea for sports teams.

Heavy lifter helpers

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

Put your team’s skills to great use by helping the community. This is an ideal fundraiser for teenage athletes.

Some citizens in your area likely need help with daily tasks that would never even faze a high schooler. Offer your lifting, moving, opening, and carrying services for a day, weekend, or series of weekends. Ask for donations from the community, and charge a small fee for the services.

When you promote the event, provide examples of the work you’ll do, so that interested parties know the difference you’ll make. For instance, you could:

  • Unload and unpack groceries.
  • Re-organize garages.
  • Sort moving boxes.

Your team will be able to assist countless people. After the fundraiser, as you play in your next game, you’ll know and appreciate the community that you represent that much more.

This photo of a bowling ball knocking down bowling pins represents the bowl-a-thon fundraising event idea that is popular with sports teams.


Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

Bowl-a-thons work well as sports team fundraisers because they’re active events that appeal to all skill levels, from competitive experts who have their own bowling balls to those that prefer to bowl with bumpers and everyone in between.

Have competitors in your bowl-a-thon collect donations and pledges leading up to the event using peer-to-peer fundraising. Participants can set up their own campaign pages to keep track of all of their donations in one singular location that easily feeds back into the main fundraising pool for your club. The page is shareable via social media and email, maximizing your event promotion capabilities.

Donors can give a set amount prior to the event, pledge a certain amount per game, or pledge based on a participant’s score. You can also fundraise by charging an admission fee, selling concessions, and collecting additional donations on-site.

This photo of a Muggle Quidditch match shows the popularity of the sports team fundraising event idea of a wacky sports tournament.


Wacky sports tournament

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

If you’re an athletic organization, it’s a given that your members and supporters are into sports. Why not capitalize on that passion for your fundraising efforts?

Provide donors with a unique opportunity to play a sport they likely haven’t before, like Quidditch or canoe jousting. The event will appeal to their competitive natures and allow them to use their athletic abilities in a novel way.

The first step to pulling this one off is to make sure you have all the right equipment to play the game. For example, if you were hosting a Quidditch match, you would need broomsticks and athletic balls of varying types and sizes.

Charge individual participants an entry fee and pick teams the day of, or have full teams sign up and raise money through a peer-to-peer campaign. At the end of the tournament, present the winning team with a prize.

This photo of a basketball going into a hoop represents the sports team fundraising event idea known as hoops for hope or a shoot-a-thon.

Hoops for hope

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ +++

With hoops for hope, your supporters can show off their basketball skills all while raising money for a good cause!

This event is best held as part of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. In the two or three weeks leading up to the event, individuals can share their personal donation pages on their social media sites. Friends, families, and other peers will donate by pledging a monetary amount for each basket made. 

For the actual event to work, you’ll need:

  • Lots of basketballs.
  • An available basketball court
  • A buzzer.
  • Volunteers to keep the time, record the number of baskets made, and collect balls for the participants.
  • The help of excellent peer-to-peer fundraising software.

During the event, each supporter will have a set time limit to make as many baskets as possible. The more baskets they make, the more money they’ll raise! If you want to heighten the (friendly) competition and incentivize your participants even further, offer a prize to the person who makes the most baskets.

Fundraising event ideas for faith-based organizations

This photo of dogs being walked provides an example of an activity for the work-a-thon fundraising event idea for faith-based organizations.


Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

Have youth from your organization offer to help finish odd jobs for those in the community. For example, volunteers could:

  • Mow lawns.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Walk dogs.
  • Help cook meals.
  • Clean swimming pools.
  • And complete any other odd jobs donors can think of.

You can host the event as a one-time only day where all the volunteers are available, or make it a fundraising event series and offer up workers every Saturday for a month. Ensure that those outside of your organization’s network learn about the event as well, so you have the largest donor pool possible. 

Have your volunteering workers collect donations on behalf of their services or seek out pledges for hours worked. You’ll be creating a wonderful cycle of community service.

This photo of a bowl of chili and bread slices demonstrates the concept of the pop-up restaurant fundraising event idea for faith-based organizations.

Pop-up restaurant

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

What if you could pick up a home cooked meal and help your organization raise money at the same time? You can with a pop-up restaurant fundraiser! 

Pick a busy weeknight, like Thursday when there is more work the next day and people are already tired from the first half of the week, and cook a meal to sell for an affordable price. Your biggest cost is going to be the ingredients, but if you buy in bulk you can easily make up the costs.

The meals can either be premade and easy-to-heat like roasts and casseroles, or freshly made and ready for serving like a barbecue buffet. Once you successfully execute one pop-up restaurant, you can host them again and again with a different food option each time.

This photo of a gift being wrapped shows the concept of the wreaths and wrapping fundraising event idea for faith-based organizations.

Wreaths and wrapping

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ ++

Set up shop outside popular stores during the holiday season and offer your wrapping services. Offer wreaths as well to spread even more cheer.

People will be thrilled to get their gift wrapped before they even leave the parking lot, but they’re going to expect quality, so recruit your most gifted cutters, folders, and tapers. Gather an assortment of paper options and ribbons for your customers to choose from. Either charge a minor fee for the wrapping or wrap for free with a prominent donation jar.

As far as the wreaths go, try to get them partially donated or buy in bulk to cut costs. Sell them on the day of your wrapping station event and continue until you’re out of stock. When the holidays finally arrive, your wreaths will be on doors, your wrapped gifts will be under trees, and your donations will already be working toward more great things in the new year.

This photo of a choir shows the fundraising event idea of caroling for a cause and how it’s popular with faith-based organizations.

Caroling for a cause

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

Your church probably already has groups that sing carols each December, so it’s easy to incorporate fundraising into the mix. To step outside of the traditional door-to-door caroling model, offer up your singers for carol-grams. Interested parties can send your carolers to various friends and family with specific song requests, and you’ll charge according to how many songs they want you to sing.

Promote the fundraiser to the neighborhoods that you’ll be visiting beforehand so that residents can be prepared. Once it’s underway, your group will get sent to offices, restaurants, schools, and other community spaces, spreading holiday cheer wherever you go.

A pictures with Santa fundraiser is a great fundraising idea for your religious organization.

Pictures with Santa

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√√ ++

Pictures with Santa is the perfect fundraiser for parents and kids alike. Kids will enjoy getting to meet their favorite holiday character, while adults will love not having to wait in long mall lines to capture their holiday memories.

Have a volunteer from your organization dress up in a white beard, red suit, and Santa hat. You’ll also need the volunteer services of a photographer with a good camera to provide high-quality, professional-level photos.

Schedule the event for a weekend near the beginning of December, and find a good place to set up a photo booth. For maximum authenticity, decorate the booth with faux snow, candy canes, and a Christmas tree.

Set a donation amount that each family must pay to get their picture taken with Santa. To raise even more funds, you can also offer to print and frame photos. Additionally, make sure you have a way to accept credit card donations and payments from mobile devices in the likely event that congregation members won’t be carrying cash.

Museum fundraising event ideas

This photo of a dinosaur skeleton represents the night at the museum fundraising event idea, which is highly adaptable.

Night at the museum

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ +++

A night at the museum event is a special after-hours fundraiser that you can adapt to whatever level of formality you want, from a black tie event with a sit-down meal to a family-friendly sleepover with carnival games and movies.

Take advantage of your Night at the Museum fundraiser to reward museum members. You can offer special perks to participants in your membership program, like early registration access or discounted tickets.

This kind of fundraiser relies mostly on the cost of admission, but it’s also helpful to set up donation boxes and solicit donations in person during the course of the event.

This photo of people walking around an art gallery demonstrates a portion of the local artists auction fundraising event idea for museums.

Local artists auction

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ +++

An art auction consisting of work donated entirely by local artists is great for the art museum hosting the event and the surrounding community as well. The event will foster relationships between local artists and the museum, showcase new talents, teach the public about what is happening culturally in the area, and promote the museum itself, all while raising money.

Curate the event and display the pieces like you would a new exhibit. Invite members of the community, including your museum patrons. Your patrons can even help promote the auction themselves through their social media pages, especially if you create a Facebook event or a hashtag for the event.

At the auction itself, highlight the artists’ stories when discussing each piece of art. People will be more inclined to bid if they feel connected to the work. Have museum staff on hand to guide thoughtful discussion and provide talking points about the work on display.

Ensure the event appeals to a museum regular while still being accessible to a first-time patron. The auction is there to raise money, but the event is about promoting local artists and building long-term relationships with community members.

This photo of a woman and child at a museum shows the impact of the family fun day fundraising event idea.

Family fun day

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√√ ++

Once a month, host a family fun day fundraiser. Aim for a day like the second Saturday of every month so that parents and children can attend together.

These are family fun days, but they’re geared towards the kids, so make them both fun and educational. If your museum is an art museum, teach painting classes. If your museum is about the history of your state, have the kids complete a scavenger hunt for different state landmarks.

Additionally, design tours geared towards children. If you handle field trips, your tour guides will already have the script.

Happy parents who discover your museum through this fundraiser could be high-quality donation prospects that you might not have otherwise found. Once a few families find out and attend, word will spread, and your monthly program will be packed. Use the family day to initiate relationships with the parents while the kids are playing.

This photo of a museum entrance hall with patrons sitting at tables shows what the gala fundraising event idea looks like.


Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$$ √√√ +++

Galas are a museum staple. People host everything from weddings to proms in museums, so if you already have the location, you can take advantage of the venue to fundraise.

Most galas are formal events with food, entertainment, and socializing. Your event can be themed around one of your permanent or visiting exhibits, but make sure that the people in attendance know what cultural efforts their money is funding.

Begin planning early and form a staff and volunteer committee to get everything that you need accomplished. Be careful with your budget, as the fundraising component has to be your first concern. Try to keep expenses low by securing in-kind donations and tiered corporate sponsorships. You’re already ahead of the curve with your venue!

You'll also need to plan how you're going to raise money during the event. Many fundraising galas incorporate silent auctions for this purpose, in addition to selling tickets and collecting donations on-site. However you decide to raise money during your event, make sure your volunteers and guest speakers can show guests just how easy it is to give!

Fundraising event ideas for workplaces

This photo of a person in business attire preparing to run a road race demonstrates the concept of the in-house competition fundraising event idea.

In-house competitions

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ ++

Who doesn’t love a little healthy competition? Capitalize on employees’ desire to have fun and compete against each other by turning it into a fundraiser.

Allocate a set amount of time for the fundraising period and divide your office into teams. 

Depending on your office’s current makeup, you can split the teams according to departments, or try mixing and matching staff to create groups that don’t get to work together as often or know each other as well.

As far as donating the funds, you’ll have some flexibility. You can:

  • Pick a charity beforehand.
  • Have each team fundraise for their own charity.
  • Let the winning team choose where the funds should be donated.

The event can be anything from an in-kind donation drive to a peer-to-peer campaign, and it can take place over a week, a month, or even a few months. You can also piggyback onto a larger event at the close of the competition, like a local charity walk or run. No matter what idea you choose, employee engagement in this type of fundraising event will be high!

This photo of empty beverage cans shows the concept of the recycling drive fundraising event idea for workplaces.

Recycling drive

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ ++

If your office wants to raise money for environmental organizations, like land trusts or conservancies, a recycling drive is the perfect event for you. This fundraiser is as much about cause awareness as it is about the money brought in.

Have employees work to gather as many recyclable items as possible from friends, family, neighbors, and the like. If you want to broaden the scope of the event, you can even advertise the drive and hold a collection day for those in the community to drop off their items.

At the end of the drive, bring all the cans and goods to your local recycling center and exchange them for a cash reward. Then, donate the funds to an environmental organization of your office’s choosing. Can drives combine a volunteer spirit with the practicality of straightforward donations, all to benefit the environment.

This photo of someone getting a pie in the face demonstrates one possibility for a workplace leadership challenge as a fundraising event idea.

Leadership challenge

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

For this fundraising event, start by choosing a silly task. It shouldn’t be anything too mortifying, but it should be embarrassing enough that employees want to see it and participants don’t want to do it. A pie to the face, a dunk tank, or having to wear a goofy costume to the office should do the trick.

Next, ask a few popular and good-natured leadership figures in your office if they’d like to participate. For each person that gives you their permission, set out a small bucket labeled with their name and photo.

Leave the buckets out for a week. Employees can vote with their dollars for the figure they’d like to see complete the task. At the end of the week, all the money is donated to your cause, and the employee with the most money in their bucket will complete the task in front of the entire office.

Fundraising event ideas on a budget

This photo of a clear jar of jelly beans shows the concept of the candy jar guessing game fundraising event idea.

Candy jar guessing game

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ ++

This fundraiser is a classic. It’s fun, simple, and easy to execute. You’re going to have participants pay to guess how many pieces of candy are in a clear container. The closest to the number wins the jar, and your organization gets to keep all the donated participation fees.

First, pick out some kind of small, allergy-friendly candy to use—jelly beans, peppermints, or gummy bears work well. Fill a clear container with the candy, counting each piece as you go. Then, decide how much you want to charge participants. You can always use a set amount, or just ask for a donation of whatever amount the entrants can give.

If you’re going to have the jar unmonitored, you can have competitors fill out ballots with any follow-up information and their bid, and place the ballots in envelopes along with their donations. Provide a deposit box for the envelopes so you can easily determine a winner.

These games work well in office and school settings in particular. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, low-cost fundraising event, the guessing game is a safe bet.

This photo of a pile of coins shows how small contributions add up in the give it up challenge fundraising event idea.

Give it up challenge

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ ++

Whether you like to stop for a latte on the way to work or you splurge on dinner out a few too many times a week, there’s likely something you pay for and indulge in that you could live with less of, or give up for a short time.

This budget-friendly fundraising idea asks participants to give up one of the small things that they buy and don’t really need for a set time period. Instead, the money they would have spent on that guilty pleasure goes to the fundraiser.

This fundraising event not only raises money, but it can also help shift people’s perspectives about how far their money can go. If someone spends $5 at a coffee shop on their daily commute to work and instead donates that money for a month, their total funds raised would add up to $100 or more!

This photo of someone eating a hot pepper demonstrates one possibility for the budget-friendly fundraising event idea of dollars for dares.

Dollars for dares

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

Dollars for dares fundraising events are the perfect budget-friendly complement to peer-to-peer fundraising or crowdfunding. Set up a donation page, announce the dare you’ll complete if you raise a set amount of funds, promote the page, and watch the donations come in. Once your goal is reached, it’s time to live up to your end of the bargain.

If your nonprofit wants to run one of these events for supporters, you should pick one dare that all participants sign up for. Or, if you want to have a staff member complete the challenge on video, the risk is your choosing.

Common dare challenges include:

  • Diving into a lake or pool in winter.
  • Temporarily dyeing your hair a bright color.
  • Performing a song or dance in public.
  • Eating a small amount of very spicy food.

The dares are honestly limitless. As long as they’re safe, legal, and well-meaning, go for it! What’s a little embarrassment or brief moment of discomfort compared to bringing in much-needed funds for a worthwhile cause?

This photo of a large group of people dancing shows what the flash mob fundraising event idea looks like as it’s executed.

Flash mob

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +++

Exciting and entertaining, flash mobs are the grand gesture that will bring all the right attention to your cause. Even better? They cost little if anything to organize. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A creative idea for what your participants will do. The most popular choice is usually a choreographed dance routine, but the options are endless.
  • A performance location. Make sure you pick a public space to avoid any legal complications.
  • A volunteer to organize or choreograph the mob.

Once the details are set, ask people in your network to participate and spread the word to others they know. Just remember, you want to have the element of surprise on your side, so avoid posting about it on your website or social media pages.

To fundraise, charge a small fee for each participant. Obviously, you want your mob to be as large as possible so you can raise the most money and create the biggest impact. 

Right before the event time, have participants meet at the venue and go about business as usual. Once the set time rolls around, they’ll put on a “spontaneous” show that’s sure to stop any passerby in their tracks.

This photo of raffle tickets that say 50/50 on them demonstrates the concept of the 50/50 raffle fundraising event idea.

50/50 raffle

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ +

50/50 raffles are cheap and easy, making them an ideal event for nonprofits on a budget. This type of event is just like a normal raffle, except without the traditional prize. Instead, all of the money that goes into the pot will be split evenly between the winner and your organization.

For this idea, all you’ll need are raffle tickets, a big bucket to collect them in, and a busy spot to sell your tickets. You can either host the raffle to make extra money during one of your other fundraising events or see if a popular local spot will host the raffle for you.

During the event, your goal will be to sell as many raffle tickets as possible, usually priced around $1 or $2 each. Give discounts for bulk buying (for example, if tickets were priced at $2, you could sell 10 tickets for $15) to grow the pot as much as possible. Because many people don’t carry cash on them anymore, it’s recommended that your organization also has some way to accept credit cards for ticket purchases.

Once the time for buying is up, it’s time to choose a lucky winner and split the earnings! 50/50 raffles can be a very successful fundraising event, because they have an incentive built in. The more money your donors spend on raffle tickets, the bigger the prize will be!

Advocacy fundraising event ideas

This photo of a green button with a check mark reading “online petition” shows a popular online fundraising event idea.

Online petition

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ +

Online petitions are a great way to encourage your supporters to take action for your cause. They’re a virtual means of bringing your supporters together to work as a unit, raise awareness, and contribute to nonprofit advocacy efforts.

The use of online petitions has grown steadily and continues to do so. Although online petitions themselves are not strictly fundraisers, they’re often coordinated by fundraising organizations. With the help of an online petition, your nonprofit can:

  • Raise awareness about your work and bring in new donations through that increase in visibility.
  • Ask for donations alongside petition requests, combining supporter action and fundraising in one step.

Your online petition will need a clear action, such as requesting that a supporter signs the petition to encourage decision-makers to take a specific step. In other words, make sure to demonstrate a clear theory of change.

Once you have the petition in place, promote it across your marketing channels and in conjunction with your donation requests. Your petition can create positive community change and bring in new funding to help take on even more projects for your cause.

This photo of someone planting a tree shows what participants do at a tree planting party when used as a fundraising event idea.

Tree planting party

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ +++

A tree planting fundraiser is the perfect way to raise money and awareness about your cause while also doing something beneficial for the environment.

Start by deciding where participants will meet up to plant. Get in contact with someone from city hall to figure out where your city could use more trees and to make sure you have all of the necessary permissions.

Of course, you’ll also need some trees to plant. In the interest of keeping the event as affordable as possible, see if a local gardening store will donate some trees. If not, you can also buy cheap plantable tree containers and seedlings.

Raise money by selling the trees to people who want to participate. Once the trees are planted, you can also hold a silent auction where people can bid on naming each tree. You’ll have a budding forest before you know it!

This photo of a happy group of dogs demonstrates what happens at a pet de-stress day, one of several advocacy fundraising event ideas.

Pet de-stress day

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$ √√ ++

Very few people can resist cute pets. If you’re an animal advocacy group, take advantage of their stress-relieving qualities to make some money for your cause by hosting an animal de-stress day. 

Ask a workplace or college campus in your area if you can stop by for a few hours one day with a group of cats and dogs that need homes. When employees and students need a short break from their stressful days, they can make a donation to hang out with the pets for 10 or 15 minutes.You can set a donation amount or simply request that people give as much as they want.

Obviously, for this one to work, you’ll need some pets. If your organization also does animal rescue, you’re in luck. If not, team up with an animal rescue organization. They’ll be happy to lend out some animals that need homes, especially for a good cause!

The advantages of this event are threefold: not only will you be raising money to further animal-related causes, but you’ll also be giving homeless animals a shot at finding families and making busy people’s days a little brighter.

This photo of a white at symbol represents the online-only nature of the non-event event, an alternative to most advocacy fundraising event ideas.

The non-event event

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$ √√ ++

The idea of a non-event event can seem downright silly at first, but humor us for a second. The main event of your non-event will be a series of compelling email appeals sent to your donor list.

In the first email, explain that you’re forgoing an event so that you’ll have as many funds as possible to contribute to the cause. Lay out what your goal is and why it’s important, then make a heartfelt appeal for donations. You want to be as authentic and transparent as possible so donors will see the logic behind your choice.

Throughout the week, send donors a series of follow up emails reminding them to donate. Remember to send thank you notes to donors who act on your appeals.

Non-events work best when you have an easily quantifiable fundraising goal in mind. A clear goal will be more compelling to potential donors, because they know exactly where their money is going and why it’s valuable for you to save every penny. 

With a non-event event, you can save all the money you would be spending on an event and instead put it towards your cause. Plus, they’re especially beneficial for advocacy groups, because they give you a direct opportunity to talk about your cause.

This photo of a calendar designates one week as “cause week,” which is a popular fundraising event idea for advocacy organizations.

Cause week

Cost Popularity Difficulty
$$$ √√ +++

Many popular causes have days, weeks, or months dedicated to spreading awareness about them. Why not take advantage of the opportunity and pair it with a series of fundraising events?

Choose a week that raises awareness of an issue related to your organization’s purpose. Throughout the week, you can plan different fundraising events to supplement awareness with action. The type and number of events you put on are up to your organization.

By drawing the event out over the entire week, you’ll also have the additional time to host advocacy events as well. For example, one day of the week, you could throw a letter-writing party where supporters get together to draft letters to legislators. Another day, you could send out an email campaign with a link to an online petition supporters can sign to voice their desire for change.

During your organization’s cause week, you can amplify all of your advocacy efforts to reap the greatest opportunity for change.