10 Fundraising Ideas

10 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

While annual events can draw big crowds, sometimes doing the “same-old, same-old” gets—well—old. If you need some fresh new nonprofit fundraising ideas, we’re here to help.

Ticketstripe is a wonderful online ticketing platform you can use to help plan, promote, and pull off nonprofit fundraisers, from neighborhood bake sales to international gala events. We help event planners create amazing fundraising events using:

  • Simple-to-create event pages
  • Unlimited ticket types
  • Social media marketing
  • Powerful backend logistics
  • Quick and hassle-free payment processing
  • And scalable functionality to support events large and small

It’s not a stretch to say we’ve seen some of the best and most creative fundraising ideas around. Here are a few of the most successful ways you can raise money for your nonprofit organization, charity, or social group.

1)  The Golf Tournament

Golf is a wonderful way for people to get together socially while showing off their skills and having a good time doing it. You can easily enlist the help of wealthy individuals, community leaders, social groups, and corporate sponsors because golf tournaments tend to draw big crowds. But the logistics of pulling off a charity golf tournament can be a bit daunting.

Look for any freebies (or low-cost) items you can get. Speak to your local golf course about possibly donating their venue or giving you a discounted rate. Next, approach corporate sponsors like beverage companies, local restaurants, and the hospitality industry in order to get well-known brands and company names attached to your event.

2)  Involve Youth Groups

Involving local youth groups is a wonderful way to get the community involved in giving. Reach out to schools, church groups, and organizations like your local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops to see if they’d be interested in either sponsoring or hosting an event. Fun fundraisers you can create using help from these groups include scavenger hunts, physical challenges (field days, races, obstacle courses), sales events (bake sales, garage sales, etc.). By tapping into the youth population you also get the families involved and expand your reach exponentially.

3)  The Big Show

People love to be entertained. You can tap into that to raise money for your nonprofit organization by putting on a show. Contact local movie theaters, comedians, musicians, magicians, hypnotists, or theater troupes about possibly donating their time and resources to raise funds for you.

All you really need is a venue (like a school gymnasium) and a reliable ticketing platform so you know how many people are planning to attend. You can sell tickets online to generate money or you use free tickets to open up the possibility of larger donations at the door.

4)  Dinners

Food is always a big draw. From potluck dinners put on by the community to catered events, meals are an excellent fundraiser for nonprofit organizations. You can decrease your overhead costs by asking restaurants and caterers to give you discounted rates or you can enlist an army of volunteers to help you cook. Many communities house at least one commercial grade “community kitchen” which can be used by different organizations for a small fee. Just remember to set your ticket pricing appropriately for the venue, the crowd, and the food being served.

5)  Silent Auctions

Silent auctions are great because they generate a sense of urgency and put pressure on bidders to outdo each other with a simple sheet of paper. One element of success when planning a silent auction as a fundraiser is getting great stuff. People aren’t going to shell out big money for things they can get for cheaper elsewhere. When planning a silent auction as fundraiser, start gathering items early. Approach local businesses like bookstores, day spas, hotels, restaurants, mechanics, home heating delivery services, etc. and ask them to donate items or gift certificates for auction or even resources you can use during the auction itself (such as tables and chairs).

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6)  Raffles

Raffles are successful fundraisers because they can be used at any other nonprofit event you choose to host. You can pair them with dinners, auctions, walkathons, tournaments—any event at which people congregate. Tickets are generally an easy sell because they’re often relatively cheap and the potential for a “Big win” is high.

7)  Squeaky Clean Fundraisers

Everyone’s seen (or been a part of) charity car washes. High schools and scout troops use them to great success. But what about everything else that gets dirty? Think outside the box and host a different sort of wash. What about a Big Rig wash, a dog wash, or even an RV wash? Want to generate more interest? Partner with local businesses (like car washes, pet grooming services, campgrounds, or coffee shops) to create the opportunity for a twofer—attendees get their car/dog/camper washed by a pro and the pro gets a chance to earn a repeat customer.

8)  Fun Restaurant Events

Team up with local restaurants, coffee shops, and chain franchises to create special events that attract attention and draw a crowd. Police and fire agencies team up with donut shops and restaurants to create “coffee with a cop” type events or use EMTs as servers to generate donations to raise funds for needed rescue equipment or charitable contributions. Your organization can create a similar event that allows you to use an existing brand name and facility to attract a crowd while your volunteers work for tips and solicit donations.

9)  Ride Alongs

Do you have a local sightseeing company, museum, or transportation organization that offers rides in airplanes, boats, or historic vehicles? Approach them about partnering with your nonprofit organization to create an event that not only raises money for you but generates exposure for them. (For example, there’s a Civil War era fort in Maine run by a nonprofit that partners with a “pirate” ship to offer guests a ride back in time for a not-so-small donation.) Such an event taps into a person’s sense of adventure but also an existing interest to create a ready-made audience to which you can sell tickets.

10)   ______-A-Thons

Walk-a-thons, ride-a-thons, rock-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, read-a-thons—the list goes on. Anything anybody can do for a given period of time can be turned into a potential fundraiser for your nonprofit organization. Ask participants to collect pledges from charitable donors either per unit of time or in a lump sum. Then, generate excitement about your event by promoting it socially and contacting local media outlets. You can even pair these types of events with other fundraisers such as bake sales, silent auctions, and raffles.

Make Your Fundraising Event Unique

These are just a few of the fun and successful fundraising ideas you can generate charitable giving for your nonprofit organization. The key to hosting a great event—possibly one you can turn into an annual draw—is to think creatively. Use these ideas as a base plan, then add your own particular flair that’s unique to your organization.

Raising money for a historical society? How about hosting a themed gala dinner in a historic mansion? Fundraising for a youth group? Incorporate the community by generating a concrete result the community can use like a public garden. Having something unique and interesting in your town? Use that business, building, statue or whatever it is as a focal point for your fundraiser.

Whatever sort of fundraiser you come up with, Ticketstripe is here to help with:

  • Easy online ticket sales and attendance tracking
  • Built-in social promotion
  • Fast and easy payment processing

See how Ticketstripe can make planning and  hosting your next fundraising event easier.