nonprofit fundraising ideas

6 Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas that Put the Fun Back in Your Fundraising

In-Person Events

In years past, the most successful nonprofit fundraising ideas were in-person events at which donors were “wooed” by MCs, fabulous food, and fun. The social aspect of these fundraising events made them a must for many charitable donors and often they took a place of primacy on calendars months in advance. While the digital revolution has made it much easier for more people to give to your nonprofit organization, it’s also taken the interpersonal relationship out of fundraising. That may be a mistake, according to prominent marketers who have studied the giving habits of the up-and-coming Millennial generation.

Millennials represent nearly one-quarter of the population of The United States at nearly 75 million strong. They are the largest population group in existence, eclipsing even the Baby Boomers who were typically the go-to audience for nonprofit organizations for decades past. As such, they deserve not only your attention but your respect, because if they don’t make up the majority of your donors now, they soon will.

But Millennials are a different breed. Even though they readily embrace technology and all the perks of a digital world, they also embrace live events, interpersonal connections, and the value of philanthropy.  Forbes noted way back in 2015 that Millennials were by far the most charitable generation—giving money at a rate of nearly 80% with at least 70% surrendering at least one hour of their own time to charity.

And what gets the vast majority of millennials to give more freely than anything else? Live events—90% of 18-35 year olds surveyed report regularly attending live events (at least one in the past 12 months). It seems we have seen the pendulum of charity swing back to traditional nonprofit fundraising ideas. But, if your organization has lost touch with the “Old Ways” of raising money, how do you get back on that saddle again?

Fun and Powerful Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas

As the head of a non-profit, you rely on donations to keep your organization afloat. If you don’t get the funds you need, you can’t help others who may depend on your services. While individual donations and annual fundraising campaigns may be a great way to raise reliable cash on a regular basis, that doesn’t mean you can’t spur new charitable donations in fun new ways throughout the giving season. Indeed, the nonprofit fundraising ideas below have helped organizations like yours raise thousands of dollars—sometimes in a single hour!

Looking for nonprofit fundraising ideas that will generate social buzz, cash flow, and build your organization’s reputation with donors near and far? Here’s a list for you.


Auctions (live or silent) are a great way to involve entire communities in your nonprofit fundraising ideas. You can solicit donations of time, goods or professional services from local businesses and professionals and sell that at auction to turn a profit. Auctions are win-wins because your nonprofit gets the essential funding it needs while building your brand identity within your community and supporting your neighbors.

You can even combine auction events with dinners or performances in order to increase your audience by turning small, nonprofit fundraising ideas into a complete night on the town.

Date Nights

Speaking of nights on the town . . . themed dinner parties are another one of the wonderful nonprofit fundraising ideas you can choose from to liven up your next live event. Dinners, winery tours and sampling events, movies or live shows—use the lure of a romantic or relaxing night away from the family to bring out couples (or singles) and open up those purse strings.

If you’re shooting for the stars, turn your date night nonprofit fundraising ideas into gala events by enlisting the help of corporate sponsors and big-name donors.


From small performances by local garage bands to arena-sized shows with headliners in your preferred musical genre, concerts make wonderful nonprofit fundraising ideas (even more so if you can convince the performer to forego their usual fee or donate a portion of that back to your organization).

You can upsell VIP tickets, combine the concert with food or adult beverage events, and even add in special giveaway or contests in order to generate more interest and more revenue.

Just be mindful of your attendance rate—you’ll want an online ticketing platform that allows you to see ticket sales in real-time in order to know whether you’re going to need a bigger venue.

Theater Shows and Performances

A night at the theater has always brought out charitable donors from all walks of life. But you don’t have to stick with traditional entertainment offerings like operas. Think outside the box and target your specific audience well. Millennials have been known to buy heavily into Lucha wrestling events, burlesque shows, cabaret, and even more esoteric events like magic and circus-style shows.

Social media marketing can help you make the most of your out of the box nonprofit fundraising ideas by allowing you to segment and target your audience. Companies like Facebook and Google allow you to zero in on potential donors using various lenses—from geographical local to occupation to lifestyle choices and hobbies.

That means you’ll also want your online ticketing platform to fully support social media sharing in order to multiply the effect of that precision marketing.


Sports tournaments are yet another one of the traditional nonprofit fundraising ideas that have sort of taken a sideline to online fundraising campaigns. And while some charity sports events have remained strong throughout the years, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of room in the market for one more.

Organizing a fundraising sporting event starts with picking a sport. The “usual suspects” are golf, softball, and croquet but don’t let that stop you from exploring more Millennial-targeted offerings like Frisbee golf, put-put, and even paintball or laser tag.

These sporting events can let you “double-dip” into that donor pot as well. Not only can you charge tickets for admission to watch the event, you can solicit donations from your participants as well by creating a suggested team donation.

Wine and Beer Events

Wine and craft beer events have exploded across the country. And while many of these events are designed to promote the beverage producers while putting money in the pockets of event organizers, your own event can tap into this lucrative donor pool.

To maximize the profitability of your wine and beer nonprofit fundraising ideas, try partnering with philanthropic-minded local businesses such as small craft brewers and boutique wineries.

Aiming a little higher in order to pull in a bigger donor pool? Look for corporate sponsors—even nationwide companies—to increase your brand recognition through juxtaposition.

When throwing a beer and wine event, be sure to check your local legislation in order to see if such events are legal in your area and to secure the permits you will need well in advance of actually planning your event.

How to Successfully Bring Your Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas to Life

Attendance is the key to the success of any in-person nonprofit fundraising idea. That’s why Ticketstripe offers nonprofits a full-featured online ticket marketing and sales platform with reduced ticket buyer fees. Take advantage of marketing tools like:

  • Automated search engine and mobile optimization
  • Social media integration
  • Real-time sales and attendance tracking
  • Affiliate tracking
  • Fast payout (within 2 days, so you can reinvest in your event)

And so much more.

Interested in learning how much easier Ticketstripe can make turning your nonprofit fundraising ideas into real events? Click the banner below to see how Ticketstripe can help you sell more tickets online to your nonprofit event or sign up for a free account today.

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