Free and Easy Fundraising Ideas

Getting creative with your fundraiser can inspire donors to give more. These creative fundraising ideas can add unique and fresh elements to the long list of established fundraising ideas. Here’s your guide to leading the fundraising charge with proven ideas that will grab the attention of donors, inspire donations, and boost social shares in your community.

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mom and her three kids in face paint at a fair

Free fundraising ideas that spark creativity

  • 1. Host an art gala

    An art gala is one of the more creative fundraiser ideas. If you’re an artist or have friends or students that are artists or craftspeople (perhaps photographers, painters, or jewelry makers), ask them to donate pieces to an art sale supporting your cause. Here’s how: 

      • Find a space to host the event—ideally a gallery, café, or school space. Serve drinks and appetizers. 
      • Allow people time to walk around, chat, learn about your cause, and enjoy the art. 
      • Provide information about your cause by setting up a donation station with a mobile device displaying your campaign page. Show people how much their purchases and donations can help. 
      • Once everyone’s had a chance to browse, begin the sale; winners can make donations to your campaign.
  • 2. Host an art workshop

    This is one of our favorite quick fundraising ideas. If you have artistically talented friends and family, you can host an art workshop. There’s likely to be a great deal of overlap between people who support your cause and those who want to learn a related craft. 

      • Ask yourself: what kinds of fun art workshops can you and your fundraising team teach? Can you book an accomplished teacher to donate his or her time? 
      • Think about figure drawing, portrait or still life photography, landscape painting, even cake decorating or other food art. 
      • Host half-day or full-day workshops in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding campaign.
  • 3. Organize a talent show

    If you’re looking for unique fundraising ideas, then you just need to allow your community to show what makes them special. Host a talent show and invite supporters and members of your local community to perform. Some easy steps to do this are:

      • Name the talent show after your crowdfunding campaign. Ask guests to make a donation to your campaign as the price of admission. 
      • Choose a venue like a gymnasium, local theater, or other public space. 
      • Publicize your talent show in your community and on your crowdfunding page. 
      • If possible, ask a well-known member of the community to act as your emcee. 
      • Ask businesses for sponsorships and matching donations. 
      • For those who can’t attend, share pictures and videos from the show on your campaign page and social media to inspire them to give.
  • 4. Sell crafts online

    If you and your fundraising team have ideas for clothing, jewelry, or other artwork you can reproduce in large quantities, you can use sites like eBay and Etsy to help you raise money. 

      • Choose crafts you can produce in quantity, don’t require too many resources, and customize easily with buyers’ names or other information. 
      • Upload photos of your crafts onto an e-commerce site. 
      • Note in the item description that profits from the sales go to fundraising for a cause, and link to your fundraiser
      • Make and deliver the items to order. 
      • If your first set of items are a success, consider adding new ones. 
      • Donate all the funds made from selling your crafts (i.e. the margin between costs of making and shipping the products and the amount you make after selling them) to your fundraiser.
  • 5. Sell handmade wreaths

    This is a perfect gift for the holidays! The best fundraisers plug into existing trends and excitement. Offer your wreaths in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding campaign.

      • Make them yourself, or find a wholesale supplier who’s willing to donate fresh wreaths or raw materials to your cause. 
      • If you assemble the wreaths yourself, add flourishes like dried berries, succulents, flowers, chili peppers, corn husks, herb, or ribbons—especially if they visually or symbolically relate to your cause. 
      • If one wreath is selling out, recreate it to meet to supply the demand.
      • Create a delivery process and make sure to schedule out your deliveries.
  • 6. Knit a quilt with your community

    Making a quilt with your fundraising team and other volunteers is a great way to bring a traditional craft into your campaign. Here are some tips: 

      • Ask people, organizations, and businesses to sponsor squares on your quilt with a donation to your campaign. 
      • You can include a message or image of their choice for them to read on the square of each sponsor. 
      • Once the quilt is finished, you can sell it for a reasonable price and put that towards your fundraiser goal.

Examples of successful fundraising ideas on GoFundMe

young girl sitting next to a police man smiling

Help someone fund their college tuition

Chris Cognac did just that while serving as a police officer in Hawthorne, California. After meeting a passionate young girl who needed some help Chris set up a fundraiser for Yanet’s education. She’s now attending Berkeley.

screenshot of the daily free press fund video with hashtag

Fund an independent student newspaper

A group of students from Boston came to GoFundMe to save their 44-year-old independent student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, and raised over $80,000 to keep their operation running.

young cancer survivor talking on local news about her IV backpack prototype

Build an amazing invention

11-year-old cancer survivor Kylie Simmonds invented a wearable IV backpack. Sick of the constraints of traditional IV machines, Kylie’s invention gives children more mobility during their treatment. Her incredible story was picked up by national media outlets, and Kylie is now building her first prototype.

Veteran smiling for a photo at a restaurant

Do something special for a veteran

When Sherwin Callender was contacted to attend the 70th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy but didn’t have the funds to fly, friends and family came to his rescue and made sure he was able to attend. Their fundraiser, Send Sherwin Callander to Normandy for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day!, ended up raising more than $10,000.

Woman providing food for individuals experiencing homelessness

Help people in your local community

In 2011, Kasonja Holley started a project called Love In Motion. During lunch one day per week, she spends her time passing out 20 meals. With an amazing network of friends, and family, Kasonja raised over $10,000 to feed the homeless in Park Forest, Illinois.

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