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Charity fundraising ideas

Charity fundraising has changed with the rise of fundraising technologies, including crowdfunding. When asked about the changing fundraising landscape, Jenna Casey of Mission Graduates notes that technology is having a large effect: “Technology allows people to connect where the money is.” Translation: it’s easier than ever for charities to reach supporters directly—online or through their mobile devices.

Start a charity fundraiser

charity fundraising event

Making giving easier

A crowdfunding campaign serves as a central hub for all your fundraising efforts. It’s easy to add the fundraising elements that serve your campaign best, whether that’s selling t-shirts or hosting fundraising events. You can direct everyone to your GoFundMe, whether through social media or via coverage in local media.

  • Since GoFundMe’s platform is optimized for mobile, you can take donations—and supporters can donate—anywhere you go.
  • By assembling a fundraising team, you can tap into the combined power of your social networks when you share your campaign.
  • If you run a recurring or seasonal campaign, you’ll have a record of all your donors in one easily accessible place.

Eight ideas for charity fundraising

charity event

1. Sponsorship and donation matching

Seek out organizations that share values or goals with your charity or that have a history of supporting similar causes.

  • Ask if they’d be interested in partnering with your charity to offer matching donations to your campaign.
  • The ultimate matching donation is one that equals all the money you raise from individuals.
  • In exchange for its support, the organization can be your official sponsor. These arrangements work especially well for charities that provide community benefits.
drive in movie theater

2. Drive-in (or dive-in) movie

During the summer months, offer an outdoor screening of a classic film.

  • Have people purchase tickets via a donation to your campaign.
  • Remind people to bring chairs or blankets to lounge on.
  • You’ll need an outdoor space (a park, rooftop, or pool), a flat white surface (a wall or sheet works well), a movie projector, and speakers.
  • Do a test run to make sure everything works as expected.
  • Remember, too, that movie theaters make most of their profits on food and drinks. Offer snacks like popcorn and drinks for an extra donation.
  • Invest in both online sharing and offline sharing to spread the word.
man lecturing at university

3. Guest speaker

Here’s an opportunity to provide a platform for people to inspire others in the name of your cause.

  • Organize an event with a guest speaker, addressing a topic related to your charity.
  • When selecting a speaker, start by reaching out to celebrated members of your community—people who can draw a crowd and speak on a compelling topic.
  • Host the event at your local community center, a bookstore, or a theater. Sell tickets through donations to your campaign.
kids flying kites

4. Kite-making competition

This is a fun event for families.

  • Ask people to design their own kites and bring them to a picnic where they can be viewed and flown.
  • Have participants sign up for the competition by making a donation to your campaign.
  • Create different categories that people can enter.
  • Appoint judges, or have everyone vote for the best kite designs in each category.
  • Ask local businesses to provide prizes, such as gift cards, for makers of the top kites.
  • Sell picnic food like sandwiches and drinks at the event.
three boys standing in front of mosaic

5. Mosaic display

Sell tiles adorned with the names of donors, and use them to create a mosaic to display as part of a community improvement project made possible by the charity. Each tile can be sold for a predetermined donation amount.

  • Ask for donations from local businesses as well as individual donors.
  • Don’t forget to notify past and potential donors of the opportunity—you’ll find that many want to celebrate or memorialize a loved one.
  • As the tiles are made, share pictures of them in campaign updates, on social media, and with the people who sponsored each particular tile.
three kids gardening

6. Gardening party

Ask friends with green thumbs to donate a few hours to teach a group about gardening.

  • Perhaps focus on a specific topic, such as native plants, decorative succulents, or growing herbs in an apartment.
  • Have people sign up by making a donation to your campaign.
  • Host the class in the instructor’s yard or a community garden.
  • Promote your event on social media and with local gardening groups.
man speaking to crowd

7. Mission-specific offering

Think about your charity’s focus and goals. What offering or event might best highlight your mission?

  • Food Runners, a charity dedicated to delivering excess food from businesses to those in need, hosts cooking classes to raise funds.
  • Summer Search hosts youth leadership events to raise funds and help low-income teens find pathways to college.
  • Get your fundraising team together and brainstorm possible connections.
women drinking cocktails

8. Cocktail lecture series

Create a GoFundMe where people can donate to get tickets to a cocktail lecture series.

  • Invite important members of the charity—authors, board members, and founders—to speak in a fellow charity member’s living room.
  • After the main event, allow a lot of time for people to mingle and make new connections.
  • Wear fancy clothes, share pictures online with your own special hashtag, and post videos of the lecturer speaking about what’s important to them—all while linking to the next fundraising event in the series.

Raise charity funds to make the world a better place

We know the work that charities do is invaluable, and we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to raise funds. GoFundMe has no goal requirements, no deadlines, and no platform fees. We hope these charity fundraising ideas inspire you to create a new campaign—launch a free charity fundraiser today.

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