Drive Donations With these 9 Charity Event Ideas

Throwing a charity event is one of the best ways to bring people together around the common goal of doing good. Charity fundraising events also help you make new contacts and connect with supporters on a deeper level—all while raising funds to make a difference. So, what type of event should you host? Here are ten of our best charity event ideas.

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What is a charity event?

You might think only red carpet galas or fine art auctions qualify as charity events. In fact, a charity event is any gathering where the proceeds go to support a nonprofit. It can mean anything from a simple car wash, a massive charity walk, a crowdfunding fundraiser, and everything in between.

Planning a charity event in 4 steps

  • 1. Decide what type of event you’d like to host

    The possibilities here are endless for charity event ideas, but giving your event a theme is wise, supporting your nonprofit’s mission and educating others about what you do. If you know you want to host an event but haven’t narrowed your options, consider throwing a charity walk, a popular option with nonprofits and supporters alike. 

    There are many charity event ideas for fundraisers that are perfect to help you raise money for your cause—research different charity event ideas to raise funds so you know your options.

  • 2. Plan out the logistics

    Here is a general checklist to follow when planning a charity event:

    • Make a list of supplies you’ll need, and take note of what supplies you already have.
    • Research possible venues for your event and ask local venues about availability. 
    • Create a guest list.
    • Research top charity fundraising event idea sites for inspiration.
    • Enlist the help of a few friends or family members. The more help, the better.
    • Find fundraising event software that makes the process simple for guests.
  • 3. Create a budget

    A budget helps you determine how simple or elaborate your event can be. It also prompts you to consider what funding sources are available. Set aside time to price-check supplies on the list you created, then crunch some numbers so you know exactly how much money it will take to make your charity event a reality.

    Planning a charity event to raise money for a good cause sometimes requires a bit of money upfront. If you’re short on funds but determined to host a stellar event, starting an online fundraiser for those initial costs is an easy way to raise money fast. 

  • 4. Promote your event

    Now that you’ve taken care of the nitty gritty details, it’s time for the big reveal!  Not sure how to promote a nonprofit event? Here are the best ways to get the word out:

    • Make a public Facebook event and invite your network of supporters. Ask them to spread the word about your invitation with their network of friends to double and triple the number of eyes on your good cause.
    • Share the event and the cause behind it via social media, from Instagram to TikTok, to reach people that aren’t local, but would like to donate to your fundraiser.
    • Send an email invitation to acquaintances, coworkers, and anyone else you can’t reach through social media. Provide background information on your nonprofit and explain why this event means so much to you—this will help encourage charitable giving.
    • For a more casual approach, text or call close friends and family members about the event to gauge interest.
    • Print out flyers and post them on bulletin boards in coffee shops, libraries, music venues, local businesses and anywhere else in your community that gets a lot of foot traffic. Don’t forget about posting on NextDoor, too!

Top 9 charity event ideas for fundraising

If you know you want to put together an event but aren’t sure which direction to take, we have ten charity fundraising event ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

1. Pet beauty pageant

One of the silliest charity fundraising event ideas, but a pet pageant takes the classic idea of a beauty pageant and adds a dose of, well, fur. Invite attendees to donate a specific amount to your good cause or set a flat ticket rate.

If you want to create a beauty pageant-like event, you can create your own set of awards for the participants. You can make it more entertaining by giving funny and witty awards such as “Most luscious locks” or “Best hidden talent”. This activity is perfect for fundraising events, particularly those aiming to raise animal welfare funds. Attendees will enjoy the company of adorable animals while also participating in the voting for their favorites.

2. Charitable happy hour

Take your fundraising to the pub and get others to raise a glass for a worthy cause. You can work with a local restaurant or bar to lend their venue for your fundraising happy hour in exchange for the business you’ll bring in. Some venues even donate a percentage of drink or food sales to a charity. Plan charity event trivia with the happy hour to make people stick around.


3. Potluck with friends

Hosting a potluck at your home is an intimate way to gather family and friends together and share your fundraising goals. One main advantage here is the low overhead cost and low-pressure environment. Even if people choose not to donate, they can still share a good meal with friends and learn about your organization and its goals. You can even have a family-friendly competition and host a game, such as an obstacle course for kids.

4. Online fundraising bonanza

Sometimes, the best way to drum up support for a cause is to let everyone know you only have a limited time to raise money. Urgency propels people to take action fast. Before starting your fundraiser, tell everyone you know you’re planning a charity event contest to see how much you can raise in a given time.

To encourage donations of all sizes, tell your Instagram that even giving up their daily latte in exchange for a $5 donation will make a difference. Give new charity fundraising event ideas each day of your contest to raise more money.

5. Fashion show

To host a fashion show that helps bring in donations for your nonprofit, you’ll need to partner with a local clothing boutique and find people willing to model their garments. The proceeds from ticket sales and entry fees will go to your charity, and the boutique may even donate a certain percentage of items they sell that day. A fashion show is one of the best charity event ideas if you want to get local clothing businesses involved with raising money.

6. Personal challenge

This charity fundraising event idea is all about committing to a task that’s intentionally challenging, brave, or embarrassing, all in the name of charity. What is a charity event, really, if not a chance, to commit to the fullest? For example, many pledge to shave their heads if they raise a certain amount of money for a cause, while others promise to jump out of planes or run grueling races. A burpee per donation over 24 hours, anyone?

7. Community yard sale

A yard sale not only helps others get rid of unwanted items, but it can bring awareness to your nonprofit. Start by rounding up a group of neighbors and friends ready for some serious spring cleaning. Ask them to donate a certain percentage of sales to your charity in exchange for your work collecting and selling their unwanted items. While the sale is happening, let customers the purpose of the sale and leave out a QR code to collect donations to your GoFundMe fundraiser. 

8. Employer donation match

Loop more individuals into your fundraising efforts by informing them of employer donation matching programs. Many people may not know about their company’s existing program or the possibility of their employer matching employee donations to a given charity. You can mention this charity idea to supporters in your organization’s monthly newsletter and link to your GoFundMe fundraiser.

9. Home Cleaning frenzy

Recruit your most fastidious friends to put in some old-fashioned elbow grease for a good cause. You’ll want to compile a list of potential customers needing their homes or cars washed. It’s up to you whether you’d like to set a flat rate per cleaning or accept donations for a job well done. This is one of the best charity event ideas for those who want to work hard to raise money.

Raise awareness and money for your cause with an event

Charity fundraising event ideas require some work, but it can also be a gratifying experience—not to mention a truly effective way to raise money. Now that you have the know-how, start planning a charity event today. If you lack the finances to make your fundraising ideas a reality, GoFundMe can help you encourage your supporters to start peer-to-peer fundraisers that support your event. Sign up today to take advantage of our fundraising tools.


Start a charity fundraiser