Best Creative Fundraising Ideas that Actually Work

Getting creative with your fundraiser can inspire donors to give more than they might to a common-or-garden fundraising fundraiser. You can get potential donors’ attention through social media shares and other promotions that boost a crowdfunding fundraisers reach and success. These creative fundraising ideas can add unique and fresh ingredients to the long list of established fundraising ideas.

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woman painting

A heart for art

When public-funded schools are forced to cut spending, art, drama and music are often the first to feel the squeeze. We’ve seen an increase in crowdfunding for the creative arts and lots of people have combined original and imaginative ideas like creatively inspired events that have made the fundraiser a success. Some other noteworthy trends are:

  • The National Philanthropic Trust recorded a 9.2% rise in donations to arts, culture and humanitarian organisations in 2014. That was the biggest increase for any type of charity.
  • Creative fundraisers encourage an appreciation for arts programmes. If you reach your fundraising goal through an arts and crafts-based event, you’re showing the benefits of arts organisations and education.

Six fundraising ideas that spark creativity

art gallery filled with people

1. Host an art fair

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 fundraiser page. Show people how much their purchases and donations can help.
two people screen printing

2. Host an art workshop

There may well be quite a few people who support your cause and would like to learn a related craft too.

  • Think about what kinds of art workshops you and your fundraising team could run. You could ask an established teacher to donate his or her time.
  • Think about life drawing, portrait or still life photography, landscape painting or cake decorating or other food art.
  • Host half-day or full-day workshops in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding fundraiser.
young men performing in talent show

3. Organise a talent show

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 fundraiser. Ask guests to make a donation to your fundraiser as the price of admission.
  • Choose a venue like a gym, local theatre or another public space.
  • Promote your talent show in your community and on your crowdfunding page.
  • If possible, ask a well-known member of the community to be your MC.
  • Ask businesses for sponsorships and matching donations.
  • For people who can’t attend, share pictures and videos from the show on your fundraiser page and social media to inspire them to give.
Two cacti in geometric vases

4. Sell crafts online

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

  • Choose a craft you can produce in quantity and customise 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 provide a 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 the cost of making and shipping the products and the amount you make after selling them) to your fundraiser.
men holding holiday wreaths

5. Sell handmade wreaths

This is perfect during the festive season! Get stuck into the seasonal trend and offer your wreaths in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding fundraiser.

  • Make them yourself or find a wholesale supplier who’s willing to donate real wreaths or raw materials to your cause.
  • If you assemble the wreaths yourself, add flourishes like dried berries, succulents, flowers, chili peppers, herbs or ribbons – especially if they visually or symbolically relate to your cause.
  • If one wreath is selling out, recreate it to meet the demand.
  • Set up a delivery process and make sure that you draw up a schedule.
Woman in front of a Day of the Dead quilt

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 fundraiser. Here are some tips:

  • Ask people, organizations, and businesses to sponsor squares on your quilt with a donation to your fundraiser.
  • You can include a message or image of their choice on the square of each sponsor.
  • Have patrons sponsor a square, you can then donate the quilt to an organization you support with your fundraiser, or a local hospital, shelter, or other caregiving groups.

Ready to get creative?

Creative fundraising allows people to channel their imaginative spirit, have fun and show off their talents while giving back. At GoFundMe, our free online fundraising platform makes it easy to raise money for your cause. Look at our website for more tips and ideas or come up with great strategies of your own. And if you haven’t already started a creatively inspired fundraiser, start crafting your fundraiser today.