Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

While many crowdfunding fundraisers feature individuals or communities in need, nonprofits can leverage crowdfunding to raise money for causes they’re committed to—and fast. By creating a crowdfunding page and incorporating a creative nonprofit fundraising idea, nonprofits make it easy for loyal supporters to give back online and new donors to learn about their organization.

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Fundraising for small and large organizations

While a small number of large nonprofits typically receive the majority of donations from the public according to npEngage, crowdfunding makes it possible for smaller organizations to raise funds, especially those working in niche areas or addressing specific social justice issues. With individual giving increasing, your nonprofit stands to benefit from a well-planned crowdfunding fundraiser. According to a report by npEngage:

  • Just over 2% of nonprofits account for 90% of total reported revenue.
  • 72% of US charitable giving comes from individuals.
  • 73% of nonprofit fundraising pages don’t offer a “share” option after an individual donates.

1. Organize a major one-time event

Benefit dinners often work well as one-time fundraising events, and they can take many forms—from black-tie gala to backyard barbecue.

  • Reach out to volunteers who’ve given time to your organization in the past. Offer them an opportunity to attend your fundraising event as honored guests if they sell a certain number of tickets.
  • Set the price of admission so it covers the cost of dinner, entertainment, and other expenses in addition to the amount you hope to raise. Ask guests to make donations at or above that amount.
woman drinking coffee

2. Organize a “week without” challenge

Ask supporters to give up an everyday luxury for one week—and to donate the money they would normally spend on it to your fundraiser.

  • Suggest they give up things like restaurant meals, fancy coffees, or services such as hairdressing or spa treatments.
  • Engage members of your community in a way that puts compassion and sacrifice at the forefront of their giving experience.
  • Inspire them to think about your fundraiser each time they consider their routine, keeping your cause on their mind for an extended time.

kids running

3. Hold a series of smaller fundraising events

Organizing small activities each day can build momentum and put people into a mindset of regular giving.

  • Consider hosting a bake sale on Monday, a white elephant sale on Tuesday, a car wash on Wednesday, and so on, until you reach the major concluding event (perhaps a benefit dinner or family carnival).
  • Help build momentum by making sure people see and hear about your fundraiser over the course of the week. It works especially well for workplaces, schools, and anywhere else events can happen on the same property, making logistics far easier.
charity book sale

4. Try a charity sale

Fundraising events can be incredibly successful, but don’t forget the option of a straightforward fundraising sale. Whether you’re selling books, calendars, donated items, or art, a charity sale can be a perfect addition to your online crowdfunding efforts.

  • Smaller-scale sales are less-stressful alternatives for nonprofits that don’t have a huge staff prepared to take on the planning of a major fundraising gala.
  • Hosting sales can also be a steady form of fundraising that lasts as long as necessary.
  • Brainstorm items that might appeal to your donor base, then reach out to businesses in the area that might be willing to offer donated goods or services.
large group at fundraising event sitting

5. Solicit pledges or other forms of planned giving

Ask people for a commitment to give more than once—you’re likely to receive more than you would with a one-time donation. Planned giving is crucial for any nonprofit seeking a stable revenue stream and a secure financial future. It also orients donors (and your organization’s fundraising team) toward long-term sustainability.

people at radio station

6. Host a fundraising drive online or on local radio

Find out if a local radio station is willing to read a PSA about your fundraiser, and/or use the internet to spread the word.

  • When you receive a lot of donations in a short time, your fundraiser is more likely to go viral.
  • If possible, ask supporters to make their donations in a span of a few hours. Traffic they generate by donating together creates a level of social proof that encourages others to give.
  • Live tweets and updates, a countdown, and a custom hashtag can also increase your reach.

Give your nonprofit a boost with crowdfunding

Nonprofit fundraising allows your organization to reach more people who care about your work and directly communicate your needs to the public. Ready to get your nonprofit crowdfunding fundraiser started? Start your free fundraiser.

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