25+ Easy Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits 

Your nonprofit’s success relies on successful fundraising strategies. Using this guide to nonprofit fundraising ideas, your organization has a nearly exhaustive list of options. Whether your nonprofit wants to do online fundraising, events, or something quick, this list of ideas is a great place to start. 

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Five online fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations

Online fundraising is an excellent starting point for organizations uncertain where to begin. Nonprofits often struggle with encouraging supporter participation, but it’s worth noting that 34% of donors contribute to nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns. Implementing online fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations is not only easy but also incredibly convenient for supporters looking to get involved. 

1. Birthday fundraisers

One of the easiest and most impactful nonprofit fundraising ideas involves birthday fundraisers. For supporters looking to do something meaningful for their birthday instead of gifts, it’s the perfect fit. Encourage your supporters to share their birthday fundraiser on their social media. Get even more creative and use the anniversary of the day your nonprofit was created to host a birthday fundraiser

2. Wedding fundraisers

Like birthday fundraisers, wedding fundraisers are another great idea for nonprofit organizations. Couples may already have everything on their traditional registry or just want to give back. Either way, ask your community to start a wedding fundraiser on your behalf and create milestones of appreciation to keep the couple excited to be fundraising for your cause. 

3. Fundraisers for memorials

A powerful way to honor a friend’s or loved one’s passing is to raise money around a cause near and dear to their hearts. Let these supporters know they can go beyond a donation and start a fundraiser to support your nonprofit and honor their deceased loved one. Create a customized experience for them if they pass a certain threshold, like a personalized message or a shoutout on social media.

4. Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising allows your supporters to use the power of social sharing to reach out to their network. Make it easy for supporters to run peer-to-peer fundraisers by having functionalities that allow users to add photos, videos, and sharing options. 

5. Online matching programs

If you have a corporate sponsor or major donor willing to match donations, consider using that money to create a donation-matching campaign. Create urgency around the campaign and set a deadline for the match. Instead of just taking a check for $5,000 or $10,000 and calling it a day, you’re now using that donation as leverage to raise even more money for your cause. 

25 top fundraising ideas for nonprofits

When your organization is ready to move beyond online fundraisers, there’s almost an endless list of charity fundraising ideas you can try. However, not all of these ideas are worth going after, and some may not be the right fit for your nonprofit. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the most successful fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

  • 1. Organize a major one-time fundraising event

    There’s a reason why benefit dinners are one of the most popular ways to raise money for charity. Benefit dinners work well as one-time fundraising events because they bring community members together for fun and make giving easy for people. Benefit dinners can take many forms—from black-tie galas to backyard barbecues.

    • Reach out to volunteers who have given time to your organization. Offer them an opportunity to attend your fundraising event as honored guests if they sell a certain number of tickets. 
    • Connect with local businesses to find out if they would be willing to volunteer their space as the event venue or offer a discount in exchange for the business you’ll bring in and share on social media. 
    • 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.

    Read our blog post Learn How to Promote a Nonprofit Event for Maximum Profit for more tips. 

  • 2. Kick off a “week without” challenge

    Encourage supporters to prioritize fundraising efforts by suggesting they give up a daily luxury for one week and donate the money to the cause. Help donors understand the impact of their contribution by providing concrete examples. For instance, explain that if 10 people forgo their $5 daily coffee for seven days, it will result in an additional $350 for the organization in one week and will greatly impact X part of the cause.

    • Suggest supporters give up things like restaurant meals, fancy coffees, or going to the movies.
    • Inspire them to share their experiences on their TikTok or Instagram to encourage friends to join their fundraising efforts and create a hashtag for the campaign.
  • 3. Throw a charity sale

    There’s no shortage of big online fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. But keeping it simple with an old-fashioned charity sale can be just as effective. Whether you’re selling books, calendars, or donated items, a charity sale can be a perfect addition to your fundraising efforts.

    • Smaller-scale sales are great alternatives for nonprofits that don’t have a staff prepared to take on the planning of a major fundraising gala. 
    • Brainstorm items that appeal to your donor base, then reach out to businesses in the area willing to offer donated goods or services. 
    • Try throwing a community yard sale where participants donate gently used items to the nonprofit for resale.
  • 4. Host a silent auction

    Silent auctions are very popular as it is one of the most successful fundraising ideas for nonprofits. This classic fundraising idea usually approaches local businesses or sponsors to secure the items up for bidding. These can be spa gift cards, local restaurant vouchers, gift baskets from a store in town, or even free rounds of golf at a country club in town. 

    To maximize profits, consider hosting the silent auction with a charity event such as a dinner or gala. Supporters can bid on items they’re interested in, which often drives up the price and results in a nice-sized donation for each prize.

  • 5. Host a dog wash party

    Partner with a local pet store to offer up their DIY dog wash center for the day. Enlist supporters to be dog washers for hour-long shifts and ask them to bring supplies. Supporters can even start their own fundraisers and have their friends and family pledge money to your nonprofit for each hour they work as dog washers. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved and one of the most unique nonprofit fundraising ideas. 

  • 6. Create a recycle-a-thon

    Taking the time to collect hard-to-recycle items and dispose of them correctly is something most people can’t do. Host a recycle-a-thon with your supporters and have them drop off their recyclables for a month-long campaign for you to take and dispose of correctly. Some of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits involve getting supporters to include their extended network, and this is an excellent opportunity to do just that. 

  • 7. Host a car wash

    Car washes are still great charity fundraising ideas. Contact a local business owner willing to host your car wash in their parking lot with access to water and share more about your fundraiser. Ask supporters to volunteer their time and supplies for the event, and most importantly, spread the word to their network on social media. Your volunteers can sell tickets for the car wash in advance to get commitments before the event. 

  • 8. Start a shaving fundraiser

    #Movember is one of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits since it’s already a movement on social media. Have people commit to shaving off or growing out their hair or mustache during the month of November.

    Even a wacky hairstyle will do if you don’t want to scare away potential volunteers for the fundraiser. Set your fundraising goal, then ask them to commit to a specific action. Supporters are more likely to get involved if there’s a fun incentive, like seeing someone dye their hair a crazy color or shave their head.

  • 9. Sell merchandise

    When it comes to fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations, you don’t always have to come up with something unusual. You can keep it simple by selling t-shirts or other merchandise at a local event like a fair, festival or sporting event. Think bracelets, koozies, sweatshirts or hats. Clearly communicate how the funds will be used, as supporters are more likely to buy items or donate when they know precisely how their money will be used.

  • 10. Organize a board game night

    Plan a fun board game night either at a volunteer’s home or a local restaurant willing to host your organization. You can charge an admission fee or encourage teams to compete and raise funds. Make sure to spread the word about this event on social media, and don’t limit your reach to just volunteers and known supporters. Encourage others to spread the word as well.

  • 11. Host a craft workshop

    If your volunteers or employees have a talent for crafting, such as knitting or holiday decoration-making, consider hosting a craft workshop. Choose one specific craft and organize an event where attendees can learn from your skilled volunteers. You may charge a fee for the workshop or request a donation for your charity.

  • 12. Organize a pub crawl

    Collaborate with nearby bars and restaurants and request them to contribute a portion of their earnings from your pub crawl to your nonprofit. Or you can sell pub crawl tickets and retain all the profits for your charitable cause. For fun, offer a nonprofit t-shirt to every participant as part of the pub crawl package to generate more awareness, as everyone will be dressed similarly.

  • 13. Host a bingo night

    Bingo nights are easy to run, and unlike many other nonprofit fundraising ideas, they require very little planning and are low-cost events. Rent space at a local public school or church to host the event and charge a fee per bingo card or entry fee that goes straight to your fundraiser. 

  • 14. Host a used book sale

    Fundraising ideas for nonprofits don’t always have to cost your organization a ton of money to run, like organizing a used book sale. Many people own books they no longer use. Why not use these books to raise money for your cause?

    Create an online book sale fundraiser and ask for mobile donations at the event. The ‘virtual’ book sale will show its cumulative impact online and could easily turn into an annual event for your cause.

  • 15. Host a tank fundraiser

    Never heard of a tank fundraiser? If you’re looking for a fun and cost-effective activity, try setting up a few fish tanks or containers of similar size in local businesses and see which one collects the most spare change and bills. It’s incredible how quickly they can fill up! Plus, the stores will appreciate the friendly competition.

  • 16. Have a trivia night

    Hosting a trivia night can be a fun way to raise money for your nonprofit. Approach a local bar or restaurant to host your event monthly and donate a portion of the proceeds to your cause. Alternatively, you can host the event at your organization’s headquarters. You can offer prizes such as free food, drinks, or even a trophy to the team that raises the most money.

  • 17. Host a talent show

    Talent shows don’t have to be strictly for high schoolers. Everyone wants to showcase their talent, especially for a good cause. Charge a small admission fee and ask supporters, or local talent, to be a part of your show. Make sure to have a tablet for onsite online donations and offer up t-shirts or other merchandise to boost your donation volume.

    Ask any performers to hop on Instagram or Tiktok to spread the word and give sneak peeks of their performances. 

  • 18. Hold an art show

    Collaborate with nearby schools to collect artwork from students and local art organizations to tap into the local artist community. Then, organize an art exhibition for the community. You can charge a small fee for admission, secure space from a local establishment or warehouse, and consider auctioning the pieces. Have refreshments and snacks available for purchase; brands often donate their product to get exposure. 

  • 19. Start a walk-a-thon

    Charity walks are the perfect nonprofit fundraising idea to get your community active and raise funds for your cause. Organizing a walk takes more effort, but can be a lot of easier by using a platform with:

    • Built-in ticketing
    • Registration capabilities for participants
    • Ability to create individual fundraisers
    • Easy-to-use communication tools 

    Communicate about your walk-a-thon early to allow supporters to set up their own fundraisers, create teams, reach out to their networks for donations, and spread the word on social media.

  • 20. Create a bowl-a-thon

    A bowl-a-thon is one of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits as it combines an online fundraising campaign with an in-person bowling event. Teams set goals, raise money online for the nonprofit and participate in a fun bowling event together. It allows supporters to give back in a more casual atmosphere. 

    • Encourage team captains to set up their own fundraisers and recruit team members by having them set up theirs too. 
    • Offer commemorative merchandise during ticket purchases to avoid excess inventory.
  • 21. Organize a cook-off

    A cook-off is a great fundraising event idea for nonprofits. People love to show off their skills with chili, baked goods and BBQ, which makes it even more exciting when it’s for a charitable cause. Set a time and date, and ask your community of supporters to sign up. 

    • Allow patrons to vote with their dollars during the event by setting up mobile donation stations at each table. 
    • Focus less on the prizes and offer the winners charitable t-shirts and small trophies.
  • 22. Organize a bake sale

    One way to personalize community giving for a cause is through fundraising ideas like bake sales. It is an excellent option for schools or sports teams where members can bake their favorite treats, set a price, and donate all proceeds to a nonprofit organization. You can also take this idea online and host a virtual bake sale. Supporters can vote with their dollars on the fundraising page and have their baked goods delivered or shipped. 

  • 23. Have a pancake breakfast

    A pancake breakfast is one of the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Especially successful in the winter months, this will get people up and at ‘em to eat warm pancakes in the name of a cause they love. 

    • Ask board members or staff to be the chefs and keep the menu simple with pancakes, maybe a side of fruit or meat, and drink options. 
    • Charge per plate, with all of the proceeds going towards your cause. 
    • Connect your event to a specific objective so patrons know their money will go to a particular project you’re focused on.
  • 24. Invite a guest speaker to give an inspirational talk

    Are you looking for unique charity fundraising ideas that will inspire others to rally around your cause? Asking a guest speaker to lead a talk about a topic related to your nonprofit’s mission is a creative and refreshing way to garner support. Guest talks are also a great way to renew support for your cause and bring in new support if your fundraiser stalls.

    • When selecting a speaker, start by reaching out to celebrated community members who can draw a crowd and speak on a compelling topic. 
    • Host the event at a well-known bookstore, theater, or local community center. 
    • You can use the profit from ticket sales for your cause or make the event accessible and ask for voluntary donations.
  • 25. Focus on events specific to your mission

    Think about your nonprofit’s focus and goals. What type of event might best highlight your mission? Get your fundraising team together and brainstorm possible ways you can use your nonprofit’s skills and expertise to run an event. Examples of organizations that host events related to their cause:

    • Food Runners is a nonprofit organization committed to delivering surplus food from businesses to those in need. The organization raises funds by hosting cooking classes.
    • Summer Search, a nonprofit that helps low-income youth, hosts youth leadership events to raise funds for their mission.

Ready to double donations with these ideas?

GoFundMe was built with not only nonprofits in mind, but your supporters as well. We’ve created a fundraising platform full of easy-to-use, yet robust features that allow you to create any type of charity fundraiser you want. If you’re ready for your nonprofit to make an even bigger difference, create your first nonprofit fundraiser today.


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