Bring in More Donations with These 11 Fall Fundraising Ideas

Fall kicks off the charitable giving season, and there’s no better time for fundraising. With fall festivals, Halloween, and Thanksgiving bringing people together, the season offers great opportunities for hosting fundraising events for your cause. Some of the most successful crowdfunding fundraisers on GoFundMe boost their online fundraiser with offline events. You can do the same with one of these tried-and-true fall fundraising ideas.
Start a fall fundraiser

Fall-themed event ideas

1. Harvest festival

Host a fall festival at a school, community center, or other venues with a mix of indoor and outdoor space (if it rains, indoor space is your saving grace). Have guests donate to your fundraiser as the price of admission. Sell fall foods such as hot apple cider, caramel apples, and pies. For activities, you could offer face painting, portrait drawing, bobbing for apples, and sack races. Tap into your social network and send email invitations. If you don’t already have one, consider creating a Facebook page for your fundraiser, then create a Facebook event and invite people to it.

2. Corn maze

This family-friendly event works best if you partner with a local farm that already has an existing corn maze—pitch it to them as a win-win that makes more people aware of the corn maze while helping you raise funds for your worthy cause. Ask the farmers to split the proceeds 50/50. Advertise the event on social media, email, and through word of mouth. Printed promotional flyers or posters are another option—post them at the location, nearby cafés, etc.

3. Falling leaf cleanup

Everyone loves the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds of the trees in the fall. But when they collect on the ground, somebody needs to clean them up—and that’s where your fundraiser comes in. Create a fall leaf cleanup contest with participants securing donations from sponsors for each pound of leaves they collect. The nice thing about this fall fundraising idea is how scalable it is—you could do it on a single street, at a school, or in an entire community. If it’s on your street, poll your neighbors to find out who wants their yards cleaned up; while you’re at it, ask if they want to become sponsors. On the day of your event, allot participants a certain amount of time to collect leaves. Once they’re finished, weigh the leaves, award prizes to those who clean up the most by weight, and collect donations from sponsors.

4. Pumpkin toss

When October ends, you can still find a good use for those pumpkins—a neighborhood pumpkin toss. Encourage people to bring their nearly expired jack-o-lanterns. Find a good place to host the event, such as a two-story house with a balcony. For the cost of admission (or a donation to your fundraiser), participants get to toss their pumpkins and watch them splat on the ground. You can even award prizes for the farthest toss and biggest splat. In return for their donations, you clean up the mess.

5. Fall fruit picking

Fall is apple season. Do you live near an apple orchard? Reach out to see if they’ll partner with you in a win-win event that promotes the orchard and supports your cause. The orchard may be experienced with hosting such events and already have a fundraising package to offer. Try to work out a deal where they donate a portion of event proceeds to your fundraiser. After you decide on a day for your event, get the word out via the usual channels—email, social media, local media, flyers, and more.

Classic Halloween fundraising ideas

6. Pumpkin carving contest

Find a place that sells pumpkins in bulk. With a donation to your fundraiser, participants are given a pumpkin and access to decorating tools and materials. Optionally, offer a prize for the most artful or spine-chilling jack-o-lantern.

7. Spooky trivia night

Half the fun of this event lies in writing the questions—think about themes and subjects that lend themselves to the occasion, like scary movies (or scary moments in movies), Edgar Allan Poe stories, and other classic scary literature. Include at least one goofy trivia subject for comic relief. Find a venue large enough for your group. Ideally, host the event close to Halloween and invite people to dress up.

8. Haunted house

Many people like being scared, as long as it’s in a controlled environment—so give them what they want with a haunted house fundraiser. This idea is also flexible; you can execute it in a space as small as a garage or as large as a gymnasium. (If you go to all the trouble to make a giant haunted house, try hosting the event on multiple nights so you can raise the most money possible.) You’ll need to recruit friends to help with decorating and scaring. Use haunted house classics, and brainstorm new ways to scare people. Don’t forget to bring a mobile device on the day of the event to collect donations as the price of admission.

Simple virtual fundraising ideas for fall

9. Social media contest

Sometimes we don’t have the time or resources to plan a large live event. Luckily, there are plenty of virtual fundraising ideas. A social media contest can help jumpstart your friends into action. Photo submissions and caption contests are easy to plan and execute (and usually get a lot of engagement). Pick a fall theme for your contest. For more guidance, see tips on how to run a social media contest in six steps.

10. Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) is one of the largest fundraising days of the year. Take advantage of the opportunity by running your own Giving Tuesday fundraiser.

11. Fantasy football

Fall means football, and the fantasy football season typically runs from the beginning of September to the end of December. Turn a fantasy football pool into a fun fundraising initiative. First, make sure that daily fantasy sports (DFS) are allowed in your state. Seek out a local business willing to offer a prize (like a gift card) for the first-place winner. At the end of the season, all “winning” funds go to your fundraiser.

Kick start your fall fundraising

We hope these festive fall fundraising ideas help you bring in the donations you need this season. If you haven’t already, start your fundraiser today. Get prepped for next season by reading Winter Fundraising Ideas to Kick Start End-of-Year Giving.