Eight Great Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

With the rise of crowdfunding, it’s easier than ever for nonprofits to meet their fundraising goals and spark change. Online fundraising tools have unlocked the power of global giving, making it effortless for nonprofits to reach new donors and raise more money for causes they’re passionate about. If you’re looking to run a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization, take a look at our list of ideas to get started, and find out what’s involved.

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1. Organize a major one-time fundraising event

Online fundraising is an effective way of raising money for a good cause, but sometimes getting a large group of potential donors together in the same room can be just as rewarding.


Organizing a big fundraising event like a benefit dinner or black-tie gala gives you the opportunity to tell your story directly to the people who can make a difference. Events like these bring community members together for a fun time and make it easy for people to give.

  • Reach out to volunteers who have 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

For more fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations, read our blog post Charity Event Ideas to Help Drive Donations.

2. 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.

For example, Mary Jane’s Cooking School is a Winnipeg-based nonprofit that provides education about nutritional home cooking in an environmentally-friendly way. The charity hosts an annual garden party, where they sell homemade food from their kitchen to help raise funds.

3. Kick off a “week without” challenge

This idea highlights the concept of “making every dollar count.” Ask supporters to give up an everyday luxury for one week and instead donate the money they would normally spend on it to your fundraiser.

  • Suggest supporters give up things like restaurant meals, fancy coffees, or going to the movies.
  • Crunch some numbers so donors can understand their impact. For example, tell everyone that if just 10 people give up their daily $5 coffee for seven days, that would bring in an extra $350 for your organization in a week.
  • Inspire them to think about your fundraiser each time they consider their routine, keeping your cause top of mind for an extended period.

4. Launch a series of smaller fundraising events

Hosting small fundraising events on a weekly or even daily basis can build momentum for your cause and put people in the mindset of giving regularly.

  • Consider hosting a bake sale on Monday, a car wash on Tuesday, and so on, until you reach the major concluding event of the week.
  • Build momentum by making sure people see and hear about your fundraisers throughout the duration of the program. It works especially well for workplaces, schools, and other places where events can happen in the same space.

5. Throw a charity sale

There’s no shortage of big online fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations. But keeping it simple with an old fashioned fundraising 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 online crowdfunding 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 might appeal to your donor base, then reach out to businesses in the area that might be willing to offer donated goods or services.
  • Try throwing a yard sale in which participants donate items to the nonprofit for resale.

6. Invite a guest speaker to give an inspirational talk

Inviting guest speakers to lead a talk at your event is an effective way to bring in donors. Whether it’s someone who has been personally affected by the cause your nonprofit supports, or an expert who can talk about your mission, inviting guest speakers can help build interest in your event.

  • When selecting a speaker, start by reaching out to celebrated members of your community—people 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 and simply ask for voluntary donations.

7. Solicit pledges or other forms of planned giving

Planned giving is a crucial piece of the fundraising puzzle for any nonprofit seeking a stable revenue stream.

By asking people to commit to a recurring donation, it sets up your nonprofit for a stable financial future. If you aren’t sure how to ask for donations, take a look at our blog post Use These Fundraising Email Templates to Reach Your Goal. Some tips when asking for multiple or recurring donations:

  • Be clear on how much your donors will be contributing, and how often
  • Be flexible: don’t set minimum donation amounts if avoidable, and let people choose how often they want to donate
  • Say thank you through personalized messages to the donor. Read our blog on 20 Ways to Say Thank You to Donors

8. Sync up with your local radio station

Getting the help of your local radio station is just one way to take advantage of fundraising without social media. Radio or print media attention can boost donations and lead to viral fundraising.

  • Find out if a local radio station is willing to read a PSA about your fundraiser or use their other promotional channels to spread the word about your cause.
  • If possible, convey a sense of urgency and ask supporters to make their donations in the span of a few hours. This will encourage others to hop on the giving bandwagon.
  • Live tweets, a giving countdown, or a fundraiser hashtag can increase your visibility.

Ready to double donations with these ideas?

Whether you’re trying to reach donors down the street or across the world, crowdfunding can help you tap into the power of social networks. We hope these charity fundraising ideas have inspired you to get creative with your organization’s fundraising efforts. If you’re ready for your nonprofit to make an even bigger difference, sign up and begin your journey into nonprofit fundraising today.

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Crowdfunding makes it easy for people to give

It’s easy to build and grow an online network of supporters through crowdfunding. People can give whatever amount they’d like within minutes, then share your fundraiser with their own online network with a few clicks of the mouse.

  • GoFundMe’s fundraising platform means you can keep even more of your donations.
  • Our tools make it simple to thank supporters, which can help increase donor retention.
  • Since GoFundMe’s platform is optimized for mobile, supporters can donate on the go. You can manage donations wherever you are.
  • An online fundraiser serves as a central hub for all of your fundraising efforts. By assembling a fundraising team, you can easily organize and split up fundraising tasks.
  • GoFundMe offers flexible fundraising—no goal requirements and no deadlines.