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16 Unique and Exciting Nonprofit Fundraising Event Ideas

Our world is driven by experiences, and nonprofits are leveraging events as strategic tools to create inspiring experiences, connect with supporters, and generate revenue. Fundraising events have become much more than just a way to...

Our world is driven by experiences, and nonprofits are leveraging events as strategic tools to create inspiring experiences, connect with supporters, and generate revenue. Fundraising events have become much more than just a way to raise funds - they are opportunities to engage attendees and make a lasting impact. In this article, we will explore 16 innovative and effective fundraising event ideas for nonprofit organizations. Ready to be inspired?

1. Step Up and Make a Difference with a Run or Walk

Walkathons, runs, and bike races are highly lucrative fundraising events that capitalize on massive networks of supporters. Participants ask their networks to donate a certain amount based on the total number of miles completed. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful way to engage participants and create a sense of community.

Screenshot of an organization using Donorbox peer-to-peer to raise funds for their active fundraiser.

Samos made it easy for anyone to fundraise on their behalf with a button right on their crowdfunding page.

2. Create Excitement with an Obstacle Course

Make a standard race more engaging by organizing an obstacle course. From rope climbing to dodging water balloons, obstacle courses add an element of thrill and encourage participation. Consider setting a minimum fundraising goal for each team or charge individual participants. Don't forget to reward the winning team!

3. Cozy and Effective: Movie Night

Movie nights are adaptable and suit the needs of various nonprofits. Choose a classic or new release and secure the necessary licenses. Organize the event in a cinema or create a makeshift theater in another location. Charge for entry and boost funds with popcorn, candy, and drink sales.

4. Bring the Community Together with a Barbecue

Barbecues attract a large crowd and offer multiple fundraising opportunities. Sell barbecue plates, barbecue sauces, and drinks. Organize raffles and auctions to keep the crowd entertained. Partner with local businesses and ask for food donations in exchange for promotion. Ensure there are options for all dietary preferences.

5. Alumni Networking Event

For fraternity/sorority fundraisers or to bring people together for a cause, host an alumni networking event. Provide food and drinks and sell tickets. Make use of Donorbox Events to showcase all the necessary information and extend a warm welcome to attendees.

A fraternity organization

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6. Add Artsy Flair with a Live Artist Event

Liven up your fundraising event with live artistry. Include live music, artists working in real-time, and performances. Sell the art pieces being made or offer art services. A donation kiosk is a perfect tool for collecting additional funds. The Donorbox Live™ Kiosk app turns a tablet and card reader into a powerful donation magnet.

7. Dance Class for All Ages

Dance classes are popular and can benefit people of all ages. Reach out to local dance instructors and ask them to donate their services for a class benefiting your organization. Promote the event on social media and charge a fee for attending.

8. Coffee and Cupcakes for a Morning Boost

Set up a coffee and cupcake stand in a busy area early in the morning. Sell hot coffee and delicious cupcakes, and keep the profit for your organization. Partner with a local café for coffee and cupcake donations. Ensure your nonprofit information is prominently displayed.

9. Cook-Offs: Delightful and Delicious

Cook-offs are classic fundraising events that cater to a wide audience. Pick a theme and encourage participation. Charge a small entrance fee and sell tickets. Make it even more enticing by inviting local chefs or food connoisseurs to attend or judge the competition.

10. Theatre or Cinema for a Cause

Partner with a local theater or cinema for a special fundraising performance or screening. Share a portion of the profits with your organization. If a theater is not available, explore alternative performance spaces that align with your cause.

11. Guided Tour: Uncover Hidden Gems

Host a tour of local historical places, landmarks, or nature trails. Recruit someone knowledgeable to lead the tour and sell tickets. Consider themed tours that align with your donors' interests.

Screenshot of an organization

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12. Personal Challenge: Go Beyond Limits

Encourage supporters to perform personal challenges to raise money for your cause. Challenges can range from fitness challenges to adventure challenges and social experiments. Personal challenges bring awareness to your cause in a creative and engaging way.

13. Pet Show: Fun for Everyone

Organize a pet show where everyone can participate, including four-legged friends. Choose an appropriate location and hold the event in the spring or fall. This event is perfect for animal shelters and pet-related nonprofits.

14. "Break the World Record" Party

Challenge your supporters to break a world record. Find a record that aligns with your cause and organize a lively event. Invite local media to cover the event and make sure there is good music and food.

15. Trivia Night with a Twist

Organize a trivia tournament with categories that revolve around your cause. Charge for entry and offer seated dinners or raffles to spice up the event. Make donation appeals throughout the evening.

16. Grab a Box and Unwrap Excitement

Create mystery boxes filled with a variety of items, ranging from affordable to luxury. Network with local businesses to donate items and experiences. Charge a flat fee per box, and let participants unravel the surprise.

These 16 unique fundraising event ideas are just the beginning. Choose those that best match your nonprofit's mission, resonate with your target audience, and fit within your budget. Add your own touch to make each event truly one-of-a-kind.

At Donorbox, we are committed to supporting your nonprofit's success. Whether it's through our online donation system or resources on our Nonprofit Blog, we aim to make your fundraising experience productive and enjoyable. Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly curated blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.

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