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40 Fundraising Event Ideas for Nonprofits that Your Community Will Love

Fundraising events are a great way for nonprofits to engage with their community of supporters and raise money for their cause. However, finding the right fundraising idea that fits your budget and involves your supporters...

Fundraising events are a great way for nonprofits to engage with their community of supporters and raise money for their cause. However, finding the right fundraising idea that fits your budget and involves your supporters can be challenging. That's why we've put together a list of our favorite fundraising event ideas that are proven to raise money and increase community engagement.

Our Favorite Fundraising Event Ideas

These are our top-performing fundraising event ideas that are sure to bring in the revenue you need for your cause. Let's check them out!

T-Shirt Fundraiser

Designing and selling t-shirts is a win-win situation for everyone involved. The campaign creator gets to raise money and promote their cause, while supporters get a memorable item in return for their donations. Consider using a t-shirt fundraising platform like Bonfire, which makes the process easy and even sends the funds directly to your organization.

Check out our list of top fun and inexpensive fundraising event ideas.

5K Race

Organizing a 5K race is a great way to engage your active supporters and raise awareness and money for your cause. Start planning your event well in advance to secure a location, recruit volunteers, and promote the race. Selling custom 5K race shirts can also boost your fundraising efforts.

Merch Sale

Selling branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and coffee mugs, is a perfect addition to any public fundraising event. Not only does it give donors a way to show their support, but it also raises extra money. Work with a merchandise company or use a custom t-shirt platform to create and sell branded products.

Karaoke Night

Partner with a local venue to plan a karaoke night fundraising event. Let the restaurant or venue know the cause you're raising funds for, and ask them to donate a percentage of the night's proceeds to it. Encourage your friends and family to attend and make the event a success.

Pub Crawl

Plan a pub crawl to raise money for your cause. Choose venues that are within safe walking distance of each other and ask bar owners to participate by donating a portion of the proceeds. Sell tickets in advance, choose a theme, and consider offering custom t-shirts to participants. Partnering with a local rideshare service or taxi company can provide free or discounted rides home at the end of the crawl.

Carnival or Street Fair

Bring out the community with a carnival or street fair. Although it requires more planning and resources, this exciting fundraising event idea can bring in substantial revenue. Charge participants and vendors a fee to set up their booths or stands and book space in advance. For a carnival, consider renting rides, games, and professional artists.

Food-related fundraising event ideas are very impactful.

Fun and Inexpensive Fundraising Event Ideas

These fundraising event ideas are easily scalable to any budget or audience and can help drive revenue for your cause.

Sip and Paint Night

Partner with a local sip and paint store or create your own event to raise funds. Ask an artist to volunteer to teach the class and charge admission for the event. Offer food and drinks to raise additional funds.

Game Tournament

Organize a game tournament involving different games or focus on one game. Rent a large space, charge a fee to participate, and award small prizes to the winners.

Trivia Night

Host a trivia night at a local restaurant or venue. Ask them to donate a portion of the night's proceeds to your cause. Advertise the event to maximize attendance and brush up on your trivia knowledge.

Percentage Partnerships

Team up with local businesses for a percentage partnership. Designate a period of time where a percentage of the business's sales will benefit your cause. This fundraising event idea allows supporters to enjoy a shopping day or a nice meal while supporting your cause.

Penny Wars Contest

Hold a month-long penny wars contest, particularly suitable for churches and schools. Two or more groups collect coins and bills, scoring points based on the amounts and denominations collected. Encourage competition and increase donation revenue.

Food Fundraising Event Ideas

Incorporating food into your fundraising event is a classic choice that can attract a large number of people.


Host a cook-off where participants contribute their best dish and a donation. Let people vote on their favorite dishes with dollars, and the chef with the most money raised wins the event.

Spaghetti Night

Host a spaghetti dinner and sell tickets to raise money. Include a donation jug or incorporate a silent auction or raffle into the evening.

Bake Sale or Ice Cream Social

Have volunteers bake treats or set up an ice cream social. Sell the goods at a high-traffic event or venue and encourage participants to bring their favorite dish to raise additional funds.

Coffee Stand

Set up a coffee stand in a well-trafficked area and sell freshly brewed coffee in the mornings. Partner with a local coffee shop or find a wholesale provider for discounted coffee.

Potluck or Picnic

Host a potluck or picnic event and ask for donations in exchange for admission. Encourage participants to bring their favorite dish to raise donations.

Fundraising Event Ideas for Small Groups

Unique fundraising event ideas that work for small community groups are essential to their ability to fund programs and classes.

Themed Party

Host a themed party event and charge admission. Promote the event on social media and send personalized invitations to maximize attendance.

Silent Auction

Plan a silent auction and acquire unique and interesting items to secure higher bids. Ask donors and local businesses for in-kind donations that will attract bidders.

Community Garage Sale

Organize a community garage sale and have participants sell unwanted items. Set up a central location and promote the event to draw in buyers.

Field Day

Organize a field day with games and activities, attracting large crowds and friendly competition. Sell refreshments and offer event merchandise to raise additional funds.

Picture Sales

Offer reserved photo sessions for a fee and take action shots or family holiday photos. Recruit a friend with photography skills or a local professional to help.

Fundraising Event Ideas for Corporations

Corporate social responsibility partnerships and engaging events can make a difference and bolster a company's position in the community.

Matching Gift Drive

Host a matching gift drive, either focusing on individual donors' matching gift eligibility or working with one company that agrees to match a fundraising goal.

50/50 Raffle

Set up a 50/50 raffle fundraiser where the winner receives half of the funds raised, motivating supporters to purchase raffle tickets and encourage friends and family to do the same.

Benefit Concert

Organize a benefit concert with local bands or musicians who are willing to donate their talents. Promote the event via social media and local outlets to attract an audience.

Official Sponsorships

Explore forming structured partnerships with local businesses that offer special levels of sponsorships and benefits, such as event naming opportunities and logo placement.

Casino Night

Host a casino night, a more complex fundraising event that requires careful planning. Set a high ticket price, promote the event widely, and offer casino games, auctions, and sponsorships.

Wine Wall

Create a wine wall where participants purchase the chance to choose a random bottle of wine. Each bottle is covered, and participants could end up with a bottle worth more than what they paid.

Fundraising Event Ideas for Schools K-12

Schools need fundraising to put on programs and fund their classes. Fun and engaging events can make a difference for effective school fundraising.

Tie-Dye Event

Organize a tie-dye event where students can create unique t-shirts to sell online or at the event. Raise additional money by selling concessions and making the event a fun experience for everyone.

Event-a-Thon Event

Host event-a-thons like read-a-thons, fit-a-thons, or spell-a-thons to raise funds and incentivize students to participate in activities. Award small prizes to students who successfully complete each activity.

Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Organize a shoe drive where students, families, and the community can donate unwanted shoes. Work with a shoe drive organization that collects donated shoes and gives you a check based on the pounds of shoes collected.

Parents' Night Off

Plan a parents' night off event, such as a pub crawl or bowling night, and provide babysitting services at the school. Charge an entry fee that covers activities and babysitting, bringing the community together and allowing parents to socialize.

Product Fundraisers

Host product fundraisers such as cookie dough sales, t-shirt sales, or pizza fundraisers. Choose a product to sell, work with a supplier, and encourage families to sell products in their neighborhoods.

Fundraising Event Ideas for College

College fundraising events need to be cost-effective and highly engaging. Crowdfunding and other fundraising ideas can make a difference for college organizations.

Lip Sync Battle

Organize a lip sync battle where teams compete to "sing" their favorite hits. Charge admission fees and let the audience choose the winner based on applause or faculty judgments.

Jail Your Friends

Have students "jail" their friends by paying a fee to have them "released." To get out of jail, the students must match the initial amount paid by their friends.

Beard-Growing Challenge

Host a beard-growing challenge where participants obtain sponsors to donate as they grow their beards. Longer beards earn more money, and running the challenge during No-Shave November can increase participation.

Dorm-Decorating Competition

Hold a dorm-decorating competition where residents pay a fee to enter their rooms. Give them a limited amount of time to decorate their cramped spaces, and award a prize to the winner.

Fundraising Event Ideas for Nonprofits

Nonprofits can benefit from classic fundraising event ideas that require more time and resources but provide a bigger payoff.

Gala and Live Auction

Organize a gala with a live auction, attracting a wealthier crowd and offering unique items for higher bids. Secure a venue, send out invitations, and make the event a night to remember.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events

Utilize peer-to-peer fundraising to engage supporters and build your donor base. Supporters raise money on your nonprofit's behalf, asking friends and family members to contribute. End the fundraising campaign with an event to celebrate success.

Golf Tournament

Plan a charity golf tournament to engage major donors and raise money for your cause. Secure a location, have participants collect pledges, and provide a memorable experience for golf enthusiasts.

Museum Dinner Party

Host a museum dinner party with admission tickets and additional fundraising opportunities, like a raffle or charity auction. Connect with a museum and arrange for guest speakers to discuss your cause.

"Gardening for Green" - Sponsored Trash Pickup

Organize a sponsored trash pickup, where individuals pledge donations based on the amount of trash collected and gardening done. Beautify your community while raising money for your nonprofit.

There are many ways to raise money for different causes, so do your research and choose the fundraising event ideas that best fit your needs. Try out these methods for yourself and witness the impact you can make in your community.