🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

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30 Fundraising Ideas for Non Profit Organizations

By thinking outside the donation box and embracing innovative approaches, you can not only boost your financial support but also strengthen relationships with your community and position your nonprofit as a dynamic changemaker.

Let’s face it: fundraising can sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of the same old tactics.

Bake sales, car washes, and cookie-cutter events might bring in some cash, but they hardly set your organization apart or inspire deeper connections with donors.

It’s time to shake things up and infuse your fundraising strategy with a shot of creativity!

By thinking outside the donation box and embracing innovative approaches, you can not only boost your financial support but also strengthen relationships with your community and position your nonprofit as a dynamic changemaker.

In this guide, we've curated 30 unique and engaging fundraising ideas that have been proven to supercharge revenue and rally supporters in exciting new ways.

From viral social media challenges to unforgettable experiential events, there’s something here for every organization, regardless of size, budget, or mission.

But we won’t just toss a laundry list of concepts your way and leave you hanging.

We’ll also share practical tips and real-world success stories to help you implement these strategies effectively.

Discover how to harness the power of storytelling, leverage the latest tech tools, and forge mutually beneficial partnerships that amplify your reach and impact.

So grab a notepad, get those creative juices flowing, and prepare to be inspired – because by the time you finish reading, you’ll have a reinvigorated fundraising game plan that will make your supporters sit up, take notice, and eagerly open their wallets to fuel your mission.

Your cause deserves nothing less.

Ready to unleash your nonprofit’s full fundraising potential and catapult your impact to new heights?

Let’s dive in and start turning these innovative ideas into game-changing realities.

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Why Diversifying Your Fundraising Approach is Crucial

Before we jump into the specific ideas, let’s take a moment to understand why having a variety of fundraising strategies in your toolkit is so essential for nonprofits.

Becoming overly dependent on a single event format or a small group of major donors can leave your organization vulnerable if something doesn't go according to plan.

By implementing multiple fundraising tactics throughout the year, you create a more stable and resilient revenue stream.

You’ll be better equipped to weather unexpected challenges and ensure you consistently have the resources needed to advance your important work.

What’s more, different types of fundraisers will resonate with different segments of your supporter base.

Some donors may get excited about dressing up for a glitzy gala, while others prefer the simplicity of clicking “donate” on a crowdfunding page.

By providing an array of giving opportunities and engagement options, you’ll be able to connect with more people and maximize your overall fundraising success.

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Fresh Fundraising Ideas to Energize Your Nonprofit

Shaking up your approach and injecting some creativity into the mix can energize your efforts and get supporters pumped up about giving!

Check out these fresh ideas to help your organization raise more money and amplify your impact.

1. Harness the Power of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Ready to expand your donor base exponentially?

Enter peer-to-peer fundraising (also known as social fundraising or P2P fundraising), a game-changing strategy that leverages the enthusiasm of your most dedicated supporters to tap into their personal networks.

Here’s how it works:

Your volunteer fundraisers set up personalized online donation pages and reach out to their friends, family, coworkers, and social media contacts to ask for contributions.

Because the request comes from someone the potential donor knows and trusts, they’re far more likely to give.

In fact, the average P2P fundraiser nets a whopping $568 from their network!

Setting up a P2P campaign is a breeze with the right software, and it’s an incredibly effective way to bring in a significant influx of donations in a short timeframe.

Consider these five peer-to-peer fundraising ideas to get started:

  1. Birthday Fundraisers: Encourage supporters to dedicate their special day to your cause by creating a fundraising page and requesting donations instead of gifts.
  2. Virtual Races or Fitness Challenges: Participants commit to achieving a fitness goal (like running 50 miles in a month) and collect pledges for each milestone reached.
  3. “Dare to Donate” Campaigns: Volunteers promise to do something daring (like skydiving or shaving their head) if they hit their fundraising target.
  4. Pet Photo Contests: Animal lovers showcase adorable snapshots of their furry friends and compete to raise the most money.
  5. Pro-Bono Pledge Drives: Skilled professionals donate a portion of their freelance earnings to your nonprofit over a set period and encourage their clients to match the contribution.

Tips for P2P Success:

  • Provide your fundraisers with a toolkit of email templates, graphics, and tips to help them hit the ground running.
  • Create some friendly competition by offering prizes or perks for top performers.
  • Celebrate everyone’s efforts and express heartfelt gratitude. A little appreciation goes a long way in keeping volunteers motivated!

2. Launch a Social Media Crowdfunding Campaign

In the age of online everything, no modern fundraising plan is complete without a social media-driven crowdfunding component.

This web-based approach empowers your nonprofit to rally supporters and raise money through a single streamlined online campaign, with an emphasis on shareability.

Here’s the basic idea:

  • Set a specific fundraising goal and timeframe for the campaign.
  • Craft a compelling campaign page that tells your organization’s story, explains how the funds will be used, and makes a strong case for support.
  • Promote the heck out of your page – via email, on social media, and through your other communications channels – making it super simple for people to donate with a few quick clicks.
  • Regularly update supporters on your progress toward the goal and share the impact of their contributions.
  • Encourage your community to spread the word far and wide.
The most successful crowdfunding campaigns create an awesome narrative that tugs on the heartstrings and inspires people to give.

Paint a vivid picture by incorporating photos, videos, infographics, and stories that bring your cause to life.

You can boost engagement by offering fun incentives for different giving levels – like branded swag, special event invites, or a social media shoutout.

Consider these five unique crowdfunding ideas:

  1. “Sponsor a [Service/Item]” Campaign: Break your fundraising goal into tangible bite-sized chunks, like “$50 sends a girl to science camp” or “$100 delivers 20 meals to homebound seniors.”
  2. Social Media Takeover Challenge: Enlist a team of influencers or local celebs to “take over” your social accounts for a day if you reach a certain milestone, driving buzz and shares.
  3. Matches & Multipliers Drive: Secure a generous matching gift from a major donor, then challenge your online community to help you unlock the extra funds.
  4. Livestreamed Fundraising Event: Host an engaging virtual event (like a trivia night, variety show, or cooking class) and collect donations from remote attendees.
  5. “Fund a Need” Flash Campaign: Create a sense of urgency and tangible impact by crowdfunding a pressing, time-sensitive need, like emergency roof repairs at your animal shelter.

Tips to Amplify Your Crowdfunding Success:

  • Develop a promo plan that spans email, social media, your website, and cross-promotion with partner orgs.
  • Keep the excitement building with frequent updates, gratitude, and behind-the-scenes peeks.
  • Add an extra personal touch by thanking each donor individually, even if it’s a quick DM or text.

The beauty of crowdfunding is that it meets donors where they already are (online!) and lets them give in a way that feels easy and natural.

Capitalize on that connectivity to expand your supporter base and stay engaged long after the campaign wraps.

3. Plan an Active Fundraising Event

Want to get your supporters’ blood pumping while they give back?

Charity walks, runs, and rides are perfect for engaging donors, encouraging healthy living, and raising money for your cause – all in one feel-good event!

These active events come in all shapes and sizes, from a friendly 5K fun run to a hard-core multi-day cycling trek.

Participants typically sign up by paying a registration fee or gathering pledges from their own social circles, with the money they raise going to support your nonprofit’s work.

To make your event stand out from the sea of 5Ks, consider adding a creative twist or theme.

Maybe it’s a nighttime glow run, a costumed pub crawl, or an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless!

Amp up the excitement by offering rewards for fundraising milestones, like custom finisher medals, limited-edition t-shirts, or a chance to win a grand prize.

Here are five fun spins on the classic charity run/walk/ride:

  1. Color Run: Participants get showered with vibrant colored powder at stations along the route, ending in a kaleidoscopic finish line celebration.
  2. Warrior Dash: Participants navigate a muddy obstacle course, conquering challenges that test their strength, stamina, and teamwork.
  3. Puppy Love Walk-a-thon: Animal lovers and their pooches complete a scenic stroll together, with top fundraising dogs earning barktastic prize packages.
  4. Pedal for a Purpose: Teams embark on an inspiring cycling journey, exploring local landmarks and learning about your cause’s impact in the community.
  5. Retro Run: Runners dress up in outfits from their favorite decade and groove to throwback tunes along the route, culminating in an epic 80s dance party.

Making Your Event a Runaway Success:

  • Generate buzz well in advance with fun promo videos, inspiring participant stories, and tempting registration incentives.
  • Enlist local officials, celebrities, or beloved mascots to kick things off and cheer participants across the finish line.
  • Get local businesses involved as sponsors to offset your costs in exchange for some awesome exposure.
  • Capture the day with plenty of photos and videos to keep the good vibes (and future signups) flowing.

After catching their breath, your participants will feel proud, accomplished, and more connected to your mission than ever.

Ride that wave of momentum by sharing their impact and keeping them engaged with your cause well beyond the finish line.

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4. Throw a Dazzling Charity Gala

Ready to add some serious glitz and glam to your fundraising arsenal?

A charity gala is your chance to wine and dine your supporters in five-star style, treating them to an unforgettable evening of elegance while raising big bucks for your cause.

The key to a successful gala is all in the details – from the swanky venue to the gourmet cuisine to the show-stopping entertainment.

Start by selecting a stunning location that sets the tone for a sophisticated soirée, like a historic mansion, a chic art gallery, or a rooftop space with breathtaking city views.

Next, craft an elevated menu that will have guests raving. Consider partnering with a renowned local chef or catering company to design an exquisite multi-course meal, paired with top-shelf cocktails and premium wines.

To further elevate the exclusivity factor, offer VIP ticket packages that include perks like a pre-event reception with a celebrity guest, priority seating, valet parking, or a swag bag stuffed with luxury goodies.

Of course, no gala is complete without world-class entertainment.

Depending on your budget and theme, you could hire a live orchestra, showcase breathtaking dance performances, or bring in a beloved comedian or musician to wow the crowd.

As you’re planning your gala, weave in plenty of mission moments and giving opportunities:

  • Create a powerful video or series of live vignettes that illustrate the real-world impact of your work and the importance of donor support.
  • Host a live auction featuring rare, high-end items and one-of-a-kind experiences (think: an all-access pass to Fashion Week or a private yacht excursion).
  • Give a moving speech that thanks attendees for their generosity and paints a vivid picture of how their contributions will change lives.
  • Offer exclusive naming opportunities for major donors, like endowing a scholarship fund or underwriting a key program.

Here are five unique gala concepts to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Starry Night Soirée: Channel the magic of Van Gogh’s famous painting with an celestial-themed gala featuring twinkling string lights, midnight blue linens, and an observatory-inspired cocktail lounge.
  2. Glitz & Glam Casino Royale: Transport guests to a high-roller casino complete with blackjack tables, roulette wheels, and roving champagne carts. Attendees can use their “winnings” to bid on luxury prize packages.
  3. Roaring 20s Speakeasy: Step back in time to the Jazz Age with a clandestine speakeasy-style affair, featuring live swing music, vintage cocktails, and flapper-inspired fashion.
  4. Passport to Adventure: Take guests on a trip around the world with an internationally-themed gala showcasing the sights, sounds, and flavors of far-off lands. Each room or station could highlight a different country or culture.
  5. Masquerade Ball for a Cause: Add an air of mystery and intrigue with an elegant masquerade party. Guests can don elaborate masks and formal attire while enjoying surprise entertainers and interactive art installations.

The more buzz-worthy and visually stunning your gala, the more likely attendees will be to snap and share photos on social media – expanding your reach and inspiring FOMO in those who missed out.

Don’t forget to capitalize on that momentum after the event by sharing a gorgeous photo gallery, sending personalized thank-you messages to all who attended or supported, and teasing exciting plans for next year’s can’t-miss gala.

5. Unlock Major Gifts with a Matching Campaign

Want to motivate donors to dig deeper and give more?

A matching gift campaign is one of the most effective ways to do just that.

Here’s how it works:

  1. First, secure a commitment from a major donor or corporate partner to match all donations up to a certain amount, effectively doubling the impact of every dollar given.
  2. Then, heavily promote your matching challenge across all your communication channels, emphasizing the urgency and power of this limited-time opportunity.
  3. As donations roll in, keep supporters updated on your progress and how close you are to unlocking the full matching amount.

The beauty of this strategy lies in its psychological pull. When donors know their dollars will go twice as far, they’re far more likely to give – and give more generously.

In fact, research shows that mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals can increase the response rate by 71% and boost the average donation amount by over 50%!

To get started, identify potential matching donors by combing through your database and flagging major gift prospects, loyal recurring donors, and local businesses with a history of supporting your cause.

You'll want to approach them with a compelling proposal that outlines the specifics of the campaign, the impact their match will have, and the recognition they'll receive.

You can also use a matching challenge to incentivize specific giving behaviors, like:

  • Attracting new donors by offering to match their first-time gifts
  • Encouraging monthly giving signups with a bonus match for those who commit to recurring donations
  • Boosting year-end fundraising by framing the match as a way to “double down on impact” before the calendar flips
  • Driving lapsed donors to reinstate their support by offering to match their first gift back
  • Promoting legacy giving by unlocking a major donor match once a certain number of planned gifts are pledged

Consider these five creative matching gift ideas:

  1. “Early-Bird” Match: Secure a generous match that only applies to the first X number of donors or the first $X raised during your campaign period – incentivizing supporters to give ASAP.
  2. Social Media “Unlock” Challenge: Partner with a tech-savvy major donor to contribute an additional $1 every time your campaign is shared on social media, up to a set amount.
  3. Board of Directors Dollar-for-Dollar Match: Have 100% of your board members agree to collectively match donations for a designated period, highlighting their leadership and dedication to the cause.
  4. Celebrity “Dare to Donate” Match: Enlist a notable celebrity to perform a silly or daring stunt (like shaving their head or singing carpool karaoke) if you unlock their matching dollars in time.
  5. Local Business Boost Match: Partner with a group of community-minded businesses to each contribute to a mega matching pool – an opportunity for them to give back in a big way and earn some awesome exposure.

To make the most of your matching gift campaign:

  • Whenever possible, incorporate the match into all of your fundraising communications – from email appeals to social media posts to your donation page. (Just be sure to honor any exclusivity agreements with your matching donors.)
  • Ensure your online giving forms have a field for donors to indicate their employer, so you can easily follow up about additional matching opportunities beyond your campaign.
  • Have a plan in place to steward your matching donors and showcase the impact of their multiplied generosity.

When you make your case in a compelling way and offer supporters the chance to amplify their impact, they’ll jump at the opportunity to stretch their charitable dollars further.

It’s a win-win that accelerates your progress and strengthens your donor relationships – just the kind of return on investment every nonprofit needs.

6. Partner with Local Businesses for a Shopping Event

Here’s a fundraising idea that’s a total win-win: team up with community-minded businesses for a special shopping event where a percentage of the day’s sales are donated back to your cause.

Customers can support your nonprofit simply by swiping their credit card – no extra effort required!

Begin by reaching out to local retailers, restaurants, and service providers who align with your organization’s values and whose clientele overlaps with your target demographic.

Emphasize how the partnership can help drive traffic and sales for their business while allowing them to make a meaningful impact in the community.

Once you’ve got your business partners on board, work together to iron out the logistics and select a date for your “shop for a cause” event.

Most businesses will agree to donate a set percentage of their sales (usually 10-25%) from a designated timeframe to your nonprofit.

In the weeks leading up to the event, focus on getting the word out to your supporters:

  • Send a series of emails building excitement and encouraging them to shop on the big day.
  • Arm your partners with ready-to-post social media graphics and flyers they can display in their storefronts.
  • Pitch the event to local media outlets, highlighting the community spirit and collaborative effort involved.
  • Provide your supporters with a digital and printable “shopping passport” they can take along to each participating location.

On the day of the event, deploy your most enthusiastic volunteers to each business to cheer on shoppers, raise awareness about your cause, and encourage add-on donations at the register.

You can further sweeten the deal for customers by offering prize drawings, bounce-back coupons, or a small token of appreciation for their support.

Try these five unique twists on the shop-for-a-cause concept:

  1. “Round It Up” Register Drive: Ask customers to round their purchase up to the nearest dollar and donate the change to your nonprofit.
  2. Grocery Store “Shopping Spree” Raffle: Sell tickets for a chance to win a 60-second dash through a partnering supermarket, with the lucky winner getting to keep everything they can grab (within reason!).
  3. Food Truck Frenzy: Host a lively outdoor event featuring a lineup of popular food trucks, each donating a portion of their sales to your organization. Add in some live music and family-friendly games for extra flavor.
  4. Sip & Shop Soirée: Partner with a local winery or brewery to host a special after-hours shopping event, with a percentage of beverage and merchandise sales supporting your cause. Cheers to giving back!
  5. Online Shop-a-Thon: Take your shopping event virtual by teaming up with online retailers or e-commerce brands to donate a cut of their sales for a designated period. Promote special discount codes your supporters can use to save while they support.

To squeeze even more goodness out of your shopping event:

  • Encourage participating businesses to offer special discounts, freebies, or BOGO deals to your nonprofit’s supporters as an extra incentive to shop.
  • Explore additional cross-promotion opportunities, like showcasing each business’s offerings in a special “partner spotlight” section of your e-newsletter.
  • Give your partners a shoutout on your website’s “supporters” page and share photos or videos from the event on your social media channels (tagging them, of course!).
  • Follow up with a hearty dose of appreciation for every participating business, and let them know how much their support means for the individuals or communities you serve.

With a little creativity and collaboration, you can turn an ordinary trip to the store into an easy, feel-good way for local businesses and shoppers alike to rally behind your cause.

That’s what we call shopping with a purpose!

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Effective Fundraising Strategies for Non Profit Organizations

In addition to the specific event ideas above, there are some general strategies you can employ to make any fundraiser more successful.

Here are a few tips:

Focus on Storytelling

People donate to causes that resonate with them on an emotional level.

Throughout your fundraising efforts, focus on telling compelling stories that illustrate the real-world impact of your work.

Use photos, videos, and personal anecdotes to bring your mission to life and tug at the heartstrings.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for expanding your reach and engaging supporters.

Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your fundraisers, share impact stories, and rally your community.

You can even run social media-specific campaigns, like a “donate your birthday” drive or a viral challenge.

Build Corporate Partnerships

Partnering with local businesses and corporations can provide a significant boost to your fundraising efforts.

From sponsorships and matching gifts to cause marketing campaigns and volunteer grants, there are many ways to collaborate with companies for mutual benefit.

Focus on finding partners that align with your mission and values.

Offer Recurring Giving Options

Recurring donations provide a reliable, sustainable source of funding for your non-profit.

Whenever possible, give supporters the option to make their one-time contribution into an ongoing monthly or quarterly gift.

You can incentivize recurring donations by offering special perks or recognition.

Say Thank You

Never underestimate the power of a heartfelt thank you.

Show your donors how much you appreciate their support by sending personalized acknowledgments, sharing impact updates, and finding creative ways to say thanks.

When donors feel valued, they’ll be more likely to give again in the future.

Final Thoughts

Fundraising is an ongoing challenge for most non-profit organizations, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle.

By getting creative, diversifying your strategies, and focusing on donor engagement, you can ensure a steady stream of support for your cause.

The 30 ideas in this guide are just a starting point. Use them as inspiration to brainstorm your own unique fundraisers that will resonate with your specific community.

Remember, the most successful non-profits are the ones that are always innovating and adapting to meet the changing needs and preferences of their supporters.

No matter which fundraising ideas you choose to pursue, stay focused on your mission and the impact you’re making in the world.

When you lead with passion and purpose, the funds will follow.

Here’s to a future filled with successful fundraisers and positive change!

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And now, we’re offering you a complimentary strategy session to help you supercharge your fundraising efforts.

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Schedule your free strategy session with We & Goliath today, and let’s work together to make a difference in the world.

We & Goliath

We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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