Fundraising Ideas for Non-profits

Fundraising Ideas for Non-profits

Fundraising is not easy. Despite millions of dollars being raised each year through fundraising attempts, it can be incredibly difficult to get your online campaign or fundraising event off the ground. There are budget demands, spaces to be considered, people to invite and of course, the all-important efforts that go towards spreading the word. 

There are lots of different ways to fundraise, so you shouldn’t struggle to find an idea. Take a look at our fundraising ideas for non-profits so you can get going on ticking one thing off from your to-do list!

If you need some extra help after reading our ideas, Givergy has all bases covered when it comes to fundraising, providing year-round access to fundraising tools that will help you raise more.

Bake sales

One of the most traditional ways to raise money is to host a bake sale. It’s low cost for all participants and only requires time, so fairly easy to get involved. All you need is a fascinating hook to drive interest and participation.

This might be a certain theme of cake, color scheme or even a particular ingredient that has to be featured creatively. This type of fundraising event is great for all types of audiences but works especially well within schools and sports teams. Take a deeper look at how to run a cake sale.

Cooking competitions

If you don’t think that your local school or sports club will get behind a bake sale, why not host a cooking competition? Seek out volunteers and task them with making the same dish. You can keep it simple like making chili or meatloaf, or alternatively test your chefs with a local speciality.

Cooking competitions are great because people will pay to taste the food and cast their vote – essentially getting a free dinner while raising money for a good cause. What’s not to love?

Quiz nights

If you can find a local bar to host this one in, you’re onto a winner. There’s no better combination than having a drink and a laugh with the friends in your community, all while raising money for a good cause. You can charge a set price for team entries or for individuals. It’s then a case of who scores highest, wins. We suggest putting up a cash pot prize for the winner which comes from a portion of the ticket sales – it’ll attract a bigger audience.

Movie nights

Got kids? This is a great way to get involved in fundraising because those who are parents know the necessity of having a night off! Movie nights are the perfect provider for this. You just need a space big enough for all the kids to get together and watch a film.

As adults, you pay to drop your kids off or you stay and watch as a family. It’s important to note that if you make this an event for the kids, you’ll need suitable chaperons and qualifications to care for children. We recommend this type of fundraiser for schools with teachers being those who volunteer their time – just as they would a school dance. It makes a lot of logistical sense!

Scavenger hunts

Your community is a great resource to tap into when it comes to fundraising. Scavenger hunts can be so much fun for the entire family throughout a weekend. Set up your scavenger hunts so that they have participants trawling through hotspots in the streets. This will raise awareness further and bring a buzz about the community. 

Make sure that when you run your scavenger hunt, it’s so that people can take part whenever they want and that it becomes a timed event for the top spot. By restricting people to all take part at the same time, often clues will be spoiled and fewer groups will take part.

Talent shows

We all love a good talent show. It’s why American Idol and America’s Got Talent has been on television for decades and they still get participants. Whether it’s to support and nurture that young incredible talent or to have a good giggle at a comedian’s act.

Talent shows have proven time and time again to raise big money and provide a platform for talented people to shine under the spotlight. It’s the type of feel-good event everyone wants to get behind and works well with schools.

Yard sale fundraisers

Yard sales are great fundraisers in the community. All you need is a bit of sunshine and a few generous donors who are desperate to clear out the garage. Hosting a yard sale might be on a particular street if you’re raising funds for your local community park, or if it’s for a sports facility you can host the event where training is typically held. 

Big sports halls, gymnasiums, open parks, the opportunities are endless. Yard sales are a great fundraiser if you have little funds to hold events because they typically require no upfront cost, just a few generous people.

Online streaming events

Gaming and streaming have increased dramatically in recent years. Before young gamers were considered lazy, now there’s the potential for an incredible career earning thousands of dollars. Streaming events can be a tournament between a few players or a sponsored event where one person streams for a long duration. 

24-hour streaming events are growing in fundraising circles. They provide entertainment for viewers and it’s all online, making it easier to raise money from around the world rather than being restricted by location.


People who are full of energy are perfect for a danceathon. So if you’re fundraising for a school full of excitable students then this is the perfect event for you to host. Danceathons require people to volunteer their time and energy for the main event, but the money comes from gaining sponsorship. If you’re to host a danceathon you need to make sure your participants are dedicated to finding sponsors for the event. It might be $5 each from the neighbors or $100 from a family member’s business. The success of this event relies on your dancers being determined to raise money.

Head shaving/body waxing events

Really?! Well, there is something satisfying about watching someone get a wax for charity. Especially when it’s a hairy man volunteering his legs, chest or back! There have been some hilarious videos on the Internet over the years of waxing events and we don’t think they’re going away any time soon. 

Head shaving has also grown in tremendous popularity for women in recent years. More importantly, donating hair to foundations where wigs can be made. You can raise money for any non-profit and then donate the hair somewhere else. Perhaps you host a big hair removal event where waxing and head shaving all happen together?

5K sponsored runs

A 5K run is perfect for those living in suburban areas. It can be difficult to get all the community together in one place if they’re spread out, especially if you’re living in the midwest. It’s important to say that when you’re promoting your 5K event, include as many fun runners as you can. 

People who already run for a hobby won’t get much sponsorship to run a 5K, but those who rarely run certainly will! It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone for a good cause and the 5K is ideal because anybody can do it. You can walk a 5K, run, or skip the event, you could even open up the options for costumes too – it’ll grab the attention of people and entice more to enter.

Cardio machine relay races

Perhaps a 5K isn’t ideal in your area. There might not be many green and open spaces and running an event on the streets requires town approval. In which case, head to the gym. Cardio relay races are growing in popularity and it’s incredibly easy to get volunteers for the event. The only difficulty lies in finding some sponsors. 

It might be a rowing team relay, the stair master, treadmill or even spin bike. Don’t aim for distance in these relay events, aim for time, it’s more impressive that way. A 24-hour rowing relay – sounds like a great event to sponsor!

Casino night

Think you need something a little different? Why not host a casino night. There are plenty of companies that can come out and provide everything you need to make this happen – even the dealers! All you need to do is make sure you charge enough on the door for entrance to the event so that it recovers any cost. Some companies, if you let them know you’re fundraising, will reduce their prices so make sure you mention it when booking. We suggest when hosting a casino night you keep the money relatively low to reduce the risk of losing money on the event. That being said, the house always wins right?

Silent auction

Just like a casino night, a silent auction is great for something a little different. Plus, if you’re going to host a live event, they have a sense of sophistication that gives people a great excuse to bust out the tux and reach deep into their pockets for donating.

Silent auctions involve people making bids on auction prizes, and with mobile bidding it allows for a relaxed atmosphere as guests can bid from their phones throughout the event. Plus, the winners are the people who are willing to give the most so bidders know if they want something then they’ll have to bring out the cheque book!

Our silent auction service can help you here!

Fundraising dinner party

Bring out the big guns with a full-on dinner party. Host a three-course dinner where people can pay per head to sit and enjoy but make sure you sell the tickets at a profit to raise those extra funds. So, why are dinner parties the big guns? Because they’re the perfect opportunity to bring a bunch of fundraising activities together. 

Get people buying tickets for 50/50 raffles, wine pulls or even have them bidding on someone in a date auction. The dinner, whilst making money, should be seen as secondary to all the other fundraising activities going on during the evening. You might even host an eating contest when it comes to dessert – the winner going home with their dinner fully refunded!

For a bigger gala dinner, our Fundraising Hosts service could help you to raise as much as possible. 

Running your fundraiser with Givergy

Givergy gives you the perfect tools to successfully run your fundraising events throughout the year. It doesn’t matter if you’re holding a live fundraising event, a virtual gala or any online fundraising campaign, we have the platform and expertise to maximize your fundraising activities.

Ben Crook

Ben Crook

Chief Operating Officer

Ben is at the forefront of every project in Givergy, listing and actioning constant improvements across the business. With over a decade of experience in the charity and events sector he brings a deep understanding of what the fundraising industry needs to operate effectively and efficiently.