Top 5 Creative Fall Fundraising Ideas
As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisp, one of the busiest fundraising seasons of the year commences. Fall marks the start of a popular time in any fundraising organization’s calendar, with a plethora of events and activities competing for donors’ attention. It’s fair to say it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd!
Fortunately though, there are a variety of creative and effective fundraising ideas that can help you make the most of the fall season and still make an impact. Whether you’re looking to organize a traditional event or try something new and innovative, there are plenty of ways to engage donors and raise vital funds.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best fundraising ideas for fall, from classic fall festivals to virtual events that take advantage of the latest technology. So grab a pumpkin spice latte and let’s go!
Why is fall a good time to fundraise?
Fall provides the perfect backdrop for successful fundraising campaigns. With the holiday season just around the corner, donors are more likely to be in a giving mood, not to mention the vibrant fall colors and festive atmosphere.
It’s also a season where people are more likely to be out and about attending local festivals and community events, giving you ample opportunities to spread awareness of your cause and gather donations.
What are the best fall fundraising ideas?
Here’s our favorite fall fundraisers, with ideas on everything from location to activities, food to raising donations, to help you plan your most successful fundraiser yet!
1. Harvest festival
Location: Consider a picturesque farm or vibrant community center that can accommodate your activities and guests. Make sure the location is easily accessible and creates that all-important festive atmosphere.
Food: No Harvest Moon fundraiser is complete without delicious fall-inspired food. From pumpkin soup to apple cider, make sure you provide plenty of seasonal delights. Hosting a potluck is also a great way to involve your guests and their culinary talents.
Activities: Keep your guests entertained with fun fall activities. Consider hosting a pumpkin carving contest, bobbing for apples, or a hayride. Live music or a barn dance is also a great way to get your guests up and moving.
Raising funds: There are many ways to raise funds at a Harvest Moon fundraiser. Consider charging an entrance fee or selling tickets to activities. A silent auction or raffle is also a great way to raise funds.
2. Pumpkin patch
Nothing says fall like a visit to the pumpkin patch, so why not make an entire day event out of this autumn bucket list staple!
Location: You could consider partnering with a local farm or create your own pumpkin patch, if you know someone with a big enough field!
Food ideas: If you want your guests to stay a while (and hopefully send generous donations your way!) then food options are essential. Stay on theme with pumpkin pie, apple cider, and other autumn-inspired dishes. Make sure your food vendors cater to different dietary requirements so no one has to go hungry!
Activities: A pumpkin patch fundraiser creates opportunities for a range of fun activities for people of all ages. Keep the whole family entertained with pumpkin carving contests, hayrides, corn mazes, and petting zoos. A scarecrow-building contest or pumpkin decorating station can also add to the festive atmosphere.
Raising funds: You could keep it simple and charge an entrance fee, or you could sell pumpkins, fall-themed decorations, or merchandise related to your cause or organization.
3. Fall fashion show
Fall is the season when our closets begin transitioning into longer sleeves and autumn hues. What better way to embrace this yearly tradition than by hosting a fall fashion show, right before the season kicks in!
Location: The most obvious choice for your fashion show fundraiser is a shopping center, but you could also host on a campus or in your office event space, as long as there’s somewhere to change, enough space to create a runway and plenty of chairs – you’re covered!
Activities: Watching the runway of course! You’re going to need some models for this, so reach out to local modeling agencies, fashion schools or even individuals you know who are interested in modeling for your event. It’s important to have a diverse range of models to showcase a variety of styles and sizes. Work with local fashion designers or retailers to showcase their latest fall collections on the runway, and set up a pop up shop after the fashion show, so attendees can wear the runway themselves afterwards.
You could even organize a fashion swap at the end of the event, encouraging people to swap their clothing items to help create their new fall wardrobe, all for a fraction of the price!
Raising funds: One way to raise funds is by asking the designers to donate a portion of their sales from the pop up to your charity or cause. You could also charge an entry fee to the show and even charge a minimum donation to use the clothing swap shop.
4. Fall photo exhibition
Is there a more beautiful time to capture photos than the glorious fall backdrop? A fall photo exhibition is a unique and creative way to fundraise, and one that can inspire both professional and budding photographers alike!
Collecting entries: To collect exhibition entries, you could run a competition in your community encouraging people to submit their fall-themed photos for the chance not only to be featured in the exhibition itself, but to also win a prize at the event. Consider creating a theme such as “fall foliage” or “autumn adventures” to tie the photos together
Venue: Look for a space that can accommodate your guests and display the photos. Consider the lighting and ambiance of the venue when making your selection. A local gallery, community center, or outdoor space could be the perfect spot.
Activities: Your fall photo exhibition could be a classy evening affair or family-friendly day event, the choice is yours. You may want to provide light refreshments and canapes whilst people browse the beautiful photos. A great way to raise funds and create a fun atmosphere at your exhibition would be through an auction of the photographs.
Raising funds: Sell the photos displayed at the exhibition or take a portion of the sales if you want to give back to the photographers. Consider partnering with a local gallery or even offering an online auction to reach a wider audience.
5. Fall craft fair
Fall is an ideal time to get crafty, over a hot chocolate or pumpkin latte! You also have the advantage of all the natural crafting materials at your fingertips, from pinecones to beautiful leaves in all kinds of shades.
Venue: We’d definitely recommend an indoor space for a fall craft fair fundraiser, to avoid any logistic headaches if the weather takes a turn! Ideal spaces include your local community center or even a local restaurant.
Activities: You could mix it up for your event by inviting craft vendors to sell their art and decor, whilst also hosting craft stations throughout the day to keep your attendees engaged, using both natural autumn materials and also more advanced materials for the serious crafters!
Raising funds: Charge a fee for vendors to participate in the event. This can be a flat fee or a percentage of their sales. You could also charge a small entry fee to further boost your donations.
Overall, hosting a fall-themed fundraiser can be a fun and rewarding way to support your cause or organization. By taking care with planning and organization, you can create an event that is sure to be a hit with your local community.
Campaign Success Team Manager – North America
Emily is an experienced and passionate fundraising and events consultant, working with and supporting clients on their special events and fundraising campaigns all over the world.
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