Stuck for fundraising ideas?
Not for much longer! We’ve done the hard yards for you and brain stormed 151 great fundraising ideas that you can use to make money for your favourite charity.
Some are easy, some require a bit more thought, so choose whichever you had the time for right now and start getting those donations!
1. Animal Show – A range of options here, from a basic dog show to more of a show-and-tell with a wildlife rescue service or something more exotic.
2. Car wash– Get some friends together to wash cars for donations, simple!
3. Children’s art exhibit – Children’s art never fails to please and surprise, and most children love to get involved. Hold an art show to raise funds for a children’s charity, special trip, or local art program.
4. Abseil/Rappelling – Set up the equipment at something tall, from the local town hall to a nearby cliff face. Popular, and gives that added shot of adrenaline. Just make sure you comply with all the local regulations, and be sure to hire an expert!
5. Honey – Especially good if you can find a local honey producer. Get small jars filled with local honey, brand them with your logo or the logo of the charity, and off you go!
6. Sports event – Everyone loves a good competition. Capitalise on this by forming charity sports teams, and have at it.
7. Bake sale – An old standby, but one that remains popular. Gather home-baked goods, set up a stall, and see how much you can raise.
8. Auctions – Traditional or silent, auctions are a great way to gather funds. They’re fast-paced and entertaining to boot.
9. Office Fundraising – Use any of the ideas on this list to put together an office fundraising day – informal auctions, mini bake sales, etc. Added bonus: done rightly, it’ll liven up a boring workday, and all for a good cause!
10. Name the ____ – Charge per entry to name the stuffed animal, new pet, or what-have-you. Tap into people’s creativity and competitiveness at the same time.
11. Quiz time – quizzes are fantastic ways to raise money. Charge per entry and give some prizes to the winner!
12. Pancake morning at the office/church/town hall – Who doesn’t love pancakes? Easy and enjoyable, flipping some pancakes for a morning works well to bring people in.
13. T-shirts – Another classic, and one that’s hard to beat. Create t-shirts on your cause to sell, and there you go.
14. Boat wash – Don’t think that cars are the only thing to be washed! For communities near large bodies of water, a boat wash can be an innovative way to reach out.
15. Bike wash – Keep the theme going! Live near a popular road or mountain-biking spot? Team up with the local clubs and put on a bike wash. You can hose down the bikers at the same time – they’ll need it.
16. Dog wash – Love animals AND fundraising? Here you go! Doggies nearly always need baths, so there’s no need to worry about demand. Plus it’ll be fun and EXTREMELY photogenic.
17. Obstacle course – This can be anything from an office obstacle course over the boss’s desk to a full-blown campground style course.
18. Running – Individual or team races, road or trail. The options are nearly limitless, and always popular.
19. Donation jars – Super-simple. Make simple, attractive labels explaining the charity or cause, and place jars in any shop which will allow it.
20. Open house/garden – People are curious and nosy. If you have a large, unusual, or beautiful house or garden, consider doing an open house for a small entry fee. Let people browse your great-grandmother’s earmuff collection for a good cause!
21. Raffle – A fundraising standby, for good reason. Charge for a ticket, winner gets a prize.
22. Colour run – Participants solicit sponsors for a fun run – a race with a wonderfully messy, and colourful, ending! Charge an entry fee as well.
23. Art show – Encourage local artists to join forces in an art show hosted by your cause, and arrange for a percentage of all sales to go towards the organisation.
24. Firefighter’s challenge – Teams of firefighters climb up an engine ladder, then slide down a pole, until they’ve climbed a set height. The group who originated the idea aimed to climb the height of Mt. Everest, which amounted to over 8,000 trips up the ladder! This challenge makes a great “centrepiece” event for a town celebration.
25. Restaurant partnership – Talk to local restaurants about donating part of a meal price to a good cause. Then invite your friends and family out for a meal! Also a great way to highlight local eateries.
26. Costume day – Works great in the workplace. Chat with your boss, then charge people a small fee to wear a costume (or their pajamas!) to work!
27. Hat day – same idea as above, but even less work – just do headgear instead of a costume.
28. Change collection – Get out into a neighborhood and ask for loose change. Good way to introduce your cause, and there’s little pressure on the people you ask. Everyone has a few pennies around!
29. Design challenge – Looking for new graphics for your charity? Find a fresh idea as well as raise funds by having people submit designs for a nominal fee. Winner gets one of whatever is being designed!
30. Design a mug – A contest your over-caffeinated coworkers will love.
31. Design a t-shirt – Great way to add extra fundraising opportunities to the same overall effort. Have a contest to design the t-shirt, then produce and sell the shirts themselves.
32. Design a poster – Spread the word about your charity with fresh ideas and designs!
33. Sweepstakes – Guess the number of jellybeans in a jar, or pennies in a tub, or whatever. Winner gets to keep the jar!
34. Peer-to-peer fundraising – A newer method, and a great way to organically grow your charity’s network. Encourage individuals to set up charity-related social media pages, and market them to their own friends and family. The appeals for funds come from known faces, not strangers, and the charity also gains membership from within rather than outside efforts.
35. Tug-of-war – Get outside, and get pulling. Simple, and with the biggest prize of all on the line – bragging rights!
36. Lemonade stand – Probably one of the oldest ideas on the list, but don’t underestimate it! Pick the right day and location, and the sun and heat will do your work for you.
37. Animal costume contest – everyone loves a pug dressed up as a dragon. Hold a “dress-your-pet” contest!
38. Root beer stall – Like the lemonade stand, this idea works best on a hot day in a busy locale. Also like a lemonade stand, it’s dead easy and can be super popular.
39. Cinema screening – Hire a local cinema, and see about offering a special screening, perhaps of an older or classic film.
40. Home cinema – Variation on the previous idea. Set a special screening at your home theater – or even better yet, at an outdoor location. You could even hire a drive-in cinema for your favourite film.
41. Guess the baby – Raise money and embarrass your coworkers by having a “match the baby picture” contest. Everyone brings in a baby photo, and then tries to match adult to baby. Wildly fun and terribly embarrassing, so everyone wins!
42. Alumni dinner or drinks – Gather the old crew back together for a dinner, or drinks, or whatever really, and use the opportunity to raise funds. Can easily be the setting for some of the other fundraising ideas as well, such as raffles.
43. Jog-a-thon – Not feeling up for a race? Oganise something a bit more low-key. Jog-a-thons don’t require quite the level of physical fitness, but still get everyone moving also!
44. Swim – A great individual fundraising idea. Gather pledges for funds to be paid on the completion of a long-distance swim.
45. Health challenge – Groups or individuals gather pledges from supporters to gain or lose a certain amount of weight.
46. Karaoke nights – Gather your friends, or even your enemies, and charge people to hear them scream into a microphone! What could be better?
47. Jumble sale – Basically, people bring whatever they have to a set location, and all sales benefit the cause. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and you might find this becomes a recurring event.
48. Swear jar – Clean up that language! And gather some extra funds at the same time.
49. Yard sale – Simple, but effective. Sell your old stuff and raise money for a good cause!
50. Craft sale – Same idea as a bake sale, but applied to new, handmade items.
51. Letter campaign – An older idea, but still a useful one. Organize a letter campaign to blanket specific areas and neighborhoods.
52. Coffee morning – Hold a coffee morning at your local church or hall, and see how much you can gather!
53. Coffee curb – The exact opposite of the previous idea. Rather than hold a coffee morning, start by giving up your morning coffee, and donating that money instead. Encourage others to do the same!
54. Band Competition – Another helpful way to boost local performers. Enlist the aid of local bands in a friendly battle. Sell tickets and encourage donations at the event as well.
55. Text-to-give – One word about this one: smartphones. Everyone has them. Reaching people via their own smartphone gives your cause or charity a highly effective fundraising tool. Text-to-give services can be more expensive to set up, but the increased access can be worth it.
56. Book sale – Encourage literacy and good reading habits while also raising extra funds for your charity!
57. Baby photo contest – Bring in photos of you and your coworkers as babies, and have people give a donation to vote on which one is the cutest! Most votes wins!
58. Bingo – Use the ever-popular game to bring people together and raise money! Charge per game.
59. Dance-Off – This can be a simple dance event – gather your coworkers and friends, rent a venue, and find the music for a dance party. OR you can go the extra step, and hire an instructor for a specific kind of dance. Turn your generic dance party into a ballroom dancing lesson for charity!
60. Lawn car/yard care – Offer your services in your neighbourhood or community for yard care. Be sure to specify that your fee will be donated to a special cause.
61. Eco jar – Like a swear jar, but for your charity and the environment! Choose a particular environmentally unfriendly habit (plastic bags, for example), and every time you catch yourself or your other collaborators using one, a certain amount goes into the jar. After a set period of time, all the proceeds go to charity.
62. Marathon events – Not the running sort of marathon, but a marathon table tennis session; or a marathon volleyball game; or anything really. This can be a single game that is prolonged beyond all reason, or match after match after match, to get as many people involved as possible.
63. Best Seat – Auction or raffle off a prime seat to the local professional sports team, or even to that “hot-ticket” event.
64. Discount cards – Work with local businesses to arrange for discounts to holders of certain cards, then sell the cards on behalf of the charity.
65. Matched giving – Use in tandem with a different fundraising idea. Get an individual or a company, often the latter, to agree to match whatever you raise. Double the amount you raise easily!
66. Community training – Partner with local artisans and craftsmen to offer classes in the local community center. The artisan donates their time but receives increased exposure, while the charity charges for the class.
67. Give it up! – Choose a pet habit or vice, and give it up for a week or a month. This could be your morning coffee, or that fast-food habit, or your weekly cinema viewing. Give it up for a set period of time and donate the funds that you would have spent to charity instead.
68. Supermarket packing – Work with a local supermarket to pack groceries for customers for a small fee. This idea could also work really well at your local farmer’s market!
69. Recycle – Organise a clean-up of the local park, river, lake, or other green area. Recycle the glass and plastic, scrap any of the metals gathered, and donate the proceeds.
70. Partner with a food truck – Talk to your favourite mobile eatery about promoting a collaborative event where the charity takes a percentage of the proceeds! Most food trucks are heavily invested in the neighbourhood, so they make great natural allies for local charities.
71. Face-painting – Fundraising for a children’s charity? This idea works great for children, and can add to a carnival-style fundraising event.
72. Online back sale – Take your traditional bake sale and put it online! This allows for a wider audience, though it takes a little more effort on the logistics side.
73. Nature guide – Combine your knowledge of the best nearby trails and scenic spots with supporting a good cause. Offer guided tours in exchange for a set donation!
74. Food Festival – Elevate the bake sale game to a whole different level.This takes a lot of work and requires cooperating with nearby restaurants, but in the end you can have an ethnic-themed food festival that really brings in the crowds!
75. Payroll donations – If you own a company or can work with a corporation, this can be an easy and quick way for employees to give a (tax-free!) donation!
76. Crowdfunding – One of the most popular fundraising ideas for the social-media age. Start a crowdfunding campaign online, promote it heavily, see what comes in!
77. Plant sale – Fundraising in the spring? Set up a plant sale! Support the neighbourhood nursery in the process!
78. Social media challenge – The gold standard for these was undoubtedly the Ice Bucket Challenge; your challenge may not be quite so successful, but there is certainly an appeal there which you can tap into!
79. Scrip – Any scrip is substitute money. In the fundraising world, this typically means that a local organization will purchase vouchers for restaurants and businesses then resell them at a slightly higher price to supporters. Each scrip may not bring in much, but over time the funds gathered can be significant.
80. Email campaigns – There’s a world of difference between a good email campaign and a boring, generalized one. The latter will only get lost in the shuffle of a busy inbox. But when done correctly, an email campaign can target likely donors and direct funds to your crowdfunding sites and other fundraising efforts.
81. Donation websites – In conjunction with the email campaigns, a simple donation webpage is the starting point for any charity with an online presence. Create a simple, easy-to-use webpage that encourages users to give.
82. Facebook donations – The social media giant now allows users to set up simple donation tools on their profile for birthdays, allowing friends to donate to a given charity in lieu of an actual gift. Work with your friends, and try to coordinate everyone’s campaign to the same charity for maximum benefit!
83. Gingerbread house – Probably better suited for the winter season, but a great way to foster some holiday spirit and raise funds. Hold a gingerbread house contest!
84. Grants – This technique has the potential to provide a lot of funds, but is better-suited for larger charities and corporations with teams of people able to do the necessary paperwork. There is an entire field of specialists dedicated to finding the right grant for you, so it might be worth taking advantage of outside help if you want to take this route.
85. Information stall – Go spread the word about our charity! Set up a stall at the local craft fair, farmer’s market, carnival, or any other special event, and use it to distribute leaflets, flyers, and most of all to talk to the community.
86. Ride-sharing – The more people the better; work with your friends to share a lift to work, school, or whatever you can arrange. Donate the money you would otherwise have spent on fuel to your charity! This type of fundraiser is an especially good fit for environmental charities.
87. Sleep rough – Raising funds for the homeless? Adopt the lifestyle yourself for a night. Promote a “sleep-in-the-park” night, and gather a crowd of friends to raise funds and awareness of the issue. Be sure to notify local authorities and comply with necessary regulations, of course.
88. Extreme events – Bungee jumping? Skydiving? Try to find sponsors for your self-induced brush with death, and jump for a good cause! Of course, do NOT do this without proper training and equipment.
89. Corporate sponsorships – Not so much a separate category, as a good reminder: nearly any event can be a fundraising opportunity with sponsorship.
90. Online merchandise – Open an online storefront, and sell your branded t-shirts, mugs, etc from there. A steady and ongoing fundraiser!
91. Tech recycling – There’s usually a way to receive payments for old phones, printer cartridges, and the like. Organise a donation drive for those devices, then exchange them for funds for the charity.
92. 50-50 donation club – This idea can easily be an ongoing event. Everyone who wants to participate pays a dollar to enter; at the end of the month, a winner is drawn who receives half the pot. The other half goes to charity. Can be repeated each month for as long as needed!
93. Busking – Bursting with musical talent? Consider busking for an afternoon or two. Just be sure to get permission from the authorities first.
94. The big game – Major upcoming sports event? Host a viewing party, preferably with the biggest screen around. Charge a small entry fee and re-create a stadium atmosphere!
95. Video game tournament – Video games are mainstream entertainment, and everyone loves beating down their opponents.
96. Retro video game tournament – Appeal to the older gamers among you, and hold a retro game tournament.
97. Board game tournament – Board games are experiencing a resurgence today. Hosting a charity table-top game tournament may bring out more people than you think!
98. Talent show – A time-honored classic. Be embarrassed or impressed at your town or workplace’s immense and varied talent. Showcase your skills!
99. BBQ – The way to nearly everyone’s heart, and wallet, runs through their stomach. Throw a charity BBQ on a summer’s day in the neighbourhood green space.
100. Comedy night – Rather than a general talent show, hold an amateur comedy night!
101. Haircuts for charity – Best to use a monetary target and a hairy individual. Especially good with men; you can perform some pre-event publicity and say, “If I raise $250, the beard goes!” A dramatic change works best. With enough peer pressure, you can get whole groups going under the scissors together!
102. Arm-wrestling competition – Take advantage of the simple head-to-head format. Charge the participants to see who is the strongest!
103. Stadium seat cushions – Most stadium seats are not known for being the most comfortable. Therein lies an opportunity. Sell portable, personal stadium-seat cushions. These can be plain, or customized with the name of your group.
104. Christmas card sale – A classic for the holiday season. You can get especially creative and design cards especially for your organisation, giving an extra level of personalisation.
105. Christmas carols – Get the musically-minded in your organisation together and go caroling! It’s a well-known and well-loved method, and well worth doing each holiday season.
106. Jewelry collection – Solicit donations of old and unwanted jewelry from the community, then repackage and resell it for your cause.
107. Furniture donations – Many charities have a brick-and-mortar secondhand shop, where they can resell donated furniture and brick-a-brick.
108. Wristbands – Selling personalised wristbands raises money for your cause, while wearing the wristbands increases awareness.
109. Snail racing – Have some slimy pests in your garden? Gather a dozen or so, put on your best carnival barker voice, and hold a world-championship snail race at your next group event. Be sure you aren’t in contravention of local gambling laws, but there are always workarounds. Just be creative!
110. Darts match – Find a dartboard, some darts, and you’re pretty much set. This idea is great for smaller areas, while still allowing for the element of physical competition which is always so entertaining.
111. Halloween bake sale – Switch out those red-and-green cookies for orange-and-black, and add some harvest elements for an ideal Halloween and autumn-themed bake sale!
112. Collection bucket – Probably the oldest and simplest idea on the list, but a surprisingly effective one!
113. BMX/Skateboard show – A convenient method if you have a group of talented, dedicated BMX or skating fanatics in your town. Recruit them to put on a show, sell some tickets, and promote your cause and the local club.
114. Charity cookbook – Do you look forward every year to the church dinner, because that one guy brings an epic casserole? If so, a charity cookbook might be a good idea. They’re easy to put together, can be done in ebook and physical formats, and are often quite popular. Church cookbooks have long been a standby in this area, but any organisation can put one together.
115. Dog walking – Check in your neighbourhood; someone might be willing to let you dote on their four-legged friends for a bit in exchange for a donation.
116. Cookie dough sales – The bake sale idea, but raw. Volunteers donate cookie mixes, sometimes as a dry mix but often as frozen dough. Customers are able to bake the cookies when needed!
117. Easter Egg delivery – Another holiday special. Take the stress out of Easter for someone by providing a delivery service!
118. Out-of-uniform day – Encourage your school or workplace to loosen up a bit for a good cause! Talk to your boss and arrange a day where the normal work uniform is optional, but to opt-out requires a small donation to your cause.
119. Car donations – This has exploded in popularity in recent years, as car owners realise how valuable the tax discount is for old cars. Many larger charities have permanent car-donation arms to their organisations, but with a little work even smaller charities can take advantage.
120. Photography – You could run a photo booth at the fair, or you could snag an old instant camera and provide snapshots around the holidays.
121. Charity walk – Individuals recruit sponsors to walk a set distance or route.
123. Charity walk as an event – If you’re wanting groups to be involved, charity walks work particularly great with a theme. You can stage a “men-in-heels” event, or a cultural theme, or nearly anything. The crazier and more outlandish the theme, the better it may work for your walk!
124. Charity pet walk – Anything with animals tends to be popular. Combine the charity walk idea with a chance for people to show off their fur babies!
125. Aerobics class – Whether a one-off event or as part of a series of health-oriented offerings, an aerobics class can be an excellent means of encouraging both donations and good health.
126. Special event/place walk – One last entry for a charity walk. Walk on a particular day – a full moon walk, perhaps, or a summer solstice walk – or at a special location. Perhaps there’s a lovely garden area, breathtaking riverside stroll, or a lighthouse point that can be rounded.
127. International event – Have a favourite holiday from a different country? Feeling regretful that you’re not on the beach? Try bringing a bit of your favourite culture to yourself. Hold an international-themed event; this could be a food festival, or something centred around an unusual holiday.
128. Go-Kart races – Go-kart races hearken back to an earlier time, but the idea remains popular. Contestants build their own karts, and much of the competition focuses not on the speed of the races but on the creativity of the karts themselves.
129. Buy a brick – Seeking funds for a new building? Gather sponsorship or encourage individuals to “buy a brick,” contributing directly to your campaign. For an extra donation, the brick can be engraved with the donor’s name.
130. Flamingo flocking – Flocks of plastic flamingos may not seem like a great fundraising idea, but they can gather a LOT of attention – which for a fundraiser is half the battle. Typically, the “flocks” of bright birds are deployed overnight in someone’s front garden, prompting them to pay a “de-flocking” fee which goes to the charity. That person then selects the next person to receive the flamingo flock, and so it goes.
131. Quilts – As a raffle prize, or donated directly for sale, quilts are a fantastic way to raise money and draw attention to local groups still pursuing the old crafts.
132. Candy bar sales – Aim for quality; fair-trade, organic chocolate bars works well. Look around for companies with experience helping charities run candy fundraisers.
133. University challenges – Students are almost always competitive; tap into that spirit with a charity challenge between schools!
134. Firewalking – Like an adrenaline-rush fundraiser? A firewalk has that element of danger and risk, but is actually quite safe if managed by trained professionals. When done correctly, this fundraiser can be a real centrepiece event which can gather crowds in a hurry!
135. Buttons/badges – Whether plastic or enamel, simple buttons can be great fundraisers. In addition to being a source of income on their own, they can also be used as gifts to donors for other fundraisers.
136. Afternoon tea – SImple idea, and easy to add other fundraisers to. Hold an auction during the tea, or a raffle, and you’ve combined multiple fundraisers into one event.
137. Cotton candy machine – Buy a cotton candy machine, and sell the tasty treats at fairgrounds and festivals. The machines are an investment, but supplies are cheap.
138. Five-a-side – Partner with a local fitness club or sport organisation to hold a five-a-side football tournament. Do a one-day event with premade teams, and encourage participants to sign up with their buddies.
139. Pamper party – Need some spoiling? Team up to organize a party, and spoil each other with manicures, nail treatments, etc. Or go the extra step, and try to arrange a special package at a local spa.
140. Ferret races – An unusual event, great for staging other fundraisers around as a centrepiece event. Check on a local ferret fanciers club for help in organising the event – and finding trained ferrets!
141. Treasure hunt – Keep it small for a kids event, or use GPS tracking and hold an adventure-themed treasure hunt for teams of adults.
142. Candles – Easy to do through a number of companies which supply candles just for this purpose. Soy options are safe and popular, while beeswax candles give a hint of luxury.
143. Flower bulbs – There are a number of companies that will provide flower bulbs for resale to your organisation. They provide the catalogues, order forms, and promotional materials – you organisation sells the bulbs and keeps a percentage. Simple!
144. Fortune cookies – These days there are a number of fortune-cookie makers who will make custom cookies for your organisation. You can even include personalised messages – a “fortune” for your charity.
145. Pumpkin sale – Looking for a Halloween fundraising boost? Consider working with local farmers to organise a pumpkin sale. As an added bonus, you could put on a pumpkin carving demonstration at the same time!
146. Halloween party – Clichéd, but always entertaining. Don’t miss a chance for your organisation to hold a Halloween costume party fundraiser!
147. Summer fair – Combine any number of the ideas on this list, add some of your more typical rides and shows, and put on a charity-sponsored summer fair! These are great for drawing a community together, adding a splash to the summer schedule, and taking advantage of the summer school holidays to get the kids involved.
148. Fall festival – Summer is the typical fair season, but fall can also be a fantastic time to bring out the big festival attractions. From Halloween-themed events to more general harvest fairs, there are numerous options for your organisation’s autumn fundraising bash.
149. Kiddie triathlon – Not as physically challenging as the adult version, but surprisingly tough on Mom and Dad’s heart nevertheless. Most kiddie or toddler triathlons consist of a (short – usually 100m) run/walk, a tricycle race, and then a short treasure hunt at the end. First child to complete all three and cross the line wins! Despite being for young people, these often turn out to be whole-family affairs. Grandparents and older siblings cheer and encourage the kids across the finish line, while Mom and Dad may be required as in-race support staff – guiding the youngsters, if not actually helping them.
150. School sleepovers – Great options for parent-teacher organisations and schools themselves. These require a bit of teamwork, but if well-organised they can be very successful – not least because Mom and Dad get a night away from the kids, as well as Junior getting to sleep (or more likely, stay up all night talking) with his friends. Of course, be very sure to follow all relevant child protection guidelines stringently.
151. School dance – One of the hallmarks of school fundraising. Secure the use of one of the school’s facilities, like the gym, select a theme, find the perfect music, and done. Again, though, be sure to follow the school and government safety regulations.