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10 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Need some fundraising inspo for your nonprofit? Check out these ideas to get funding for your cause.

Nonprofit race
December 19, 2022
Kathleen Crampton
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Reading time about 7 min

Nonprofit organizations can be lifesavers for so many communities. They can be the lifeblood of charter schools, medical facilities, libraries, homeless shelters, community centers, parks, and individuals or other groups.

Nonprofits provide funding to keep local, national, and even global organizations going, helping to change lives in the process. Of course, nonprofits need to find a way to make money in order to pass it along. While walking up to strangers on the street and asking for money is one way to do it, it’s probably not the most inspiring or motivational method. Starting a fundraiser is one of the best ways to get the word out and help the money roll in.

Here are some creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits that can encourage people to donate to your cause.

Ad promoting the nonprofit holiday roadmap

Fundraising Ideas for Charter Schools

Here are some fun shindigs you can host to receive important funding for your charter school.


Bake Sale — With a Twist

Bake sales have been a tried-and-true way to fundraise. However, instead of having everyone bake everything at home, host a Chopped-style baking contest where contestants have to get creative using whacky ingredients.

You can charge an entrance fee for the show and even sell the baked goods afterward. Visit your local grocery stores or restaurants and see if they’d be willing to donate ingredients and supplies in exchange for free advertising (you can get custom aprons made with the donor’s logo so the bakers can wear them during the competition).


Special Events That Humanize Teachers

The best school nonprofit fundraising ideas get people excited. To be more specific, they get kids excited.

So, what gets kids excited? Humiliating their teachers — but not in a mean way, of course. Setting up dunk tanks or a booth where they can throw a pie in the teacher’s face is bound to generate some green. It’s also a great way for students to bond and connect with their teachers outside the classroom.


Soda Can Collection Drives

This is another nonprofit fundraising classic — and with good reason. Turning in aluminum cans and glass bottles to your local recycling company can really net a profit. Create a contest between classes or grades, and whichever class wins gets a pizza party or ice cream social.

Bake sale

Fundraising Ideas for Libraries or Community Centers

Libraries and community centers are so important — they’re some of the few places that still provide knowledge, entertainment, and social events at little to no cost. Here are some ideas to raise funds for a nonprofit library or community center.


Auction Off Services

If you’re fundraising for a youth community center, host an auction for services such as yard work, cleaning out a garage, or house painting. Kids and trusted adults can come to the winner’s home and take care of these services. This nonprofit fundraising idea doesn’t require anything more than a little elbow grease.


Produce a Play

This is a great idea for both libraries and community centers alike. You could poll the community on social media to find out which play would interest them the most or come up with your own. Sell tickets and invite aspiring young actors in your area to donate their time to honing their craft. This is a great way to fund both creativity and your organization.


Art Auction

Post flyers asking for art donations in various mediums, like paint on canvas; crochet, knitting, or needlepoint; sculptures; photography; or woodworking.

Once you secure enough donations, host an auction to sell them off to the highest bidders. The artists will get a kick from seeing their work being sold for cash.

Image of charity art auction

Fundraising Ideas for Medical Facilities and Homeless Shelters

Here are some ideas to fundraise for facilities offering services to provide medical care, food, and shelter to people in need.


Black-Tie Dinners

Who doesn’t love dressing up and dining on decadent food? Consider asking local restaurants, wineries, and breweries to sponsor the event, and charge by the plate. During the dinner, put on a presentation of your nonprofit’s mission and goals so that donors know exactly how their money will be used to better the community.


Toiletry Kit Drive

Ask for donations to put together toiletry kits to pass out to people in need. Invite people to either donate items themselves or donate money to the cause. Consider sending out follow-up messages to donors that describe how many people were helped by the fundraiser. This is an opportunity to inspire people to gift again to your organization.

Homeless shelter

Fundraising Ideas for Local Park or Environmental Nonprofits

Some local nonprofit organizations may focus on beautifying and protecting city parks, natural reserves, or open spaces. Here are some fundraising ideas for nonprofits that do this type of work.


Donor Recognition Plaque or Bench

If your nonprofit has an upcoming goal of planting trees, redesigning a park space with native plants, or overall beautifying a piece of land, consider starting a fundraiser that provides a decorative plaque or bench with top donors’ names. This idea is a win–win: People get recognized, and you raise money.


5k Race or Walk-a-thon

Many people are motivated by a little competition, so use that to your advantage. Host a 5k race or a walk-a-thon in your nonprofit’s area of focus, whether that’s a beach, park, or natural space with hiking trails. Create a sign-up page and charge a fee for entry.

Fundraising Prizes as Donor Thank Yous

If you’re brainstorming fundraiser ideas for nonprofits, you’re more likely to get donations if you give. Here are some prize ideas for donors:

  • Vacations: Ask local hotels or Airbnb owners to donate a night’s stay to a top donor.

  • Handmade thank-you cards: If your fundraising event is for a charter school or community center, send donors homemade thank-you cards from the children. Seeing their donation benefit real members of their community will make the donors feel good and possibly influence them to donate more.

  • Gift baskets from local businesses: Everyone gets excited about a basket full of treats, right? This is also a great way to promote small businesses in your community — ask for product donations and business cards to put into each prize basket. They can grow their business awareness while you say thank you to donors.

  • Spa days: People can donate to a nonprofit and get a chance to win a day of pampering? Talk about a great fundraiser idea.

  • Memberships: See if your local gym will donate a few memberships or classes for your cause. Another idea is to ask personal trainers to donate their services for certain tiers of fundraiser donations.

  • Pro photography sessions: This would be an attractive prize for someone who has a big event coming up, like a wedding or family reunion.

  • House-cleaning services: What busy parent wouldn’t want a chance to kick back and relax in a clean space? Purchase a voucher from a local cleaning company and give it to the top donor.

  • Flower subscriptions: Many local plant and flower shops offer subscriptions. Donors can receive a weekly bouquet of flowers to freshen up their space. A smaller thank-you prize could be a simple bouquet given at the time of the fundraising event.

Gift basket from local business

EZ Texting Can Help Promote Your Fundraiser

Whether you’re fundraising for a small business or a nonprofit, two of the most important aspects are promoting your fundraiser and clearly messaging your cause. See how texting for nonprofits with EZ Texting can help.

When your phone dings, which are you more likely to respond to, an email or a text? EZ Texting uses the power of SMS or MMS text messages to help ensure your fundraiser information reaches current and potential donors. After choosing your nonprofit fundraising idea, leverage mobile marketing to help ensure that your fundraiser is a success.

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