Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits: 205+ Actionable Ideas for Your Organization

If your nonprofit is looking for fundraising ideas, you should consider the wide range of options available. To help you consider all of the ways to fundraise, Nonprofit Megaphone has compiled a list of 205 fundraising ideas your nonprofit can use to raise money and promote your cause.

Giving Tree2018-05-01T15:06:12+00:00

Set up a faux tree along a wall, and any time someone donates, have the donor fill out their name on a leaf to add to the tree. The tree could be made of paper on the wall, or could be an actual tree replica. Get creative!

Local Art Sale2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

Ask local artists to donate art, like paintings or photographs, to sell for your cause.

Envelope Fundraiser2018-05-01T15:06:38+00:00

Place envelopes on a wall or on a table, which are labelled with specified donation amounts. Donors choose an envelope, put the money in the envelope, and contribute to your fund.

Artistic Commissions2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

You don’t have to limit art to premade pieces. If you have talented artists willing to volunteer, ask them to create commissioned pieces to raise money for your cause.

Buy a Brick Fundraiser2018-05-01T15:07:09+00:00

For a donation, supporters can have a brick engraved on a wall at your location.

Pet Treats2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

If your organization supports pets, consider selling homemade pet treats to donors.

Box Tops2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Schools can collect Box Tops, which are each worth 10 cents for the school.


On college campuses, selling a candygram raises money for you, and makes it easy for students to support their friends. Sell candy, and offer to deliver to campus mailboxes as well!

Vehicle Donation2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

There are nonprofits that specialize in accepting and selling donated vehicles on behalf of charities. They do all of the work, and you get the majority of the donation. Read more about that process with one such organization here.

College Care Packages2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

If you’re raising money at a church or at a college, preparing and mailing college care packages for parents makes it simple to send treats to students.

Shoe Drive2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

The organization Funds2Orgs collects new and gently used shoes from nonprofit organizations and other business, exchanging them for funds.

Community Yard Sale2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

Rather than choosing something specific to sell, get your community together for a yard sale. You’ll need donations and volunteers to run the sales, and advertisements to spread the word!

Ink Cartridge Drive2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Help recycle ink cartridges and receive money for your organizations! Companies like Funding Factory can turn old ink cartridges into cash for your cause.

One-for-One Fundraiser2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

Like TOMS, sell any product with the promise that a purchase results in a donation to those in need. For example, TOMS sells shoes, but you could enact the same concept with meals or bottled water.


Chili’s restaurant may donate dining certificates for nonprofits to use.


This fundraiser works well in elementary school settings. Your school could use a fundraising program like Read-a-Thon, where participants commit to certain 30 minute reading sessions. Alternatively, you could choose a day to have students or even adults read. Their sponsors could donate a specific amount based on how many pages they read.

Olive Garden2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

Olive Garden may give food or gift certificates to nonprofits who request them.

Book Swap2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Host a book swap event, where participants give a small donation to enter. They bring their own used books, and can trade with other readers to get a book that is new to them.

Cheesecake Factory2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

Cheesecake Factory participates in a variety of charitable activities. The restaurant can also donate $25 gift cards to certain nonprofits.

Poetry Slam2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Find local poets who would be willing to read their work out loud, or bring together readers who would be willing to read the work of famous poets out loud. Make sure to offer coffee or tea, which you can even sell to raise more money.

Carnival Cruise Lines2018-05-01T20:17:21+00:00

Restaurants aren’t the only organizations that will donate gift certificates! Carnival Cruise will also give in-kind donations for your nonprofit’s auction.

Adult Spelling Bee2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Host an adult spelling bee with local students’ parents, or at a local office. Participants pay a fee to join, and you can also sell tickets for audience members.

Disney Parks2018-05-01T20:17:01+00:00

Your nonprofit or school can apply to receive complimentary tickets from Disney Parks for volunteers that participate in a specific event. To qualify, the event must allow families to participate.

Charity Concert2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Talk to a local band and venue about hosting a concert for your cause. You can sell food and drinks, and make sure to talk about your cause in a few announcements throughout the show.

Six Flags2018-05-01T20:17:01+00:00

Participating Six Flags parks, like Six Flags: Great America in Illinois, will also provide free tickets to qualifying nonprofits.

Talent Show2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

You don’t have to limit your entertainment to just singing or poetry! Represent all talents in a talent show, and sell tickets to raise funds.

Professional Sports Teams2018-05-01T20:17:01+00:00

Many baseball, basketball, hockey, and football teams will donate tickets or memorabilia for auctions and raffles. Check your local teams’ websites to see whether they offer a way to apply. In Chicago, for example, the Bears, Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls offer in-kind donations.

Fashion Show2018-05-01T19:47:32+00:00

Participants put together outfits and show them off on the runway, and audience members can donate to vote for their favorites. This works well if your organization can use clothes from a local store.

AMC Theaters2018-05-01T20:17:01+00:00

Instead of tickets for a theme park or live event, your organization could request movie tickets through AMC Theaters, which will give up to 10 community passes to qualifying organizations.

Film Screening2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

For a film screening, you can either choose a movie that is likely to draw a large crowd—like a family favorite—or a movie relevant to your cause. Don’t forget to look into documentaries!

American Girl Doll2018-05-01T20:17:00+00:00

Partnership fundraising ideas extend beyond tickets or gift certificates. To support children’s causes, American Girl Doll will donate their products as well.

Drive-in Movie2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

Find a local outdoor venue that would be willing to host a fundraiser, and rent a projector, movie, and other necessary supplies.

Crabtree & Evelyn2018-05-01T20:17:00+00:00

Crabtree & Evelyn will provide in-kind donations of its bath and body products to qualifying organizations.

48-Hour Film Contest2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

Choose a theme, and have teams create movies in 48 hours. The teams then present the movie to your audience and judges, who choose the winners.

Camping World2018-05-01T20:17:00+00:00

If you work with a nonprofit supporting the environment, consider applying for an in-kind donation from Camping World. The organization also provides donations for groups working against world hunger and those looking to help children and veterans.

Karaoke Contest2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

This is a fun way to get people involved in your event, even if they don’t have singing talent. Set up a karaoke machine, and have attendees vote for their favorite performances.

Organic Valley Foods2018-05-01T20:17:00+00:00

Organic Valley Foods offers assistance to nonprofits in a variety of ways. From in-kind donations to helping find speakers, the company can help make many different fundraising ideas become a reality for nonprofits supporting local causes, sustaining the environment, or working against hunger.

Tie Dye Party2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

With this arts and crafts fundraiser, your organization provides the supplies for making tie dye shirts in exchange for a donation. If you have branded t-shirts, this works especially well!


Is your organization hosting an event? You can apply for a sponsorship from Emergen-C to receive drink packets.

Charity Theater Production2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

Talk to a local theater group about donating a portion of ticket sales to your charity for one showing. This can also work for improv and comedy groups.


Hosting an event is hard work. To make it easier, you can host a Chick-fil-A Spirit Night, where a portion of the profits made at your local Chick-fil-A that night are donated to your organization. This is a great partnership opportunity for religious organizations, as many other companies have restrictions against supporting religiously affiliated groups.

Pet Art Show2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

To change up a typical art show, have pets make all of the art! Ahead of the show, your organization can set up paints and paper. Participating dog owners can come to have their friend make paw art.

Panera Bread2018-05-01T20:17:00+00:00

Panera Bread also hosts fundraising nights for a variety of nonprofits, including religious groups and sports teams. Once you schedule an event, a designated percentage of sales from your local Panera will be donated to your organization.

Children’s Art Show2018-05-01T19:47:31+00:00

In another twist on art shows, display local children’s art. You may also sell the drawings for donations.


Host a Do Good With Burritos event at your local Chipotle, and receive 50% of the evening’s profits. Chipotle will also provide you with a digital flyer to make advertising easy.


Applebee’s will help you host a Flapjacks Fundraiser during non-dining hours, where supporters can purchase breakfast meals to support your cause.

Barnes & Noble2018-05-01T20:16:59+00:00

For education-focused nonprofits, local Barnes & Noble stores may host events like in-store book fairs or holiday gift wrapping.

Whole Foods2018-05-01T20:16:59+00:00

Whole Foods has a program for 5% Giving Days, and 5% of each store’s proceeds those days are donated to a local charity. Fill out a donation request form to partner with your local Whole Foods.


With, your nonprofit can purchase and sell dining gift certificates to raise funds. If you’re looking for fundraising ideas for a smaller project, this partnership works well because the minimum order is only 10 gift cards.

Discount Cards2018-05-01T20:16:59+00:00

Discount cards allow donors to receive repeat discounts from local vendors. Organizations like ABC Fundraising have specific discount card fundraising ideas designed to help nonprofits raise money.

Yankee Candle2018-05-01T20:16:59+00:00

With a Yankee Candle fundraiser, your nonprofit earns 40% of the sales. Supporting sellers sign up with your organization to sell candles and raise funds.

Food Truck Night2018-05-01T20:16:59+00:00

Food trucks are one of the most current trends. If your nonprofit has a local space to host a food truck night, this could be a great way to bring supporters together. Organizations like Food Truck Connection in Los Angeles already have fundraising policies set up, making it easy to partner with them.

Luxury Car Test Drive2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Partner with a local luxury car dealership to offer test drives to raise funds for your organization. Contact your local dealerships to see if one would be willing to partner with your nonprofit.

Local Business Donations2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Don’t forget to ask any local businesses if they would be willing to donate funds, in-kind donations, or certificates.

Donation Jars2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Talk to local businesses about placing a donation jar at their checkout counters to raise funds through spare change.

Donation Match2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Many companies have programs that will match their employees’ donations to select eligible nonprofits. Gap Inc. and General Electric are two examples. Encourage your supporters to partner with their employers to raise double the funds.

Best Seat in the House2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Reach out to a local sports team—even a high school or college team—and ask if they would be willing to auction off the best seat in the stadium for your cause.

Casual Day2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Local schools or offices can allow students and employees to dress casually or wear their pajamas in exchange for a donation to your nonprofit.

Hat Day2018-05-01T20:16:41+00:00

Similar to Casual Day, local schools and offices can raise funds your nonprofit by requesting a donation and allowing students and employees to wear hats for the day.

Buy a Vacation Day2018-05-01T20:16:40+00:00

Contact local businesses to see if they would be willing to run a “Buy a Vacation Day” fundraiser. Employees can choose to “buy” an extra vacation day, but their salary from that day is donated to your organization.

Penny Wars2018-05-01T20:16:40+00:00

Partner with a local school or office to have Penny Wars, where each team—which can be classrooms or departments—compete to have the most pennies in their jar at the end of a given amount of time. Teams can sabotage other teams by adding in dollar bills, which cancel out 100 pennies in their opponents’ jar. Either way, the money in the jar goes toward your organization in the end.  

Coupon Books2018-05-01T20:16:40+00:00

Your nonprofit can contact local businesses to compile a coupon book featuring participating businesses. Sales from the coupon books can raise money for your organization.

Murder Mystery Dinner2018-05-01T20:15:37+00:00

These parties have become increasingly popular, and your organization can host one! Have dinner and come up with a murder mystery party theme. You can either invent the story on your own or purchase a kit.

Spaghetti Dinner2018-05-01T20:15:37+00:00

Get together a group of volunteers to cook and serve pasta. Donors are treated to a meal and table service.

Tea Party2018-05-01T20:15:37+00:00

Give your supporters an excuse to dress up and wear fancy hats. Provide tea and finger foods for a donation.

Chili Cook Off2018-05-01T20:15:37+00:00

Have volunteers enter the contest, and cook up a designated amount of chili. Voters then sample each chili and vote for their favorites by donating to your cause.


A community picnic can be hosted either with professional catering or volunteer dishes. Book a location and charge for admission. Be sure to bring outdoor games like cornhole or frisbee.

Backyard Barbeque2018-05-01T20:15:37+00:00

If you’re looking for event fundraising ideas you can host in your own home, this might be the event for you! Guests can attend and get food in exchange for a donation to your organization.

Ice Cream Social2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

It’s hard to say no to ice cream. You can host this event at a local ice cream shop, or purchase ice cream and host in a different venue. Offer sundae toppings like hot fudge and whipped cream to elevate this ice cream experience.

Multicultural Dinner2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Participants each bring a different ethnic dish, and for a donation to your cause, can partake in one another’s meals.

Cookie Swap2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

For this event, everyone brings a different recipe of cookies, and can trade one another for their treats. Your organization can ask for a donation from participants.

Charity Pub Crawl2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Sell tickets to raise money with this event, and be sure to include safe transportation to each bar. Talk to each bar on the planned route ahead of time to let them know your organization is coming, and consider asking for drink donations or discounts.

Progressive Dinner2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

You’ll need three volunteers or restaurants for this event, where attendees eat appetizers at one location, dinner at another, and dessert at the third.

Pancake Breakfast2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Bring participants together through pancakes! Sell tickets to raise money, and include pancakes, toppings, and coffee.


Provide dinner and entertainment in exchange for a ticket. Be sure to balance ticket prices with the cost of the event itself, and to have a brief speech on the work your organization is doing.

“Taste of…” Event2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Like the Taste of Chicago, have participants purchase tickets, which they can redeem to try food from different tables or booths. If local restaurants are willing to participate, you can use their food as the center of the event, or you can have individual volunteers cook their best meal or dessert.

Costume Party2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Choose a theme or have participants come in any type of costume. To raise money, charge for admission, and have a costume contest where attendees vote for their favorites with a donation.

Pool Party2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Talk with your local public pool to see if they would be willing to providing a discount for a pool party event.

School or Community Dance2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Host a dance at a local school, or a different location to expand beyond student participation. Decorate, get a DJ (or a volunteer), and dance the night away!


You can make this event as big or small as you want. You can host a carnival for small children, with various booths like face-painting and ring toss run by volunteers. You can also rent carnival rides and host a major event for the entire community.

Classic Car Show2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Reach out to members of the community to see if those with classic cars would be willing to join your event. Choose a location, and request a donation for entry.

Lock-In Night2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

This fundraiser is common with youth groups and schools, where students stay overnight in the school and participate in a variety of fun events. You can host this type of event anywhere, though. Just make sure to have enough activities to keep everyone awake!

Barter-and-Trade Fair2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Attendees pay an entrance fee to raise money for your cause, and upon entering, can trade items with other supporters. You could leave the event open to any items, or choose a specific theme.

Charity Auction2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Request used or new item donations from community members or local businesses to auction off for fundraising.


Branded t-shirts are a great way to raise money for your organization and spread the word about your cause.

Tree Planting Party2018-05-01T20:15:15+00:00

Participants can purchase tree saplings from your organization and gather to plant them in a designated area. Some programs exist to provide tree planting kits and make the process easier.

Pet and De-stress Day2018-05-01T20:15:14+00:00

Bring dogs to a specified location, and require a donation to sit with them and pet them for a given amount of time. This event works well during midterms and finals weeks at schools.


For branded fundraising ideas, bracelets are a small investment for donors that still has them show their support and donate to your nonprofit.


Host an expert who can come talk about your cause. Some speakers may be willing to come for free or at a discount for a nonprofit.


This is a fun option to raise money because your organization can sell a variety of flavors, like cheesy, caramel, or chocolate.

Guess How Many2018-05-01T20:15:14+00:00

At your event, have a jar filled with candy or another small item. Guests guess the number and provide a donation in an effort to win the jar at the end of the event.

Coffee Beans2018-05-01T20:18:22+00:00

Everyone loves coffee. Selling coffee beans is a hip way to raise money for your cause.


A volunteer can sell raffle tickets at your event. Tickets can either go toward one prize bin, or you can have participants place their own raffle tickets in the bin for each prize they hope to win.

Cookie Dough2018-05-01T20:18:22+00:00

Selling cookie dough is one of the more common fundraising ideas, which will actually make it easy to find a company that sells cookie dough for fundraisers.

50/50 Raffle2018-05-01T20:16:14+00:00

In a 50/50 raffle, supporters purchase tickets, and the winner wins half of the prize money. The other half goes toward your cause!

Bake Sale2018-05-01T20:18:22+00:00

Perhaps the most traditional of fundraising ideas, a bake sale is a tried-and-true method to raise money for your cause and make supporters happy with delicious treats.

Balloon Raffle2018-05-01T20:16:13+00:00

This twist on raffles has tickets placed inside balloons, which your organization can sell at the event. To get their tickets, supporters have to pop the balloon when the prizes are being picked.

Candy Bars2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

Just like everyone loves homemade treats, candy bars are a crowd favorite. You can go door-to-door, or ask supporters to sell to their friends and family.

Reverse Raffle2018-05-01T20:16:13+00:00

In this raffle, participants don’t want to get called. The last ticket left at the end of the night wins!

Lemonade Stand2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

This classic kids’ fundraiser could be expanded to raise funds for your cause. Especially on a warm summer day, lemonade can sell well in areas of high foot traffic. If you’re looking to make this a fancier fundraiser, offer a variety of flavors, or make fresh lemonade.

Pie Throwing2018-05-01T20:16:13+00:00

Have supporters pay to throw a pie in a particular person’s face, or pay to vote for which person out of a few options they think should receive a pie in the face. Either way, this is sure to be a fun addition to your event.

Recipe Books2018-05-01T20:18:22+00:00

Especially for local causes, selling recipe books can raise money with a low initial investment.

Principal/Boss/Coach “Punishment”2018-05-01T15:02:53+00:00

Once the principal, boss, or coach agrees to the event, have participants vote throughout the night from a set of ridiculous things, like dyeing hair or running laps. To vote, supporters give money toward each “punishment,” and the one that results in the most monetary contributions at the end of the night is the winning “punishment.”

Flower Bulbs2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

Selling flower bulbs in spring can be an easy way to raise money for your nonprofit.

Photo Booth2018-05-01T15:03:24+00:00

Photo booths have become very popular at weddings in recent years, but you can also have one at your fundraising event. Set up a space for photos, get a few props, and have a volunteer take photos of groups. Supporters give a donation to receive either a printed copy of their photos, or you can also send a digital file to save money.

Succulent Sale2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

For young supporters, succulents are a popular purchase right now. If your organization is raising money on a college campus, consider selling potted succulents.


Have a face-painting booth at your fundraising event, and charge for the service. All you need is paint and a volunteer to run the booth.

Kiss Booth2018-05-01T15:04:23+00:00

Rather than a kissing booth, trade Hershey’s Kisses for a donation at your event.


Your organization can sell a calendar with photos related to your mission. This would work especially well for animal rescue organizations.

Donation Kiosks2018-05-01T15:04:50+00:00

Consider using a donation kiosk for your event. These kiosks can be rented or purchased, and allow donors to contribute to your cause using their credit cards, similar to kiosk ordering at some restaurants.

Used Books2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

If you’re looking for fundraising ideas that don’t require initial purchases for your organization, you can ask supporters to donate used books to sell.

Straw Draw Fundraiser2018-05-01T15:05:20+00:00

Participants donate to choose a straw, which each have a mystery prize attached to the bottom. This could be a coupon for a local business or a ticket for a gift basket.

Used Prom Dresses2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

If you’re working with a school trying to raise money, a prom dress resale is a great way to make money. All you need are donations and volunteers.

Raining Money2018-05-01T15:05:42+00:00

Hang an umbrella upside down from the ceiling, and post a sign asking supporters to throw their change into the umbrella.

Wreath Sale2018-05-01T20:17:22+00:00

During the holiday season, make wreaths, which supporters can purchase to decorate their homes.


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