Fundraising Ideas For Nonprofit Organizations


The COVID-19 pandemic upended nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives, causing for-profit and nonprofit organizations alike to adapt just to stay afloat. However, nonprofits faced a bigger challenge in that stay-at-home guidelines and other COVID-related restrictions have greatly impacted their ability to raise funds.

Today, the competition for donors’ dollars has never been more pronounced, and nonprofits may still face some fundraising challenges even as the pandemic begins to ease. Effective fundraising for nonprofits has never been more important. Fortunately, there are creative ways to continue to raise money, whether you are looking for quick fund-raising ideas or trying to fund a larger, longer-running campaign.

Here are 14 in-person and online fundraising strategies for nonprofits to creatively engage potential supporters:

1. Travel raffle: Thanks to the pandemic, many people have had to give up travel or put off long-awaited plans. Take advantage of people’s desire to leave town with a travel raffle. You can put together a travel package that include airfare, hotel accommodations and extras such as a gift certificate to a high-end restaurant. Coming up with a theme — such as a couple’s retreat or golf weekend — could help create interest.

2. Golf tournament: Golf tournaments are popular fundraisers among nonprofits. They offer a chance for supporters to enjoy a day out on the links. Plus, you can raise additional money with hole sponsors and get in-kind donations for food and drinks to help reduce costs. Consider selling tickets in groups of two and four to make scheduling tee times easier. You could also offer local businesses the chance to “sponsor” golfers if they wish.

3. Charity walk/run: A 5K walk/run can attract supporters of your organization and fitness enthusiasts throughout your community. In addition to raising money from entrance fees, you can seek business sponsors to help underwrite the costs associated with putting on a 5K. You can also ask participants to raise money by asking others to sponsor them for the race.

4. Charity auction: There are several ways to hold charity auctions. Many organizations choose to have a silent auction in addition to a live auction of larger items. Silent auction items may be grouped in themed baskets to attract interest (a selection of wines, wine glasses and shelf-stable hors d’oeuvres for a wine-lover’s basket, for example, or a collection of family games and snacks for a family game night basket). Consider what types of items might garner the most interest, such as tickets to major sporting events, weekend getaways or coaching sessions for youths involved in sports.

5. Trivia night: Trivia nights are popular fundraisers for schools and other nonprofits as they are relatively easy to pull off yet can produce a significant amount of money. Decide on the number of people allowed on a team (between six and ten works well), and have teams pay a registration fee to enter the contest. You can combine trivia night with other fundraisers, such as a silent auction or 50/50 pot as well.

6. Community yard sale: This type of event takes a large location and some tricky logistics, but it’s a good way to raise money while involving supporters. Announce the date and time of the yard sale, have people register for tables, and let them sell their household items with the caveat that all or a portion of their proceeds go to your nonprofit.

7. Casino night: Set up blackjack tables, poker tables and slot machines (if possible) to offer a fun gaming night to raise money. You can include a silent auction to raise additional funds as well.

Virtual Fundraisers

If you’re concerned about in-person events, consider these online fundraising ideas for nonprofits as well:

1. Online auction: While it’s difficult to beat the fun of a live auction, an online auction offers the opportunity to raise money without requiring people to be in-person. Make sure that you have a dedicated website that includes clear photos and detailed descriptions of the items being sold; there are online auction platforms that make this simple. You can then announce the individual item winners during a livestream or even an in-person event, if you have one.

2. Virtual class: In-person cooking classes are a popular option among many people, so why not offer online classes as well? Ask a local chef to teach the class and provide a meal kit with all of the necessary ingredients for participants. It’s a simple way to raise money, and if it is popular, you can offer other classes as well. You don’t have to stop at cooking — consider offering yoga, meditation, or even a watercolor or oil painting course (as long as you provide the materials ahead of time).

3. Online concert: Music lovers are missing live music, so offer a virtual concert for them! Consider partnering with a local restaurant to provide food delivery to attendees and share the proceeds with your organization.

4. Webinar: Similar to offering a virtual class, a webinar is a simple way to raise money while people participate from the safety of their homes. You can host an informational webinar that tells a little bit about your organization’s mission or an educational webinar that offers participants a chance to learn about a subject of interest, or combine the two.

5. Social media fundraiser: People spend more time than ever on social media, so why not harness it to create a fundraiser? Determine first where your followers spend the most time (such as Facebook or Instagram) and create content designed to attract attention, harnessing the power of compelling images and videos. You can request donations through social media, offering incentives for donations of a certain amount.

6. Custom T-shirts and other gear: Creating custom T-shirts, baseball caps or water bottles can help you raise money while promoting your nonprofit in the community.

7. Peer-to-peer fundraising: This is a simple yet effective way to raise funds. You simply ask supporters to fundraise for your organization by setting up their own fundraising pages. This lets participants access their networks of friends and family and creates credibility for your organization as they raise money.

La Piana Consulting:

Helping Nonprofits Reach Their Goals

Raising funds is only one challenge that nonprofits face today. While La Piana Consulting doesn’t provide fundraising services, we do provide management consulting for nonprofits, sharing proven strategies that can help you strengthen your organization and increase your impact.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit grow.

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