17 Unique Fundraising Ideas

Raising funds can keep your organization active for years to come. That said, hosting the same bake sale, silent auction, or car wash year in and year out can become incredibly boring, and you may lose out on potential sponsors who want to participate in something more exciting. Don’t worry, though; if you’re looking for unique fundraising ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

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Effective Fundraising Event Ideas

Whether you’re looking for creative fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations, local schools, churches, or community centers, the following are sure to be a hit.

1. Movie Night

A movie night is a refreshing way to raise funds and engage crowds in a family-friendly way. Simply secure a venue and a movie you have the rights to show. Then, you can both charge admission and sell refreshments like snacks and water bottles to raise funds.

Tip: Go here for a list of movies and shows in the United States that are in the public domain and, therefore, free to use.

2. Trivia Night

Take the initiative for your good cause and start up a regular trivia night! What’s great about these events is that they cost practically nothing to host, so even if you only charge a small fee to enter, you can easily turn a profit.

3. Brick Fundraiser

One of the most long-lasting, creative ways to raise funds for your organization is with a brick fundraiser. With a brick fundraiser, donors sponsor a laser-engraved brick or tile. Each brick is custom made and can commemorate loved ones, sport a favorite quote, or simply have the names of the donors themselves to let others know they donated to a good cause.

4. Talent Show

Get the local community involved in your organization in a truly fun way with a talent show. You can host a show as a hybrid event; in other words, you can have a live audience at the show and you can livestream the event on social media to reach more people. Simply charge an entrance fee for both the online and in-person event. If you want the audience to get even more involved, you can set up a donation page for online spectators and donation jars at the physical event, each dedicated to an individual act. Whichever act gets the most donations wins (along with your organization)!

5. Scavenger Hunt

Sometimes people need incentives to participate in a fundraiser, and what could be more enticing than a scavenger hunt? This event is particularly great for high school-age and under participants, making it great if your organization is geared towards families. Simply select a location like a local park, hide goodies (and clues to more goodies), and let everyone take off for some major fun.

6. Haunted House

Hosting a haunted house is a spooktacular Halloween-themed event. While much more time, labor, cost, and resource-intensive than most other types of fundraisers, there is no denying that these attractions are popular. When you want to host a haunted house, make sure above all else that both the actors and attendees are safe.

Tip: Create a water-tight legal waiver for your haunted house.

7. Cook-Off

Nothing is sweeter than having local cooks or bakers contributing to your fundraising efforts, and you can achieve just that by hosting a cook-off. To start your fundraiser, select a theme, like desserts or fall soups. Then, announce the event on social media, through email campaigns, and within your organization and community with posters and flyers. Have participants pay an entry fee, and select a panel of judges to decide a winner. You can split the prize money with the contestants while still raking in some sizable donations for your organization.

8. Book Sale

If you want a super easy fundraising idea, why not host a used book sale? Have your local community donate gently used books, magazines, comics, DVDs, CDs, and graphic novels to be sold at your event. You can even ask your local librarians if they have any books they would be willing to donate to your good cause. Then, select a time and venue. We recommend someplace indoors so that, if it rains at the time of your sale, you won’t have to worry about sopping-wet pages.

9. Golf Tournament

Take advantage of a little friendly competition to reach your fundraising goal. Partner with a local golf course to host a golf tournament, with the proceeds being split between your organization and the winning team.

10. Obstacle Course

If a golf tournament is too laid back, take everything up a notch by creating an obstacle course. This event will require the cooperation of a team of volunteers, so be sure to start recruitment well before your intended event date. You can charge participants entry fees and select winners based on best times. We recommend dividing participants into categories based on age.

11. Online Auction

If you’re looking for a virtual fundraising idea, why not host an online auction? It’s a great online fundraising twist on a classic silent auction. To begin, collect auction items from local businesses, such as gift cards to local restaurants. Then, create a secure fundraising page for your event that lists each auction item (with images and descriptions) and can handle secure transactions. After that you can select a time to host this virtual event, allowing people to make bids online. Once the event ends, collect your donations, determine who won each item, and inform the winners. You can have winners pick up their items in person to save on costs.

12. Karaoke Night

A great low-cost fundraising event is a karaoke night. Establish a time and place, get a microphone, and watch the magic happen. You can raise money by charging entry fees as well as selling refreshments.

13. Walk-a-Thon

Nothing gets a community to come together quite like a walk-a-thon fundraising event. You have participants who will actually do the walking, individuals and businesses who provide sponsorships for the walkers, volunteer organizers who set everything up, vendors at the event who sell t-shirts and refreshments, and spectators who provide moral support. Best of all, actually hosting the event is affordable; you simply need to reserve a local area, like a park or indoor track, to set up the event. You might be surprised when you collect pledges from participants and sponsors at just how much money you raise.

14. Game Night

If trivia and movie nights aren’t to your liking, why not host a game night instead? You charge a small participation fee and/or sell concessions to make money while letting participants have fun with a wide variety of board games. Depending on the nature of your event, you can make your game night into a competition or simply leave it as a fun social event with no stakes.

15. Ice Cream Social

Get community members involved and interacting with each other while making money for your organization by hosting an ice cream social. The premise is simple: select a time and place where you can have people pay a small fee to make their own ice cream bowls and cones while mingling with others. It’s a real win-win for your organization as you get to raise funds and build a sense of community at the same time.

16. Potluck

If an ice cream social doesn’t sound appealing, a potluck may be better suited to your organization. Have participants create a dish, side, or dessert of their choosing and charge fees to sample dishes.

17. Meet Santa

Many people know the winter holiday season as the most wonderful time of the year. We agree! We think this time of year is perfect for setting up a fun fundraising event that the whole family can enjoy: a meet and greet with Santa himself. Have someone you trust volunteer to play Santa, select a venue (and decorate it to be bursting with Christmas cheer), and collect small donations from parents whose kids want to meet Mr. Claus himself. Or, host the event for free, take pictures, and make money selling the pictures to parents.

What’s More Unique Than a Brick Fundraiser?

When you partner with Fundraising Brick, you have access to mountains of free resources to help make your next fundraising campaign a success:

What are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a unique fundraising idea, ask yourself: what truly could be more unique than a brick fundraiser? Contact us today to get started crafting successful fundraising strategies.

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