Is your organization’s annual fundraiser coming up? Do you think fundraisers are the same old boring thing year in and year out? Yes?

Then we’re here to tell you that you’re wrong—fundraising can be plenty fun… once you’ve found the right event for your organization to host. The best part? Fun doesn’t mean you have to lower your donation goals, either.

Maximize your fundraising efforts this year. The following fundraising event ideas can raise funds for a variety of organizations, for for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations alike.

17 In-Person Ideas

Check out these ideas for your next fundraising event!

1. Obstacle Course

Everybody loves a good obstacle course. Why not capitalize on that love and host your own charitable obstacle course? Have participants pay a registration fee and let them compete to their hearts’ content!

Just remember that obstacle courses won’t work for every organization: they will require a well-written waiver for all participants, lots of planning, and plenty of space to craft the course.

2. Fun Run

If you’re facing obstacles creating an obstacle course, why not host a fun run instead? It will still get people involved in friendly competition while the entry fees will help fund your organization.

3. Walk-a-Thon

If running isn’t your speed, a walk-a-thon might just be what you need. These events allow for broad community support, as people of any age and practically any fitness level can participate. The concept is simple: participants sign up to walk a certain amount, and they get sponsorships that pledge a certain amount of money (or other donated goods) per unit of distance walked.

4. Brick Fundraising Event

Supporting a good cause can inspire future generations when you host a brick fundraiser. They allow donors to sponsor a brick or tile, which your organization can then display in a communal setting, leaving a permanent reminder of your patrons’ generosity—all while you generate funds for your organization.

Why choose Fundraising Brick? There are plenty of reasons, including:

  1. Donors can dedicate a custom laser-engraved brick or tile to a loved one or commemorate their favorite poem or quote.
  2. These bricks and tiles are proudly displayed for all to see, which can inspire future generations to be philanthropic too.
  3. Our bricks and tiles last a lifetime, so you know that every donation will stand the test of time.

5. Bake Sale

This type of fundraiser is popular for a reason. It’s easy to host and generates tons of funds for your organization. Pretty sweet, right? Simply establish a time and place for your event, ask members of your organization or community at large to donate freshly baked goods, and then have a few people run the show and collect donations for their sweet treats.

6. Ice Cream Social

If bake sales aren’t your bread and butter, try something cool like an ice cream social. Simply dedicate a time and place to the event, advertise, set up a wicked-sweet ice cream bar, and collect a small entry fee from participants. Watch as people from all over the community flock to your event to chill out with other charitable people.

7. Cook-off

Bake sales and ice cream socials are great, but they’re low-stakes events. Turn up the heat by hosting a cook-off! Cook-offs, like ice cream socials and bake sales, cost little to host yet can generate big bucks for your cause. Have community members sign up to cook their signature dishes, and have others pay a small fee to taste test and vote on which dish is best.

What’s especially great about cook-offs is that they can be seasonal. For example, you could ask participants to cook their best pot of chili in the fall or winter and the sweetest rack of ribs in the summer.

8. Talent Show

America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and other shows prove just how popular talent shows are. Why not host a talent show of your own? You’ll get plenty of community support from lots of talented individuals, and participants won’t mind paying a minor fee to see their loved ones participate in the event.

9. Sporting Event

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to help you reach your fundraising goals. Golf tournaments, high school sports events, or something else could help you reach your goals when your entry fees go towards your organization. What’s great about sporting events is that you generate ticket sales virtually by livestreaming your event and you can have concession stands where your proceeds go towards your fundraising goals. They also cost next to nothing to host, meaning they’re a wonderfully effective way to generate funds and support for your organization.

10. Board Game Night

Like sporting events, board games are a great way to generate some friendly competition (and funds for your organization to boot). Scrabble, Yahtzee, poker, chess, checkers, Settlers of Catan, Candyland, Clue… you can offer a wide range of board games for participants of all ages, making it a great family-friendly event.

11. Battle of the Bands

Live entertainment is a sure-fire way to draw crowds (and donations). Try hosting a battle of the bands for your next event. You can feature local artists and have guests pay a minor entrance fee to enjoy the live music and vote on their favorite performers. You can even offer refreshments or snacks to generate additional donations.

12. Car Wash

This low-cost event can be held in a parking lot and still generate tons of support for your organization. All you need is a location, water, soap, and sponges/rags (along with a few volunteers).

13. Haunted House

Halloween-themed events are always a blast. Make your next October fundraiser spooktacular with your very own haunted house (or corn maze). Obviously, this event will require lots of time, effort, and volunteers, so it’s best suited for larger organizations with a bigger budget.

14. Meet Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc.

Why stop at Halloween? Try other holiday-themed fundraisers by having a Meet Santa or Easter Bunny event! This family-friendly fundraiser will get little ones and their guardians excited about your organization.

15. Pub Crawl

A pub crawl is a fun way to engage the 21+ crowd if you want to host a not-so-family-friendly event. Pub crawls can have a fun theme, such as St. Paddy’s Day, and offer participants a way to let loose. You can generate sales by selling tickets to the crawl and partner with local pubs to see if they will offer your participants a discount.

Just remember the following:

  • Always have designated drivers or another form of transportation ready for participants.
  • Notify all bars ahead of time about the event.
  • Notify all participants of times, dates, and bar locations (and any funky costumes requirements) well in advance.
  • Verify that all participants are of legal drinking age.

6. Movie Night

Pub crawls aren’t for everyone, but most people enjoy unwinding with a nice movie. Host a movie night and sell concessions to generate funds for your next event. Best of all, this type of event can be held most anywhere, so long as you have the proper equipment. When hosting this type of event, double check that you’re following proper copyright laws and restrictions.

17. Scavenger Hunt

For a small registration fee, participants of all ages can engage in a scavenger hunt that you have put together. The event can be held in a building your organization owns or at a local park. Even though most hosts split the earnings from the registration fees with the winners of these events, many winners typically donate their earnings right back to the hosting organization.

5 Hybrid and Online Fundraising Ideas

Virtual fundraising is the future. What’s great about these fundraisers is that you can host them as purely virtual events or you can create hybrid events where you livestream your fundraiser on your personal website or on social media. Whatever you choose, just think outside the box to engage potential donors in new ways!

Tip – Use hashtags to help your event reach a wider online audience.

1. Raffle

Online or in-person sale of raffle tickets can generate plenty of donations for your organization, making raffles a quick and easy hybrid fundraising event to host.

2. Online Donation Page

Set up a virtual fundraising page on your website that runs 24/7. It may not generate as much at a single time as an event, but small donations from philanthropists throughout the year will add up.

3. Fashion Show

In the age of COVID-19, you can turn a fashion show into a hybrid or purely virtual event! You can have participants show off their latest outfits (which can be store-bought, thrifted, or hand-crafted) to plenty of other fashionistas in the area.

An easy idea for a fashion show is to have various participants design their own t-shirt based on a theme you choose. That theme can be something related to your organization or something unrelated, such as for an upcoming holiday.

4. Trivia Night

Can’t find a brick-and-mortar location to host your next charity trivia night? Why not make your event a virtual one on a platform like Zoom or Google meet? You can still get participants to sign up while avoiding the hassle of finding and preparing a physical location to host the event at. Just remember that, for this type of event to work, you will have to use the honor code and trust those who enter virtually not to cheat.

5. Silent Auction

Silent auctions have stood the test of time as a fantastic fundraising event as they’re both easy and affordable to host. Many community members or local businesses love the opportunity to get some free advertising at these types of events in the form of donated auction items, such as coupons or gift cards from local restaurants.

Further Reading

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