7 Effective Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits to Raise More Money

Looking for effective ways to raise more money for your nonprofit? Thoughtful planning for an exciting fundraiser can go a long way towards reaching your donation goals. To help you in your brainstorming sessions, we’ve compiled seven event ideas that are sure to engage your community and help exceed your fundraising goals!

1. Gala

Planning a formal evening is a perfect way to celebrate your charitable efforts at any time of year. Host a sit-down dinner at a beautiful venue where you could serve cocktails, get everyone dancing with a DJ, and have plenty of room for your attendees to mingle! Pair your dinner with a live or silent auction of sponsored gifts from local businesses (like getaway packages, gift baskets, or signed memorabilia) to raise even more towards your goal. 

To motivate attendees to give, display a huge goal thermometer that tracks your fundraising efforts as the night progresses. Throughout your gala, invite speakers to share motivational stories about how your nonprofit has impacted them. As a grand finale, you can even host an awards ceremony to recognize notable members of your organization and in your community! To make sure the entire night runs flawlessly and maximize giving, use a ticketing platform to collect your general admissions fee, sell reserved tables for special guests, and collect additional donations.

2. Outdoor festival

There’s no better way to successfully fundraise for your nonprofit than with a blowout festival for all ages! Select a scenic outdoor venue for a day of food, drinks, and entertainment, themed in a way that’s meaningful to your nonprofit. For example, a conservation organization could throw a flower festival and celebrate in full bloom. Grill out for your attendees, or partner with local restaurants or food trucks and ask them to donate their services for your festival in exchange for a sponsorship title and future collaboration opportunities. And what festival would be complete without fireworks, live music, or a DJ so people can dance the night away? As a final touch, request a fixed or pay-what-you-can admissions fee to kick off your fundraising, then continue to collect donations throughout the night with raffles, games, and more.

3. Charity run

Proven successful time and time again, hosting a fun run is a classic fundraiser for charities! A walk-a-thon or 5K run are two simple and exciting ways to get your community to rally around your cause. Offer additional items like a running t-shirt or headband with your nonprofit’s branding on them that participants can sport during your run. Looking to add a unique twist? Try turning the event into a color run! For this, your runners will wear all white, then people on the sidelines will deck them out in colored powder as they run your course. Theme these colors to match your nonprofit’s brand colors or the colors representing the issue your organization works with (like pink if your nonprofit fights against breast cancer). These runs are an energizing way to support your cause and are bound to draw a crowd!

4. Dance marathon

Time to put on your dancing shoes! A trending fundraiser among Millennials and Gen Z especially, dance marathons are an innovative opportunity for your community to support your nonprofit and really make a difference. A dance marathon typically encourages people to dance for between 24-48 hours straight (or until their team “out dances” the others). Before, during, and after the marathon, participants are tasked to find donors who’ll pledge to donate based on their time and energy to dance for the cause. For this, have participants register and their donors give through your dance marathon’s event page. 

The marathon itself is a super energetic dance party with one primary rule: always stay moving! Deck out the dance floors with party lights, glow sticks, and anything else that could add to the vibe. To help pass the time with more than dancing, participants can also play games, put on talent shows, and do additional competitions. At the end of the marathon, celebrate with a huge reveal of how much money was collectively raised!

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5. Charity concert

Bring your community together with live music, and jam out for a good cause! You can make your concert’s atmosphere as high-energy or relaxed as you want with your choice of venue, genre, and artist lineup. If you’re looking to do more than a traditional concert, consider hosting a “Battle of the Bands,” a friendly competition between local bands where a panel of judges and crowd participation determines the winner. 

Or, arrange a songwriters’ round where local songwriters come to share their original songs, the stories behind their music, and what your nonprofit means to them. In addition to proceeds from your concert ticket sales, see if your guest artists would also be willing to donate a portion of their merch sales from the night to your cause. There’s a good chance they will!

6. Golf tournament

Host a friendly competition on a local golf course where the day’s proceeds go directly to your nonprofit. Participants will pay to play for the day and compete as individuals or teams. To add to the stakes, get local businesses to sponsor the tournament’s prizes (like new athletic gear or gift cards) as well as the event itself. Once the tournament has ended and your winners have claimed their prizes, conclude the evening with a banquet to celebrate your efforts with donors, tournament participants, and their families. Sell tickets to compete in your tournament, to attend the banquet or both. With an exciting day planned for golf enthusiasts to give back to your nonprofit, you’re sure to score a hole-in-one with this fundraiser!

7. Virtual event

Connect with donors across the globe like never before and drive more support for your organization with virtual events. The possibilities for your online events are endless! Consider hosting a virtual conference or workshop to inform people about your cause. During this, you can put on a series of webinars with leaders in your community and individuals impacted by the work you do. Or, arrange an entertaining evening for the whole family, like a trivia night complete with an MC and prizes. With the right ticketing software, you’ll be able to seamlessly host this virtual event with built-in live streaming features. Plus, you can accept in-stream donations and sell merchandise at the same time. You should also consider hosting hybrid fundraising events to get even more people involved both in-person and virtually!

With a solid fundraising goal and an exciting event, you’re bound to raise more funds for your nonprofit than ever before. Ticketleap, the easy-to-use event ticketing and fundraising platform, has been helping nonprofits host incredible events and meet their donation goals for over 15 years. Our full suite of features and expert team are here to help turn your fundraising goals into a reality!