No matter what you’re raising money for — whether you’re fundraising for your environmental organization, supporting your local animal shelter, or raising money to cover your adoption costs — there are endless reasons why you or your organization needs to raise funds!
Raising money for your mission can be difficult, especially when you’re not sure where to start. That’s why we’ve collected our top recommended fundraising ideas to help you find the perfect fundraising solution for your cause or project.
We’ll cover fundraising ideas for organizations, schools, churches, as well as individual projects so that you can choose a simple and profitable fundraising idea.
Plus, each idea is ranked by fundraising potential, cost, and popularity to help you determine which solution will fit your needs.
Are you ready to start raising money for your cause? Let’s dive into the first idea!
#1 Fundraising Idea
1. T-Shirt Fundraiser
Designing and selling t-shirts is a conventional fundraising idea that both individuals and organizations can use to raise money. A t-shirt fundraiser is a win-win situation for everyone involved: the campaign creator gets to raise money and promote their cause via merchandise, and supporters get a memorable item in return for their donations.
If you’re interested in running a t-shirt fundraiser, the first step is to find a fundraising platform, like Bonfire, that allows to you sell merchandise and will ship your items for you. After you’ve found the perfect platform, start designing your shirt to represent your nonprofit or your individual project.
Finally, launch your campaign and spread the word about your merchandise via email, social media, and even word of mouth.
Quick and Easy Fundraising Ideas
2. Chain of Hearts Fundraiser
For those who aren’t familiar, a chain of hearts campaign is a type of cause marketing campaign for nonprofits. For a certain amount of time, your organization can sell paper hearts (or any shape you’d like) to members of the community. Supporters can write their name or a short message on the paper and tape them around your organization’s lobby.
Alternatively, your nonprofit can partner with a local retailer. Have them sell paper hearts to their patrons, allowing you to spread the word outside your current donor base.
Whatever approach you decide to take, this easy fundraising idea is a simple way to raise money and awareness for your cause.
3. 50/50 Raffle
Whether you pair it with a larger fundraising event or host it as a stand-alone fundraiser, a 50/50 raffle is a quick and easy way for organizations and individuals to raise money. The 50/50 raffle works like any other raffle — except the winner gets half of the funds you raise and you get the other half (hence the name 50/50).
Since the prize is half the funds raised, supporters are more motivated to purchase raffle tickets and encourage their friends and family members to do the same.
Use the outlets where you have the most followers to spread the word about your raffle, and announce the winner during an event where you can discuss your cause in more depth.
4. Coffee Beans Sale
To get this quick fundraising idea started, you’ll need to work with a coffee shop or find a wholesale provider where you can purchase the coffee beans at a discounted price. If you’re not sure how to reach out to a company for a sponsorship, check out these fundraising letter templates from Qgiv.
Once you get your partnership established, set up an online shop or sell your coffee beans in a well-trafficked area in your community. You can also sell freshly brewed coffee in the mornings to people on their way to work.
Let people know why you’re raising money, and get the word out by promoting your coffee bean sale by posting flyers around the community.
5. Envelope Fundraiser
While the envelope fundraiser works best for schools and churches, this fundraiser can be adapted to fit any organization. All you need for this fundraising idea are envelopes and a bulletin board.
Have someone on your staff number the envelopes and post them on the bulletin board in a centralized location. Donors can simply choose the envelope that corresponds with the amount they want to give and place their donation inside the envelope. Once all the envelopes have been filled, the fundraiser is over.
Best of all, this easy, inexpensive idea has a high fundraising potential. If 100 envelopes are filled, your organization could raise $5,050 for your cause.
6. Online Giving Sites
Did you know that your supporters can raise money for your nonprofit simply by browsing and shopping online? Sites like GoodSearch and Welzoo make it easy for people to set up an account, browse the internet like they normally would, and raise money for their favorite organizations.
To start raising money from day-to-day online activities, let your donors know that these websites exist and educate them on how much of an impact these small gestures can make for your nonprofit.
Don’t forget about your staff! Encourage them to use these sites during and outside of work to help your nonprofit raise even more money.
7. Branded Merchandise Sales
Organizations that want to give donors a way to show their support should consider selling branded merchandise. From branded t-shirts and hats to coffee mugs and water bottles, there are plenty of items you can sell!
What’s more, selling merchandise before a fundraiser or volunteer engagement can help you raise extra money. Plus, a crowd of people all wearing the same shirts can drum up excitement about your fundraiser!
Work with a merchandise company that lets you brand your own products or use a fundraising platform, like Bonfire, to sell branded shirts online.
8. Online Bake Sale
Put a twist on the classic bake sale fundraising idea by hosting one online! If you’re a nonprofit or individual with supporters that don’t live in your community, this is a great way to get them involved in donating to your cause.
You and a few volunteers can bake delicious treats to sell on your website. An online bake sale works best because it gets your fundraiser in front of more supporters, increasing your revenue and reach.
High-quality pictures are essential to your online bake sale, so make sure your images are appealing and capture your treats’ best angles.
9. Garage Sale
Hosting a garage sale is a great way to give unwanted items a new home and raise money for your cause. You won’t need a lot of time to plan this event, so it’s perfect for a last-minute fundraising idea.
Gather all the items around your home that you no longer want, and ask your friends and family members to donate items to your garage sale.
Open shop right outside your home and post signs around the neighborhood to draw in interested buyers. To bring in an even bigger crowd, promote your garage sale on social media or through word of mouth a few weeks in advance.
Inexpensive and Free Fundraising Ideas
10. Matching Gifts
Corporate matching gifts programs offer supporters of nonprofits the opportunity to double the impact of their donations, without the hassle of digging deeper into their own pockets! But many people don’t know about these programs, and therefore can’t take advantage of them.
By offering a matching gifts database on your organization’s donation page or website, you can easily encourage your supporters to check if their gift is eligible to be matched.
Consider investing in a software like Double the Donation for the easiest way to help your supporters learn more about these programs.
The easier it is for your supporters to find out about their employer’s matching gifts program, the more likely they are to take advantage of corporate philanthropy to help your fundraiser.
11. Balloon Raffle
A balloon raffle is a fun and inexpensive fundraising idea that individuals and nonprofits can use. All you need to get started are balloons, raffle tickets, and a prize.
Place a raffle ticket inside of every balloon, and charge $1 for each one. Everyone will pop the balloons they purchase to find their raffle ticket. The person with the winning ticket gets the prize.
Balloon raffles work best when you have a lot of donors in one location, like during a fundraising event.
12. Give It Up Challenge
One way to raise money without spending a dime is to start a “Give It Up” challenge. We all have our guilty pleasures — be it fast food, high-quality coffee in the morning, or a weekly movie night.
By giving up this expense for a couple months, you can put the money you save toward your cause. To make the challenge more interesting, ask your friends to participate and pledge their savings toward your cause.
With more people on board, you can hold each other accountable and raise more funds.
13. Dog Walking Services
If you’re looking for a free way to raise money for your cause or project, why not offer dog walking services to the pet owners in your neighborhood? This fundraising idea doesn’t require any materials expect for yourself!
Let people around your community know that you’re available to walk their dogs by posting flyers around the community. Raise money by charging per the hour or day.
Don’t forget to tell pet owners that all the money is going toward a great cause as they’ll be more likely to continue using your services in the future.
14. Baby Photo Contest
Raising money for your case can be as simple as organizing a baby photo contest! Everyone at your office or in your community can participate by bringing in a silly, adorable, or even embarrassing photo of themselves as a child.
Line up all the photos and have people vote on their favorite one by placing money beside the images they like.
The person with the photo that has the most money wins! You can give the winner a prize or split the money you raised to make this fundraiser as inexpensive as possible.
15. Local Restaurant Partnership
Did you know that you can raise money by inviting your friends out to eat? When you collaborate with a local restaurant, you can raise a portion of the night’s proceeds for your cause. And partnering with a restaurant isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Many restaurants offer programs to help support schools, sports teams, and other organizations. All you have to do is get in touch with the manager of the restaurant in your area.
Once you’ve settled all the details of the event, invite your friends, family, and community members to come show their support. The more people that attend, the more money you can raise for your cause.
16. Penny Drive
With so many variations on the classic penny drive, you can get as creative as you like with this free fundraising idea. Keep it simple by going with the traditional fundraiser, and ask local shops to showcase your donation jar in their store.
Alternatively, churches and schools can run a wheelbarrow challenge where you place a wheelbarrow (or other larger container) in a prominent location and encourage passers-by to place their loose change inside until the wheelbarrow is full.
No matter what type of penny drive you decide to host, you’ll be surprised how much you can raise just by collecting spare change.
17. Specific Date, Specific Amount Fundraiser
The specific date, specific amount fundraiser is a free way to raise money for any cause, especially for individuals that want to raise money quickly.
Basically, you’ll pick a day and a dollar amount and ask people to give that amount on the day you’ve chosen.
The day you pick can be significant to the cause you’re fundraising for, like honoring the date a loved that passed away due to cancer to raise money for cancer research and awareness.
18. Community Classes
Are you an expert at HTML code? Have a green thumb? Or know basic photography skills? Put your expertise to use, and set up a class to raise money for your cause or project.
Charge admission to attend and place a donation jar in a visible location so that participants can give more. Don’t forget to spread the word about your class on social media and via email.
Host one class or host a bunch of courses depending on your schedule and how much you need to raise.
19. Holiday Candygrams
Sending a candygram is a great way to let your friends and family know you care about them. You can spread a little joy and raise money this holiday season by selling and sending personalized messages with candy and other delicious treats attached.
Traditionally, candygrams are used in schools to raise money for events like prom, but anyone can adopt this inexpensive fundraising idea with a few modifications.
You can sell candygrams at your office, in your neighborhood, or anywhere you’d like. Just make sure to get the contact information of the recipient so you can send the candygram to the correct person.
Foundations, corporations, and governments often give grants to qualifying organizations that submit an application. While most grants have a lot of competition and the grant-writing process can be time-consuming, the rewards are worth it. One grant can be enough to significantly boost your revenue (or at the very least help you boost your nonprofit’s awareness).
For instance, Google offers an Adwords Grant to nonprofits. The grant consists of $10,000 of monthly funding, which can help your nonprofit become more present on Google, bringing in more potential supporters (and funds!).
To get started, you’ll need to research grants that coincide with your nonprofit’s goals and core mission as this will increase your chances of receiving a grant. You may want to work with a specialist (like the Google Grants consultants at DNL OmniMedia) who can provide guidance as apply for and maintain your funding.
Fundraising Event Ideas
21. Tie-Dye Event
A tie-dye event is a great way to bring your supporters together and have a fun time creating a unique t-shirt. Instead of just selling white t-shirts at your event, you can create a t-shirt fundraising campaign online. Design white shirts with your organization’s logo or use a slogan that represents your mission.
Selling the shirts on a t-shirt fundraising website saves your organization valuable time because you won’t have to process and ship the orders. The t-shirts will be shipped directly to your supporters so they can bring them to the event.
Raise even more money for this cause by selling concessions. Don’t forget to have fun and help your guests create a beautiful looking shirt!
22. Charity Auction
Charity auctions are a popular choice among nonprofits — and with good reason! The extensive planning and preparation required for an auction pays off with big rewards. And, the more unique items you procure, the more potential funds you can raise.
With that said, procuring items for your charity auction should be a top priority as it can affect your fundraising outcome.
Arrange a procurement committee to acquire in-kind donations from major donors and corporations, and focus on finding rare and unique items that will have guests bidding more and more.
23. Themed Party
Themed parties work great for practically any cause or project, and when properly planned, they can bring in a lot of money. The first step is to, of course, pick a theme. Consider the people that are likely to attend, and pick something that aligns with their interests as well as your cause.
Charge admission to enter your themed party. You can also leave out a donation jar or encourage people to donate via text-to-give to provide plenty of opportunities for guests to contribute.
Generate interest in your event well in advance by sharing the event details on social media and sending out personalized invitations through email and direct mail.
24. Karaoke Night
Who doesn’t love a night filled with friends and karaoke? You can organize a karaoke night at your local restaurant to raise funds for any cause by partnering with a local restaurant that does karaoke.
Let the local restaurant know that you’re raising funds for a good cause, and ask them if they’d be willing to donate a percentage of the night’s proceeds to your cause.
Encourage all your friends and family to attend to reap the most rewards from your fundraising event.
25. Museum Dinner Party
Bring all your supporters in one place for food and entertainment with a museum dinner party. Similar to a gala, this event will take a lot of planning, but you can raise money through admission tickets and other fundraising opportunities like hosting a raffle or charity auction.
The most important aspect of planning a museum dinner is, obviously, the food and venue. Connect with a museum in your area, and arrange for guest speakers to come discuss your cause.
Generally, these events do well at the end of the year as a way to boost your year-end fundraising and show major donors that you’ve appreciated their support.
26. Peer-to-Peer Event
Peer-to-peer fundraising not only helps you raise money, but it can also build your donor base. Current supporters will raise money on your nonprofit’s behalf, asking their friends and family members to contribute.
All the work doesn’t just rest on your fundraisers’ shoulders. You’ll need to provide tools to your fundraisers to help them ask for donations. Plus, you’ll need to welcome all your new donors to your nonprofit family.
End your peer-to-peer fundraiser with an event, like a walkathon or marathon, to bring all your fundraisers together to celebrate their success.
The cook-off fundraising event idea works great for individuals because you can bring together a group of your friends to raise funds for your cause. Have your friends contribute their best dish and a donation for the event.
Present all the food and have people vote on their favorite dishes with dollars. The person whose dish earns the most money wins the event!
You can purchase a prize for the winner or give the half of the funds you raise. Either way, this event is inexpensive and easy to plan.
28. Charity Golf Tournament
While more time-consuming and costly than some of the other fundraising event ideas mentioned, hosting a golf event has a high fundraising potential for organizations. Not to mention, it offers nonprofits the perfect opportunity to interact with major donors.
The best way to plan for a charity golf tournament is to create a committee that can secure a location, send out invitations, and figure out other essential aspects of the event.
Raise money for your cause by having participants collect pledges from their friends and family to enter the competition.
29. Marathon, Walkathon, or Bikeathon
Marathons, walkathons, and bikathons appeal to your active supporters, bringing them together to raise awareness and money for your cause. It’s vital that you start planning your event 9-6 months in advance so that you can secure a location, recruit volunteers, and promote your event.
Raise even more money from your marathon, walkathon, or bikeathon by selling branded merchandise before and during the event. Using a t-shirt fundraising platform will save your team time so they can focus on organizing the fundraiser.
Additionally, connect with local businesses to see if they will sponsor your event. With the help of a corporation, you can save money on all the materials you’ll need for the event, like water for the runners, tables, and banners and decorations.
30. Sip and Paint Event
Sip and paint events work for organizations that support causes of all shapes and sizes. Plus, this fundraising idea is even possible for individuals looking to raise money.
For this event to work, you’ll need to partner with a local sip and paint store that’s willing to give a percentage of the night’s proceeds to your cause. Or secure a location where you can create your own sip and paint event.
If you’re creating your own event, ask an artist to volunteer to teach the class, and purchase all the supplies you’ll need. Charge admission to your event and sell food and drinks to raise additional funds.
Crowdfunding is a fundraising idea that’s widely used by organizations of all shapes and sizes, including schools. It gives your school or club the opportunity to rally around one central cause, collecting donations from across the whole community using social media.
If your school wants to conduct a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll need to find a platform with all the features you need like social sharing, room to add images and a crowdfunding description, and flexible payout policies. Check out the features of leading platform Edco for an idea of what to look for.
The best way to keep the funds rolling in throughout your campaign is to periodically post updates on its success and how you plan to use the money.
32. Best Seat in the House Fundraiser
The best seat in the house fundraiser is most effective for high schools and universities, but it can work for any type of school. At it’s core, the best seat in the house is a raffle that awards the winner two prime seats to a sporting event or theater performance.
Spread the word about your fundraiser, and encourage people to purchase raffle tickets for a $1 each.
Sweeten the pot by offering the winner merchandise related to the event, as well as food and drinks. Because this fundraiser is so simple to plan, your school can host several best seat in the house fundraisers throughout the year!
33. Principal Punishment
Getting students to participate in fundraising efforts can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, the principal punishment fundraiser encourages students to raise money while having a good laugh in the process.
Students can vote for their favorite principle “punishment” by donating money to their favorite choice. The punishments can be anything from wearing a silly costume to getting pied in the face.
Keep your fundraiser running for a couple weeks, and give every student the opportunity to vote. At the end of the fundraiser, hold an event were the principal performs the winning “punishment.”
34. Family Fun Day
Fun for students of all ages, a family fun event is a great way to bring families together and raise money for your school. Think of your family fun event as a school-wide picnic or field day where you can offer games and mini competitions.
Set up the event in your school’s gymnasium or outside, and sell tickets that students and parents can use to play the games and purchase concessions.
Before the event, sell family fun day t-shirts that guests can wear during the festivities to further show their support.
35. Popcorn Fundraiser
Who doesn’t love popcorn? Get your students involved in raising money for your school by selling popcorn. Organizing a popcorn fundraiser is a great middle school fundraising idea because students will get the chance to sell products to their friends and family.
Find a popcorn vendor that offers a high profit margin and a variety of flavors to choose from. We recommend scheduling your fundraiser during the holidays or sporting seasons to raise the most money.
Excite your students by turning your popcorn fundraiser into a competition by offering prizes to the students that sell the most popcorn.
36. Talent Show
Talent shows are fun for students of all ages. Plus, they promote individuality, allowing students to pursue their interests and display their talents. Your school can host a talent show to raise money.
The key to a successful talent show is to start promoting it in advance, giving students enough time to register and perfect their act.
Make announcements and post flyers around the hallways to generate excitement. Charge a small fee to participate and tickets to family, friends, and fellow students who want to watch.
37. Straw Draw Fundraiser
Great for elementary school fundraising ideas, the straw draw fundraiser is both inexpensive for schools to run and fun for students.
All you need for this fundraiser is a pack of straws and a few small prizes. Write different prizes on a piece of paper and attached them to the straws.
Your prizes don’t have to be extravagant. Offer simple things like extra recess time, candy, or free lunch. Charge students (and teachers!) $1 to draw a straw.
38. Guessing Games
Whether you’re raising funds for 12-K schools or universities and colleges, guessing games are fun for students of all ages and inexpensive to run.
All you need is a jar full of candy (e.g., jelly beans, M&Ms, or Skittles) and have students and teachers pay a small amount to guess the number of candies in the jar.
Place your jar of candy in a prominent location, and encourage everyone to make a guess. Don’t forget to award the person with the closest guess a prize at the end of your fundraiser.
39. Shoe Drive
Hosting a shoe drive is an inexpensive and unique school fundraising idea. Students can bring in their used and unwanted shoes to help support the school.
You can even get the whole community involved by setting up shoe donation drop-off centers around the neighborhood.
Work with a shoe drive organization that will come collect your donated shoes, and give you a check based on the number of pounds of shoes you give.
40. Book Drive
There’s no better way to raise money and promote reading than hosting a book drive. Ask students and community members to donate old and gently used books to your school.
Set up shop in your school’s library, and sell books during the day to students and even teachers.
Best of all, whatever you don’t sell can be added to you school library’s collection.
41. Buy-a-Brick Fundraiser
If your university or college is looking to expand your campus or make renovations to existing buildings, why not host an engraved brick fundraiser.
Partner with an engraved brick manufacturer to sell bricks to students, alumni, and faculty. You can even charge extra to have the bricks engraved with the donor’s name or the name of someone they wish to honor.
Selling bricks is a symbolic way to represent your new structure, and your school can honor donors by creating a walkway or wall with the engraved bricks.
42. Scavenger Hunt
Elementary school fundraising ideas need to be fun and engaging, and there is no better way to raise money than with a scavenger hunt. Plus, it gives children the opportunity to work together with their peers and parents to win an awesome prize.
To get started, you’ll need to create your clues and hid your items around the school. Allow students to enter the scavenger hunt by themselves or with a group, and charge a small fee to participate.
Reward the students who complete the scavenger hunt with a small prize!
Church Fundraising Ideas
43. Text-to-Give Campaign
Text-to-give is the perfect companion to any fundraising event, and it works great for churches that want to promote giving during sermons.
When it’s time to pass around the tithing plate, let your congregation know that you also accept donations via text message. Church members that wish to tithe and don’t have cash or a check can give on their phones.
Finding a capable text-to-give platform is the best way to ensure that your campaign is a success. Look for a text-to-give service that doesn’t have any tithing limits and only takes a couple of steps to complete.
44. Giving Kiosks
Since more and more people don’t carry cash, it’s crucial for churches to update their approach and make it convenient for congregants to give. That’s where giving kiosks come in!
With a giving kiosk, you can accept credit card tithes during fundraising events and sermons.
Place your giving kiosk in a prominent spot, and let your congregation know about your new giving method. During sermons have the pastor demonstrate how to use the kiosk, showing everyone that it’s quick and easy.
45. Church T-Shirts
Whether you’re looking to raise money for a youth group or church, selling t-shirts is a great idea because it allows your congregants to promote your church and show their support.
Using a t-shirt fundraising platform, you can design custom t-shirts and sweaters that match your band. Have different designs to showcase your church’s various programs.
Promote your shirt sale during sermons, on your church’s social media accounts, and in your newsletter.
46. Angel Festival
Often run during the holidays, an angel festival is a fundraising event that encourages congregants to create angels using any materials they’d like.
During the festival, congregants will display their angels and people can donate to your church by placing money in containers beside each one.
The event gives church members the to opportunity to enjoy the handmade angels, drink on hot cocoa and cider, and support their church all at the same time!
Selling candles is a tried-and-true church fundraising idea — and with good reason! No one can say no to a beautifully designed, nicely scented candle. And if you start your fundraiser around the holiday season, they also make great gifts.
You’ll need to find a candle wholesale provider where you can purchase a variety of candles in bulk for a discounted price.
Have congregants volunteer to sell candles to their friends and family, and drive church members to sell even more candles by offering a prize to the person who sells the most.
48. Easter Egg Hunt
Having an Easter egg hunt is a great family-friendly way to raise money for your church. Best of all? It super easy and inexpensive to plan.
All you need are plastic eggs and candy. Hide your candy-filled eggs around your church, and charge families a fee to join the festivities.
You can also sell Easter baskets to the children that don’t already have one.
49. Sunday Morning Coffee
Nothing starts off Sunday mornings better than a cup of coffee and a baked treat. Why not sell coffee, donuts, bagels, and other breakfast items before your sermon starts?
Let your congratulation know that they can arrive early on Sundays to enjoy breakfast at the church. All the money you raise can go toward the church’s philanthropic projects.
Your church members will jump at the chance to enjoy breakfast before your sermons and support their church at the same time.
50. Noisy Sunday
The noisy Sunday fundraiser is a great youth group or Sunday school fundraising idea that involves young congregants running up and down the aisles with half-empty cans and jars.
They’ll make as much noise as possible, encouraging congregants to place their loose change into the containers to stop the noise.
Once all cans and jars are filled, the fundraiser is over. It might not seem like it, but your youth group or Sunday school can raise a lot of money through other people’s spare change.
If your congregation loves to sing, why not host a hymn-a-thon to raise money? Basically, a hymn-a-thon is a fundraising event where your congregation spends the day singing.
Raise money by charging admission to the event or ask congregants to collect pledges based on how long they can sing.
A hymn-a-thon is a fun way to get the whole congregation involved in raising funds for your church.
There you have it; 51 fundraising ideas for nonprofits, schools, churches, and everything in between. Use a combination of these ideas to reach your fundraising goals and further your cause. We know you can succeed!
If you want more fundraising advice, check out our other additional resources:
- 27 Cancer Fundraising Ideas for Treatment and Research. If you’re an individual or organization that wants to raise money for cancer treatment and research, we’ve got fundraising ideas for you. With over 20 proven ideas, you’re bound to find a way to raise money quickly.
- 21 Fundraising Ideas for Kids (That Actually Work!). From adoption costs to medical expenses, there are plenty of reasons why you might need to raise money for kids. Check out our fundraising ideas to get started.
- Create a T-Shirt Order Form Online | Custom Templates. Selling t-shirts can be a fundraising idea all on its own or combined with any of the other ideas we’ve mentioned. Learn how you can create a stellar t-shirt order form for your fundraising campaign.
- Top 7 GoFundMe Alternatives You Need to Keep on Your Radar. Crowdfunding is a simple way for organizations and individuals to raise money. If you’re on the search for a crowdfunding platform, check our top GoFundMe alternatives.
Are you ready to create a stellar t-shirt fundraising campaign?
Create a Bonfire campaign today and start selling t-shirts to raise funds for your organization.