20 Easy Fundraising Ideas Proven to Work

Looking to get your good cause off the ground and looking for inspiration? Or simply struggling for fundraising ideas and need some help? Here are 20 ideas you can pick up and run with that are tried and tested; there’s sure to be something here for every cause or individual fundraiser.

  1. The Sponsored Sporting Event:Sponsored sporting events have exploded in popularity in recent years. With everybody from teenagers to pensioners taking part you know you’re onto a sure-fire winner with this. The premise is simple, sign up to a sporting or challenge event of your choice and have friends, relatives, workmates and whoever else you can persuade give a little money to your good cause. Online sites like justgiving.com make this even easier, just sign up and share your page on your social media accounts and the donations will start rolling in! Whether you want to run a 5k or an ultra-marathon, somebody is sure throw a few dollars your way.
  1. The Bake Sale: An old favourite and a tried-and-true fundraising model. These work brilliantly in many settings, but are perhaps most popular in the workplace. Bake up a selection of treats, or even better get somebody in your family to do it, bring them to work and charge your colleagues extortionate rates, all in the name of your good cause! This is not only a simple and very popular model, it is a great way to bond with colleagues and get them engaged with your cause- who knows what added value this could bring to the table?
  1. The Raffle:Offering value is a great way to entice reluctant donors and the raffle is the perfect fun way to do this. Contestants buy tickets to be entered into a draw, with the prospect of some exciting prizes to be won. Your cause makes money either because prizes are donated, or picked up at low cost, or in the case of a cash raffle, because only part of the money goes into the prize fund. Offering big ticket items like a car is a fantastic way to draw in entries and a great way to make this possible is by building relationships with local businesses.
  1. The Sponsored Shave:Another tactic that is used more and more lately is the sponsored shave. This can involve having a simple buzzcut or for the truly adventurous, getting a real ‘close shave’ with a razor. For many a daunting ritual, but for some a run of the mill haircut, the rewards will of course be relative to how drastic a makeover your shave is. If you’ve waist length blonde hair you might expect a few more donations than your balding colleague! Getting a group of willing fundraisers together for a group shave is a great way to get the donations rolling in.
  1. Pay it forward:A team of volunteers are each presented with a small, identical sum of money, say $10-20 and challenged to turn it into as much money as they can for your cause, in a set time limit. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition to get the money flowing! If you struggle to get people to take the challenge on individually (it can be a little daunting for some) you can always encourage them to form up into small groups and make it a team competition!

 Pay it forward

  1. Matched giving:This model is so popular that it’s been taken forward by on a wide scale by government organisations. In the United Kingdom, for example, the government pledged to match all public donations to a group of charities supporting Hurricane Irma victims. You can adopt this on a smaller scale for your charity; engaging a local business to match donations made to a particular appeal or project you have going on. You could even make it a festive matched giving event- asking a company to match all donations made over the holiday period.
  1. Birthday&Holiday card sales: This may seem like a simple concept but can be a very effective seller- most large charities offer cards around the various holiday periods. You can have a card designed by your beneficiaries, as a way to help your donor community feel close to the cause. For children’s charities, this is a sure-fire way to melt some hearts and open some wallets. A great alternative is a picture of some of your beneficiaries, along with a thank you note written by them- something donors will be proud to display around their home.
  1. Charity Dinner:Bring the local community, or a select group of existing or potential donors together for an evening of great food and great fun. A prominent local chef might be willing to help at a discounted rate, or for free if you’re lucky, in exchange for a chance to show off their skills to the local great and the good. This is an excellent way to thank existing donors, or to bring prospects closer to the cause. Some after dinner entertainment like a singer or band is sure to go down a storm!
  1. Charity Ball:One step beyond the charity dinner, this can be your charity’s showcase event of the year. Bringing together all your high value supporters and donors in one room for a night of glitz and glamour. The possibilities for entertainment are endless- live comedy, live music and celebrity appearances are the staples of the charity ball, but there are a host of options. Most balls will have a number of fundraising functions at work during the event; raffles, auctions and lucky dips are a few examples.
  1. Facial Hair Challenges:This might sound like a more wacky entry, but facial hair challenges like moustache and beard growing have been gaining traction in recent years. This tends to be one for the guys, have your colleagues and friends sponsor you to sport an uncharacteristic item of facial hair. It doesn’t have to be a handlebar moustache, just suitably uncomfortable or unsightly and you’ll surely get some donations out of pity, even if nothing else. Having a group of you take on the challenge together is a great way to spread the embarrassment and hopefully get a few more dollars for the cause!
  1. Casino night:Depending where you’re based, a casino night can be a great option for bringing people together, having fun and raising money. Most states make exception to their gambling laws in the case of charitable organisations seeking to further their cause. Be sure to check federal and state law, but if you can get a casino night up and running, you could be onto a winning hand. There are many options and all betting could be for play money, with funds raised through entrance fees or raffle-type set ups. Many companies exist that can lay on a true casino experience for your donors.
  1. Give up a vice:Everyone must surely have a vice, something that they rely on for a bit of comfort or stress relief. Whatever yours is, be it alcohol, coffee or chocolate giving it up can be a difficult and daunting process. Don’t do it in vain- have people sponsor you! Popular charitable initiatives like Go Sober for October have raised millions for various causes and with a catchy title and a compelling back story you can get a slice of this action for your worthy cause.
  1. Talent show:People love the chance to get dressed up and show off! A great option for local community groups like cub scouts, girl guides and churches, but suitable for good causes of all sizes- get everybody together for a night of performances. Have the audience pay at the door and hold small scale fundraisers over the course of your evening and you’ll be onto a winner. The truly money-minded could adopt a system of paid voting to really rake in the cash.
  1. Quiz Night:Another great way to get people together, having fun and engaging with your cause. Themed quiz nights, with subjects like Harry Potter are taking off in popularity and holding one in the name of your good cause is as simple as hiring a room in a bar and getting the word out there. If the wizarding world isn’t your thing, you can have an old fashioned general knowledge quiz with paid entry and some not-so-subtle fundraising nudges throughout the night.
  1. Come dine with me:Harness the competitive instinct we all possess and get your local community engaged with a cooking competition. You can provide recipe guidelines and give out prizes for the best in a particular category. Your budding chefs can donate to enter, and you can make use a system of paid voting- people get the honour of tasting each of the delicious recipes and making their choice. The chance to show off their culinary prowess is too much for a lot of people to pass up and who doesn’t like to sample some good home-cooked food, especially in the name of a good cause.
  1. Art auction:Engaging local artists, sculptors and other creative types can be a win-win for both of you. Using your good cause as a platform to bring people together, hold an auction of work provided by the artists. Some might provide pieces free of charge, happy to have their work exhibited, gaining some attention and kudos for taking part. The most likely situation though is that your cause and the artist will split any money raised. Involving a professional auctioneer is recommended as this can make all the difference in getting items to sell.
  1. Olympics:Hold a mini Olympic Games and invite the local community along. This can be a mix of the serious and the silly.You could hold egg and spoon or sack races for the kids, as well as some of the staples for the adults, like the 100m sprint and the relay. Charge a fee for entry to the competitions and for spectators and use the hopefully teeming crowds to plug your cause and get some fundraising initiatives going.
  1. Gaming for good:Video gaming use to be synonymous with kids and teenagers but is now more than ever a global market; the average video game fan is now 35. Services like Twitch allow players to live stream their gaming activities to a worldwide audience, who in turn give money to support their favourite gamers. Encourage gamers in your community to hold a live streaming event with all profits going to your cause.Get a big group together for better engagement and a real sense of fun and this can be a very profitable idea.
  1. Disco night:An old favourite and as simple a fundraising model as you can find. Bring people in with the prospect of some great music to dance the night away to and have fun with friends and family. You just need access to a large space like a community hall and some good quality speakers and you’re on your way, its up to you how high quality the equipment has to be. Charge an entry fee and lay on food and drink with a good mark-up and a disco night can be a great way to spin a few dollars for your cause!
  1. Scavenger hunt:This is a great way to engage local kids and families with your workand are well-suited to charities or good causes helping children and young people. Outdoor scavenger hunts are the best fun; hide a selection of treats and surprises around a safe, defined area and send kids and their parents out to hunt for them. Parents will no doubt be happy to make a nice donation to take part as they’re getting the chance to support your cause and have a fun family day out with the local community.

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