45 Unique Fundraising Ideas for Schools, Camps and Nonprofits

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There are so many fundraising ideas, but not all of them can reap huge benefits for your organization. To help you reach your fundraising goals, we have put together a comprehensive list of fundraising ideas that are proven to generate a positive return for any nonprofit.

Each idea is rated by its potential to motivate potential donors to donate, cost to organize it, and popularity, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. We’ve also sorted our fundraising ideas into categories to make it easier for you to scan through the article.

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Popular and Profitable Fundraising Ideas
Quick and Easy Fundraising Ideas
Virtual Fundraising Ideas
Fundraising Ideas for Youth Camps
Fundraising Ideas for Schools
Unique Fundraising Ideas for Membership Organizations
Start Raising Money for Your Cause

Learning about all of these fundraising ideas will help you determine which one will fit your needs.

So what are good fundraising ideas for nonprofits that have superb earning potential? Get on your chair and let’s take you for a long read.

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Popular and Profitable Fundraising Ideas

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Disposable/Reusable Face Mask
Customized T-Shirt
Phone-A-Thon
Gastronomic Festival
Golf Competition
Carnival
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Text-to-Give Fundraising

Disposable/Reusable Face Mask

With lots of flu viruses living among us, disposable and reusable face masks alike will never go out of demand.

In fact, the US medical mask reports that the mask market is expected to grow over 23% within 2019 to 2025. Factors that are likely to contribute to this massive growth during the forecast period are the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the advent of transparent face masks, the inception of 3D-printed medical masks, and the procurement of masks from government organizations.

That said, you can safely assume that face masks have just become a part of our new normal, making them one of the highly marketable fundraising ideas for nonprofits. They’re also a great way to promote health and safety in your community.

To get started, come up with designs that match your branding objectives. You can create custom-made face masks with your nonprofit’s branding design elements like logo, color palette, typeface, and so on. Then, launch a fundraising campaign to sell them to your target audience.

Potential: +++++
Cost: $$
Popularity: *****

Customized T-Shirt

A no-brainer, t-shirt fundraisers are always successful for three reasons:

  • They are wardrobe staples.
  • You can create and order customized t-shirts from home, thanks to advanced digital technologies!
  • Customized t-shirts are items that anyone interested in your campaign will wear even after the fundraising event. Therefore, word of mouth about your cause will continue to reach more people.

To stand out from the other t-shirt fundraisers in town, create a one-of-a-kind and attractive t-shirt design that represents your unique brand best. Then, build a solid merchandise strategy to promote it. Be sure to leverage your social media channels and digital platforms to spread the word.

If your supporters are happy, they will enjoy spreading the word about your organization, allowing you to raise more money and opportunities to expand to other fundraising products like hats, water bottles, pens, or notepads.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Phone-A-Thon

Phone-a-thons are ideal for raising money for major events like religious causes, political campaigns, and disaster reliefs. This fundraising idea might require a bit of work, but it can still generate high potential returns. To do this the old-fashioned way, form a call list, assemble a team of volunteers, write and hand out a script and build a call center that will allow you to do simultaneous calls on a single number.

Alternatively, you can set everything up virtually with a website and web phone. Simply leverage VoIP services like Skype, Google Phone, or WhatsApp to be able to make phone-a-thons over the internet. But since everything’s done online, the first order of business is to have a computer/smartphone and reliable internet connection that can handle bandwidth requirements of online simultaneous calls.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ****

Pro tip: Want to direct your supporters to your website for registration and donation? Use a software application like Regpack that can efficiently handle online mass registrations and payments on your website.

Regpack gives you the ability to create donation forms, automatically bill donors on a recurring basis, and automate email responses like thank you and payment receipts, allowing you to streamline your in-person and online fundraising process. Besides, some donors might want to enroll themselves in a monthly giving program. In fact, a recent study showed that 45% of American donors do. And using Regpack is one efficient way to give them this option.

Gastronomic Festival

You will never go wrong with food and beverage festivals! As social (and hungry) creatures, people always watch out for culinary events to put their palates to the test and have a taste of the community they either belong to or visit. Besides, sharing meals with people often leads to shared conversations, ideas and fellowship, which is an opportunity to spread word about your cause.

So, take your supporters on a meaningful journey through various local or international cuisines. Not only are they a good way to showcase your idea of giving back, but also your idea of local hospitality and tourism. You could set up food stations, beer/wine bars, DIY sandwich or salad bars for healthier options, hold cooking demos, or serve meals the ol’ family way, i.e., platters on huge, communal tables.

Use Regpack’s online mass registration system to provide people with a platform where they can fill out a form and book their tickets.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$$
Popularity: ****

Golf Competition

Non-team sporting events like golf can be quite easy to organize. Simply contact a golf course manager near you to get started. They can help you to set everything up, from the venue, tournament rules, souvenirs, to food and refreshments for the golfers and guests. Communicate that the tips will go to your chosen charity or cause. Also, be sure to schedule the tournament between spring and early fall, as this is the best time for golfing.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$$
Popularity: ***

Carnival

Carnivals are one of the most family-oriented fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Kids can go with their parents and make lifetime memories together. Carnivals also offer something for all ages like amusement rides, contests, games, entertaining shows, and yummy food and beverages.

Work with a carnival attraction rental company to hold your carnival event for a cause. However, if bigger rides and attraction rentals are too expensive, consider hiring local performers and community theater members who can put on a wonderful show to cut costs. Additionally, invite and partner with some local vendors to provide food stations for the guests.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$$
Popularity: *****

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a type of crowdfunding that involves your supporters or volunteers raising money for your cause. Since people know each other personally, hence peer-to-peer, the innate feeling to trust one another is there. So, they’re more likely to donate and advocate for your cause through their own social networks.

Research shows that 14% of donors from across the globe have created a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign online. The average amount of money raised through this type of nonprofit event is almost $10,000.

What’s more is that there’s little overhead cost. If anything at all, you’ll only have to set aside some budget for a campaign software and platform, but the fundraising potential and popularity are very promising. No wonder nonprofit organizations themselves make the most of peer-to-peer fundraising because it organically grows their online communities.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Text-to-Give Fundraising

Who leaves without their smartphone on them nowadays? This is why text-to-give is one of the easiest ways to reach out to your target audience to raise money. It simply gives them the ability to donate money to your organization from their mobile devices.

In fact, 19.4% of registrations for fundraisers are done on mobile devices and 25% of donors send funds to their chosen causes by using a smartphone.

To get started, sign up for a paid text-to-give service and launch a text-based fundraising campaign. It can also be a great addition to your other stand-alone fundraising tools and ideas to boost donations.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

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Quick and Easy Fundraising Ideas

Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Direct Mail
Coffee Donations
Serve-a-thon Fundraiser
Ice Cream Social Event
Balloon Raffle Event
Can and Bottle
Cookie Dough Fundraiser

On average, Americans support up to 4 charities. So to give your local community more causes to support, here are some fundraising ideas you can use to promote and raise money for your charity.

Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Shoe drive fundraisers are ideal for both beginner and experienced fundraising organizers. They offer an easy and fast way to ask donations from potential and long-term supporters. More importantly, they encourage your community to engage with you and pay more attention to your cause. Here are some steps to organizing one:

  • Partner with a shoe drive coordinator. They can provide you with the materials you need to succeed.
  • Ask your supporters to gather the used and new shoes they are willing to donate.
  • Contact your coordinator to get the shoes you have collected.
  • Talk to your coordinator about sending you a check based on the total weight of the shoes you picked up.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Direct Mail

Want to go old-school and send snail mail to your potential donors? Direct mail involves sending heartfelt letters directly to your supporter’s mailbox. And nothing beats the feeling of receiving and opening an actual, personalized snail mail! To impress your target audience, compose a warm and friendly letter with an honest-to-goodness stamp on it.

If people see that you have just spent a few cents to share your charitable causes with them, you will likely leave a mark. It will also show them that you’re really willing to go the extra mile for what you believe in. It’s hard to compete with thoughtful and personalized letters, even though direct mail requires a bit of hard work and budget than emails or text messages.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Coffee Donations

Can’t get enough of coffee? Combine your passion for coffee and fundraising with this idea. One of the easiest ways to raise money, put donation jars by the coffee tables in your office pantry, local cafes, and even your own kitchen.

People who support you are then given the opportunity to make a small donation every time they pick up a coffee. Over time, this can build a steady fund for your organization and reach more people.

Additionally, if your company has free coffee, consider incentivizing your coffee donation drive. Treat participating offices to a “gourmet coffee day” once you hit your fundraising goal. To spice things up a bit, have participating offices compete against one another. The one who’s quick enough to reach the goal first wins. Of course, award the winner with a gift card or free premium coffee to your favorite local cafe.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Serve-a-Thon Fundraiser

A serve-a-thon fundraiser is an easy way to gather your volunteers and donors to take on a community service project.

The first step is to form a partnership with a business in your area to sponsor your fundraiser. Another way to get sponsorship is by launching peer-to-peer fundraising, through which supporters can use their social networks to ask for donations from their peers.

Once you’ve secured a sponsor, start serving your town. Fortunately, are a lot of community service activities that you can do, such as follows:

  • Pick up trash
  • Clean up a kid’s playground
  • Rake leaves in a park
  • Walk pets
  • Baby sit children
  • Foster a rescue animal
  • Tree-planting
  • Mow lawns

Serve-a-thons are also a good monthly fundraising program. So, it’s best to have a platform like a website where you can keep all registered members in one place. Then, process payments or accept donations efficiently using Regpack’s donation management software.

Potential: +++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ***

Ice Cream Social Event

A good summer event, ice cream social has high earning potential because everybody loves this dessert! It also works because it doesn’t require a lot of planning.

To get started, find a venue for the event, build an ice cream bar to showcase a wide variety of flavors and toppings, and create a ticketing system. The colorful lineup of ice cream flavors alone will already attract a lot of people, allowing you to introduce your cause to a wider market.

Even better, partner with a local ice cream shop to provide you with supplies for free and sponsor your event.

Launch a promotional campaign to build awareness around your community and charge a small fee for admittance.

Also, encourage your long-term supporters to invite their peers to join them in your event. Consider offering a bring-a-friend discount on admission or free merchandise (e.g., key chains, bag tags, or pens) to further motivate them.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Balloon Raffle Event

Invite your supporters to a balloon raffle event where they can be both heroes to your beneficiaries and win prizes! To use this fundraising idea for your cause, simply place tickets inside the balloons and charge a fee to those who want to join the raffle.

Additionally, build a tiered pricing model to raise more money. For example, group the tickets by the colors of the balloons. Red for the grand prize, yellow for 5 lucky winners, blue for 10 lucky winners, and so on. Not only does this allow you to raise more money, but also increases your participants’ chances of winning.

To kick things off, distribute the balloons to the participants so they can then pop them to get their ticket. Consider counting down from 10 to 1 for a synchronized balloon popping. It’s more fun that way. Finally, hold raffle draws and announce the winners to conclude the event.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Can and Bottle

Can and bottle drive is a classic fundraiser for all ages. Quick and easy to do, it’s a great way to introduce your cause to people who haven’t done any fundraising events before. Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a collection site like a park or gymnasium.
  • Ask people to bring in their bottles and cans in exchange for money.
  • Consider offering pick up donations to make it easier for people to donate.
  • Award the person who donates the most recyclables with a gift card or certificate.

Things you should think about before holding a bottle and can drive are storage and transportation. Gather your volunteers to help you with these.

Potential: ++
Cost: $
Popularity: **

Cookie Dough Fundraiser

Like ice cream, cookie dough is everyone’s favorite as well. It is easy to prepare, delicious, and a profitable product. That’s why it is one of the most popular and successful fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

To raise money, partner with a cookie dough fundraising company. They usually have several cookie dough flavors to satisfy everybody’s cravings. Some even don’t require money upfront, so you can literally start a cookie dough fundraising event with little or no capital.

Be sure to buy in bulk to get some friendly discounts and lower shipping costs. It’s best to hold events like this toward the end of the year when people are in the mood for gift giving and holiday desserts.

Potential: +++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ****

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Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Emergency Fundraising Appeal
In-Kind Donations
Online Gaming Tournament
Online Gala
Virtual Walk/Run
Livestream a Benefit Concert
Virtual Cooking Night

With COVID-19 still devastating communities across the world, here are some virtual fundraising ideas that don’t involve a lot of physical contact or in-person activities.

Emergency Fundraising Appeal

Desperate times call for desperate measures. When dire situations compel organizations to go out on a limb in order to keep their initiatives afloat, they would resort to different means of doing so, including making an emergency fund appeal. This approach is a straightforward way to communicate their causes and to receive funding in a timely manner.

With the way things are today—socially and economically, making an emergency fundraising appeal is one of the quickest and most effective ways of raising the money your organization needs to further its efforts.

Your appeal should be as personal as possible, conveying important information about your organization and the reason it needs emergency funding. This includes stating your current situation, why it requires urgent resolution, your specific needs, how donor contributions will create an impact and the actual fundraising asks. It should also provide options on how people can respond to the appeal, whether through your online donation form, via text or other specific ways to give. This makes it easier for your supporters to reach out and make a contribution.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

In-Kind Donations

Due to the current economic climate, some of your donors may not be able to give in cash but are more than willing to contribute in kind. Canned goods, clothing, toiletries, and the like are examples of in-kind donations that are just as beneficial to people in need.

Specifying exactly what items you need is important to ensure that everything donated to your organization will be put to good use. Some well-meaning donors may give things that don’t meet your needs so it’s best to provide a list of items you accept when you put out a call for donations.

Aside from enumerating specific things you need, having clear guidelines on how your supporters can send their in-kind donations to you or how these items will be collected is also crucial. Indicating a drop-off point or a postal address will make it easier and safer for everyone involved.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Online Gaming Tournament

Online gaming has been a favorite pastime of many individuals, especially now that most sports, traveling and outdoor activities have become limited. What better way to engage your organization’s advocates than arranging online gaming tournaments that are not only fun, but also a worthwhile use of their time?

Face-to-face game nights used to be a thing pre-pandemic, but who says you can’t host similar events online? These virtual events can bring your advocates together for a little friendly competition while promoting your cause without needing to leave the comfort and safety of their homes.

Either build your own video game or choose from a wide variety of online games from Steam, Android PlayStore, or Apple App Store. For a reasonable “entrance fee”, your supporters can join and interact with other players. You may also want to use Regpack’s virtual registration software to keep a guest list of attendees, including their contact information, and collect payments. Send out a mass thank-you email for their participation and be sure to get in touch with them in the future.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Online Gala

Don’t let restrictions and pandemic protocols stop you from having a ball. You can still organize formal festivities like a luncheon or gala to connect and “get together” with your supporters. Video conferencing services like Zoom allow individuals to meet virtually while live-streaming platforms like Facebook and YouTube Live let your audience watch your programs and events together in real-time.

These digital tools have features (e.g. chat, virtual cues/signals, mute/unmute functionality) that allow for better and more organized communication so you can immediately get responses from your participants in an orderly manner.

Including a Q&A portion or an open discussion with founders and resource speakers can help your supporters learn more about your organization, its advocacies and projects. This will enlighten them on how they can better contribute to your cause and encourage them to invest more in your undertakings.

A virtual gala is also one of the most convenient and cost-effective virtual fundraising ideas for you and your advocates to “socialize” with each other as it doesn’t require you to provide a physical venue, meals, and other materials that an event entails, and it lets your guests participate without leaving their homes.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Virtual Walk/Run

Holding sporting events is another great way of bringing your supporters together but since the current health situation hinders us from making physical contact with one another, creating a virtual walk or run would be your best bet. It’s pretty much the same as a regular fundraising race, except each participant runs or walks on his/her own or with a small group during a set date and time.

To join, runners pay a registration fee or solicit pledges from family and friends to help raise money for your organization.

You can set up an online platform where your supporters can clock in, log their time and create their own profiles where they can receive pledges from their sponsors.

How to hold a virtual walk/race:

  • Create a website to organize your content, including registration.
  • Let participants create their own profile and select a date(s) for a run.
  • Put social media buttons in your website to encourage participants to invite their friends on social media to donate. Consider setting goals of either $20, $50 or $100 to be qualified to receive a gift.
  • Partner with Asics’ Runkeeper to plan and track runs with GPS on your mobile devices. This is also a smart way for you to monitor the participants’ daily runs in real time.

Potential: +++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ****

Livestream a Benefit Concert

Traditional live performances are some of the things we won’t get to enjoy in a long while. It’s a good thing musical artists all over the world have found ways to still perform, albeit virtually, to uplift and entertain the rest of us with their tunes. You can tap a few local musicians like singers, bands and instrumentalists for a live stream benefit concert, proceeds of which will go to your organization’s charity.

Organizing your virtual fundraising concert may just be a little tricky when it comes to deciding on what type of musical show to stage, recruiting performers and promoting your event. But once you get all these details ironed out, you’re practically good to go.

How how to get started:

  • Choose your show
  • Set the lineup
  • Promote the concert

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Virtual Cooking Night

The undesirable effects of COVID-19 have crippled various types of businesses, causing them to cut back on their spending or altogether shut down. Restaurants and other foodservice facilities are no exception, that’s why setting up a virtual cooking night hits three birds with a single stone.

Team up with a chef from a local restaurant and arrange an online meal preparation activity with your supporters. You can either do this live or prerecorded. Not only will this help a struggling business stay afloat, but it will also be a great learning and dining experience for your participants. Best of all, this virtual cooking event will raise the money you need to fund your organization’s projects.

Prior to the virtual cooking night, coordinate with the chef regarding what ingredients and materials the participants need for the activity. Then make sure to inform your supporters of what they need to purchase and prepare beforehand so your cooking event runs smoothly.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

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Fundraising Ideas for Youth Camps

Sports Camp Fundraisers
Parent’s Night Out Fundraiser
Bake Sale Fundraiser
Garage Sale Fundraiser
Sponsorship Letters
Car Wash Fundraiser
Halloween Fundraising
Public/Online Classes

Based on a study, 18% of Americans consider family and youth causes as the most important to them. Continue to uphold traditional family values by raising money for your youth camps. Not only do they make summer exciting, but also get the youth involved in causes that will help them become more active members of your community. Get started with these fundraising ideas for camps!

Sports Camp Fundraisers

Give local kids a lot of new and exciting experiences by hosting a sports camp fundraiser!

Call on local coaches and players from high school sports teams who are willing to devote some of their precious time (and skills) to teach children and teens at your sports camp. A sports camp is a perfect way to teach the youth about the fundamentals and values of popular sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and so on. They will also learn the importance of teamwork, discipline, and confidence to help them become more versatile individuals.

To earn profits from tuition fees, collaborate with local coaches or sports groups when creating a sports program that participants can sign up for. Then, set up a registration and payment platform where parents can enroll their kids at your sports camp for a fun and meaningful summer!

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Parent’s Night Out Fundraiser

Most parents rarely take some time off because they don’t always have access to a dependable babysitter. In this parent’s night out fundraiser, partner with your local church and invite the youth to babysit for children whose parents are taking the night off.

Your youth volunteers will keep the children busy for hours with lots of age-appropriate parlor games, arts and crafts, board games, and other fun activities in the church or gymnasium. This way, parents can take their much-deserved date night or just a relaxing time at home.

Charge a reasonable fee per child. Also consider adding adult volunteers to your group to get an extra pair of hands, in case there’s a huge number of kids to babysit. This is a good way for teenagers to raise some money for their next summer camp too.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Bake Sale Fundraiser

Have local teens sell cookies, muffins, or even coffee before and after church service to fund their upcoming youth event. They can come up with their own baked goods to help them build more solid teamwork, have new experiences, and maybe even develop entrepreneurial aspirations. To boost revenue, ask local bakeries to donate some of their best-sellers or give you a friendly discount on bulk orders.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Garage Sale Fundraiser

Everyone has old items to auction off for a cause. If you run youth camp events, take all the old stuff from your campsite and donate them for auction. Have your volunteers reach out to homeowners and other members of the community to donate valuable items they no longer use to a town-wide yard sale. Use your campsite as the venue for the auction and make sure to provide your guests with food and refreshments. Attractions like live bands can also help to lure more people into your event.

Alternatively, leverage websites or social networks for added convenience, especially for potential buyers who might prefer online shopping to traditional retail shopping. Use Regpack to enable account registration, payment processing, and email automation on your website.

Whichever method you choose, do it annually to consistently raise money for your yearly youth camp.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Sponsorship Letters

Help families send their kids to your summer camp using this fundraising idea. In sponsorship letters, have the kids write heartfelt and sincere appeals and distribute them to supporters, friends, and local businesses to raise money. Topics that the kids could write about are:

  • What the camp means to them
  • When and where is the event
  • A closing paragraph promising the sponsors that they’ll write about their great experiences at the camp

It’s also best to include a photograph of the kid so that sponsors can establish a better emotional connection with the sender. Then, remind the kids to follow up with a thank you letter.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Car Wash Fundraiser

Car wash is one of the most popular fundraising ideas for nonprofits. It’s absolutely effective because everyone in the neighborhood will want their youth to succeed besides the fact that car owners need a good car wash sometimes. But do teenagers themselves love it? Yes, they do. High school varsity teams, in particular, love car wash fundraisers as they can make up to $1,000 a day from it.

To get started, follow these steps:

  • Assemble a team of youth volunteers and organize them into various groups like a team for promotions, car washing, drying, interior cleaning, and sales.
  • Find a location with a high foot traffic.
  • Create a to-do list and delegate tasks.
  • Create car wash packages and posters.
  • Gather all car cleaning supplies like hoses, sponges, washcloths, buckets, soap, towels, and so on.
  • Choose the right date and time.
  • Create flyers or promotional plans to spread the word.
  • Advertise your event on social networks.

To raise more money, pick another fundraiser like bake sale, popcorn fundraiser, coffee donations, or t-shirt fundraiser. Either create these goods yourself or buy from a supplier and sell them at an affordable price.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Halloween Fundraising

People like some good jumpscares once in a while. Come October, hold a night of horror and donate the proceeds to your next youth camp. Creating a horror fest is a bit difficult, especially for first-timers, so it’s wise to reach out to parents and organizers to help you with the setup and preparation.

To make this work, create a plan, a map of the house/forest, and split up the task between your volunteers. Then, prepare all the needed supplies such as costumes, lighting, speakers, fake cobwebs, boxes for display, glow sticks, and paint. These may all sound costly, so to earn back a fraction of the money you’ll be shelling out, use FlipGive. This platform earns you cashback on items you’re buying like costumes, displays, cobwebs, and so on.

Potential: +++
Cost: $$$
Popularity: ****

Public/Online Classes

Youth camps teach kids and teens the skills they’ll need in life to succeed. These commonly include activities that help them develop perseverance, teamwork, and self-confidence. But the thing is even grown-ups need them too. Why not provide your community a (paid) preview of your summer camp programs by holding a public classes fundraiser?

Think about a subject you want to teach, and then build an online school using a distance learning management platform. If you have a website but don’t have time for administrative tasks, use Regpack to build forms and automate mass registrations and payments, i.e., auto-billing. Of course, all proceeds will go to your summer camp’s funding.

For in-person classes, use the facilities of your campsite to conduct lectures.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ****

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Fundraising Ideas for Schools

Family Day
Straw Draw
Drama Club
Scavenger Hunt
Book Drive
Mud Obstacle Racing
Pie in Face
Popcorn Fundraiser

Fundraising is a profitable way to raise money for school-related causes. Based on a study, 27.1% of educational institutions earn more than $75,000 from fundraising efforts. So what are good fundraising ideas for schools?

Family Day

A family that plays together, stays together! Bring families together for a day of fun, cool and exciting activities on your campus. Not only does this give parents a chance to spend quality time with their kiddos, but also support a cause that’s very important to them.

Things you’ll need for your family day event:

  • Plan activities (e.g., picnic, games, and competitions)
  • Transportation, tickets, food and beverage, and prizes
  • Approach local businesses for sponsorships like tables and chairs or party decorations they can donate.
  • Sell tickets that participants can use to join in competitions and buy concessions.

While family fun day is, in itself, a good stand-alone fundraiser, it still makes sense to add another fundraiser like custom t-shirts. Families can proudly wear them during the activities. Think of t-shirts as souvenirs they can take home and wear again for the next family fun day.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Straw Draw

Organizing straw draw fundraisers is so easy that even middle schoolers can do it. All you have to do is put different prizes to the bottom of the straws. Participants then either have to donate or buy a ticket before they can pick a straw, which each has a prize attached.

Make sure that the prizes vary to make things more exciting. Reach out to local businesses to see if they are willing to donate gift cheques, gift baskets, or their own products to your project. For less fancy prizes, offer simple but something that students and faculty members will appreciate greatly, such as extended break time, free lunch meal, or free school supplies.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Drama Club

Want to raise funds for your next stage play? A drama club fundraiser is exactly what you should be doing. One idea is to host a talent show and charge a fee for admittance. Not only does this allow you to solicit donations, but also give your theater group an exciting opportunity to showcase their hidden talents and surprise the crowd.

To succeed, start promoting your talent show for a cause in advance. Give your members ample time to sign up and perfect their performances. Generate buzz on social networks and around campus through flyers, posters, and student radio broadcasting.

Let your drama club shine and enjoy the spotlight using this fundraising idea!

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Scavenger Hunt

Engage middle and high schoolers in a challenging scavenger hunt to raise funds for your cause. This fundraiser teaches them the value of teamwork in order to win cool prizes (and lifetime memories).

To make your scavenger hunt memorable, set up a wide variety of stops around the campus. You may also want to include special stops at the location of your sponsors for extra challenge. Have teams post pictures at these locations and answer trivia questions. The trivia questions could be something related to your cause to help build awareness.

Below are some tips for organizing a scavenger hunt fundraiser:

  • Pick a home base and hold a kickoff ceremony to explain the rules and distribute swag bags.
  • Create a website where participants can register, pay for tickets, get clues, post photos for each stop, and answer your trivia questions.
  • Ask local sponsors about whether or not they would like to host those special stops.
  • Hold a reward ceremony back at home base.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Book Drive

Raise money and promote reading at the same time with a book drive event! Ask students, parents, faculty members, school staff, and the rest of the community to donate gently-used books to your academic institution.

Pick a drop-off location to easily collect all the used books and sell them. Donors themselves might want to check out what others have donated, so this is also a good way for them to socialize and geek out over shared book interests. Unsold books can then go to your school library and/or chosen charity.

However, if your book sale falls short of its goal, here’s how you can bounce back:

  • Conduct a fundraiser assessment immediately.
  • Consider incorporating “bridge the gap” fundraisers into your next event.
  • Stop feeling like a failure and embrace success.
  • Change the way you fundraise.

For more tips, read here.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Mud Obstacle Racing

Get your hands dirty, but for the right reasons! Put your students’ strength and athleticism to the test with a mud run event. It usually includes mud crawls, mud pits, muddy balance beams, mud wrestlings, jello-covered inflatables, and mudslides.

Have the participants pay a small fee to get tickets for the race, food, and a goodie bag. You may also want to order custom drawstring bags or t-shirts for the event so that participants can show their school pride. With bragging rights on the line, your event will surely bring out the competitive side in your students. Here’s how to get started:

  • Choose a location.
  • Map out the starting and finish lines, as well as the obstacles.
  • Decide what kinds of obstacles to include in the race.
  • Promote the mud run around the campus.
  • Set up a registration and payment system. Use your website to allow students to do these things online. Take advantage of Regpack’s user management system for a faster and safer virtual registration process.
  • Announce and award the winners with medals.

Potential: +++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ****

Pie in Face

Have a good laugh while raising money for your cause! If you need to fundraise for your girls volleyball team’s new uniforms or equipment, round up your roster and have students pay $3 for one pie and $6 for two. Students can then throw whipped cream pie(s) in the face of their chosen volleyball player. Keep this fundraiser running until you reach your fundraising goal.

Another way to do this fundraiser is to “pie” the principal by one lucky student. Ask students to donate money, and as soon as they achieve the goal, they get to choose one student who will toss the pie to their principal.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

Popcorn Fundraiser

Popcorn fundraisers typically have a high-profit margin. Reports show that fundraising organizers can earn up to 50% from selling around 500 bags of popcorn. Of course, the more you sell, the more you earn for your organization.

So, aside from choosing a popcorn vendor that can offer you high returns on your investment, come up with a strategy that will get people to buy multiple bags of this delicious corny snack. Offering a wide variety of popcorn flavors is one good selling point, plus unique packaging.

Additionally, taking the shop location and timing into mind are also very important. You will want the location accessible to students, parents, and other guests. Sell during the holidays or theater shows, as these events are guaranteed to give you a lot of customers.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ****

fundraising ideas _ learn more

Fundraising Ideas for Membership Organizations

Men VS Women
Dance Showdown
Crowdfunding
Email Campaign Fundraiser
Donor Incentives
Grants

Soliciting funds from the members of your association can feel like a hard sell considering they’re already paying for association dues. But, don’t fret. According to the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE), 60% of their total income comes from non-dues revenue. Thus, your members, as well as supporters are likely to support causes that matter to them.

We’ve come up with these fundraising ideas to help members feel more connected to your association and confident to support your cause, be they student scholarships, research, conferences, annual awards, business trips, among other charitable causes.

Men VS Women

Also known as Battle of the Sexes, this fundraiser involves friendly competitions between the female and male members of your organization. Bring the best out of your members in a single match!

For this competition, choose a theme for the match. It can be like The Amazing Race, Masterchef, Project Runway, Sugar Rush, or Beastmaster. Or, it can be as simple as putting donation boxes in two drop-off locations in a very busy area – imagine Madison Square Garden, NYC’s foot traffic. Participants can then put their donations into the boxes and the first group to fill them shall be announced as the winners!

This kind of game may last for a few days. So, use your social networks to rally the troops and keep them updated on which team is in the lead.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ***

Dance Showdown

If you’re not a fan of pitting women against men (albeit in a friendly way), have them team up for a dance off instead.
For the event, rent an auditorium and ask your community about what type of dance genre they would like to watch. Some might be more into partner dances, while others prefer freestyle or ballet. Set up a poll online to take the pulse of your target audience.
Then, invite local choreographers to volunteer their time to help your members figure out a dance routine. They may also judge the performances to save time and resources.
To raise money, charge an admission fee. Be sure to provide concessions for the guests. Offer snacks, fries, sausages and beverages. You may also want to sell custom t-shirts to commemorate the event.
Potential: +++
Cost: $$
Popularity: ***

Crowdfunding

Since you already have members to turn to for donations, crowdfunding can be the quickest way to fundraise for you. It also has a huge earning potential. In North America alone, around $17.2 billion is generated annually through crowdfunding, with an average success rate of 22.4%.

Similar to peer-to-peer fundraisers, crowdfunding involves members using an online crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, IndieGogo, or Fundrazr to raise money for your cause in their own way. They can invite their own family and friends to donate and share your cause with others through social networks and emails.

So in some way, this also takes the huge burden of having to donate hundreds of dollars off of your members.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Email Campaign Fundraiser

Nonprofits can raise an average of $42 for every 1,000 fundraising emails sent to their subscribers. No wonder email has one of the highest return on investment among other marketing channels like text and social media. This alone is good enough reason to give it a try.

For your email campaign, create and send out appeals (with a personalized subject line) to the people in your email list. If you’re already using Regpack, use our email automation feature to create an email sequence, from building awareness about your latest cause, making an offer to closing the deal. Be sure to direct your supporters to a website where they can read more information about your campaign and donate directly.

For more fundraising tips, read here.

Potential: ++++
Cost: $
Popularity: *****

Donor Incentives

Like member incentives, this fundraiser rewards donors with access to discounts, offers, and benefits. Surely, your members will appreciate benefits like a one-time 10% discount on their association fee or merchandise. To make it even more special, offer to share their research or work with your peers.

You may also want them to give them a free 1-day access to premium content (e.g., articles, keynote presentations, and webinars) related to their projects so they can gain more valuable information about their field while supporting a good cause. The higher the amount of financial donation, the longer they can access your premium content.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Grants

Want to reach out to the big leagues? Writing grants is one of the best ways to do it. Aside from your association members, you can also ask for donations from corporations, government agencies, and foundations. In most cases, one grant is enough to boost your non-due revenue significantly.

Take Google’s Adwords Grants for nonprofits. This charitable program offers $10,000 monthly funding to help nonprofits improve their presence on Google. This then helps them drive more traffic to their donation pages or websites, thereby allowing them to raise more money and expand their community drastically.

To make sure you have a good grant, look for grants that are relevant to your nonprofit core mission and goals. You may also want to hire an expert grant writer for the job or companies like Candid that provide nonprofits the information they need to be able to find funding.

Potential: +++
Cost: $
Popularity: ***

Start Raising Money for Your Cause

There you have it, the 45 fundraising ideas for nonprofits! While some require a bit of effort to organize, most have a high earning potential and more importantly, an effective way to engage your supporters so you can keep them coming back for more.

However, once your nonprofit starts to grow, what were once small administrative tasks like registrations, payroll, building email lists, and email automation can get overwhelming.

This is where Regpack comes in. We offer a scalable, turnkey online mass registration and payment solution to nonprofits, schools, associations, youth camps, and small businesses.

Our software allows you to virtually build mobile-friendly forms for registration processes, collect payments, automate billings, create discounts and coupons, track user sessions and attendance, and communicate with donors via email, and use data analytics to help you understand your audience better,

fundraising ideas _ learn more

About The Author
Asaf Darash
Asaf Darash
CEO and founder of Regpack

Asaf, Founder and CEO of Regpack, has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.

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