10 Best Fundraising Event Ideas for Nonprofits 

Are you looking for fun and effective ways to raise money for your nonprofit organization? Look no further! We’ve put together a list of the best fundraising event ideas that are sure to engage your supporters and help you reach your goals. Whether you’re a small local charity or a large national organization, these fundraising ideas can be leveraged to raise money for your nonprofit. 

Recommended: Read our review of the best event management software for nonprofits.

Top Fundraising Event Ideas for Your Nonprofit

Fundraising is a critical part of any nonprofit organization’s success, but it can be challenging to come up with new and engaging ideas that will inspire your supporters to give. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top fundraising event ideas that have been proven to work for nonprofits of all sizes and causes. 

Whether you’re looking to host a formal dinner, a community festival, or an online campaign, we’ve got plenty of ideas to help you raise money and build stronger connections with your donors. Let’s dive in and explore the best fundraising events for your nonprofit.

1. Gala Events

Gala events are a classic fundraising staple for a reason — they’re elegant, exciting, and can raise a lot of money in one night. Galas often feature fancy dinners, live entertainment, and the chance for supporters to dress up and mingle. To make your gala stand out, consider adding elements like:

  • Silent auctions where guests can bid on unique items or experiences donated by local businesses or supporters. You could offer anything from gift baskets to vacation packages to one-of-a-kind memorabilia.
  • Live auctions with an engaging auctioneer to drive up bids on big-ticket items. Having a charismatic host can really get the crowd excited and encourage some friendly bidding wars.
  • Special honors or awards to celebrate your cause and supporters. Recognizing key donors, volunteers, or community members is a great way to make your gala feel more personal and meaningful.

2. Fun Runs and Charity Walks

Charity runs and walks are a great way to get your community active while supporting your cause. These events encourage people to come together and get moving for a good reason, whether they’re serious athletes or just looking for a fun weekend activity. You can make your run or walk even more engaging by:

  • Offering a virtual option for supporters to participate from anywhere. This allows people to join in even if they can’t make it to the physical event, and can help you expand your reach beyond your local community.
  • Creating a themed event, like a color run where participants get splashed with bright colors at each mile marker, or a dog walk where people can bring their furry friends along for the fun.
  • Providing fun post-race festivities and treats. After all that exercise, your participants will appreciate some snacks, drinks, and maybe even some live music or entertainment.

3. Online Fundraising Campaigns

In today’s digital age, online fundraising campaigns are a must for any nonprofit looking to expand its reach and engage new supporters. These campaigns allow you to tell your story, share your impact, and collect donations all through the power of the internet. Two effective options for online campaigns are:

  • Crowdfunding campaigns that rally supporters around a specific project or goal. Platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter make it easy to set up a campaign page, share it with your networks, and track your progress towards your fundraising target.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising that encourages supporters to create their own mini-campaigns on behalf of your cause. This allows your most passionate advocates to tap into their own social circles and raise money from friends and family.

4. Charity Concerts

Music brings people together, so why not use it to bring people together for your cause? Charity concerts are a great way to entertain your supporters while raising money and awareness for your mission. These events can be as big or as small as your budget allows, and can feature any genre of music that resonates with your audience. Some options for charity concerts include:

  • Showcasing local talent in your community, from up-and-coming bands to established musicians who want to give back. This is a great way to tap into your local music scene and build grassroots support for your cause.
  • Bringing in bigger headliner acts to really draw a crowd and generate buzz. If you have the budget and connections, booking a well-known artist can help you sell more tickets and bring in major donations.
  • Using any budget to put on a fun and festive show. Even if you can’t afford big-name acts, you can still create a great concert experience with talented local musicians, good sound and lighting, and a lively atmosphere.

5. Charity Dinners

Food-based events are always popular, and charity dinners are no exception. These events allow your supporters to enjoy a delicious meal while learning more about your cause and making a difference with their donations. Charity dinners can range from casual BBQs to fancy galas, and can feature any type of cuisine that fits your theme and audience. Some ideas to spice up your charity dinner include:

  • A chef cook-off competition featuring local culinary stars. Invite chefs from popular restaurants to create signature dishes and compete for votes from attendees. This adds an element of friendly rivalry and showcases the best of your local food scene.
  • A gourmet wine tasting event with fancy pairings. Work with a local sommelier to select interesting wines and create a menu of small bites that complement each pour. This type of event can attract foodies and wine enthusiasts while raising money for your cause.
  • Any type of cuisine that matches your event theme, from a tropical luau to an elegant French bistro. The key is to choose a menu that will excite and impress your guests while staying within your budget and logistical constraints.

6. Raffles and Sweepstakes

Everyone loves the chance to win a prize, so raffles and sweepstakes are a reliable fundraising option for nonprofits of all sizes. These contests give your supporters the opportunity to donate to your cause while also getting the thrill of potentially winning something big. Raffles and sweepstakes can be held online or in-person, and can feature a wide range of prizes to suit different audiences and budgets. Some ideas for your next raffle or sweepstake include:

  • Grand prize raffles for big-ticket items like cars, vacations, or high-end electronics. These types of prizes can generate a lot of buzz and encourage people to buy more tickets for a chance to win.
  • Sweepstakes with once-in-a-lifetime experiences as the prize, like a trip to an exotic location, a meet-and-greet with a celebrity, or a behind-the-scenes tour of a popular attraction. These types of prizes are often more appealing than physical items and can be a great way to create unique and memorable experiences for your supporters.
  • Several smaller prizes to give more people a chance of winning something. While big grand prizes are exciting, offering multiple smaller prizes can make your raffle or sweepstake feel more accessible and encourage more people to participate.

7. Unique Themed Parties

Themed parties are a great way to make your fundraising event stand out and get guests excited to attend. By choosing a fun and creative theme, you can transform an ordinary fundraiser into an immersive experience that people will be talking about long after the event is over. Themed parties can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, and can tie into your cause, the time of year, or just be a fun way to bring people together. Some ideas for unique themed parties include:

  • Costume parties where guests dress up as their favorite characters from movies, books, or history. You could have a Hollywood glamor theme, a superhero soiree, or a roaring 20s gala. Encourage guests to go all out with their costumes and offer prizes for the best dressed.
  • Elegant masquerade balls with masks, mystery, and formal attire. This type of event is perfect for creating an air of intrigue and romance, and can be a great way to add a touch of class to your fundraiser. Consider having a live band or orchestra, a champagne reception, and plenty of opportunities for guests to mingle and dance.
  • Any creative theme that ties into your cause or the time of year, like a beach party in the summer, a haunted house for Halloween, or a winter wonderland for the holidays. The key is to choose a theme that will resonate with your audience and get them excited to attend.

8. Sporty Tournaments and Games

Sporty events are perfect for bringing out people’s competitive side while raising money for a good cause. These types of fundraisers can appeal to a wide range of audiences, from serious athletes to casual sports fans, and can be a great way to promote physical activity and healthy living. You can organize tournaments or games around any sport or activity that your supporters enjoy, and offer prizes and recognition for the winners. Some ideas for sporty fundraisers include:

  • A golf tournament at a local course with prizes for the winners and runners-up. Golf tournaments are a classic fundraising event that can attract corporate sponsors and high-level donors. You can offer different registration levels, from individual players to full teams, and include additional contests like longest drive or closest to the pin.
  • A charity basketball game featuring local athletes or celebrities. This type of event can be a great way to generate buzz and attract a crowd. You can sell tickets to the game, offer concessions and merchandise, and even have a halftime show or contest. Consider reaching out to local sports teams or colleges to see if they’d be willing to participate.
  • Any type of athletic contest that your supporters would enjoy, like a volleyball tournament, a softball league, or a 5K race. The key is to choose a sport or activity that will be fun and engaging for your audience, and that you have the resources and expertise to organize successfully.

9. Artistic Shows

Art shows are a classic way to raise money for your cause while also supporting local artists and promoting creativity in your community. These events allow you to showcase a variety of artwork from different mediums and styles, and give your supporters the chance to bid on pieces they love. Art auctions can be held in person or online, and can feature everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and ceramics. Some ideas for your next art auction include:

  • Showcasing pieces from talented artists in your community, whether they’re established professionals or up-and-coming creators. This is a great way to support local artists while also exposing your supporters to new and interesting artwork.
  • Hosting an online auction to reach bidders worldwide. Online auctions can be a cost-effective way to expand your reach and allow people to participate from anywhere. You can use platforms like Bidding for Good or Charity Auctions Today to facilitate your online auction.
  • Featuring any type of art that fits your theme or audience, from traditional fine art to more contemporary or avant-garde pieces. You could also include other creative items like handcrafted furniture, artisanal food products, or one-of-a-kind experiences.

10. Creative DIY Events

Sometimes the most successful fundraising events are the ones that let your supporters showcase their own talents and passions. DIY events are a great way to engage your community and bring people together around shared interests and skills. These types of fundraisers can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, and can be tailored to any age group or audience. Some ideas for creative DIY events include:

  • Bake sales with homemade goodies from your supporters. Encourage people to bring their best recipes and most creative concoctions, from classic cookies and cupcakes to more unique treats like cake pops or macarons. You can sell individual items or offer assorted boxes or platters.
  • Craft fairs featuring handmade items and gifts from local artisans. This type of event is perfect for showcasing the talents of your supporters and promoting local businesses. You can charge a booth fee for vendors and take a percentage of sales, or simply ask for donations from shoppers.
  • Any type of event that showcases your supporters’ talents and passions, like a talent show, a poetry slam, or a cooking competition. The key is to choose an activity that will be fun and engaging for your audience and that allows people to share their skills and creativity.


No matter what type of fundraising event you choose, the key is to make it engaging, fun, and meaningful for your supporters. By putting in the time and effort to plan a well-organized and creative event, you can raise money for your cause while also building stronger connections with your community.

With these ideas as a starting point, you’re well on your way to hosting an unforgettable fundraiser that brings in the donations and shows your supporters just how much their contributions mean to your cause. So get out there, get creative, and start raising some money!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of fundraising event is best for your nonprofit?

The best fundraising event for your nonprofit depends on factors like your cause, audience, budget, and goals. Consider your strengths and resources, and choose an event that aligns with your mission and engages your supporters. Don’t be afraid to try something new or creative that sets you apart from other organizations.

What is the most profitable fundraising event?

The most profitable fundraising events are typically those that attract high-level donors and corporate sponsors, like charity galas or golf tournaments. However, the profitability of an event also depends on factors like attendance, ticket prices, and expenses. Online campaigns and peer-to-peer fundraising can also be highly profitable, as they have low overhead costs and the potential to reach a wide audience.

What is the fastest way to raise money for a nonprofit?

One of the fastest ways to raise money for a nonprofit is through online crowdfunding campaigns or peer-to-peer fundraising. These types of campaigns allow you to quickly and easily reach a large audience through social media and email, and can generate a lot of donations in a short amount of time. Events like bake sales or car washes can also be quick and easy ways to raise smaller amounts of money.

How to raise large amounts of money for charity?

To raise large amounts of money for charity, focus on events and campaigns that target high-net-worth individuals and corporate sponsors. This could include gala dinners, charity auctions, or major donor campaigns. Building strong relationships with key supporters and providing compelling reasons to give are also essential for securing large donations. Don’t forget to also promote your cause and impact to a wider audience through social media, email marketing, and other channels to build a broad base of support.

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