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9 Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas To Try Right Now

By: Tricia Love Thomas

Coming up with fundraising ideas for your nonprofit can be tough. Not only are you competing for donors’ time and money with other local and national nonprofits, but you have to come up with ideas that work and, more importantly, make enough money to make your efforts worthwhile.

I’ve been working with nonprofits for almost four decades now, and in that time, I’ve seen the gauntlet of fundraising tactics.

Here are a few ideas to consider for your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts:

1. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe can be great opportunities to boost your fundraising dollars. While crowdfunding shouldn’t and won’t replace your day-to-day fundraising efforts, crowdfunding can serve as a powerful tool in soliciting more money. It is expected that by 2025, crowdfunding will become a $96 billion industry, a good indication that online giving will only continue to grow. 

2. Engraved Bricks, Benches and Placards

Permanent engravings are a great way to raise money and let people leave their mark on a building or area with meaning to them. Oftentimes, due to their prominence, these engravings “sell themselves” due to their high visibility. Some examples include: engraved bricks, fence posts, placards or benches.

3. Sip and Paint

With "paint night" events cropping up across the country, it makes sense that nonprofits would capitalize by hosting “paint and sip” nights of their own. Typically, participants pay a flat rate for the cost of materials and the instructor’s time. To cut costs, you can ask participants to bring their own beverages to sip on and bypass any restrictions on selling or distributing alcoholic beverages, or include the cost of a drink or two in the registration fee. There are many local vendors who provide paint night services.

4. 50/50 Raffle

If you are looking for a low-cost way to add a few additional donation dollars to your next event, consider a 50/50 raffle. To play, all your organization will need a roll of tickets that participants can buy, with the understanding that the winner will receive half of the game’s profits.

5. Game Night

Hosting a game night, whether it’s bingo, trivia or a Scrabble tournament, can be an effective way to raise funds for your organization. You can charge money per game or as an overall registration fee. Consider also utilizing some mid-event fundraisers (like special games or raffles – like 50/50) to bump up your overall net revenue.

6. T-shirts

If you’ve been to a ballgame recently, you probably noticed people going gaga over t-shirts. T-shirts can be a cheap and effective avenue for brand awareness and potentially even profits. Your nonprofit can have t-shirts printed as part of a campaign (like a walkathon or for volunteers at an event) or create custom shirts to sell on your website.

7. Mini-carnival

Hosting a full-blown carnival can be an intimidating process, so why not start small by ditching the rides and focusing on easy to manage games? Ring tosses, face painting and balloon art can be cheap and fun ways to make money for your organization. (Want more DIY activity ideas? Check out this site.) For food, you could invite a local restaurant(s) or food truck(s) to sell, with a set percentage of their profits being donated to your organization.

8. Auctions With a Twist

Chances are you’ve seen a good number of jerseys or sports tickets being auctioned at events, but you can draw some eyeballs (and hopefully dollars) with a prize outside the norm, including:

  • A vacation package (like a trip to Disney World or the Bahamas donated or subsidized by a local travel agent)
  • A fixer-upper package (win a set number of hours donated by a local handyman)
  • A relaxation package (like a trip to the spa donated by a local spa)

9. Yard Sale

Ask donors, supporters and the community to donate unwanted items to be sold at a community yard sale, with all proceeds going to your nonprofit. You’ll be surprised how quickly dollars add up, no matter how big or small the purchases.

Need Help?

Contact our Nonprofit Group online or call 800.899.4623.

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Published November 3, 2017

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