50 Fundraising Ideas That Actually Work - GroupRaise

50 Fundraising Ideas That Actually Work

This article summarizes 50 successful and effective fundraising ideas that you can use for your organization


Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned fundraising veteran, coming up with good fundraising ideas is vital to your campaign’s success. But while there are plenty of ways to raise money, how do you know which will be the perfect fit for your unique situation?


With that in mind, in this article you’ll find a list of the 50 most frequently mentioned and highly recommended fundraising ideas and information to help you build a plan that matches your resources, priorities, and goals.


Below you’ll find this article’s roadmap, so feel free to skip down to the section that’s most relevant and useful for you. The 50 fundraising ideas are organized by category. Keep reading to find out which is the best idea for your group!


Ideas Roadmap


Top Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas

We’ve put together in this 50 fundraising ideas guide, the best fundraising ideas for nonprofits to take one thing off your charitable plate.


Bake Sale

Bake sales are so easy to organize and relatively low cost. All you need is some enthusiastic bakers and a place to sell your produce. They always generate a good profit too!


Fundraising raffle

Get members of your organization to donate or buy one or two items each for the raffle and advertise tickets at your local stores. A raffle fundraiser requires a little more manpower and organization than other classic fundraising events, but is often more profitable.


Fundraising raffle orange coupons

Image by Julia Morales from Unsplash


Host a Give Back Breakfast 

Hosting a give back breakfast can be an effective and delicious way to raise funds for your cause!


Invite your supporters, friends, family and community to purchase tickets to attend the breakfast. Advertise your event weeks in advance to give donors enough time to plan ahead, and be sure to increase your marketing cadence the week leading up to the event to keep it top of mind.


Restaurant Fundraiser

A fundraiser dinner is a great fundraising idea for small groups. With GroupRaise, organization members and their families can enjoy a delicious meal out while fundraising at the same time.


Choose a restaurant and a date for your event, and a percentage of all sales will be donated back to your cause! With restaurants participating all around the country, you’re guaranteed to find a delicious partner giving back near you.


people eating inside of cafeteria during daytime photo. 50 fundraising ideas
Image by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash


Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising encourages donors to reach out to their friends and family to engage a larger community in their fundraising effort. These fundraisers can include asking for donations via crowdfunding, throwing occasion-specific events (like birthdays fundraisers), or participating in something like a team fun run.


T-Shirt Fundraiser

Selling customized T-shirts is a great way to get donations and spread the word about your cause.


You can look for sellers of customized shirts online, such as Bonfire, then create a design for your organization, and let your members, supporters, and community support your cause by buying them and showing them off around their neighborhood.


Yard Sale Fundraiser

With a yard sale fundraiser, you can give items you aren’t using anymore a new life in another person’s household and earn money for your cause at the same time. The more stuff you can sell, the more you can raise. 


Bonus Tip: To make your yard sale even more successful, make sure your community knows about it well ahead of time.


Explore more info about fundraising promotion in this article.


jars on table photo

Image by Simone Pellegrini from Unsplash


Calendar Fundraiser

A calendar fundraiser is one of the most effective ways to raise money for your organization. All you have to do is gather a series of photos, put them into calendars, then sell them.


Not only will you profit from the sale of the calendars, your supporters will think of you every time they look at the date!



With online crowdfunding, you collect donations via a web page. As the name suggests, this fundraising strategy involves accumulating many small donations from a large number of people


While it’s easy to set up a crowdfunding page, you’ll need to put some effort into promoting your campaign for it to be successful.


Quiz night

Divide participants into teams (or ask them to sign up as teams). Prepare a list of questions based on a particular theme and have a volunteer “Quiz master” who can ask the questions. Sell tickets to participate and offer a prize for the winning team.


For more ideas like these, you can check out this article Top Fundraising Ideas For Nonprofits


Best Fundraising Ideas for Church

In 2022, fundraising ideas for church must be easy, creative and especially effective. Which is why we couldn’t leave it out of our 50 fundraising ideas guide!


Game night

Nothing brings a community together like a good game night! This, for sure, is one of the most beloved fundraising ideas. 


You just need to ask the community to donate their TVs, video games, board games, or consoles for one night. Then, you can request a donation in exchange for game night participation.


Christian Book Fair

The youth group can collect donated books during Sunday school classes and at the end of the month, hold a book fair to raise money for the congregation. 


Movie night

Invite the entire community to take part in a movie night. For this church fundraising idea, you will need a family-friendly movie, a projector and a screen, and comfortable seating. Charge per entrant and encourage guests to bring items like pillows, lawn chairs, and blankets to make themselves comfortable during the film.


white and red plastic popocorn packs photo

Image by Corina Rainer from Unsplash


Garage Sale 

Organizing a garage sale is a perfect and classic fundraising idea. You can ask members to go through some of their old belongings and set aside things that they no longer need.


Distribute everything on tables in front of the church on a sunny day and invite the community to check out all the goods. 


Candle Sale

Selling candles is one of the simplest and most profitable fundraiser ideas for churches! You just need to find a provider that offers high-quality candles and collect contributions in exchange for candles, this form of fundraising is particularly successful around certain holidays.


black and white candle on brown wooden holder photo

Image by Hanna Balan from Unsplash


Shoe Drive Fundraiser

A shoe drive is both profitable and environmentally friendly: contributing to your cause, letting your supporters clean out their cluttered closets, and giving their shoes a second life instead of sending them to the landfill.  


Bingo Fundraiser

Gather your friends and supporters together to hang out, play a game of chance, and have a good time. To really energize your supporters, make sure you have some enviable prizes. 


Bonus Tip: The prizes don’t have to be expensive. For example, you can keep costs down by seeing if local businesses offer gift cards for charitable causes.


Creative Fundraising Ideas for Schools and College

Thinking of how to raise money for school or for college can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve included in these 50 fundraising ideas guide the top fundraising ideas for schools and college!


Elementary School Fundraising Ideas


Coin Challenge

Ask children to bring in all their spare change from home and make a trail around the school by lining up the coins. See how far you can get and all the coins go towards your cause at the end.


Partnering with a local restaurant  

A restaurant fundraiser is a great elementary school fundraising idea. Organize a meal with a local restaurant and a percentage of sales will be donated back to your cause.


Jump Rope Challenge

The jump rope challenge is the perfect kids fundraising idea. It’s simple to organize, gets kids moving, and is an activity that everyone wants to master in the playground. Set up a jump rope space in the playground with a couple of teachers and charge a small fee for kids to enter.


white and blue rope on brow soil

Image by Markus Spiske from Unsplash


Middle School Fundraising Ideas


Playground Challenge

Set up an ‘assault cause’ in the school playground and get kids to participate for a small charge. A playground challenge is an effective fundraising idea, simple to organize, and the kids will love it!


Overnight Camping Event

The kids will certainly love this event and remember it for years to come. You can include in your overnight camping event activities such as releasing candlelight lanterns into the sky, campfire sing-a-longs, or a nighttime game of Capture the Flag. They need a little extra planning but are well worth the effort. 


High School Fundraising Ideas


Litter picking

Kids can volunteer to collect litter around the school grounds and get friends and family to sponsor their efforts. It could be sponsored per hour, by weight of litter collected, or by ground covered.


Restaurant Fundraiser

Head to a local restaurant for a fundraiser there! Choose from a range of local restaurants giving back near you and set the date. You could also order takeout if you prefer instead of dine-in for a covid-friendly fundraising idea.


people sitting on chair in front of table with candles

Image by Valiant Made from Unsplash


Unique College Fundraising Ideas


Carnival Games

All you need is a small space and a few small prizes, and you can get some fun carnival games going. Not only will you and your supporters have a great time playing carnival games, you’ll also have ample opportunities to raise money for your cause. You can charge for admission, per carnival game, or both.


Karaoke Night

A karaoke night is a perfect college fundraising idea and a super fun way to raise money for your cause! All you need for this event is a karaoke machine and people ready to have a good time. You can even add a competitive edge to your fundraiser by making it a singing contest. The winner can get a small prize which only adds to the fun.


condenser microphone

Image by Israel Palacio from Unsplash 


Benefit Concert

It’ll take some effort to set the concert up, including finding a suitable space and recruiting volunteers to staff the event, but the payoff will be totally worth it. Sell tickets to your concert and make sure to mention that the proceeds will go to support your cause.


Food Sales 

A food sale fundraiser is different from a bake sale or a fundraising dinner because the food items are usually ones that have a long shelf life. That way, you can sell over a couple weeks rather than just one day. If you can gather a group of volunteers willing to take initiative to sell, a food sale fundraiser could be a profitable fundraising activity.


Pet Party

Get not only your friends and family but their pets involved in a pet costume party. You can charge a small entry fee donation. Make sure to have a fun costume contest and treats at the local dog park


Table Game Tournament

Students pay a fee to compete against other students. Students can also donate to bet on who they think will win. Each winner moves to the next round until you are down to the finals where one winner will take the overall prize.


checkered board game

Image by Tai’s Capture from Unsplash


50/50 Raffle

In a 50/50 fundraising raffle the prize is 50% of the money taken in by the raffle ticket sales. Basically, you’ll sell the raffle tickets and 50% of the earned money will be for the prize and the other 50% will be retained by the students.


Fundraising Ideas for Every Season 

In this section of the 50 fundraising ideas guide, you’ll find the best fundraising ideas for each season and be able to choose the best one for your group.


Fun Summer Fundraising Ideas


Water Balloon Fight

Nothing better than enjoying a sunny summer day, right? The good news is that you can use this moment to raise funds for your organization with a water balloon fight. For this fundraiser, you’ll need a couple hundred balloons, some space to store them, and a few volunteers to help you fill the balloons with water. You can charge $1 or $2 per water balloon.


yellow red blue and green balloons on white round plate

Image by Mick Haupt from Unsplash


Car Wash 

A sports team car wash is one of the quick and simple summer fundraising idea that always works, which is why we had to include that one in the 50 fundraising ideas guide!


Gather your volunteers and tell everyone in the community that you’ll be hosting a car wash. Set up in a location (an empty parking lot, for example) with cleaning supplies and get started.


Pool Party

A casual pool party can be a great summer fundraising idea that gathers your supporters. Sell food and drinks, and offer games and activities. For a small fee, everyone there gets to have fun and give back! 


pink inflatable flamingo and green inflatable ring

Image by Toni Cuenca from Unsplash


Host a Restaurant Fundraiser

The summer is a perfect time to host a restaurant fundraiser! There is nothing better than spending a great time with your friends, family and community while enjoying a delicious meal at an amazing restaurant.


All you need to do is pick a date where your supporters, friends and family have a meal out, and a percentage of the restaurant sales will then be donated back to your cause. 


You can easily find participating restaurants near you on GroupRaise.com. Choose from over 10,000 partners that give back nationwide below!



Summer Field Day

This is one of the easiest and most engaging fundraising ideas!


Parents will be thrilled for the chance to tire their kids out at a good old-fashioned field day this summer. Think about a variety of activities that you know everybody will enjoy.


Charge an entry fee to raise money for your organization and to earn some extra cash you can also sell concessions! 


Amazing Spring Fundraiser Ideas


Community Garden Picnic

Bring together your community for some outdoor fun. “Charge” each person who attends, which is actually a donation. Hosting a community garden picnic is a great way to bring your community together in order to support a good cause.


Plant Sale 

Partner with a local horticulturist or green thumb enthusiast to see if they’d be willing to donate plants or a portion of the proceeds. Post fliers around the neighborhood and email your supporters that you’ll be selling garden greens and are welcoming donations.


potted plants

Image by Freddie Marriage from Unsplash 

Gardening Class

Get a local gardening expert to host a class for your organization! Entry into the class can go toward your nonprofit. 


Run for a Cause

Host a race and ensure that the registration fee is a donation. As the weather improves, people will be excited for an opportunity to get outdoors.


Earth Day Cleanup 

Doing good for the world AND fundraising! Gather people to help pick up around your community on Earth Day, April 22nd. Offer a reward for the most unique item found, all in the name of fundraising!


Festive Fall Fundraising Ideas


Nature walk or run

Get outside and enjoy the changing season with one of the more active fall fundraising ideas. Host a sponsored walk or run for your group, or challenge yourself and set up a donation page for friends and family to support you. A sponsored walk or run is a great way to keep people active as the seasons start to change and can be a really simple and effective fundraiser.


Hold a Pumpkin Carving Contest 

Charge an entry fee and award the winner a prize. Or perhaps organize a Halloween costume party where you also give out a prize for the best dressed!


Six pumpkins of all different sizes carved for Halloween. A fall-themed fundraising idea

Image from natary t from Unsplash


Thanksgiving Dinner

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is an awesome charity event!


You could partner with a local restaurant to host a Thanksgiving dinner with GroupRaise if you don’t want to cook yourself. It’s a great way to bring together club members, friends, and family for good food and a good cause.



Potluck dinner

A potluck dinner is one of the best fall fundraiser ideas and brings people together to enjoy delicious, warming, home-cooked food, all for a good cause. Ask for a donation for people attending and enjoy a night of food, friends, and fun.


Handmade Greetings Cards

Making greeting cards is a great fall fundraising idea. With the holidays coming up, kids can design seasonal greeting cards which they can sell to friends and family for a small fee.


Find more ideas here


white printer paper on brown wooden table photo

Image by Mediamodifier from Unsplash


Successful Winter Fundraising Ideas


Photos With Santa

Use a public space to arrange a meet-and-greet with Santa and his elves. Parents can line their children up for a photo-op with Santa himself and have their photos printed on the spot for a contribution.


toddler in black sweater standing in front of Santa Claus

Image by Mike Arney from Unsplash

Gift Wrapping

Partner with a local store, like a bookstore or gift shop, and set up a gift wrapping station. Ask for volunteers to man the station in hourly shifts and wrap presents in exchange for donations.


Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to spread the word! This article 6 Strategies to Connect with Strangers & Boost Your Fundraising Success can help you with that!


Christmas Movie Night

There’s a lot of beloved holiday classics to use for a winter screening. Partner with a local movie theater or venue with space for a projector and sell tickets to a holiday movie marathon.


Snowball Fight

Arrange a tournament where teams compete in an ultimate snowball showdown. Set each team up with a fundraising page and give the top fundraising teams advantages in the competition.


Restaurant Fundraiser 

A restaurant fundraiser is a perfect and warm winter fundraising idea. Get all your friends, family, and supporters out celebrating with a delicious restaurant meal!


Choose a restaurant giving back and select a date for your event. Don’t forget to promote it across social media channels for optimal fundraiser success!



People eating a meal around a table

Image by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash


It’s Your Turn


Now that you’ve heard all about these 50 effective fundraising ideas and learnt which ones could be the best choice for you, it’s time to put words into action. You got this!


Get the ball rolling by taking a look at local restaurants giving back near you. A restaurant fundraiser is one of the easiest, and definitely the most delicious, fundraising event of them all!



If you’re still looking for content like this 50 fundraising ideas guide, be sure to check out the GroupRaise blog for further inspiration.