55+ Unique (And Easy!) Fundraising Ideas

Funds2Orgs Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Explore our 55+ unique fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

If you’re part of a nonprofit or school community, you likely know just how challenging raising money can be.

Asking people for gifts never comes easily—especially when you’ve already used your favorite fundraising ideas. Repeating the same fundraisers over and over can lead to donor burnout, leaving you without the vital funds your organization needs.

Instead, try hosting new and unique fundraisers that will captivate your donors and inspire them to give.

Supporters get excited to see fresh new ideas tailored to their interests. Having trouble getting unique ideas flowing? No worries! We’ve put together a list of 55+ unique fundraising ideas that are sure to excite donors.

To make it easier for you, we’ve divided these ideas into categories so that you can find exactly what you need. Feel free to read from the beginning or use the navigation below to jump to the ideas that will best serve your organization:

Get a jump start on your next unique fundraiser with our top unique fundraising idea: shoe drive fundraisers!

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Check out our favorite unique fundraising idea: shoe drive fundraisers.

Our Top Unique Fundraising Idea

Raise money quickly and easily with a shoe drive fundraiser.Shoe Drive Fundraisers


Whether this is your first fundraiser or your hundredth, shoe drive fundraisers are the perfect addition to your fundraising repertoire.

They’re a quick and easy way to raise money. Best of all, they engage the community and direct attention to your cause.

Here’s how they work:

  1. You partner with a shoe drive fundraiser coordinator (like Funds2Orgs).
  2. They provide shoe collection materials to place around your community.
  3. Call on your supporters to gather their gently worn, used and new shoes.
  4. Funds2Orgs will pick up the shoes and send you a check in the mail.

It’s as simple as that! Check out some of these shoe drive success stories.

Then, watch this video to see more about how to host a shoe drive fundraiser:

A shoe drive fundraiser makes a great standalone event but can also be combined with other unique fundraising ideas. Let’s dive a little deeper and explore some top unique fundraising ideas.

Check out these unique fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

Unique Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Maximize your fundraising efforts by promoting matching gifts to your donors.Matching Gift Drive


Chances are, your donors don’t realize they could be doubling (sometimes tripling!) their contributions.

Matching gifts are a part of many corporate philanthropy policies. Through these programs, companies will match a portion (typically 100% or more) of the donations their employees give to nonprofits.

To simplify the process, partner with a matching gifts database provider to help supporters find their matching gift opportunities. All donors will need to do is search for their employers’ names. The search will yield all available guidelines and eligibility requirements for their employers’ matching gift programs.

Matching gifts are a powerful, simple way to maximize the donations you’re already receiving. Check out Double the Donation’s matching gifts database to learn more about this unique fundraising idea!

As part of this unique fundraising idea, encourage donors to give up a bad habit for a good cause.Give-It-Up Challenge


Even the smallest donation can make a difference with this unique fundraising idea.

Ask supporters to give up a beverage or meal they consume daily (or quite often). Then, encourage them to donate the money they would have spent to your worthwhile cause instead.

To spread the word, encourage them to share their charitable efforts online and ask their social networks to do the same. Everyone will start to see the impact even $5 can make.

Intensify the challenge by daring participants to last as long as they can. For instance, set a certain number of days or a personal fundraising goal for each donor. Both your donors and your nonprofit will be amazed at just how much money accumulates!

Selling t-shirts spreads your brand name while raising money.T-Shirt Fundraiser


Selling customized t-shirts is not only a unique fundraising idea for your organization but also a great marketing strategy for your nonprofit’s brand.

Create a compelling design to represent your brand best or to commemorate an event. Then, take to social media and your organization’s website to spread the word.

Once you’ve established an effective merchandise strategy, expand to other items, such as hats, water bottles, pens, and so on. Your supporters will enjoy spreading the word about their favorite organization (that’s you!).

A viral video contest is a unique fundraising idea to spread the word about important issues.Viral Video Contest


Put your supporters’ social media skills to the test with a unique viral video contest.

Viral video fundraising got everyone’s attention back in 2014, when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge caught wind and dominated the Internet. Like this campaign, start with a central message relevant to your mission or campaign goal. Then, create a challenge to highlight this central message—like sleeping on the floor for a night to represent homelessness. Participants should take a picture or a short video share online. From here, create an “ask” for every challenger, keeping it between $5-$25 for each nomination.

Whenever a supporter completes the challenge, they should nominate at least three people. Then, those people have to choose three more people each. Soon enough, you may have a viral video challenge on your hands!

Have your bravest volunteers kiss a pig at this unique fundraiser for nonprofits.Kiss-A-Pig


This unique fundraiser is sure to raise some community spirit.

Encourage beloved community members (like officials or even well-known teachers) to agree to kiss a pig in front of everyone. You’ll need at least 4 volunteers for this to work well. Set up a donation station with jars for each volunteer. Using their dollars, attendees vote on which “kisser” they’d like to see kiss the pig.

Once the decision is announced, the chosen volunteer will have to kiss the pig! Ask the crowd if they’d like to see anyone else smooch the animal. They’ll then donate more money for another volunteer and even other audience members to do it, too!

To jazz up the event and keep everyone in suspense, feature music, and delicious snacks for spectators to purchase while they wait.

A business partnership is a unique fundraising idea that will generate funds for your nonprofit.Business Partnership


Business partnerships are a unique way to earn some extra cash for your nonprofits.

Although it may not seem like it on the surface, these partnerships create a win-win situation. Otherwise, businesses wouldn’t be sponsoring nonprofits left and right.

As part of the ever-growing corporate philanthropy sensation, business partnerships provide nonprofits with cash flow and community exposure. On the other end of the deal, businesses receive positive PR and, in turn, an increase in sales.

To find the right business partner, start by looking at local companies whose values align with yours. Then, conduct outreach and show them the benefits you can bring to the table. By taking this approach, you’ll obtain financial support in no time!

Engraved bricks are a unique nonprofit fundraiser to cover the expenses for a new facility or renovations.Engraved Bricks


If your nonprofit is building a new facility or renovating a building, engraving bricks is a unique way to raise funds to cover the expenses.

Depending on donation sizes, you can offer bricks of different sizes and colors as well. To spread the word, take to social media, local radio stations, the town newspaper, and so on. Create a dedicated donation page, but also make your unique fundraiser available to those who aren’t tech-savvy with a paper order form.

You’ll be surprised at how much donors are willing to dish out to be a permanent part of your building.

Get people involved in a crowdfunding campaign as a unique fundraising idea for your cause.Crowdfunding Campaign


Crowdfunding campaigns enable nonprofits like yours to collect small donations from a broad audience.

Chances are you’ve at least seen (and maybe even donated to) crowdfunding campaigns in the past. At the time, you may not yet have known what it was.

To kick off your efforts, set up a fundraising page explaining your mission and why you need the funds. Toss in a moving story or two about those you’ve impacted. Then, have your supporters share the page with their social networks so that it reaches the widest audience. This approach is a unique fundraising idea that can generate a lot of support and exposure for your nonprofit.

Explore the best platforms that will best meet your needs with Fundly’s 40 Best Crowdfunding Websites.

Fundraising letters are a unique fundraising idea that’s sure to generate some revenue.Fundraising Letters


Although they take a bit of time, fundraising letters are a straightforward way to generate funds.

Spell out your financial needs and create a persuasive ask using compelling stories from those your organization helps. Make sure to suggest the donation amounts you need for the campaign. After all, you’ll rarely receive what you don’t ask.

Depending on the size of your donor base, you may not be able to handwrite these letters. While handwritten notes are more likely to yield donations, you can still tailor your typed letters. Add a personal touch on typed emails by adding your signature. Then, include a stamped envelope pre-addressed to your organization to make it easier for donors to send their gift.

Explore these fundraising letter tips to craft an enticing donation request and set your organization up for fundraising success.

Engage the community online in your next unique fundraising idea with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.Peer-to-Peer Fundraising


Peer-to-peer fundraising empowers online supporters to spread the word about the causes for which they care.

Design your peer-to-peer fundraiser using custom branding, evocative imagery, and exciting gamification features, such as:

  • Leaderboards to showcase your top volunteer fundraisers.
  • Badges that appear on individuals’ profiles when they reach certain milestones.
  • Fundraising thermometers to show how close you are to your goal.

Ask supporters to create personalized fundraising pages on behalf of your cause. Then, have them share those pages with their network of online friends and followers through social media, email, and other digital platforms. Encourage them to share a personal story about their connection to your cause on the fundraising page. This way, more people will feel compelled to give.

A tie-dye fundraiser is a unique fundraising idea that’s fun for all ages.Tie-Dye Party


Mix things up with a tie-dye fundraiser.

Stock up on white shirts and sell them for your event. On the big day, pass out the t-shirts and let participants dye their shirts all colors of the rainbow! Alternatively, you can offer to tie-dye attendees’ personal items for a donation. In this case, have some spare white t-shirts and low-cost tie-dye materials. Give supporters the option to create their own masterpieces.

Tie-dying isn’t a time-consuming task, so offer other family-friendly games, activities, and crafts too. Don’t forget the refreshments and upbeat music!

Make donating quick and easy for your supporters through text-to-give technology.Text-to-Give Campaign


Text-to-give allows donors to give straight from their phones.

These campaigns are easily accessible and allow supporters to text donations without hassle.

Using text-giving software, create a special fundraising phone number and keyword. When donors text your organization’s number, they’ll instantly receive a link that routes them to your mobile donation page.

Host a dedicated text-to-donate campaign or feature your text-to-give number at all of your fundraiser events. Just create and hang posters that showcase your organization’s text-to-give number or announce the giving opportunity over loudspeakers.

Best of all, donors don’t even have to be at your event! If they’ve opted to stay home, they can still support your cause whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them. When you post the text-to-give number on social media or your organization’s website, they’ll be able to find it easily to support the cause.

Coupon books are an effective and unique fundraiser for nonprofits of all sizes.Coupon Books


Coupon books are an effective and unique way to earn an extra buck for your organization.

Most often, organizations purchase coupon books from manufacturers. These feature franchise restaurants and chain stores found within most communities. However, you’ll yield the best results by creating the booklets yourself.

Partner with local businesses and offer agreed-upon discounts. Once you have enough participants, compile the discounts in a well-designed book and sell them to the community. Don’t forget to add an expiration date so that the coupons get used promptly. Plus, this enables you to do the fundraiser on an annual basis. Supporters will look forward to your coupon booklet every year.

Check out our top unique fundraising event ideas.

Unique Fundraising Events

A bowl-a-thon is a unique fundraising event sure to generate some revenue.Bowl-a-Thon


Get ready to bowl some strikes with this unique fundraising idea.

Partner with a local bowling alley for your bowl-a-thon. Negotiate a discounted rate by offering to host it on a weeknight when business is slow. Leading up to the night, your volunteer fundraisers will collect pledges. The longer they bowl or, the more pins they knock down, the more money they raise!

Don’t forget to coordinate a shoe drive fundraiser. Participants will have to change into bowling shoes for the event anyway. Just make sure to advertise well in advance.

Encourage your supporters to get active with a unique 5K fundraising event!5K Race


A 5K is a classic, unique fundraising event the whole family will enjoy.

Set up a 5K race in your community. It’s an easy and unique way to fundraise right in your neighborhood. Plus, it motivates community members to be more active.

Partner with local businesses to sponsor your 5K event. Feature their logos on signs, apparel (like race-day t-shirts), and swag that runners get at the end of the race.

Don’t forget to set up your shoe drive materials at the race. Offer a discount for race registration to people who bring their old sneakers to donate to your shoe drive fundraiser. Start marketing months in advance and watch registrations soar!

Another unique fundraiser is a rubber duck race.Rubber Duck Race


This playful fundraiser lets you see who has the fastest rubber ducky in town.

All you need is a moving water source. A stream or river is ideal for this event. Number each rubber duck. Then, offer them for adoption at $5 a pop. You can even line up sponsors for the event! When it comes time for the race, drop them all in the waterway. The first to cross the finish line wins! Give them a prize, whether it’s part of the raised funds or a shiny trophy.

Don’t forget the refreshments and music! If all goes well, consider making it an annual event that families come to look forward to every year.

For your next unique fundraising event, host a costume obstacle course.Costume Obstacle Course


Get ready for some wacky costumes and a good time!

Set an engaging theme for your costume obstacle course. You can always ask for your supporters’ input! Then, charge a registration fee and create innovative obstacles. From inverted walls to monkey bars, the possibilities are endless! Just make sure the challenges are do-able in full costume. Hand out prizes or trophies for the fastest completion, most creative costume, and so on.

Don’t forget to coordinate your shoe drive fundraiser! Participants will likely want to stretch out their feet once they’ve finished the race. You can even offer a reduced registration fee in exchange for a pair of gently worn, used and new shoes.

A murder mystery dinner theater is a unique fundraising event that will bring in a decent-sized crowd.Murder Mystery Dinner Theater


Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes for this mysteriously unique fundraiser.

For the best results, rent a venue that combines good food with a mystifying atmosphere. Negotiate a flat group rate that features dinner and dessert and charge enough to turn a profit for entry. Alternatively, use your facilities and cook the meal yourself.

Have your members perform the script or work with a local theater group. Plan out when to give your guests clues so they can work together and solve the mystery!

 Support your organization as well as local businesses with a raffle night for your next unique fundraising idea.Raffle Night


Raffle nights enable your organization to support local businesses while fundraising in a unique way.

Feature desirable prizes that are donated by local businesses. Promote the idea that it’s an excellent opportunity for local restaurants and shops to spread their brand name to the community. Plus, you won’t have to worry about these extra expenses.

Actively market on social media leading up to the raffle night. Also, consider including raffle tickets with prizes at other events to energize people for the big night.

Challenge your supporters to do a polar plunge at your next unique fundraising event.Polar Plunge


Instead of hiding away inside, supporters will need to brace the cold for this unique fundraising idea.

This event is not for the faint of heart. Only your most courageous supporters will want to take a dip in ice-cold winter water. Participants will take pledges and raise money on your behalf. At the event, they’ll plunge into the icy water and endure it for as long as possible. The longer they stay, the more money they raise from pledges.

To incentivize participation, line up live music, and encourage local vendors to provide you with necessities such as:

  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Warm beverages like hot chocolate
  • Hand warmers
  • Waivers

For the best results, host it around the holidays. Each year, this unique fundraiser will draw a larger, more festive crowd.

Host a silent auction and get your community involved in this unique fundraising idea.Silent Auction


Host a silent auction and get the whole community involved in this unique fundraiser.

Reach out to local businesses to donate auction items. Remember, restaurant and shop owners will love the opportunity to spread the word about their brand. Encourage them to get creative with their prizes, reminding them that you’ll announce their names when their item is presented. Think gift certificates, art by local artists, movie tickets, gift baskets, and so on. Then, encourage supporters to bid on their favorite items.

For a modern twist, encourage supporters to bid from their smartphones! Mobile bidding software simplifies silent auctions by making it easy for people to donate. To get started, explore OneCause’s silent auction planning guide.

For your next unique fundraiser, create a themed scavenger hunt.Scavenger Hunt


In terms of unique fundraising ideas, a scavenger hunt is a great find!

Select a theme and then have participants register in groups. This way, they’ll work together to solve the clues. Create a sizeable (but attainable) list of items to find in the community. Each item should be related to your theme. For example, a Christmas-themed search could feature items like candy canes and holiday ornaments. Get specific, and don’t make it too easy.

Tailor the hunt to your audience. For instance, if you’re hosting a scavenger hunt for an elementary school, make it engaging and understandable for kids. However, if you’re hosting it to appeal to an audience of young adults, get a bit more sophisticated with your requests.

A balloon pop fundraiser is a unique fundraising idea that’s engaging for all ages.Balloon Pop


A balloon pop is an explosion of fun for all ages.

Set your balloons at varying price points. For instance, blue balloons can be $10; red can be $25, and so on. In your balloon pop area, have 40 or so balloons, your prize table, and a couple of straight pins for popping the balloons.

Each balloon should have a slip of paper that says what prize they won. Select grand prizes for each price level. For instance, the grand prize for the $10 balloons could be worth $25, the $25 balloons worth $50, and so forth.

Team up with local businesses that will supply these prizes. Think gift certificates to local restaurants, gift baskets filled with goodies from a local shop, and so on. This unique fundraising event will generate more revenue and support than you think!

Looking for a unique fundraising idea for young adults? Smash cars to fundraise for your organization.Car Smashing Fundraiser


Hosting a car smash is a unique fundraising idea perfect for teenagers (with supervision) who want to release some pent-up energy.

Ask a local junkyard to donate an old, beat-up car to your cause. Preferably, encourage them to provide one with the body and glass still intact. There’s a bit more you’ll need to do before letting participants run wild, though. Have a mechanic take the dangerous parts and liquids out of the car. This way, you can assure potential attendees that it’s safe.

Don’t forget to provide safety glasses to those who sign up! To smash the car, they’ll need metal bats or sledgehammers. Have them pay per swing or minute of mayhem.

For your next unique fundraiser, host a concert contest for talented local musicians to raise money for your cause.Battle of the Bands


For your musically-talented supporters, host a battle of the bands competition.

Local bands will be excited to donate their time to show off their skills for a good cause. Incentivize them even further by advertising a prize for the game’s winner. Then, encourage community leaders to judge the competition or have the audience decide on their favorite group.

Line up event sponsors and encourage a local business to donate event space for your venue. They’ll appreciate the extra revenue, and you’ll have the perfect stage for your competition. You can even sell concessions for a few extra bucks. Ask attendees to pay a cover fee, and let the competition begin!

A bike relay race is a unique fundraising idea for getting supporters up and moving.Bike Relay Race


Promote exercise and teamwork with a bike relay race.

When you’re limited on space, a bike relay race is a great way to involve everyone in the athletic fun. Split competitors into teams. As each participant completes the course, they hand off a sash to the next team member. The first team who has all members complete the course wins and gets medals!

Put a twist on your race by giving it a theme. For example, a really popular option would be to make it a decorated bike competition. Participants can decorate their bikes with twirling ribbons and streamers. Remember to set up your shoe drive fundraiser collection materials to raise additional funds too!

Put a unique spin on a classic car wash fundraiser to make it a more unique fundraising idea.Car Wash


Put on twist on the classic car wash fundraiser to make it unique and exciting!

From traditional nonprofits to schools, this fundraiser works for any type of organization. Set up in a prominent place exposed to a lot of traffic, like at a park. Make sure also to do plenty of advertising online and around the community. Then, rely on supporters to supply you with car washing tools, such as:

  • Soap
  • Buckets
  • Hoses
  • Towels

Try a wacky car wash where volunteers dress up in their wackiest clothes. You can even turn your car wash into a dance party with loud music and vibrant lights. Get creative and watch the fundraising dollars roll in!

Put a skate-a-thon at the top of your list of unique fundraising ideas.Skate-a-Thon


A skate-a-thon is a fun, unique fundraising idea for the whole family.

Depending on the time of year, partner with a local ice skating rink or rollerblading rink. Set a fun theme to incentivize participation. Pick theme-appropriate decorations, entertainment, food, and music. Encourage skaters to dress in costume, too.

Similar to walkathons, skate-a-thon participants will raise pledged donations from their social networks. The longer (or further) they skate, the more money they raise. Modernize your skate-a-thon with a fundraising thermometer and track your progress as the night goes on.

Don’t forget about hosting a shoe drive fundraiser! Skaters will already have to take off their shoes to change into their skates anyway. Let them know well in advance, so they’ll know to bring a change of shoes.

Challenge your community to bring the best chili in town with this unique fundraising idea!Chili Cookoff


Invite the best home cooks in town to concoct their best chili creation.

People pride themselves on their mouthwatering chili recipes. Bring the community together for friendly competition and an afternoon of fun. Before the big day, select a panel of judges. Ask community leaders to participate or rely on staff members to judge.

Require a registration fee, and give the top contestants a prize (donated by generous local businesses, of course). Don’t forget to align sponsors for the event. If all goes well, consider making it an annual event for the community to look forward to each year.

This idea works for more than just chili. Try barbecue, salsa, or maybe even baked goods. For the best results, cater the food competition to reflect your community’s favorites.

Show off your community’s crafting ability with a unique craft fair fundraiser.Craft Fair


Encourage community members to explore their creative sides with a craft fair.

Traditionally, craft fairs raise funds by charging a fee for artisans to display and sell their goods at the show. Either settle on a flat rate per booth or charge a percentage of their profits for the day, ranging from 10% to 25%.

For a venue, find somewhere with plenty of floor space, like a local park or community center. Make sure to plan well in advance so that you can line up the appropriate permits. In any case, make sure you advertise ahead of time, featuring eye-catching images of some of the goods people can expect to find at this unique fundraiser.

Take the classic walkathon to a new level by incorporating themes as part of this unique fundraising idea.Funny Run


Take your annual run or walkathon to a whole new level by incorporating unique themes.

Here’s your chance to get creative. For your next walkathon or run, choose an engaging theme, such as:

Glow-in-the-dark walk
Turkey trot
Pet parade
Pajama walk

Participants will encourage their friends and families to pledge donations for every mile they run or walk. Don’t forget to set up water stations, too. This idea is another perfect opportunity for a shoe drive fundraiser. Set up collection materials and encourage participants and spectators to donate their gently worn, used and new shoes to benefit a good cause.

For your next unique fundraising idea, gather the cards and chips for a poker night!Poker Night


Purchase some cards and chips for supporters to play a few rounds of poker.

To determine the best fundraising techniques, check local regulations. You may consider giving your winners a portion of the pot. Alternatively, require an entry fee to play or have participants buy their chips.

If you line up sponsors for the event, ask them to donate a few high-value prizes. Then, offer them to winners at each table or overall winners for the night. Remember, no social gathering is complete without snacks and drinks! Book local vendors or ask a local bakery or grocery store to give to your cause.

Make sure to set the atmosphere with a theme and music, too. Consider what type of audience you’d like to attract and cater to them. For instance, if you’re fundraising for a school, make it a family-friendly event with colorful balloons and ribbons. However, if you’re a larger nonprofit, consider making it a 21+ event and play classy music or feature a bar (which can be great for generating more profit).

Bring out your favorite board games for this unique fundraising idea.Board Game Tournament


Bring out old board games for a unique tournament fundraising competition.

If you don’t own board games yourself, rely on volunteers to bring in their beloved childhood games. Whether it’s Monopoly, Scrabble, or Connect 4, supporters will have a blast reminiscing over their favorite games.

Throughout the night, participants will play against one another, competing for the top spot. Give a prize to each game’s top scorers. To raise money, require a small registration fee. Sell snacks and beverages, too!

Bring people together over good food and unique fundraising at your classy gala event!Gala


A gala may take a bit of planning, but it’s sure to capture your generous donors’ attention.

Galas allow people with similar interests to bond over good food and a common cause, your nonprofit. Part of the funds will come from registration fees, but don’t stop there! To spark some friendly fundraising competition, combine your gala with a silent auction or raffle.

Consider a themed gala to turn this classic idea into a unique fundraising affair for the whole community! Depending on the time of year, make it a traditional costume ball, a Halloween costume party, or an event themed to a popular movie series.

Host a carnival night as a unique fundraising event the whole family can enjoy!Carnival


Carnivals make for a fun family outing as well as a unique fundraising event for your organization!

Rent carnival games and attractions. Then, sell tickets to the event and charge per game.

If your budget won’t cover all the fees, no worries! Design and create your own carnival games. Stick to the classics like a ring toss, balloon pop, and pick-a-duck. Feature unique games that you design yourself, too. If you run out of creative ideas, host a design competition where donors and volunteers submit their most ingenious creations. Then, make the wackiest creations come to life!

Make sure to offer fun prizes for attendees of all ages, too. Then, line up vendors and sell classic fair foods such as cotton candy and funnel cakes.

Before announcing your event, set a fundraising goal. With larger events like this one, you may find it easier to plan it and keep track of progress using dedicated event management software.

A dog wash is a unique fundraising idea that pet owners will appreciate.Dog Wash


Encourage pet owners to pamper their pooches at your dog wash.

This idea is great for on-the-go supporters who don’t have time to bathe their pets. Give pet owners a break and offer a dog wash. Choose a warm day, and get to work.

Make sure you have a few water bowls for thirsty pups waiting in the queue. A local pet shop may be willing to donate these and any other items you may need, so you won’t have to worry about covering any costs. It may include dog shampoo, towels, and so on.

To turn a profit, encourage pet owners to donate to your cause when you bathe their four-legged friends. Consider having volunteers bake dog-friendly treats to sell for extra profit, too.

Consider hosting a video game tournament as a unique fundraising idea for your organization.Video Game Tournament


A video game tournament is a unique fundraising idea that’s perfect for your younger generation of donors.

Chances are your supporters own consoles they’d be willing to donate for the night. If not, rent some consoles from a local video game store. Bring some classic games such as Mario Kart, Sonic, Super Smash Bros, and so on. Charge a small entry fee to compete and let the games begin!

Offer small prizes to each game’s winner. Think gift cards, movie tickets, and so on. If you have a larger turnout, feature high-value prizes, like a new video game console, a gift basket, or a classic video game.

Encourage everyone to bring their favorite food to a fundraising community potluck dinner.Potluck Dinner


Potluck dinners are a super-easy way to generate some revenue for any organization.

Bring supporters together for an afternoon of delicious home-cooked meals and great conversation. All you need to do is line up a venue and set up tables and chairs. Then, advertise online and around the community.

Charge a donation fee at the door and enjoy the hot meal. From the delicious food to the donations, everyone has something to look forward to at this unique fundraising event.

Remember to make an announcement about your shoe drive fundraiser and tell everyone where your collection materials are!

Encourage community cooks to concoct their best baked creations with this unique fundraiser event.Bake-Off


Challenge your supporters to see who can create the best baked goods in town.

Who can resist a plate of mouth watering cookies or fudgy brownies? Choose a seasonal theme for the event or select a type of baked good (like pies, cookies, etc.). Then, participants will present their crowd-pleasing recipes.

Ask attendees to vote for their favorite baked goods using their dollars. Set up jars in front of each dish. Whichever dish receives the most money wins. Reward your best bakers with medals that they can wear as badges of honor!

Explore our other unique fundraising ideas for nonprofits!

Other Unique Fundraisers

This unique fundraising idea challenges supporters to gather enough spare change to stretch a quarter mile.Quarter Mile


Challenge your supporters to donate enough quarters to stretch a quarter mile (or more!).

If you have an extensive donor list, you may be able to set a larger objective. In any case, choose an attainable (but aspirational) goal. This way, supporters won’t be disappointed if they fall a little under, but they’ll be motivated to reach it!

Start by finding a venue large enough to host this fundraiser. Your best bet is outdoors. Choose a sunny day and get to work! So long as your supporters are up to the challenge, all it takes is a bit of encouragement. Best of all, everyone has spare change lying around, and it ensures that everyone has a chance to give.

Contact local chain restaurants and ask about the unique fundraising opportunities they offer.Restaurant Percentage Night


A restaurant percentage night is probably one of the easiest fundraising ideas to pull off.

It requires minimal planning. Plus, it works for any size and type of organization—from school clubs to charities. Everyone already buys dinner, so why wouldn’t they want part of their purchase to go to a good cause?

When proposing a partnership with a restaurant, make sure to leverage the idea that the fundraiser is an effective promotion tool. The restaurant sees an increase in business while your nonprofit raises money. It’s a win-win situation!

As one of your organization’s unique fundraising ideas, try dog walking.Dog Walking


Here’s one of the oldest fundraisers in the book: dog walking.

Most pet owners don’t always have time to walk their four-legged friends thanks to their busy schedules. Plus, daily puppy daycare visits can quickly add up. Give pups a chance to stretch their legs and owners a chance to kick back and relax after a long day’s work. All the pet owners have to do is pay a small fee. Adjust the price based on dog size and charge more for longer walks.

Encourage your dog-loving volunteers to take charge of this unique fundraising idea. Make sure you know what types of dogs (i.e., size and breed) each volunteer is comfortable with walking. Then, map out routes, making sure all registered pups get to participate.

Start a penny war competition amongst highly competitive groups as a unique fundraiser.Penny Wars


Penny wars are the perfect unique fundraising idea for highly competitive groups and teams.

Set up various jars. Then, label them using each team or group’s name. If a donor places coins in a jar, that team gets points for each cent collected. However, if someone puts a dollar or other paper money in a jar, that counts as negative points. For instance, a dollar bill equals negative 100 points against that team. Encourage donors to put coins in their team’s jar while putting dollars in their competitors’ jars!

Divide people into teams or have them choose their own groups. They’ll compete against one another in this friendly contest, aiming to gain the most points. Incentivize participants by giving the winning team a prize. By the end of the competition, the jars will be overflowing, and you’ll be that much closer to your revenue goals!

A paper airplane competition is a unique fundraising idea that requires supporters to get crafty.Paper Airplane Competition


Consider hosting a paper airplane competition for your next unique fundraiser. Set it up in your organization’s parking lot or go to a local park. Break the venue into sections using tape or string. Then, put prizes in each square. When participants throw their airplanes, they’ll land on a square, winning whatever prize is there!

Alternatively, you can have participants line up one-by-one and see how far they can throw their airplanes. Reward those with the furthest throws with a prize (like a restaurant gift card or a trophy).

In any case, give them colorful paper, and all the time they need to design their creative planes. Make sure they remember to mark their creations with their names. You’ll be shocked at how many unique airplane designs people create!

For your next unique fundraiser, create and sell a community cookbook with everyone’s favorite recipes.Cookbooks


Invite people to show off their favorite family recipes in a community cookbook fundraiser.

A cookbook is a unique fundraising idea that everyone can get behind. People love expanding their kitchen skills—especially when it comes to their neighbors’ homestyle cooking.

First, collect local recipes, starting with your own and branching out to community members and local restaurants. Once you’ve done this, compile them in a well-designed book. Feature colorful photos for each recipe, making it look as professional as possible. Then, sell the community cookbook back to community members. You’ll learn unique recipes and raise some money at the same time!

Another one of the top unique fundraising ideas is a plant sale.Plant Sale


Regrow the environment while also earning some extra green for your cause.

Put a plant sale at the top of your list for environmentally-friendly and unique fundraising ideas. Ideally, you’ll want to grow the plants from seeds and pot them yourself, but this isn’t always feasible. If you’re short on time, partner with a local nursery and see if they’ll sell you plants at a discounted rate. A great way to strike a bargain is by buying bedding plants at wholesale prices. Then, sell them to supporters for a profit.

Select an outdoor venue, if possible. For instance, try a school playing field or a generous volunteer’s yard. Host it in late spring or early summer as that’s when people are planning their vibrant gardens. From fruits and vegetables to budding flowers, ensure you have options for every type of green-thumbed supporter.

Consider a make-a-snake campaign as your organization or school’s next unique fundraising idea.Make-a-Snake


This unique fundraiser works well for all ages but is particularly effective for schools, Sunday school groups, and even sports teams.

Encourage children to collect spare change from around their homes (with parents’ permission). On a designated day, children will bring in this spare change and bills. Then, each class will make a “snake” with their dollars and coins.

Whichever group creates the longest snake wins! Reward the winning team with a pizza party or another prize they’ll all enjoy.

Collect used books and sell them back to the community as a unique fundraiser.Used Book Sale


A used book sale is a simple, easy, and unique fundraising idea that anyone can pull off!

Ask for donations of unwanted (but still readable) books from your community. Set up donation boxes in your facility and ask local businesses to do so as well. You’ll be surprised as the number of books piles up.

Once you have plenty of used books, sell them at a used book sale. Hang flyers around the community and post about your favorite finds on your organization’s social media pages.

Use the Rush to Crush Grapes unique fundraiser to raise more money for your cause.Rush to Crush Grapes


This unique fundraising idea is sure to garner some attention. At your “Rush to Crush Grapes” fundraiser, encourage two-person teams to compete against each other to crush the most grapes. Once the round is up, measure each team’s grape-stomping abilities by measuring the amount of juice they created. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much planning. You just need to set up a new round every half hour or so.

Of course, you’ll need to spend some cash to make this fundraiser possible. Beforehand, you’ll need to buy:

  • Grapes
  • Containers (to stomp the grapes in!)
  • Ribbons or medals for round winners
  • A trophy for the grand prize winner

For more excitement, set up categories for most creative stomping, most unique team outfits, and so on.

Host a sip and paint class and help supporters show off their creativity with this unique fundraising idea.Sip and Paint Class


Allow supporters to explore their creative sides with a BYOB paint and sip class.

Start by partnering with a local sip and paint store that’s willing to give a percentage of the proceeds to your cause or secure a location to create it yourself. If you’re creating it yourself, ask a local artist or volunteer to teach the class.

In any case, have people pay a registration fee to attend this class. People will enjoy being creative and sociable while sipping on their favorite wine at the same time.

Spread the word about your organization with a branded merchandise sale as your next unique fundraising idea.Merchandise Sale


Earn some fundraising dollars and spread the word about your cause with branded merchandise.

Even if you’re not creative, you can host a contest where your supporters come up with their most innovative designs. Then, have everyone vote on their favorite sketches. Feature everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs on your online store and at your facility.

You’ll likely find the most success in creating merchandise for each of your organization’s major campaigns. When you host an out-of-this-world event, people will want to purchase memorabilia so that the day lives on.

Use a photo contest as a unique fundraising idea to encourage supporters to be creative.Photo Contest


A photo contest is a unique fundraising idea that encourages people of all ages to get involved.

Create divisions, ranging from children to amateur to professional. Select a theme for the contest, such as:

  • Hometown pride
  • Holiday/Season
  • Pets

If possible, don’t charge an entry fee. Instead, rely on donations to fund the event. Remember, people won’t want to participate unless you have a highly desirable prize. Set up a jar in front of each display, and encourage donors to vote using their dollars. Your participants will love exploring their creative sides!

Earn extra dollars by hosting a duct-tape-the-official as one of your unique fundraising ideas.Duct-Tape-the-Official


Gather your bravest volunteers for this sticky, unique fundraising idea.

A duct-tape-the-official fundraiser works best for schools but can be adapted for any organization. For K-12 schools, encourage a brave principal or beloved teacher to be duct-taped to a sturdy wall. For sports teams, choose the coach to be duct-taped. For other nonprofits, ask well-known city officials to volunteer.

Whoever your courageous volunteer is should stand on a step stool until there’s enough tape to hold him or her up. Remove the stool for a grand reveal that will amaze spectators. It’s important to note that since the duct will trap heat, you should have some water and a fan off to the side.

Purchase duct tape with flashy colors and wacky designs. Then, charge participants $1 per yard. Everyone will want to join in on the sticky fun!

Consider a yard sale powered by donations as one of your top unique fundraising ideas.Yard Sale


Give unwanted clothes and belongings a new purpose with this unique fundraiser event.

Spring cleaning is a major motivator for an event like this. Supporters will want to clean out their closets while also supporting their favorite organization (that’s you!). Advertise well in advance, giving supporters enough time to clean out their closets. Encourage donations of all kinds so long as the items are usable. Set a drop-off day (or two). Then, watch the donations roll in.

Chances are you’ll have too many items to price individually. Implement a system with color-coded price tags. For instance, blue can represent $5 items; red can represent $10 items, and so on. You’ll want to price bigger-ticket items, like furniture, individually. Once you’ve done this, set up an organizational structure. For instance, feature a music section with CDs and vinyl records, a used book section, a clothes section, and so on.

This idea is yet another excellent opportunity to host a shoe drive fundraiser. Set up your collection materials around your yard sale and encourage shoppers to donate their gently worn, used and new shoes to your cause.

Free Unique Fundraising Resources

Want to continue exploring unique fundraising ideas and tools for organizations of all sizes?

Check out these unique fundraising ideas and helpful resources:

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