Recently, our vice-president for marketing, Kristy, hosted a global discussion about the top fundraising ideas. If you follow our blog, you will discover we’ve been writing a lot about that lately. And, there’s a reason for it. As you well know, nonprofits, churches, civic groups, and others have lost money. So, there’s a tremendous need for unique fundraising ideas. As always, our team seeks to provide value, and so we want to share more thoughts and ideas, so you have everything you need to recover.
First things first. If you want to see the deck and webinar Kristy did, you can download all the material HERE. Also, at the end of this list, we’re sharing even more resources you could use for fundraising. Now, let’s get started on counting down from 10 to 1 unique fundraising ideas that could work for your cause!
Unique Fundraising Ideas Countdown List
10. Online Competition or Online Contest
As we all know, 2020 was the year where it seemed that everyone got online. And, that’s a great thing because now millions of more people are operating in the digital space. An excellent fundraising idea is an online contest or competition. A contest could be anything from photography, painting, or a team fundraising challenge. For those who sign-up, you ask for a donation. And, for those who vote for their favorite winner, they also donate.
9. A takeover of Social Media Accounts
If you fundraise, then you probably know that corporations have a lot of followers—often into the millions. So, for this fundraising idea, all you do is ask a corporation in your town to “donate” their social profiles to your cause for the day. Then, you kickstart your nonprofit marketing and social media through their accounts by posting, tweeting, and sharing stories—with great and compelling images—on their social feeds. As Kristy mentioned in her webinar, make it a point to use Instagram Stories and Feeds for higher visibility.
8. Happy Hour Fundraising Online
Unique fundraising ideas have gone digital in full force in 2020. Although online auctions have been around for many years, savvy fundraisers now combine it with online happy hour cocktail events. How about bidding to attend a cocktail auction and also making bids to learn different cocktails? So, all you have to do for a successful event is to partner with a local restaurant or bar. Then, have the bartender show people how to back tasty cocktails based on their bids. Alternately, you can have a bartender teach people to make a signature cocktail and then move to bid for other online auction of sports memorabilia, travel, and spa treatments.
7. Matching Gifts Fundraising Drive
For this fundraising idea, ask a major donor or corporate sponsor to match whatever you raise online in an email fundraising campaign. For instance, you can ask a corporation for a $3,000 donation. Then, email your database and share on social media your request for people to donate a certain amount to your fundraiser to make the goal. And, make it a point to say that all their donations will get matched. Find out more about how to execute this type of fundraiser with this post from Classy.
6. Online Netflix Party or Virtual Movies
If you seek ideas about how to raise money for your cause—easily, then what’s easier than watching a movie or having a watch party? This kind of fundraising ideas is straightforward to pull off. All you have to do is to choose a film to watch, and you can use one of these services. Then, you ask everyone to attend the watch party by purchasing a virtual seat at this online event. Watch parties are here to stay, and they are a fun way to share the experience of the movies with others. Don’t forget that you can have movies for different generations to motivate teenagers to Boomers!
5. Paint and Sip Fundraising Event
Sure, many people don’t consider themselves to be creative. However, creativity is a great human experience and one that makes a paint and sip event lots of fun. In this fundraising event, ask a local artist or art store to join you. The artist leads the painting on the evening of the event. And, the art store could be where people purchase discounted supplies, and perhaps they also donate a percentage of the proceeds to you. Ask everyone who participates in this virtual or in-person fundraising event to contribute to attend.
4. An “Ungala” Event
Everyone knows what a gala is, but have you heard of an “ungala”? It’s trendy now, mainly because people have become tired of attending stuffy fundraisers. For an ungala, you and your nonprofit board of directors put together an ungala program, just as you would for a gala. Then, you promote and ask people to attend your virtual ungala fundraising event. And yes, you can ask everyone to get dressed up and participate from the comfort of their homes. Or, you can ask people to attend in costume or as they are for a fun-filled virtual fundraiser.
3. Video Gaming Fundraiser
The chances are that you know many people who love video gaming, and that’s why this idea is one of our top unique fundraising ideas. Organizations such as St. Jude’s Hospital have started doing video gaming tournaments for fundraising. You can live stream this kind of event, where players and viewers donate, through platforms such as Twitch or YouTube. In case you’ve never run a video gaming fundraiser, we’ve got a free downloadable resource, Think Fast: Your Quick Gaming Marathon Guide.
2. Virtual Online Auction
Online or virtual auctions are fantastic and fun. Plus, anyone can participate in this fundraising event from anywhere at any time with the click of a button. All you have to do to make this a success is to get great items, which you auction on an online auction platform. Some of the best things to auction include spa and wellness experiences or items, sports memorabilia, and travel-related experiences. Ask your local businesses and corporations to donate auction items for a good cause and promote their brands in the process.
1. Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Finally, we’re at our #1 fundraising idea, and that’s a shoe drive fundraiser. It’s the number one idea on our list because people don’t have to make any financial donation. Instead, you collect gently worn, used and new shoes. Once your fundraising event finishes, you receive a check from us for the shoes collected. The fundraising formula is simple. More shoes = More money. Also, this is one of the most unique fundraising ideas for a few other reasons.
First, when you do a shoe drive fundraiser, you provide your community with a place for them to dispose of shoes they no longer want. And, that’s an excellent thing for the planet. Second, the shoes collected get shipped to micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations who sell the shoes. In other words, you offer people a hand-up instead of a hand-out. And, people love the opportunity to help themselves. For more information about the benefits of a shoe drive fundraiser, check out the Why Shoes section of our site.
Additional Resources Related to Unique Fundraising Ideas
As we promised, below, please find more resources and valuable information for your marketing and fundraising success.
- Funds2Orgs Top Virtual Fundraising Ideas Webinar, Deck, and Resources
- 80+ Unique (And Easy!) Fundraising Ideas
- Kristy’s marketing and promotion articles on Nonprofit Pro
- Wayne’s (our founder and CEO) leadership articles on Nonprofit Pro
- Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 for Nonprofits
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