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18 quick and easy fundraising ideas for small nonprofits

Is your nonprofit in a fundraising rut? Sometimes it’s hard to come up with new fundraising ideas or break out of your routine. Here is a list of 18 quick and easy fundraising ideas we have compiled for small nonprofits looking to switch things up a bit:

1. Host a cook-off

Everyone loves food. Round up a lineup of great cooks to have a cook-off. Each “chef” must create their best dish incorporating one designated ingredient. Supporters can pay to attend, taste the dishes and vote on the best.

2. Poke fun at the president

Have donors donate a small amount, such as $1-$10 to choose a silly action that the organization leader must complete for a day, such as shaving their head, dressing as a clown or trading jobs for a day. Let donors know that they must reach a certain goal in order for it to happen.

3. Something new, something borrowed sale

Have your staff and any supporters interested in helping donate their gently used clothes and household items and host a large garage sale. Don’t forget to promote the event with local media outlets and on social media. Post pictures of some of the best items to help generate excitement.

4. Scavenger hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt around the community. Donors must pay a fee to participate and can give suggested donation amounts for extra tips or clues.

5. Donate a meal

Ask staff, volunteers and donors to donate a homemade meal and then sell them. Promote that meals will be for sale in your local media and on your social media channels to let the community know that homemade meals will be available for purchase.

6. Host a talent show

Gather local talent to volunteer to participate in a community talent show. Attendees can pay to attend and donate additional smaller amounts in order to vote for their favorite talent.

7. Give up something small

Show your donors that even the smallest donation makes a difference. Encourage donors to “give up” one of their favorite small daily or weekly treats, such as their Starbucks coffee every morning or Friday lunch out, for a period of time. Ask them to donate those amounts after reaching a goal.

8. Costume race

Switch up the classic 5k fundraiser by hosting a fun themed costume race. Many people are more excited about running 5ks that have a fun theme, such as 80s, zombies or another pop culture craze.

9. Dodgeball or kickball tournaments

These childhood gym games never get old! Ask each team to fundraise a certain amount to participate and to come geared up for some serious competitive fun.

10. Battle of the bands

Gather local bands to put on a charity concert. Performers and attendees pay a registration fee. Have a judging panel of local influencers, such as radio hosts, local celebrities or government officials, to help generate event buzz and get people interested in your show.

11. Athletic tournament

Similar to the dodgeball tournament, you can choose a sport such as football, basketball, volleyball or other sport and have teams pay to participate. Attendees must pay a small fee to watch. You can even add a theme or costume, requiring each team to come up with its own unique getup.

12. Organization recipe book

Recipe books are still an easy and fun fundraising idea. Have donors, volunteers and staff members all submit their favorite (1-3) recipes and add them to a book. Compile a solid, hard-copy charity cookbook that can be purchased online and in local bookstores.

13. Make a change

Encourage businesses, families or individuals to a competition by giving them each a coin jar to collect change for a designated amount of time. The one with the most collected wins a prize.

14. Rent-a-worker

Gather volunteers who can be hired for the day by individuals or businesses in the community to do any yardwork or odd jobs around their home.

15. Casual Friday

Enlist local schools or businesses who have required uniforms to allow their students or employees to have a casual-dress workday if they can reach a set fundraising goal.

16. Dine out for a cause

Ask a local restaurant to donate 10% (or more) of their profits on a designated night for your cause in exchange for promoting their restaurant to your donors and volunteers. Promote the event night on your social media.

17. Matching gift

Ask a corporation or individual to match any donations your organization collects in a specified amount of time. Then, contact potential donors about giving to match the gift.

18. Pay at the pump

Coordinate with a local gas station to have volunteers serve as gas station attendants who pump gas and clean windshields for small donations for a day.

The possibilities are almost endless for different types of fundraisers. Switch things up this year by trying something new—who knows, you might end up creating a community tradition! And be sure to give 4aGoodCause a call for help making all of your new fundraising events compatible with online donations. We’re here to help.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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