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Top 10 Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Success

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There are many competing priorities when it comes to running a successful nonprofit. One of the biggest, and most time-consuming? Fundraising.

According to National Philanthropic Trust, the majority of charitable donations made in the U.S. — about 64% — come from individuals. That’s why coming up with new and exciting fundraiser ideas is so important to the success of nonprofits. 

Find out how your nonprofit can improve its earning potential with these unique and profitable fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations.

1. Gift Card Fundraising

If you’re looking for good fundraisers for nonprofit organizations, there’s nothing easier or more effective than gift card fundraising with RaiseRight. 

Gift card fundraising allows your supporters to shop how they normally would while earning money for your nonprofit. Here's how it works:

  1. Get started for free by enrolling your nonprofit with RaiseRight

  2. Invite participants to join your fundraising program

  3. You and your participants can buy gift cards from hundreds of brands, including Walmart, Amazon, McDonald’s, and more. With every gift card purchase, your organization instantly earns a percentage back — anywhere from 1 to 20%.

  4. The earnings come directly from the brands, so you can raise money for your nonprofit — without asking for money!

gift card fundraising idea for nonprofit

2. Walk-a-Thon or 5K

Walks and runs are excellent ways to grow awareness and rally support for your cause — and they’re a great way to raise money, too. 

These types of events don’t require too much planning. You just need to pick a day, map out a route, and register participants. You can charge a fee for entering, or let your participants do the fundraising by finding sponsors to donate a sum for each mile they travel. 

You can also make these walks even more exciting by adding themes or encouraging participants to wear fun costumes!

3. Sports Tournaments

volleyball sports tournament for a nonprofit

How about mixing fundraising with some healthy competition? 

If you have a larger space, like an on-site gym or parking lot, host a volleyball tournament, pickleball tournament, or something similar. Or, find a local sportplex or golf course that will host your event. 

However, small spaces can work well, too. Try ‘Minute to Win It’ challenges or tabletop game tournaments like ping pong can be just as exciting as a full-on sports match. Consider hosting your tournament at a local community center or school if you don't have the appropriate facilities. 

4. Galas, Dinners, or Banquets

Dinners require a lot of planning, and it’s important to understand that going in. However, they serve as an effective way to raise money for your organization while creating a memorable night for your community members. 

You can also increase the earning potential of these events by including auction or raffle items that attendees can try to win. 

Don't have the resources to host an upscale event? Try running a restaurant night fundraiser! Encourage attendees to use RaiseRight gift cards for the participating restaurant or fast food chain (or use universal prepaid cards) so you can optimize earnings. 

5. Merchandise or Product Sales

There are various types of products you can buy in bulk and sell at a profit to earn money for your organization, such as candles, candy, or cookie dough. If you want to offer your community something more unique, consider selling merchandise or products that feature your nonprofit’s name or logo. With this tactic, you can spread the word about your nonprofit organization while raising money in the process. 

Your devoted volunteers and community members would be more than happy to represent your organization on a t-shirt or water bottle. Some other merchandise suggestions include:

  • Tote bags
  • Mugs
  • Hats
  • Pins

Many companies make merchandise production easy, and you can even poll your community beforehand to see what type of items they’re most interested in buying. 

6. Raffles

Raffles are a classic fundraising option for nonprofits. 

Put together themed gift baskets, or raffle off a bigger ticket item you know your community members will love. You can even contact local businesses to see if they’ll donate some items for the raffle.

7. Marathons

danceathons fundraising idea for nonprofits

Who says marathons are only for running?

You can host almost any “thon” you can think of, from a dance-a-thon to a knit-a-thon. Get participants excited to find sponsors that will reward their hard work, and give back to your organization with some well-earned fun. 

8. Community Events

nonprofit hosting an outdoor movie night fundraiser

Put the “fun” in “fundraiser” with some heart-warming community bonding. 

Fantastic community event ideas include:

  • Concerts
  • Talent shows
  • Cookouts or potlucks
  • Fashion shows
  • Movie nights

Planning efforts will depend on the type of event you choose. To ease any burden, use your current resources to your advantage. If your organization already owns a projector, for instance, movie nights would be easy to host — maybe even on a regular basis!

9. Incentive-Based Fundraising

With this type of fundraising, you encourage participants to raise as much money as they can with enticing incentives. 

For example, if you’re fundraising for a school, you could offer the winning class a pizza or ice cream party. Or, if you’re running a band fundraising program, you could incentivize families with discounted uniforms or trip expenses.

Pro-tip: Turn one of the ideas on this list into an incentive for donors — think extra raffle tickets, merch, or free entry to a banquet. 

10. Business Partnerships

Business partnerships are a great way to raise money while getting your organization’s name out to your community.  

Host a volunteer day for the business’ employees, or set up a matching gift fundraiser. You can also partner with local media publications or TV/radio stations for free or discounted advertising. 

These types of fundraisers rely on businesses that share your organization’s message of giving and generosity, so be sure to do your research and connect with businesses that truly care about your cause.

download the guide to unlock your fundraising potential

RaiseRight Makes Nonprofit Fundraising a Breeze

Gift card fundraising is one of the best fundraisers for nonprofit organizations, hands down. 

Trust the numbers: more than 50,000 organizations have used RaiseRight to earn 5x more than other types of fundraisers. In fact, our highest-earning nonprofit made $234,308 in 2022 alone just from gift card fundraising. Talk about earning potential!

Ready to start earning?

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. See why RaiseRight is the #1 fundraising idea for nonprofits.
  2. Learn more about how gift card fundraising works.
  3. Download the Gift Card Fundraising Playbook and share it with others in your nonprofit.
  4. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If your nonprofit is already earning with RaiseRight, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin fundraising right away.