Creative Fundraising Ideas

Bake sale going stale? Car wash coming up all suds? When your usual fundraising ideas fall flat and don’t seem to be creating the buzz you were hoping for it, think outside the box with some creative fundraising ideas. These are sure to jump start your advocacy efforts!

Charity Auctions

Let’s face it – people love the opportunity to win unique items – a dinner party made by a chef, spa day, home makeover, round trip airfare or a night at a local five-star hotel are all great ideas for an auction. You can even auction off yourself or others, to complete tasks for the winner, such as to wash their car, do grocery shopping, or clean their house. If it is a workplace auction, think about what your employees REALLY want –  a great parking space for a year, the ability to wear jeans every day for a month, or an additional day of PTO.

5K Walk/Run

Take advantage of the popularity of fun runs by hosting a 5K Walk/Run. This is a great way to bring awareness to your cause, but keep in mind that it is also a lot of work! You will need to reserve the location, work with police/city to get approval, map the route, get insurance, promote the event, and much more. Ensure you have a clear plan that lays out the elements of organizing the event, so your fundraiser is as successful as possible.

Cause Week

If your cause has an awareness week tied to it, take advantage of it! Amplify your efforts by hosting advocacy endeavors every day. One day out of the week throw a “letter throwing party”, where your supporters can send letters to legislators. Another day have supporters wear a color that is synonymous with your cause. Have a showcase day for those affected to share their stories.

Penny Drive

This is a simple, yet effective way to aid in your fundraising efforts. Decorate a few large jars to illustrate what your cause is about. Coordinate with any business network connections you may have to place the jars where their customers will easily see them. Ask donors to deposit their extra pocket change, and then collect the jars once they are filled.

Bottle Deposit Donation

Partner with a local vendor to set up a variety of recycling machines in different locations. Ask supporters to bring all their bottles and cans to one of the locations during a specified amount of time. Easy and unique!

Oddball Events

Consider one of these events that bring supporters together in a fun way!

  • Haunted house
  • School lock-in
  • Talent show
  • Happy hour
  • Casino night
  • Variety show
  • Carnival
  • Bingo
  • Karaoke
  • Community yard sale
  • Chili cook-off


Nothing like coming together for some friendly competition, and giving! Trivia, corn hole, golf, croquet, ping pong – the sky is the limit. Between rounds, host prize drawings, offer additional items such as baked goods for teams or individuals to buy, or raffle off chances to win donated items or services.

Use Technology

Lastly, utilize the power of technology to help with your fundraiser! Facebook is a popular and easy choice to consider since it is the #1 social network in the world. Crowdfunding is a great way to fund a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people via the internet. Kickstarter is a popular choice for this option. Viral challenges, like the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge, have also seen an immense amount of success.