The right fundraising campaign can generate major donations for your cause. Beyond raising money, events are a great way to connect, reach out to your community and congregation and inspire donors who believe in your cause. Whether you need to plan a quick event or a more traditional and formal event, here are some ideas to help you take your congregation event to the next level. Browse through these fundraising ideas and find one that works for your organization.
- Host a craft fair
Gather all the artists, knitters, macramé-ers, potters, and makers you know, and throw a craft fair! Ask the artists in your congregation if they’d be willing to donate some of their wares—or a portion of their proceeds—then set up booths and let the shopping begin. If you’re worried about finding enough sellers, use Etsy to find local artisans, who may be interested in being involved.
- Organize a bake sale
Brownies, cupcakes, and cookies, oh my! Everybody loves a bake sale, and some people even love to—gasp—bake. Ask a handful of volunteer bakers to provide the sweets, and use GiveCentral to accept payments from hungry congregants. Yum.
- Try a rummage sale
A rummage sale is a fantastic way to raise money with very little overhead. Plus, it benefits the donors, who get a chance to clear out their overstuffed closets! Ask your congregation for donations of gently used clothes, furniture, and other homewares, then have volunteers price everything and work the checkout counter. Remember to keep prices low.
- Plan a 5K run
Fitness and fundraising? Why not? Organizing a 5K run requires a bit of advance planning—you’ll need to get permission to use the route, and invest in event insurance—but this helpful chart breaks it down into manageable steps.
- Throw a block party
The ingredients to a successful block party vary, but might we suggest barbeque, a bounce house for the kids, and a DJ playing oldies? You’ll need to apply for a permit from the city, but first, talk to your parishioners to see if any of them have hosted a block party before—they may already know the drill. While you can’t sell goods at a block party, feel free to end the night with a call for donations.
- Go all-out with an Easter egg hunt
Is there anything more thrilling for kids than a gigantic Easter egg hunt? Stock up on eggs and candy, and have volunteers hide them all around a local park or—if it’s big enough—your church grounds. Consider asking parents for a small donation per kid to participate.
- Host a concert
In the music world, everyone wants to be in on the next big thing. Why not appreciate the local talent that’s right under your nose? Ask the musicians in your congregation if they’d be willing to showcase their skills, then host a concert in your chapel. It costs nothing to host, you probably have all the equipment already, and you can pass a plate for donations between sets. Consider sharing a percentage of the proceeds with the artists—they work hard enough as it is!
- Run a 50/50 raffle
An easy way to raise funds quickly is the 50/50 raffle, in which people buy a ticket for pocket change (say, $1 each), and the prize is 50% of the funds raised. You can run a 50/50 raffle at any of the other events we’re suggesting here—to make it easier on you, consider asking a specific group of people to sell raffle tickets, like graduating seniors, or feisty middle schoolers.
- Throw a black-tie gala
Feeling fancy? It’s probably time for a gala! People love a chance to dress up and sip champagne, and will pay good money for a sit-down dinner—or, if you’d like to keep it a bit more casual, passed appetizers can also be a huge hit. Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of suits and floor-length towns? Let GiveCentral Events help you plan this one—it’s what we do best.
- Try using Text to Give at your next event
Here’s another idea that can be incorporated into any one of these event—use GiveCentral’s text fundraising service, Text to Give, to allow donors to make donations quickly and easily, straight from their mobile devices. Just make an announcement during a lull in the activities, letting donors know which number to text, and they’ll be able to input their information directly into your database. (Contact us anytime for help setting this up.)
- Turn any event into a live crowdfunding session
You’ve seen people raise funds on Kickstarter and IndieGogo, but did you know that GiveCentral has a tool that will let you crowdsource funds the same way—but in person? You can definitely use GiveCentral Crowdfunding online, but consider hosting a live crowdfunding session at one of your events (a gala would be perfect for this). With the use of a small mobile swiper tool that attaches to any mobile device, you can create an in-person donation terminal where all your guests can swipe their cards. Be sure to announce your fundraising goal, and give micro-announcements every time a milestone is reached, to keep the energy high.
- Find a donation partner
Everything’s easier when you’ve got a buddy on board. Ask local businesses who share your values if they’d be interested in matching donor gifts at your next event. Be sure to use their business name and social media handles whenever you promote the event—free publicity for them, and double the funds for you.
- Church movie night
Here’s another easy, low-cost community event you can host any time: pop a few bowls of popcorn, ask a volunteer to make hot chocolate, and project a kid-friendly movie onto a plain white wall or even a sheet (might we suggest a Pixar film like Toy Story or Up?). You can charge a small admission for movie night or ask for donations afterward.
- Throw a trivia night
Never underestimate how competitive people get around multiple-choice answers! Trivia is an entertaining way to get your congregation engaged and healthily competitive. If you’re pressed for time, you can hire an outside trivia host, who will come prepared with questions and answer sheets.
- Raffle Time!
Charge a small admission to your trivia night and consider breaking halfway through trivia for something like a 50/50 raffle or text-to-give session. Bingo!
Did you miss out any interesting idea for nonprofit fundraising event? Let us know in a comment below!