5 Easy and Creative Fundraising Ideas For Any Cause


Fundraising is not just crucial to keep organizations alive, but it’s also important for the communities they serve. In fact, without well-funded projects, organizations and churches nationwide would be unable to serve their communities’ homeless population, youth, refugees, sick, and the dozens of other vulnerable groups in their neighborhoods.

But just because fundraising is necessary doesn’t make it easy.

In fact, empowering people to not only take ownership of local programs but also donate money can feel awkward for organizations and their leadership teams—especially since 42% of Americans distrust charities with 70% believing nonprofits are wasteful with donations.

So how can your organization or church properly and sustainably raise money?

The best fundraising ideas are simple, creative, and make it easy and enjoyable for donors to give. Here are five easy and effective fundraising ideas your organization can implement soon.

1. Fundraising registry

For your next fundraiser, find a way to pair financial donations with tangible items, similar to a wedding or baby registry. Allow people to symbolically “buy” an item needed for your specific fundraising project, and follow up by creating a corresponding fund in your digital giving platform so people can keep donating on their own time.

For instance, if you’re raising funds for a new addition to your building, start by purchasing some small building materials and setting up a table or booth in your organization or church lobby during services. Display items needed for the new building like screws, plywood, and tubs of paint, as well as a small chalkboard showing how much more of each item is needed and at what price per unit. Allow people to “buy” or donate toward a single item that’s displayed. As people donate, update the chalkboard in real time showing the new amount of that item that’s needed.

Be sure to pass along a thank you card to each donor showing gratitude for the gift and giving them next steps. You can point them to your website’s giving page or digital giving platform where they can donate to the “Building Fund” again on their own time.

You can do the same with backpack, food, and even clothing drives, anything that can be represented by physical items. In support of this idea, be sure to communicate the purpose and vision of the fundraising project clearly and consistently. Tie it back to your organization’s wider mission and commitment to serving people, and make sure it’s insanely easy for people to donate. Set up a fund in your digital giving platform early so people can give when they feel the urge to do so, and have card readers handy at the lobby booth.

2. Have a show

People love good, wholesome opportunities to have fun with their family and friends. Give them that (and so much more) the next time you’re fundraising. Use your specific project to inspire an event like a talent show and encourage the people who will benefit from donations to display their talents. If you’re fundraising for more books at a local school, partner with that school to have the kiddos put on a night of fun, songs, and dances. Working with a homeless shelter? Invite the shelter volunteers to showcase their personal talents and talk through the work they do at the shelter. You can have it potluck style on your organization’s campus.

Inform people ahead of time that the event is for raising funds but also promote it as a fun group activity. Be sure to have well-designed pamphlets prepared to handout with information about the fundraising campaign, why it matters, and how people can donate. While you’ll want to have buckets ready at the event for people to give cash, be sure to point them to your digital giving platform so they can keep giving even after the show’s over. This idea works because it puts the onus on the people benefiting from the fundraising campaign to plan and organize their part of the show. With a little bit of promotion to your stakeholders and some event planning, a great show can come together easily and quickly.

3. Movies on the lawn

Summer is typically a rough time for fundraising since attendance and overall giving tends to drop. But don’t be intimidated by the summer slump. When the weather warms up, hold movie night fundraisers on the lawn and charge a small entrance fee. Your organization probably has a projector and sound system already. Set it up outside on a clear night and show a family-friendly movie on a sheet hung outside. Or clear the main auditorium area and invite people to bring their chairs and blankets to spread on the floor.

Before and after the movie, announce the reason behind the event and encourage people to donate above and beyond the entrance fee. To cut down on costs, ask people to bring their own drinks and snacks or invite some folks to barbecue for the event. For people that remain in town all summer, this can become a fun and cheap entertainment option and they can feel good about giving back at the same time.

4. Giving power hours

People spend about five hours each day on their phones, making your organization’s or church’s custom app an excellent and easy way to raise funds. Plan periods of time over the last few weeks of your fundraising campaign to hold a special fundraising event called a Giving Power Hour. Send out push notifications alerting people that you’ll be encouraging donations for the next 60 minutes to hit your specific fundraising goal. Configure the notification to open to your giving platform so people can quickly and easily donate. At the end of the hour, send another notification letting people know how much was raised in the hour and thank donors. Donation funds, push notifications, and giving are simple and easy with an organization or church app.

Be sure to thank your Giving Power Hour donors on social media, email, or during church service announcements. Most giving platforms and apps even allow you to create custom thank you emails to send to Power Hour donors.

5. Host a date night

Your organization is probably filled with parents and young couples always eager for a nice night out. Host a series of creative, interactive date nights and charge a small fee to participate. If your campus has a small lawn, set up a small mini golf area and ask people to help out by donating golf balls and putters. You can even have organization leaders and volunteers hold a potluck dinner with candles and music under the stars, or ask local businesses to donate a night of bowling or a movie screening to get things going. This is a good opportunity to allow the couples and families you serve to connect with others in your organization and enjoy a different side of fundraising. Encourage attendees to pay a small amount more than the activity’s fee if possible and let them know your fundraising vision and overall goal. Encourage attendees on the first night to invite out their family members and friends so you can raise money faster.

Fundraise the smart way

Fundraising is a critical part of every thriving organization, but it doesn’t have to be stressful for you and your staff. Don’t overthink it! Often the simplest ideas are the best ones. But as you work to make sure your projects and initiatives are well funded, remember that everyone is different. Not everyone will respond in the same way to your various projects, so it’s important to understand your givers well and figure out the fundraising strategies that best work for them.

One way you can do that is to regularly communicate with everyone who supports your organization, including staff members, volunteers, and donors. Group communication tools like Unison make it easy to send updates and collect feedback. By staying connected to your stakeholders, you'll know what fundraising initiatives work best for them.

Are you fundraising for a church? To discover the different types of givers at your church right now and how to best bring out their generosity, download the free ebook, Power Givers, today.

Content Manager at Pushpay
Davina manages content at Pushpay and has several years of experience writing for tech startups, magazines, and companies that serve the Church. Alumna of The University of Texas at Austin, she enjoys two-stepping in the Lone Star State, visiting cool AirBnbs, and eating pad kee mao.