11 Creative Charity Fundraising Event Ideas

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

Since 2012, thousands of nonprofits have run campaigns on CauseVox’s fundraising platform. Some of these campaigns have been more traditional—such as an online peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, while others break the mold.

And while there’s nothing wrong with your standard fundraiser, sometimes it’s fun to do something a bit different. That’s why you should try incorporating more events into your charity’s annual fundraising plan.

Charity events don’t just raise money for your charity, they also help to engage your supporters and bring publicity to your cause. Plus, speaking as a fundraising professional, I know how nice it is to do something new and different every once in a while.

“Charity events don’t just raise money for your charity, they also help to engage your supporters…” tweet this

There’s no time like the present to get started planning your next event. Here are some of my favorite creative charity event ideas.

1. Skydive For Charity

charity event idea

I’m not one to jump out of a plane for fun, but I know plenty of people who have skydiving on their bucket list. Whether you’re a sky-jumping pro or a novice, one thing’s for sure, you’re bound to remember every single jump.

Yes, people will jump out of a plane for your cause! Why? Partly because they love what you do, and partly because some just love all that adrenaline.

Most communities have a skydiving outfit that’ll be willing to work with you to plan the event. To help fund the dives, encourage your jumpers to create personal fundraising webpages online using CauseVox’s peer-to-peer fundraising software.

2. One-Day Online Fundraiser

charity event idea

If you’re on a fixed budget or timeframe, a one-day online fundraiser is one of the best charity event ideas for your organization.

First, choose a day that means something to your organization or those you help. For example, The Adventure Project planned a one-day fundraiser to fund a well water mechanics program in India. To promote urgency and need, the campaign occurred on World Water Day.

Once you’ve selected a date, create a campaign theme and get started putting your website together. Don’t wait until the day of the event to promote it. Instead, let your donors know ahead of time about the campaign so they have time to prepare and/or help spread the word.

3. Facebook Live

charity event idea

Using Facebook Live is one of the most affordable and creative charity event ideas. As always, let your supporters know ahead of time the day, time, and any pertinent fundraiser details such as any guest speakers, goals, and topics of discussion.

Also, encourage your supporters to connect with you on Facebook if they haven’t already.

Once you go “Live,” your followers will get a push notification. From there, they can comment, write in their intended pledge and “Like” your feed. Just don’t forget to include a link to your donation page in your description so you can capture those donations.

4. 5K/Marathon

charity event idea

While it may seem like every charity is organizing a running road race such as a 5k or marathon, you’re right. And these events are extremely popular because they have the potential to bring in some serious income for your charity.

We’ve seen hundreds of organizations plan 5ks and marathons using our platform. For example, Get REAL encouraged runners to raise $150 as part of the “Running for Love 5k.” Likewise, Global Kids, Inc. also asked participants to raise money with CauseVox’s peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

charity event idea
List of Personal Fundraisers on Global Kids, Inc. Fundraising Website

5. Personal Fitness Challenge

Sweat for STF from She’s the First on Vimeo.

If time is of the essence and/or you lack the resources to manage an entire road race, there’s still a way to encourage people to get moving for your cause. A personal fitness challenge is something anyone of your supporters can do to raise money.

Encourage participants to choose a race or challenge they’d like to complete (anything from a self-chosen 5k to swimming 5 miles and everything in between). Then, they’ll set up a personal fundraising page and encourage people to give to fund the activity.

One of the best features of a personal fitness challenge is that it can occur on your supporter’s own schedule. In 2013, She’s The First ran an ongoing personal fitness challenge fundraiser called “Run the World.” With this fundraiser, She’s The First engaged hundreds of donors and raised over $40,000.

6. Golf Marathon

charity event idea

When the weather starts to warm up and the summer wardrobe is pushed to the center of your closet, you know that spring is right around the corner. And one thing’s for sure, many of your largest supporters want nothing more than to spend a morning on the golf course.

Golf tournaments are a great deal of fun for participants. If you think your supporters will be interested in this type of event, work with a local golf course on pricing and dates (hint: most are very comfortable working with charities to run tournaments). Leave yourself plenty of time to get teams together and market the event.

Ask local businesses to sponsor a team, or get people to fundraise to fund their participation like The First Tee of Greater St. Louis. Oh, and don’t forget to look into “hole-in-one” insurance if you plan to give a prize for this accomplishment!

7. Guest Speaker

charity event idea

Is there a local celebrity, well-known personality, or local expert in your community that believes in your cause and can speak to it? If so, plan a guest speaker event.

Invite the community by advertising on social media, print media, email, and direct mail. Encourage your own supporters to share the event with their friends and family. Charge a flat entry fee or suggested donation for attendees.

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate night event with food and drinks (although that is definitely an option). For a low-key event, make it a lunch and learn.

8. Donation Match Drive

charity event idea

Leverage your donor’s donation with a match. This is a simple, efficient, and enticing creative charity event idea to encourage people to give.

To start, check Double The Donation’s website for a list of some of the largest gift matching companies.

Or, do the work yourself. Talk with major donors and local businesses that may be able to match donor dollars during a specific time frame or possibly even the entire campaign. An anonymous donor is doing just that for Just 1’s 20 for 40 campaign.

9. Personal Challenge

charity event idea

We’ve already discussed a personal fitness challenge, but there are other challenges your supporters can perform to raise money for your charity, and they’re one of the most effective creative charity event ideas.

Personal challenges can range from growing facial hair (or removing it) to symbolic gestures like living off of $2 day or avoiding electronics for 24-hours.

If there’s something your supporters can do to both bring awareness to your cause and help you raise money, then promote it! For inspiration, check out the David Lichman Moustache Challenge. This brave man pledged to remove his 30-year old moustache to support 2 organization, Operation Second Chance and One Step Closer.

charity event idea
David Lichman Moustache Challenge

10. Holiday Fundraiser

charity event idea

There are a number of things many families purchase during the holidays, including wreaths, Christmas trees, wrapping paper, candles, and poinsettias. Sure, folks can get all these things and more at the store, but I’m sure they’ll be more willing to buy them from your charity if it’s for your good cause.

Check to see what other organizations are doing before you choose your fundraiser. Then, work with a wholesaler to get the items at-cost and sell them for a slight profit. It’s a win-win for everyone!

11. Charity Chores

charity event idea

Your town is filled with people who need services done, whether it’s snow removal or fall leaf cleanup. This is where your charity comes into play.

Choose the “chore” you’d like to provide your community, advertise , gather volunteers, and get to work. Ask those calling on your charity to give a donation in exchange for your services.

We realize that you’re working tirelessly to raise money for your charity. While there are thousands of creative charity event ideas out there-you’ll find one that excites and engages your supporters.

“There are thousands of creative charity event ideas out there-you’ll find one that excites & engages your supporters…” tweet this

Try one of these 11 creative charity event ideas this upcoming year, and let us know how it goes!

Additional creative charity event ideas can be found on our list of 101+ Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits & Charities Proven To Work.

To use CauseVox to power your charity event, check out our guide How To Plan A Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaign.

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