In a matter of weeks, the leaves will start to turn. We’ll all begin decorating with hay bales, pumpkins, and mums. The kids will go back to school (if they haven’t already). But, as a fundraiser, your job is just getting ramped up. That’s because fall is a busy time of year for fundraising.
If you haven’t yet decided on a fun, unique fall fundraiser for your nonprofit or charity, here are 16 successful- yet untapped- fall fundraising ideas to get you started.
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1. Pumpkin Sale
Nothing says fall like pumpkin picking, which is why one of our favorite fall fundraising ideas is hosting a pumpkin sale to benefit your nonprofit. Consider ordering pumpkins in bulk online, at a local nursery, or through a large store like Costco or Walmart. Then, sell those pumpkins at your office or public space like a farmer’s market to raise money for your nonprofit or charity.
For an easy, pre-managed fundraiser, check out the Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers website.
2. Pumpkin Carving/ Decorating Contest
There’s more you can do with pumpkins than just sell them. Try a carving or decorating contest!
This fall fundraising idea requires your organization to supply the pumpkins, accessories, and carving utensils, and be prepared to be amazed by the talent of kids of all ages at a pumpkin carving fundraiser. Ask participants to pay a small fee to compete. The winner gets bragging rights for the rest of the year!
3. Football Tailgate Party
Does your community have a high school, college, or maybe even a professional football team? If so, hosting a tailgate party fundraiser is one of the top fall fundraising ideas your nonprofit should consider arranging. Your nonprofit would have to opportunity invite the entire community to support your nonprofit. It’ll give them a chance to connect with your organization and learn about your cause in a fun, festive environment.
So, grill hotdogs and hamburgers, bust out your cornhole sets, and don your most festive team gear. Attendees will gladly pay an entry fee to enjoy your football-themed hospitality!
There will be some people who can’t make it to the event but would like to contribute, so set up an online fundraising site to capture those missed donations!
4. Back to School Carnival
Autumn is a perfect time to be outside, which is why planning a back to school carnival is one of the top fall fundraising ideas your nonprofit or charity should consider. Organize age-appropriate carnival games, rent a bouncy house and have your most artistic staff member or volunteer paint faces. To raise money, ask for donations or charge a fee per activity.
5. Pie Baking Contest
Pies and autumn go together like peanut butter and jelly, which makes this idea one of the sweetest fall fundraising ideas out there.
Capitalize on our seasonal obsession with pumpkins, apples, and spices available with a pie baking contest. Participants pay a fee to be entered into the contest. Throw in a handful of local celebrity judges and you’ve got a great competition on your hands! As a bonus, you can sell those extra pies for a donation.
For inspiration, head to One Breath, One Hope Inc.’s event page.
6. Oktoberfest Event or Online Fundraiser
If you don’t have the means to throw your own Oktoberfest party, then think outside the box and consider these fall fundraising ideas:
Try partnering with a brewery, community association, restaurant, or all the above to throw an Oktoberfest celebration where all proceeds are given to your nonprofit or charity, like this event put on by the Baehr Challenge.
Or, you can hold an online Oktoberfest campaign during the traditional 16-day festival period. Create donation tiers to encourage donors to reach specific levels. For example, those giving $10= “Bavarian Pretzels”, $25= Wurstl, $100= Oktoberfest royalty. Work with local businesses to offer coupons and gift cards as perks to give to the campaign.
7. Haunted House
Turn your office into the scariest haunted house in your town that’ll guarantee chills and maybe even a few nightmares. Attendees will happily pay an entry fee if they’re guaranteed a good scare! This is a great fundraising idea for schools, sports groups, and nonprofits located in an easily-accessible location.
This video show just how far some good decorations can go!
8. Yard Cleanup
One thing’s guaranteed during the fall: leaves. They’re everywhere!
Chances are, people in your community are spending the better part of their weekend clearing up all that waste. But you can turn this nuisance into gold for your nonprofit by offering yard cleanup services for a donation.
If you don’t have the volunteer base to do this, talk to the local high school Key Club to recruit some extra hands.
9. Corn Maze/Obstacle Course
You can go one of two ways here. First, try partnering with a local farm that already has a corn maze or hay bale obstacle course to host a family friendly event on the property where proceeds go to your organization.
Or, create your own maze or obstacle course on a smaller scale in an open location like a field or even empty parking lot. No matter what, your donors are bound to have an a-maize-ing time!
10. September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance Event
Partner with a local volunteer or community service organization such as the AmeriCorps or HandsOn to organize a volunteer-driven fundraiser for your nonprofit or charity on the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance Event.
For example, have volunteers go door to door to collect money and supplies for your domestic violence safe shelter or food pantry. Or, have volunteers pass out flyers directing community members to your nonprofit or charity’s fundraising website. The sky’s the limit.
11. Apple Cider Sale
Does your city or town host a fall event such as a parade or festival? If so, set up a booth to sell warm apple cider. You’ll be raising money while warming the bellies of community members!
12. Consignment Sale
Encourage folks to clean their closets and prepare their winter wardrobes with a consignment sale.
You can host the event online through an auction site or in-person. Don’t forget to market the event on social media and your local newspaper!
13. Fantasy Football Fundraiser
Everyone’s thinking about football in the fall, which is why your donors will love a Fantasy Football fundraiser. Just be careful with local laws regarding sports betting. To ensure that you’re operating on the right side of the law, work with a company like eSports Fundraising or SportzFund.
14. Barn Party Fundraiser
Host an intimate barn party fundraiser where donors can mix and mingle for a good cause. Have everyone wear their best western wear, adorn your venue with farm-themed decor, and serve up some good old-fashioned barbecue. Your donors will love the theme- and the cause!
Promote the event and encourage pre-event donations using peer-to-peer fundraising.
15. Chili Cook Off
Encourage local businesses to run their own chili cook offs in support of your nonprofit or charity. Better yet, pit groups against one another.
For example, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County oversees a phenomenal chili cook off between the city police and county sheriff’s department.
Schedule a friendly bowl-a-thon for when it gets to be a bit too chilly outside. Teams of bowlers raise money to participate, either in-person or online using a fundraising platform. Work with your local bowling alley to get a discount on the event and ask local businesses to donate small prizes to be given to the largest fundraiser and highest bowler.
Want more fundraising ideas? View our epic list of 101+ fundraising ideas that are proven to work.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to come up with a unique fundraising idea that has the potential to be successful and fun, but fall is the perfect time for new beginnings. So, get your team of staff, volunteers, and community supporters together and use this list of fall fundraising ideas to help you begin organizing your next fall fundraiser.