The Met Gala may make for some fun best-dressed lists (and worst!), but as far as fundraisers go, it's in a league of its own. If you run a nonprofit, you're likely more focused on recruiting volunteers and staying on budget than you are on choosing which celebrities to invite to your next gala.
Fortunately, you don't need black-tie events or A-list connections to successfully raise money for your cause. With these six fundraising ideas for nonprofits, you can start bringing in donations quickly and easily.
6 Easy Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits
Nonprofit founders are no strangers to questions like "How can I raise money fast?" and "What is the easiest fundraiser?"
Here, we've gathered six easy fundraising ideas for nonprofit corporations that can have you collecting donations in no time.
1. T-Shirt Fundraiser
People are often proud to support nonprofit organizations they care about, and graphic T-shirts offer a comfy, practical and stylish way to show it off.
Best of all, you don't need to purchase dozens of T-shirts or a pricey screen printing machine to get started. With free-to-use platforms like Bonfire, Spring, Custom Ink and Fundly, you simply need to:
Upload a design.
Spread the word about your T-shirts via social media, email and other channels.
Passively raise money with each T-shirt sale.
The platform you use will take a percentage of each sale (Bonfire, for instance, applies an 8 percent fee), but you won't have to worry about printing, packing, shipping or inventory space.
The way AmazonSmile works is simple: An Amazon user selects the nonprofit they want to support. Then, whenever that user makes a purchase using AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of their purchase price to their chosen charity.
That might not sound like a high percentage, but it adds up. In 2020, AmazonSmile donations surpassed $215 million. By March 2022, that number had swelled to more than $330 million for U.S. charities and nearly $378 million for all charities worldwide:
For your nonprofit to reap the benefits of AmazonSmile, simply register your organization. Be sure to let your donors and social media followers know that you've joined AmazonSmile so they can choose to support your charity. The donations generated by their purchases will be transferred straight to your nonprofit's bank account each quarter.
Thanks to crowdfunding sites, it's easier than ever for people to donate to worthy causes. In turn, it's also easier than ever for nonprofits like yours to create campaigns and generate donations fast.
There are plenty of crowdfunding platforms to choose from. For nonprofit organizations, some of the most widely used options include:
Once you've gotten set up on the platform of your choice, simply promote it to your social media followers, email list subscribers and existing donors. Then, watch the donations roll in.
4. Google Ad Grants
Under the Google Ad Grants program, qualifying nonprofits get access to up to $10,000 in free search ads every month.
Here's how it works: When Google users search for nonprofits similar to yours, they'll see your organization's ad. From there, they can follow your nonprofit on social media, make a donation or even sign up to become a volunteer.
There is no spend requirement (meaning you don't have to place $10,000 worth of ads each month if you don't want to), and you can even use location targeting to ensure that only users in a specific area see your ads.
If your nonprofit meets those requirements, you only need to apply for Google for Nonprofits, activate Ad Grants and start getting more eyes on your organization.
5. Bake Sale
It's a classic for a reason: With a bake sale, customers get to enjoy a freshly baked treat and you get to quickly raise money for your nonprofit with ultra-low upfront costs.
You'll only need to figure out a few key details:
Who will handle the bake sale's organization?
Who will bake the goods?
How much will each baker need to contribute?
How much will each baked item sell for?
Where will your bake sale take place?
What supplies (such as a table/booth, plates and labels) will you need?
By keeping things simple and low cost, you'll be able to set up a profitable bake sale with very little overhead.
Just remember to account for people with allergies and provide options that are free of the eight major allergens — your local health department may have additional guidelines that can help you ensure your bake sale is accessible to everyone.
No matter where your nonprofit is located, there are bound to be some great local restaurants nearby. Believe it or not, those same restaurants may be full of untapped fundraising potential.
To leverage it, simply start getting in touch with local restaurant owners and see if they'd be interested in forming a mutually beneficial partnership. Your nonprofit will get more donations, and their restaurant will get even more patrons than usual (and some great publicity, too).
Need some ideas? When brainstorming with restaurant owners, you can suggest:
Designating a "Giving Day" or "Giving Hour" during which a certain percentage of the restaurant's earnings will be donated. (Hint: This option is the easiest for everyone involved.)
Choosing a menu item to feature, the price of which will be donated when purchased.
Holding a trivia night (or karaoke night or margarita night) on which a portion of all proceeds will be donated.
Next, both you and the restaurant need only promote the partnership and encourage your respective audiences to participate.
Other Out-of-the-Box Fundraising Ideas
If you're still looking for inspiration, these other creative (and easy!) fundraising ideas are sure to get your gears turning:
Used book sale: Ask for secondhand book donations, then sell them back to the public.
Shoe drive: With the help of a partner like Funds2Orgs, you can collect secondhand shoe donations and exchange them for money.
Bowling fundraiser: Partner up with a local bowling alley for a night of fun, family-friendly fundraising.
Potluck picnic: Pick a local park (you might want to make a reservation if you expect a large group) and host a fundraising potluck picnic.
Get Your Nonprofit's Funds Flowing
Running a nonprofit corporation comes with a unique set of challenges, but coming up with fundraising ideas doesn't have to be one of them. With the six easy ideas covered here, you're sure to find one that works for you and your organization.
Want to free up even more of your time? Take advantage of Incfile's Accounting and Bookkeeping service so you can focus less on crunching numbers and more on helping your nonprofit thrive.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.