Try Something Different with Creative Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits


Written by Tim Grable

July 17, 2017

Creative Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits By their very nature, charitable organizations simply must raise money. To be as successful, Creative Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits need to offer something that will attract the interest of the general community, and not just appeal to the people who are already donors. Every nonprofit organization wants to expand its donor base and to have a good, entertaining fundraising event is one way to do it. And as unpleasant as it is to admit it, too many fundraising ideas are boring affairs with boring speakers on boring topics.

Creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits are essential to put new faces at those tables. Stretching the parameters of the typical choices is necessary as more charities chase fewer dollars, and something off the beaten path may spark the attention of a fresh audience.

When many people think of Fundraising Ideas, they think of kids selling candy or Girl Scouts selling cookies, but there are many other creative ways to raise money. Some ideas include bake sales or selling home-cooked dinners. How about selling trips or raffles to win prizes? Other creative ideas include live shows with comedians, dancers, artists, or any other talent. Live entertainment is a great creative idea for a fundraising event that is sure to be a big hit at any fundraising event. Since most people love live shows, this will be the perfect opportunity to raise the money that is needed.

Fortunately, there are a number of entertainers available for fundraisers who provide a different kind of entertainment. Comedians with family-friendly acts, or unique artists with unusual vision and audience-pleasing approaches, might be just the thing to bring new dollars into your organization.

The Best Creative Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Searching for powerful entertainers like singers, comedians, magic acts and inspirational speakers to headline the entertainment at nonprofit functions can be tough without the assistance of a professional talent agency. Sure, you can go to a local radio station or simply Google for the name of a professional comedian or singer, but what are you getting? A pig in a poke, someone untested with no reliable references? That is too often the embarrassing truth.

Fortunately, the job of searching for qualified and powerful entertainers has been simplified. Now you can work directly online with a talent agency and view their stable of talent and their performances to select just the right act for your event. The Grable Group out of Nashville, a leading talent booking agency, has a large number of entertainers who perform nationwide year around.

7 of the Best Comedy Performers and Powerful Entertainers

Bob Stromberg is a clean stand-up comedian who enjoys making people laugh. He has been delighting audiences for years with his unique style of humor.  His act is clean, family-oriented, and hilarious.  Bob’s unique blend of combining storytelling with hand shadow puppets makes him a delight to watch and listen to for everyone ages 30-80. His take on everyday life will make you wonder “Why didn’t I think of that?” Bob understands how fundraisers work. He’ll work closely with your non-profit on how to achieve its goals, and he and his wife support Compassion International, an organization dedicated to helping lift children out of poverty. Always funny, inspirational, and clean, Bob Stromberg is the perfect one to invite to your next fundraising event.

Jeff Allen is best known for his film Happy Wife, Happy Life, Revisited. His act reveals the humor inherent in marriage and bringing up teenagers, things every audience understands. Jeff’s impressive list of performances includes an appearance at the inauguration of President George W. Bush and two turns as a featured performer at the National Prayer Breakfast.  The American comedian began his career in 1978 in the comedy clubs of Chicago before gravitating to comedy film roles in such movies as Bananas, Thou Shalt Laugh, and Apostles of Comedy. Currently, he tours the country performing at corporate parties, conventions, comedy clubs and nonprofits. With over thirty-seven years of experience making people laugh, Allen is a proven and trusted professional.  He is a delightful comic known for his humor about the many facets of life including marriage, raising kids, and the aging process.  Invite Jeff Allen to your next fundraiser to keep everyone in the audience roaring with laughter.

If your organization is interested in a more permanent souvenir of its fundraising activities, Heidi Schwartz will be an interesting choice. Heidi calls her unique contribution to the variety available for organizational functions “Paint Your Event,” and she captures the buzz around your fundraiser in a dynamic, vibrant way that no camera possibly could. Afterward, your organization has an original piece of art that can be auctioned for additional revenue.

Joe Castillo is an artist and storyteller known for his unique style of art called Sand Art.   He mesmerizes his audiences with “SandStory” – one-of-a-kind stories told through the ingenious manipulation of sand on a light table, accompanied by powerful music. His art form is nothing short of amazing as he magically transforms sand into unbelievable works of art. Everyone will be amazed as they watch the sand seemingly come to life by his hand. He enjoys telling stories through his Sand Art. The wonder of Joe Castillo’s extraordinary art form has to be seen to be believed! Your donors have never seen anything quite like it, and your fundraising event will be remembered for years as a captivating and completely original experience packed with emotion and wonderment.  If you invite Joe Castillo to your next fundraising event, the audience will really be in for a treat.  The wonder of Joe Castillo’s extraordinary art form has to be seen to be believed!

There are lots of creative fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Stepping outside the usual can inject excitement into the event and generate bigger attendance, more donations, and expanded community involvement. If you feel your organization’s events are getting stale and predictable, shake things up a little and have some unusual entertainment. It just might lead to big things on the horizon, and it is guaranteed to get people talking.

Ron Pearson is an American actor, comedian and world record juggler who is highly sought by corporate planners for their company functions. An accomplished comedy juggler by the age of 15, Pearson left Seattle and took his street act south to Hollywood. Ron is an accomplished standup comic, has performed as the audience “warm-up guy” on numerous shows and has appeared in numerous comedic movies. In 2010, Pearson starred in the Disney Channel movie Starstruck, and was one of the three featured comedians in the DVD titled The Apostles of Comedy: Onward and Upwards.

Mark Schiff is a voice actor, comedian and comedy writer with experience in multiple television appearances. In the animated series 2 Stupid Dogs, he was the voice of the little dog. Schiff has also appeared in guest roles on shows such long-running shows as My Two Dads and Mad About You. His writing credential includes the funny and popular Blue Collar TV. With past appearances on the big three last night shows hosted by Carson, Leno, and Letterman, Schiff has plenty of material to keep his audiences in stitches.

Tom Cotter is a veteran of the professional comedy world, but being the runner-up of the seventh season of America’s Got Talent in 2012 gave him extensive exposure to the entire country. Having lost out to a dog act is part of his very funny routine. Cotter does have a record of other comedy awards, however, including Seattle’s International Stand-Up Comedy Competition in 1994 and winning the grand prize at the Boston Comedy Festival. His comedy is fresh and new, and he is already a favorite in corporate entertainment circles.

Adam Trent is billed as a multi-talented entertainer who combines magic, humor, dancing, and music in his act. Trent loves to interact with his audience, making him a favorite with corporate event planners. Trent has been described as a combination Justin Timberlake and David Copperfield. A busy man on the entertainment circuit and still manages to squeeze out time to appear in the Broadway show “The Illusionists – Live on Broadway.” Trent is one entertainer you will want to have back year after year.

Taylor Mason began his career playing college campuses through the NACA (National Association of Campus Activities). Starting in 1989, he appeared on more than 1500 college shows. During this period of his career, he also won two “Family Entertainer of The Year” awards. He augmented his college show career by making appearances on TV shows such as Comic Strip Live, Caroline’s Comedy Hour and MTV Half-Hour Comedy Hour.

David Adkins, known professionally as simply Sinbad, has been a familiar face and name in comedy since the early 1980s. This name from the past is also a blast from the past, and he is funnier than ever. Sinbad started his stand-up career appearing on the Star Search TV show alongside fellow comic and political satirist Dennis Miller. From that strong appearance, he was cast on the famous Red Foxx Show. When that show ended, he was popular enough to earn his TV show for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Now he appears with a shaved head, looking much like former NBA star Charles Barkley, and continues to be a favorite on the corporate entertainment circuit.

What’s Next?

Let your fundraising event be the most talked about event of the neighborhood by coming up with new and creative fundraising ideas. If you find that any of the above entertainers are in your area, contact us to book them for your next fundraiser. It will be much more fun and creative than selling candy bars.

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