Unique Fundraising Ideas that Will Boost Engagement (2020 edition)

unique fundraising ideas

Written by Tim Grable

June 13, 2019

A fundraising event is one of the most effective ways to raise money for a plethora of causes.

Fundraising programs have become a staple for many nonprofits as a way to raise awareness and increase donations for their causes. However, merely planning an event doesn’t guarantee its success.

Besides the obvious financial benefit, these types of events can have other worthwhile effects that will have a powerful impact on your organization’s future.  One of the most significant factors which influence an event’s success is the level of engagement it manages to generate among guests. Unless you can get your attendees engaged, your event will quickly lose steam.

If you want your event to have a significant impact and to maintain a positive reputation in the public’s eye, then it needs to be something special.

So if your nonprofit needs a bit of rejuvenation as well, read on to discover a few unique fundraising ideas.  They are highly engaging, will breathe new life into your organization and make your event be one of a kind.

1. Take Your Event Online

Online or virtual fundraising can be a successful way for non-profit organizations to raise money and donations for their charity. They accomplish this through a virtual or online fundraiser. An online fundraising event gathers supporters and donors online using video technology like live-streaming. Charities that have done a digital event have seen increased audience engagement and were able to raise more money.

2. Make the Event About Food

It is said that “Love goes through the stomach,” and in this scenario, organizing an event for the gourmets and culinary enthusiasts may have very beneficial implications for your fundraising event.

Make the Most out of 2020 with these Unique Fundraising Ideas

Dinner parties can be varied and may include a variety of activities such as wine-tasting, sampling, and perhaps even a cocktail bar, where guests can get creative.

The dinner can be paired with special types of entertainment activities to give them a unique spin. For example, a blind taste test, where guests sample dishes.  After which they attempt to guess ingredients used by the chief to make the dish.

3. Neighborhood Street Party

If you need to raise money for a local cause, this is an excellent idea, which is sure to get donors excited.

A neighborhood street party is not only fun, but it also creates a fantastic opportunity for supporters to interact with other donors and connect with people who are directly impacted by their contributions one-on-one.

And if you want to take things to the next level, you could even book a DJ or a magician to perform street magic at your event and keep guests entertained.

4. Hike Day Event

With the temperatures going up, people are more and more eager to spend time outdoors, in nature. So why not take advantage of this to organize a special hike day event?

To get started, do some research in your area to find family-friendly hike trails. Look for trails which are not hard to access and not too strenuous, yet exciting enough to keep kids interested.

Once you have all the logistics in place and have found sponsorships for things like food, t-shirts, and drinks, you can start promoting your event online. Here’s an event page that can serve as inspiration.

As far as raising money for your organization goes, the most straightforward thing to do is ask a fee for people who want to attend the event.

5. Clothing Sale

The idea behind this is pretty straightforward: ask everyone who takes part in the fundraiser to bring a bag of clothes they no longer have use for.

Organize all the clothing using retail racks and encourage attendees to shop for a new piece of apparel. Donate all the clothing which doesn’t sell to charity.

This is one of those unique fundraising ideas which is sure to engage guests, as it implies them getting directly involved. Plus, it also creates a relaxed environment where guests can successfully develop relationships with other donors who are interested in your non-profit’s cause.

6. Trivia Night

Give donors a chance to have fun and showcase their knowledge by hosting a trivia night in the name of charity.

This is one of those unique fundraising ideas, which is sure to be popular with a wide array of guests, as long as you select exciting and diverse categories of questions.

You can even mix the questions up, so each round features questions from multiple categories.

As far as the venue goes, you can team up with a local bar and have participants pay to play.

7. Charity Board Game Night

If you’re looking for a family-friendly spin of the popular Vegas-style casino fundraising event, then this is an idea you should consider. After all, everyone likes a bit of Monopoly or Scrabble.

Game nights are great recurring events for nonprofits, and because they often involve guests working in teams, they are also highly engaging events, a wide range of donors can enjoy.

8. Bird House Auction

Spring is the time of the year when many people are building and shopping for birdhouses to decorate their backyards with.

So why not get creative with your next fundraising event and put together a birdhouse auction?

Reach out to local artists, celebrities, and influencers in your area to get them to decorate and embellish a birdhouse based on their aesthetic.

bird, birds, bird house

The more expensive the materials used or, the more intricate the design, the more you can raise the auction price of an item. Therefore, the more money you are likely to get in support of your cause.

As an added benefit, this is one of those unique fundraising ideas which will make your event stand out.

9. Book a Professional Entertainer

Booking an entertainer will prove to be very beneficial for your fundraising event in the long run. An entertainer can be a comedian, a magician, or a variety artist, and each of them can be a great inclusion into your event’s program.

But why settle just for that? It’s understandable to want to save some extra money, yet, many event organizers make the mistake of missing the opportunity of appealing to the audience by offering them a unique experience.

01.Unique Ideas You Can Apply For Your Fundraising Event

Why not consider hiring a sand painter, a ventriloquist, or a stuntman? Offering your guests something which exceeds their expectations will surely make them go wow.

And when your guests are having a good time, you can be sure they’ll be more comfortable to work with your organization.

10. Spring Fling Dance Event

Most people have fond memories when it comes to those fun high-school dances they used to attend with their friends and classmates.  You can take inspiration from that and put together a fundraising version of a spring fling dance.

The focus here will be to recreate the mood of a typical high school dance. This is what will get people excited to take a trip down on memory lane and have some good old-fashioned fun.

To raise money, ask for donations in exchange for tickets. Also, don’t forget the fruit punch.

11. Expose Your Audience to New Ideas

An educational experience is always an excellent addition to an event, and people will welcome it with open arms.

As an organizer, it’s important you make this educational aspect as palatable as possible for your guests, so they can absorb all the information without feeling overwhelmed or too out of the loop.

01.Unique Ideas You Can Apply For Your Fundraising Event 2

You can host a conference or a presentation in the vein of TED talks, where innovative ideas are presented. People will jump at the chance of learning what’s happening in the world or to hearing about upcoming and groundbreaking concepts.

You can also involve a bit of social activity into the mix to give people a sense of awareness about issues that need to be addressed. Also, this approach gives them the confidence that their contribution is meaningful.

To give you a clear picture of what we mean by this, you can have a professional speaker host a keynote at your event on all sorts of different topics.

For example, here are a few speakers who speak on topics about future advancements in technology, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and machine learning.

12. Mowing for a Good Cause Event

With spring in full bloom, everyone’s lawns need some TLC.

So, gathering a group of enthusiastic volunteers and advertising a lawn maintenance/cleanup service in exchange for donations is an excellent idea. Put up signs in your area and promote on social media, as well.

Then pick a day where you’ll go door to door alongside your volunteers, offering your service to people in the community.

If you can, get a team of professional landscapers to donate their time and expertise as part of the event well. This will allow you to ramp up the prices of offered services and raise more money for your nonprofit organization.

mow, mowing, lawn mower

Which of these Unique Fundraising Ideas Caught Your Eye?

We hope the ideas featured in this article have inspired you to give it a shot at making your event a bit more exquisite.

If there’s one thing, you can never have too much of as a fundraising event planner, that something is an inspiration. So we hope this article has provided you with a hearty dose of it.

Also, if you are looking for premium entertainers who will help you fill more seats at your event, then make sure to check out the artists, comedians, and performers featured in our portfolio for other unique fundraising ideas.  Providing world-class entertainment is a surefire way to make any nonprofit event more engaging.

If you are considering to hire a professional entertainer, then we can help you. Do not hesitate to call us at (615) 283-0039, and we will gladly help you find top-quality entertainment.  We represent a wide array of entertainers, from magicians and comedians to professional keynote speakers, artists, and more.

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