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5 Fundraiser Ideas to Boost Your Charity Donations

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know I’m big into fundraising and helping out with special causes (like Relay for Life, cancer awareness, and community fundraising).

It’s not as easy as it sounds to raise money for a special cause. People can be very picky about where their money goes, which is understandable. However, if you prove the importance of your cause with an effective fundraising campaign, it’s more likely donors will empty their pockets!

Here are a few fundraiser ideas for any organization or charity group in need of a boost:

Sports Tournaments:

Who wants to golf?

Who wants to golf?

Sports tournaments are an exciting way to get people involved and make some extra money. Golf outings are the most popular choice because they’ve been known to drive impressive results. Finding a place willing to host this tournament is typically the most challenging part, but it’ll all be worthwhile if you have a decent amount of people sign up!

Find a central place to host the tourney, coordinate with a golf course planner, charge an entrance fee, and you’ll get the ball rolling for a successful charity event. The tournament winner should earn a prize — either a high-ticket giveaway or a donated prize from a local business — to add to the appeal. And of course, the profit you make from hosting sports tournaments can go towards the cause.

Silent Auctions:'s a silent auction.

Shh…it’s a silent auction.

Silent auctions are a lot of fun! Ask local businesses to donate valuable prizes, display them at the venue you’ve chosen, and then ask guests to bid on them in an attempt to win. Whoever has the highest bid at the end will pay that amount for the prize, and that money goes straight to your special cause! People tend to leisurely walk around and bid throughout the night, so it’s not a bad idea to offer alternate forms of entertainment (like live music or dinner and dancing) while the auction is in progress.

Tip: Be sure your guests fully understand silent auctions, otherwise you could end up with an auction disaster on your hands.


Crown a karaoke champion and raise some funds!

Crown a karaoke champion and raise some funds!

By nature, people love competing. That means even contests that seem silly have the potential to draw crowds and raise a significant amount of money! Popular contest ideas include: pie-eating contests, balloon toss, obstacle course races, and karaoke, but there are dozens of other examples to choose from. These can be held at fairs, school, or even at work with a large enough space. Charge an entrance fee (it does not have to be a big one) and put the cash aside for your charity. If you choose this route, be sure to talk to local business owners to see if they’re willing to contribute.

Contests and fun fairs are an ideal setup for reselling customizable items, too! For summertime charity events, you could purchase a limited number of reusable water bottles or water guns and sell them to participants for a profit. Your charity wins because they’re getting more donations, and the crowd wins because they’re cooling off.

Raffle Tickets:

Raffles are one of the easiest fundraisers!

Raffles are one of the easiest fundraisers!

Raffles are among the easiest ways to make money for charity, because they’re low-cost and don’t involve extensive legwork. Raffle tickets can be sold at any event: sporting events, parties, fairs, bars, restaurants, or any high-traffic area. You can also sell raffle tickets at the same time you hold your contest, auction, or tournament to double your efforts! Raffle guidelines are simple: Allow people to buy tickets at the beginning of the event, draw the winner(s), and whomever has that number wins a prize!

Community Service:

Car washes are fun and effective fundraisers.

Car washes are fun and effective fundraisers.

Sometimes, fundraising is all about rolling up your sleeves and donating your time to a good cause! Get a group together and provide discounted car washes, lawn mowing, or snow shoveling to members of your community in order to raise money. The amount you charge should depend on the quality of the service and the total funds you need to raise, and the type of service you offer is often dependent on the weather. Want a good tip when deciding on your fundraiser? Think about chores that people tend to avoid when possible, like cleaning or maintenance.

There are even a few ways children can help with your fundraiser ideas! They will need assistance from an adult, but children can contribute to the fundraiser by having a lemonade stand, a bake sale, or an ice cream social. Find a key place to hold the event, and you will make money in no time.

No matter which type of fundraiser you decide on, make your intended cause or charity explicitly clear. People like to know where their money is going, so it is only fair to share that with them. Most participants will be likely to donate a few bucks if your events are professional and enthusiastic.

Also, check out crowdsourced funding sites like Crowdrise or Kickstarter to net more donations!

Have you used any of these fundraising efforts for your cause? How else could donors contribute to charity? What are your fundraiser ideas?


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  1. Amy Swanson

    Silent auctions are my favorite! I wouldn’t consider myself a competitive person, but when something I want is on the line, all bets are off and I will make sure I get it. I totally agree with you though and the importance of having other forms of entertainment too, there’s only so many times you can circle around the items before it gets boring.

    Great post, Jaimie!

    • Alex Brodsky

      Raffles are always fun! And if you have good prizes, they are a great way to earn lots of money.

      “Pay $10 and possibly win a TV, IPod, Spa Day, or a Snuggie?! I’m in!”

      Cool post, Jamie! It’s been a blast having you on the blog squad!

      • Eric

        Raffles are my personal favorite, but I like it when an organization will partner up with local businesses, and go beyond offering retail items to offering a nice dinner, a hotel stay, or a car detailing, even. Raises the requisite money, while at the same time, establishes relationships between the raffle ticketholders and local merchants. Win-win!

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    When I was in high school and college, we usually partnered up with Hershey’s fundraising program and resold candy bars to our friends and classmates. We ended up raising hundreds of dollars, because who could resist chocolate??

    • Jen

      I like Mandy’s thinking! I can’t resist chocolate or cookies, the Girl Scouts of America make a killing off of me alone, lol. Great post Jaimie, the blog squad will miss you!!!

  3. Jeff Porretto

    ANYTHING involved with golf is sure to get a huge draw. Us golfers are just looking for a reason to hit the links. Encourage us a little and you could raise a ton of money to save NBC’s “Whitney,” let alone an actual cause!

  4. Rachel

    Great post, Jaimie! There are lots of really good ideas here. I don’t know if this would fall under “Sports Tournament,” but hosting a run/walk is another fundraising option that seems to be popular. We used to have one at my high school every year, and it was an effective way to raise money for the school.

    Thanks for the info! 🙂

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