Unique Fundraising Ideas

If you are organizing a fundraising event, it is important to make your event stand out from the crowd.  The best way to achieve this is through a unique fundraising idea that catches people’s attention.

Fundraising ideas should be attractive for participants and capable of differentiating your organization from dozens of other groups seeking funds.  Here are some of the best unique fundraising ideas to help you get started.

Spruce up School Yard Favorites

You can take simple fundraising ideas like bake sales and turn them into something much more appealing.  Most people love attending food fairs and the gourmet food truck movement is huge right now.  So instead of selling baked goods, set up food stalls which sell a variety of gourmet foods.

Find the talented cooks in your organization and have them prepare delicious meals that people of all ages will find appealing.  Consider Crêpes, gourmet burgers, French food, authentic Italian pasta, and gourmet pizza.  Advertise the event well and you are guaranteed to attract a large crowd.

Another variation on the traditional bake sale is a healthy food event.  In recent years, more people have become health conscious and would prefer to snack on vegetables, dried fruit and smoothies instead of cookies and cakes!

Wine Tours

A wine tour is a unique fundraising idea that participants will love!  It is a great opportunity for your supporters to meet each other while enjoying some lovely food and wine.  There are plenty of ways to use a wine tour as a fundraising event including:

  • Sell profit-making tickets to participants
  • Look for discounts from bus companies by mentioning the event is for fundraising
  • Ask the wineries involved if they will provide a group discount which allows participants to purchase their wine for a cheaper price.  Alternatively, ask the winery for a donation in return for bringing them so many eager customers.

Auction Off Services

Auctions are usually an excellent way to raise money and attract large numbers of people.  A simple twist on a traditional fundraising auction is to offer the services of participants.  Attendees will list a service that they want to put on the auction block like gardening, house cleaning, a massage, guitar lessons or any kind of service that they can perform.

Attendees will then bid on each other’s services.  You are increasing the efficiency of the auction because you will not need to find items to be auctioned off — the attendees provide everything!

Online Merchandise Sales

Your organization can harness the power of the Internet to sell merchandise.  It is very simple to set up an Etsy or Shopify store then sell items to your supporters.  Branded items like t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, pens, backpacks, calendars and posters always sell well.

Also, consider selling everyday items which people often need including bottle openers, umbrellas, tote bags, trash bags, dry spices and seasoning, water bottles, coffee, cookie dough, flowers and chocolate.  You could even sell gift cards with a slight profit margin added to them.

You can even take advantage of affiliate programs from companies like Amazon.  Every time you direct one of your supporters to an Amazon store, your organization can receive up to 10% in advertising fees.


Crowdfunding is an exciting new way to raise funds for organizations.  It uses the Internet to raise money for a specific project and uses a funding target that is tracked via the crowdfunding website.

The best technique for crowdfunding is to provide rewards for donations.  If someone donates  $20 they obtain a certain kind of reward, if they donate $50 they receive a better reward!  This technique incentivizes large donations very effectively.

Throw an Unusual Athletic Event

Fun runs are an effective way to raise money, but they are fairly common.  Spice things up with an unusual event that has people scratching their head!  Consider the following athletic events:

  • Themed roller skating marathon
  • Toe wrestling competition
  • Wheelbarrow races over an outdoor course
  • Tuna toss (or some other kind of weird object)!
  • Quidditch tournament

Combine multiple events to make it a sports day and have teams compete with one another for a prize!

Obtain Help From a Company

Some large companies have programs in place to help organizations who are performing fundraising.  For example, you can hold a fundraising event at a Chipotle restaurant and 50% of the sales from the evening will go to your organization.  This is only available to certain types of groups, but if you are eligible it is a fantastic way to feed your supporters while raising funds.

Other companies that support fundraising include Krispy Kreme, Moe’s Mexican restaurants, Panera Bread, Zaxby’s and Kohl’s.  If you are raising money for a school, look into the programs provided by companies like Campbell’s, V8 Juice and BIC pens.  They will donate money to your school for soup can labels and other proof of purchase.

Get Healthy!

There are some very interesting and unique fundraising ideas that are focussed on healthy living.  Some of the best include:

  • Raising funds for people losing weight
    This is a great technique that motivates people to lose weight while raising money!  Have your supporters donate money for every pound of weight that your organization’s members lose
  • An Outdoor Event
    Consider a hike-a-thon, ride-a-thon or walk-a-thon.  They are great ways to get your supporters together in one place and these events promote good health.
  • Water Bottle Sales
    Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day.  Help promote this healthy activity by selling branded water bottles to the community.  You will be helping people become healthier while getting your organization’s name out there!

Turn Trash Into Money

There are a variety of unique fundraising ideas that involve collecting items that people don’t want and selling them for a profit.  Some of the best include:

  • Yard Sales
    Ask your supporters to donate some old items that they no longer use and hold a yard sale.  You can help them clean out their garage while making some money for your organization.
  • Collecting Recyclable Materials
    Many states have recycling programs that pay money for each bottle you return to the recycling facility.  Ask your supporters to save these items and return them for cash.
  • Collect Old Mobile Phones For Cash
    There are a number of programs which pay cash for old mobile phones.  Perhaps your supports have a few old phones laying in the bottom of their drawers that they no longer need.
  • Ink Cartridges
    These can also be returned to companies for a small amount of money.  Ask your supports  to save them instead of throwing them out.