5 Engaging and Profitable Fundraising Ideas for any Nonprofit

Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with creative new fundraising ideas to rally your supporters.

Here are 5 fundraising ideas to keep your supporters engaged and excited:

  1. Start a peer-to-peer campaign
  2. Throw a charity auction
  3. Organize team volunteering
  4. Partner up for a profit share
  5. Communicate with your donors

Let’s jump in!

5 Engaging and Profitable Fundraising Ideas for any Nonprofit

1. Start a peer-to-peer campaign

Your donors are used to traditional fundraising. They know how to fill out your online donation form, mail a check, and text to give.

But what if you empower your donors to become fundraisers?

One great way to get your donors more engaged in fundraising is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Commonly abbreviated “P2P,” peer-to-peer fundraising puts your donors in the driver’s seat.

Each donor gets their own fundraising page that they can use to collect donations from their friends.

Sound scary to not be in control? Well, it shouldn’t!

Equip donors with the resources to make their campaigns as successful as possible:

  • Coaching: Offer encouragement to your fundraisers, especially those whose campaigns aren’t taking off as quickly as others. Reach out individually to those fundraisers to give them a few tips on asking for donations!
  • Resources: First-time peer-to-peer fundraisers might not know how to set up their fundraising pages effectively. Give them examples of campaigns that did it well, and point out which elements (video, personal stories, etc.) they could incorporate into their own pages.
  • Incentives: You can provide incentives to those fundraisers that reach a certain level of donations, such as online badges posted to their fundraising page, gift cards, or an invitation to a fancy event for top fundraisers.

Peer-to-peer fundraising might sound a little like crowdfunding. The difference is that in crowdfunding campaigns, you (the nonprofit) host one fundraising page for all your supporters to donate to.

Under the peer-to-peer model, each individual supporter gets a fundraising page.

Still a little hazy on the difference? Check out this simple crowdfunding vs. peer-to-peer fundraising guide.

The Takeaway: Empower your donors to take fundraising into their own hands with peer-to-peer fundraising.

2. Throw a charity auction

If you’re looking for entertaining fundraising ideas for your donors, consider a charity auction.

Though it’s a classic fundraising event, there are so many ways your supporters can get involved that you might not have thought of before:

  • Bidding: The simplest way for your donors to participate is to bid on your auction items! You can invite your entire supporter base or create an exclusive guest list of major donors, depending on the goal of the event.
  • Donating items: Your auction items have to come from somewhere. Why not your supporters? You can put out a call for items of a certain monetary value or a certain category (e.g., cookware or gift cards).
  • Donating in kind: You’ll need a venue to host your charity auction. Does one of your donors work for an appropriately sized venue? Would their employer be interested in a sponsorship in exchange for use of the space?
  • Volunteering: As with all fundraising events, you’ll need help setting up, running, and cleaning up your charity auction. Form volunteer committees to handle item procurement, invitations, food and drink.

If you want to plan your first charity auction this year, check out Double the Donation’s ultimate guide to charity auctions for tips and step-by-step instructions.

The Takeaway: A charity auction offers opportunities for all your donors to get involved one way or another.

3. Organize team volunteering

Offer your supporters opportunities to volunteer as a team.

Things to think about when coordinating team volunteering:

  • Scheduling: Don’t schedule volunteering while your supporters are in school or work. Aim for weekends and the summer months.
  • Location: Are you finding opportunities to volunteer close enough to most of your supporters? Is there public transportation, or should you encourage carpooling?
  • Forms: If your volunteers will have to fill out applications, sign waivers, or submit driver’s licenses, be sure you let them know well in advance and send the necessary paperwork as soon as you can.
  • Partner: Be sure you find a place to volunteer that aligns with your mission as a nonprofit, and reach out with plenty of time to coordinate your visit.

Also consider volunteer grants.

Volunteer grants are corporate giving programs that donate money to nonprofits where their employees volunteer.

To research companies that offer volunteer grants, check out 360MatchPro’s guide to companies who give volunteer grants.

The Takeaway: Though team volunteering can be demanding, the payoff is worth it if your donors have more time than money to give.

4. Partner up for a profit share

Who doesn’t love a night out for dinner? If you want to harness your supporters’ dining habits, consider fundraising ideas that partner with a local restaurant.

The mechanics of a profit share are simple:

  • Step 1: Your supporters enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant you’re partnering with.
  • Step 2: The dining donors submit their receipt, either by dropping it into a box at the hostess’ station or entering their amount online.
  • Step 3: After verifying the purchase, the restaurant donates a set percentage of all sales during the allotted time to your nonprofit!

Going out to dinner at a specific time on a specific date is an easy adjustment for your donors to make. You can play up the fun and convenience of this fundraiser when marketing your profit share.

If you’re worried about the logistics, don’t be! Finding a restaurant to partner with isn’t as difficult as you might think. Plus, restaurants want to be associated with charitable causes.

Many restaurants might even be willing to permanently station a giving kiosk to continue raising money for your cause after your fundraising evening is over.

The Takeaway: Profit shares are simple, popular, and profitable fundraisers that pay off in long-term relationships and short-term fun!

5. Communicate with your donors.

No matter what kind of fundraising ideas you decide on, if you’re introducing something new, you have to tell your donors. 

Use all communication channels to get the word out:

  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Phone calls
  • Social media

You should be able to tell which communication channels are the most popular based on which have received the most responses in the past.

Also, don’t forget the follow-up! Keep your supporters engaged and coming back for more by showing them how much you appreciate their support after your fundraiser is over.

The Takeaway: When trying out new fundraising efforts, don’t forget to tell your donors!

There are so many new fundraising strategies, these are just five. Get creative, using these suggestions as your jumping-off point. Get to it!

John Haydon