Fundraising events can serve as a powerful way for organizations to raise money, rally support, and create a positive impact in the industry.

Effective fundraising should spur immediate action and lead to recurring giving. How exactly do you generate the funds, though?

If your brainstorming stalls out after bake sales and bike-a-thons—both of which can be effective, by the way—it’s time for a strategy reboot. In the rest of this post, you’ll learn 12 innovative and unique fundraiser event ideas that will keep the cash coming. 

1. Instagram Photo/Video Contest 

Why it works: Instagram content contests are a great way to build engagement and brand awareness and can also serve as effective fundraisers. As a visual-centric platform, Instagram provides an ideal space for participants to showcase their creativity and enthusiasm for your cause. 

By encouraging users to submit photos or videos relevant to your event or cause, you harness the power of user-generated content. It fosters a sense of community and shared purpose with minimal overhead costs. Not to mention, the competitive nature of a contest adds an element of excitement, motivating individuals to actively participate and share their entries with their social networks, extending the reach of your fundraiser as a result. 

How to implement it: First, pick a theme. Be it fall foliage or summer hot air balloons, make your theme relevant to your event and fun to capture on camera.  To maximize fundraising potential, consider incorporating a donation mechanism tied to entry submissions, allowing participants and their networks to contribute directly to your cause.

Furthermore, leverage relevant hashtags and collaborations with influencers or sponsors to broaden visibility and generate buzz. As for the logistics, use a pay-to-play model and charge a fee for submissions and votes. Once you’ve declared a winner, shower them with prizes and publicity! 

2. Tournament

Why it works: When a tournament is planned well, it generates funds and fun competitive sparks! 

How to implement it: To turn a tournament into an effective fundraiser, do some digging to find an activity that your event audience loves. Whether it’s advanced pickleball, beginner's golf, or all-comers chess, spread the word in your marketing.

You can get as complex as you want in the details of the tournament, but the big-picture planning should be simple: charge a reasonable price of entry, make donation options frictionless, and get the bracket started!

3. Online Giveaway 

Why it works: Everyone loves winning prizes, especially when there’s a low barrier to entry. A well-executed online giveaway raises funds, builds awareness for your cause, and increases attendee engagement. 

How to implement it: Start by selecting enticing prizes that resonate with your audience. The prize could be a swag bag for the fall fest, a backstage pass at the concert, or unlimited drinks at the fair—as long as it’s compelling enough to generate excitement. Adjust the size of your prize depending on the size of your following. Don’t forget to emphasize how the funds raised will make a meaningful impact. 

Advertise the prizes on your social media channels and invite people to take a gamble for a good cause. Spread the word across various platforms and encourage participants to do the same. Throughout the campaign, provide regular updates and express gratitude to participants and supporters. 

Pro tip: With TicketSpice, raffle setup is a breeze. Similar to in-person raffles, consider giving people the option to purchase more than one entry. They might want to increase their chance of victory and show their support in the process! 

4. Gala

Why it works: A traditional gala involves a formal dinner, dressy attire, entertainment, and an opportunity to donate. In addition to giving your donors and partners a chance to party, galas are a memorable way to score large donations or kickstart a campaign.


How to implement it: Invite your supporters to an evening of elegance. Whether the focus is dining, dancing, or both, let people know what to expect and how to prepare. The invitation should get them excited about the evening ahead! Next, secure catering and entertainment in alignment with your event’s theme or desired aesthetic. Before and during your event, make your cause front and center. You want your attendees to walk away feeling satisfied with the impact they’re making through your organization. 

Pro tip: Check out our software GivingFuel for easy-to-use, customizable donor management.

5. Recipe Book

Why it works: Recipe books are most applicable to food-related events—such as harvest festivals or farm berry picking. Even if your event isn’t food-centered, however, a crowdsourced book of any kind can still serve as a powerful way to fundraise and build brand awareness. Simply swap out recipes for something more relevant to your event such as photos or tips.

How to implement it: Harness the creativity of the crowd and collect everyone's favorite recipes in a book. Use a software program such as Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Canvas Pop to assemble the photos and recipes—then start selling. Previous attendees will be satisfied with contributing towards a cause, and later, when they whip up their friend’s berry pie, they’ll have a tasty reminder of your event and the other people there.  

6. Virtual Challenge

Why it works: Virtual challenges provide a fundraising opportunity with minimal overhead and significant potential impact. Maybe you want to host a 10K, but you don’t want to deal with the overwhelm of figuring out road closures and cleaning up streets lined with sticky Gatorade cups. That’s understandable, and perhaps a virtual challenge is your solution.

How to implement it: With RedPodium, you can host a virtual 10k, and let participants complete the event on their own timeline. Simply charge an entry fee for your cause, and give participants a deadline for completion.

In addition to a traditional race, participants can sync RedPodium with their Strava account to complete a run streak, a cumulative amount of vertical feet, or a certain amount of miles on their bike. Make sure to encourage regular posting on social media, and get ready for the camaraderie to climb in a hurry!

7. Coffee-gram 

Why it works: Studies show that 90% of adults start their day with a caffeinated beverage, so why not attach your fundraising efforts to one of the most common societal habits? The caffeinated cousin of the old-fashioned telegram, a coffee gram is a delightful way for people to send a quick note of encouragement to a friend or loved one. 

How to implement it: Invite attendees to buy coffee for a friend or mentor, and deliver the drink during the event. The recipients will surely appreciate the surprise boost in alertness, especially if your event involves a rigorous activity or staying up late into the night.

Pro-tip: To ensure the fundraiser is profitable, do the math beforehand. Remember to charge extra for those upgraded triple shot, soy, and extra-foam orders!  

8. Exercise Lessons

Why it works: Many people aspire to get fit, and some already pay for personal training. These people will often be willing to pay a little extra for a cause. 

How to implement: Start by asking some credible sports or fitness instructors if they will donate an afternoon of their time to teach others. While it’s not the purpose of the event, the instructors might pick up a few clients for later. 

Pick activities that your specific audience will enjoy. Some examples include yoga, salsa dancing, or HIIT class. On the day of the event, participants donate, and in exchange, they get to pump up their endorphins as they learn from the best.

9. Movie Night 

Why it works:  A movie night, particularly a documentary screening, is a fun way for participants to take a deep dive into a topic while keeping overhead relatively low. 

How to implement it: Choose a film relevant to your event or cause. If you’re organizing a SCUBA certification class, for example, consider showing a documentary about coral reef protection the week prior. Charge for the ticket, snacks, and reef-safe sunscreen. Additionally, increase event engagement by creating discussion questions or take-home content for after the event.

10. 50/50 Raffle

Why it works: When you have a pre-existing event, such as a movie night or a 5k fun run, the 50/50 raffle is an ideal addition. The fundraiser concept is as simple as it is effective. When people are rooting for your cause, they’ll feel like a winner regardless of whether they walk away with a prize.

How to implement it: Use our TicketSpice software for quick and easy raffle setup, sell tickets for a flat fee, and divide the sales total by two. Half of the proceeds will go toward your organization, and half will go toward the winner. 

11. Community Market

Why it works: Community markets make highly effective fundraisers because they can bring people together, showcase local talent, and create a dynamic, inclusive atmosphere. A community market also gives you the opportunity to showcase numerous local businesses and a variety of vendors at once. 

How to implement it:
First, reserve a large public space, such as a farmer’s market or park, that can transform into a bustling center of connection. Next, curate an impressive lineup of vendors; consider enticing local restaurants or food trucks to join the crew as well. Increase the fundraiser’s effectiveness by strategically marketing this event months in advance. 

Finally, boost your impact by charging a modest entry fee per person and encouraging vendors to contribute a small percentage of their earnings to your cause. 

12. Trivia Night

Why it works: Trivia nights provide a fun atmosphere for people to gather and learn about your cause. Not to mention, they’re easy to plan, fun to attend, and inexpensive to host.

How to implement: Once you’ve secured a local venue, find a great host. An entertaining and captivating host can make a world of difference in the experience of the attendees. Create thoughtful trivia questions centered around your cause with a variety of difficulty levels. Finally, market the event and sell tickets.

Final Takeaway

If you want to raise funds for your event or your cause, there are an abundance of opportunities. A little creativity and resourcefulness will take you a long way. 

Looking for more support? Don’t hesitate to reach out. At TicketSpice, our customer support team is ready and happy to help you have the best event ever. 

— The TicketSpice Team