Learn how to fundraise and discover 10 of the easiest and most effective fundraising ideas to help you raise money for your chosen cause.
By Rhiannon Wardle
If you’ve ever had to raise money for a charity, community project or other good cause, then you’ll know a bit about fundraising. It’s the process of gathering monetary donations from individuals and businesses, normally through an event organised by a fundraiser.
Ordinarily, fundraising events are used to raise money for a non-profit organisation, but their scope has broadened over the years. Now, fundraising can be used for anything, from supporting a charity to uplifting the community or someone in need.
We have a couple of courses available if you want to delve deeper into fundraising. Our How to Fundraise: A Guide to Fundraising for Non-Fundraisers course by the University of Kent will provide a practical guide to fundraising and teach you everything from preparing your fundraising story to processing donations.
For now, though, we’ve created a list of ten of the best fundraising ideas to try out. Anyone can use these tried and tested methods, and you may even find yourself enjoying the process.
1. Create something
One of the best ways to fundraise is by creating something and selling it. Perhaps you already have a small business or side-hustle that you can utilise here.
For example, if you have a business where you paint art commissions for customers, you could start a project where you only create commissions related to your fundraising cause. If you’re raising money to build a community garden, you might only take commissions related to flowers and fauna and put all of the profit straight towards the garden.
However, this method is equally effective even if you’re not so experienced. Whether you’re making art, baking, embroidering t-shirts or throwing pottery, you can try selling your creations for the specific purpose of fundraising.
You don’t even need to be incredible at what you choose to do. If you tell friends and family about your creations and make some posts on social media explaining what you’re doing, you might find that people will support and buy your work in order to help you reach your goal.
2. Sell coupon books
Coupon books can be an excellent way to work with your community and make some money. The idea is to work with restaurants, cafes and shops in the area and create a book of coupons that you can sell to customers. With the money made from selling the books, you can donate to your chosen cause.
This fundraising idea has tangible benefits for everyone involved. You make money for your fundraiser, customers get discounts at local businesses, and businesses potentially get an increased number of customers.
It may take a bit of effort and determination to initially set up the coupon book, but if you’re friendly, organised and professional, businesses are more likely to get involved. There are even some fundraising coupon book schemes you can get involved with to simplify the process, like SaveAround in the US.
One of the most popular fundraising methods today is crowdfunding, thanks to the power of the internet. Crowdfunding is when you simply ask for financial contributions for a specific project or cause on the internet, normally through crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe and JustGiving.
This is a popular and successful tactic because the internet allows us to reach thousands of people quickly and efficiently, and it’s even possible for us to target people who might specifically be interested in the cause we’re fundraising for.
Crowdfunding is therefore a great way to make a large amount of money, and fast. If several thousand people just give a pound or two, you already have a sizeable donation. The key with this method is to write a convincing and informative page explaining what the fundraiser is for, and how it’s going to be beneficial.
You can learn more about this fundraising method in our open step by the University of York, Crowdfunding and community, where they discuss the different kinds of crowdfunding and what it can be used for.
4. Host a fundraising event
This is a popular fundraising tactic and can be effective for many different purposes, including personal and community projects. This is because people can enjoy a fundraising event even if they’re not specifically involved or interested in your cause.
You will need some money, volunteers and great organisational skills to pull off hosting an event, but it can be incredibly fun and rewarding. It can also leave you with plenty of donation money for your chosen cause.
There are so many options for hosting a fundraiser. If you know several musicians or bands, a fundraising concert could be a great idea, or a booksale could be effective if you have lots of old books and want to keep the costs down more.
If you want to get even more creative, you might consider setting up an art show, where people in your community can donate a piece of their art. You could sell tickets to the art show, and even sell the art pieces and donate the profits. Or, you could hold a local food festival, where volunteers or restaurants cook dishes and sell them to attendees.
As you might imagine, events like these can be a great fundraising tactic and a perfect way to bring your community together.
5. Community classes
This idea relies on finding some empathetic and talented volunteers to help you out, but if your cause is a good one, it might not be too difficult! Especially if you have any friends or family who could get involved.
Essentially, you get people from your community to volunteer and teach something that they’re an expert in. This could include anything including dance, painting, coding and gardening. If they’re a professional, this could even be a good way for them to advertise their business, but if they’re not, it could still be a fun opportunity.
People attending the classes will pay a fee, but this fee will go into the fundraising pot and end up being donated to your chosen cause or project. Often, people are more willing to invest in themselves and learn something new rather than invest in a product that they may not use.
6. Build an email campaign or write letters
If you’re not so interested in event organising but you’re good with words, you might be interested in trying your hand at building an email campaign. This may not work so well if your purpose is to fund a personal project, but it has a good chance of raising money for a charity or something similar.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to craft effective emails or email marketing in general, you can take a look at our email marketing blog post, or even join our Cold Email Mastery: The Ultimate B2B Lead Generation course.
If you like the idea of approaching people through your writing, but you don’t have time or the necessity to set up a full email campaign, why not try writing letters? This could work well if you’re approaching a smaller amount of people in the community. Additionally, the more personal touch could work in your favour and help you achieve more donations.
7. Hold a discussion
If you feel really passionate about the cause you’re raising money for, holding a discussion can not only be a great way to encourage donations but a way to encourage empathy and understanding. You can even host a panel discussion, where you can contact some local experts or educators who want to get involved.
This is a fairly low-cost event, and the main thing you need to do is find an event space (a library or community hall could work), inform the local community that it’s taking place, and prepare for the discussion.
8. Research and contact major donors
This method is definitely more suitable for those working as part of a non-profit organisation, but it could still be something worth looking into even if you’re working on a smaller fundraising project.
Donor research involves finding and contacting wealthy individuals who are interested in the issues surrounding your fundraising project, and asking them to make a donation. If you manage to find donors who are truly passionate about what you do, and persuade them to donate a large sum, this can be one of the most effective tactics out there.
9. Host a virtual fundraising event
Perhaps you like the idea of hosting a fundraising event, but you don’t have the tools or resources to hold a physical event. Not to worry, because virtual fundraising events can be just as effective. There are plenty of websites that can help you host such an event, or you could keep things simple and use Zoom.
You can host any kind of event virtually, but some ideas that will work especially well online include an online auction, raffle, or pub quiz. They will still require a lot of preparation and planning, but as long as you’re not bad with technology, it should be a bit easier than holding a physical event.
10. Hold a neighbourhood clean
This is another great fundraising idea that has huge benefits for everyone involved. You can start off by bringing your community together and choosing a day to do a big neighbourhood clean up. Then, you can ask for donations from local businesses and individuals who will be happy that you’re making improvements to the place where they live.
The easiest thing for people to do is litter picking, and this can be especially beneficial in areas where there’s a lot of litter on the streets or in the countryside. However, you may even be able to contact local supermarkets or cleaning companies who might lend you cleaning equipment for free, or for a small fee.
You can collect donations on the day, by having people holding collection buckets as you clean up the neighbourhood, but it’s probably a good idea to also set up a social media or fundraising page. That way, people can find out about the cleanup online and make donations that way.