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Are you responsible to fund school teams or events?  Purchase items or ship donations for charity?  Going on a mission trip? Run a non-profit?  Then you need COLD HARD CASH to accomplish your goals. BUT JUST HOW DO YOU DO THAT?  You FUNDRAISE!Here are OVER 150 Best Fundraising Ideas for individuals, schools, churches, and non-profits.  Find the one that’s best for you!

*Best Fundraising Ideas for Individuals*

Here are some ideas perfect for individuals.  Most are easy enough for children to use!

  • Birthdays and Holidays – ask for gift cards or donations to help your cause
  • Social Media – Announce your cause and let friends know specifically how to help (goods or cash – Venmo, PayPal)
  • Personal Letters – Write a personal note to family and friends describing your goal
  • Trick or Treating – Little ones bring a Piggy Bank, tell about their project, and ask for change
  • Lemonade Stand – and post about your cause.  Provide a donation jar as well.
  • Facebook Fundraising – Facebook makes it easy to directly donate to your non-profit (FB Fundraising)
  • Start a Go Fund Me Page so that people can donate directly to you or your cause
  • Garage/Yard Sale
  • Buy from Garage Sales and resell at your own for more (or online)
  • Collect and Recycle Cans and Bottles – 5 cents per item adds up quickly.
  • Teach a Class and charge a fee in addition to supplies – Cooking, Knitting, Wreath Making, Flower Arrangement, etc. (This can be an online class, in your home, or a community space like a church, library, etc. with permission.)
  • Sell Your Home Grown Vegetables – Sell directly from your home, yard sale or bring to your group events.
  • Sell Plants:   Start from seeds, graftings, or bulbs. Dig up perennials from your yard and pot. Sell them at your garage sale, online, or group events
  • Cooking  – Meal Prep – Full dinners for shut-ins, soups, homemade pizza for neighbors and friends.  Advertise on social media.
  • Baking – Sell your specialty Cookies, Cakes, and Pies to neighbors and friends.
  • Calligraphy Writing for wedding invitations, cards, and other events
  • Sell Handmade Crafts  – to friends and office workers.  Bring your items to bowling, to class, church, social media
    • Christmas ornaments
    • Quilts
    • Crocheted or knitted hats, scarves, gloves (HERE is my EASY Crocheted HAT PATTERN)
    • Handmade Cards/Bookmarks, Journals
    • Artwork
    • Dolls and doll clothes
    • Face Masks
Get my free printable “Made With Love” tags to add to all your crafts.
  • Sell at a Fair – local events and fairs rent table space.  Determine if you earn enough to offset the cost investment.
  • Local Consignment Shops for Clothing and/or Handmade Crafts
  • Sell ONLINE
  • FiverrFreelance online service where you can sell artwork, logo making, editing, etc.
  • Rent Items Out – people actually do this at Stylelend and Loanables
  • Dog Walking
  • Baby Sitting
  • Pet Sitting
  • House Sitting
  • Rake Leaves
  • Shovel Snow
  • Coffee House or Piano Bar Singing (for tips or fee)
  • “Rent a Handyman” – Chores for Charity
  • Become an Instacart Shopper
  • Recycle Ink Cartridges – Earn Money or Rewards (Office Depot/Office Max) (Staples) (Evolve Recycling)
  • Donate Plasma for Money

*Best Fundraising Ideas for Schools, Churches, and Groups*

Amazon (CLICK HERE) has all the things you need to get started! Tickets, Signs, Raffle Slips, Donation Jars and more!

The following fundraising ideas require involving more people to be successful such as Churches, scouts, 4-H, schools, small organizations, etc.

ALWAYS PROVIDE A DONATION JAR to allow people to add additional money! This can be a water or pretzel jug – just attach a sticker or sign on the front.

Simple Donations:
  • Just ASKSometimes the easiest way is the best.  People might not want to purchase $10 of oranges so your group can gain just $2 (typical company-sponsored fundraisers)- BUT they might prefer to give the entire $10 to your cause!
Alternative School Fundraiser
Dee from Texas shared that her PTA chose a humorous but effective School Fundraiser.
  • TEXT to Give: Set up a simple text number so members, participants, alumni can easily text a donation.  The easiest way to give often gets the best results.
  • Containers to fill with QUARTERS:  Use M&M Candy Tubes (they eat the candy, then fill with quarters) OR Recycle or use new pill bottles, cover with a sticker from YOUR GROUP – they fill with quarters.  A quarter a day for 36 days = $9.00.  Loose change is an easy way to give. Your CHANGE can change a life

  • EMAIL BLAST Your Needs: simply tell people what your needs are, and goals with a link to where they can contribute.
Sales: 
  • Sell Imprinted LOGO Items – Make or Purchase t-shirts, pens, mugs, face-masks, etc. with your logo or special saying.  Sell for a profit.  VistaPrint or AMAZON have custom t-shirts that are EASY to design and order.
  • Large Rummage Sale – get everyone to donate, volunteer, and advertise.  Whatever isn’t sold, donate to a local charity thrift.  (Contact ahead of the event – Big Brothers/Big Sisters have brought a truck and taken all of our leftovers.)
  • Used Book Sale – Everyone donates adults and children’s books, have a big sale, and again, donate leftovers
  • Bake Sale
  • Resell Snack Items – Purchase and resell for a higher price:  bagels, donuts, pizza, bottled water, etc. after or before an event.
  • Resell Store Goods – Some restaurants will help and sell items specifically at a discount such as Marie Callender’s and Krispy Kreme
  • Food Orders – Baked Potato Bar, “Souper Bowl Sundays” (Eat in, or you can take pre-orders and deliver locally)
  • Food Making Kits – Pizza kits, Cupcake or Cookie Decorating (Make yourself or team with a bakery or pizzeria. Provide dough, sauce, cheese, or cupcake, icing, and decorating gels.)
  • Christmas Caroling for a Cause – bring a donation basket

  • YOU’VE BEEN FLOCKED with Pink Flamingos – People pay a fee to have a friend’s lawn or business entrance covered with a flock of plastic flamingos for a day. Include a big sign that says “you’ve been flocked”.  Amazon has all you need to get started – Check HERE
  • HOLY COW IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! – for example, have this Holy Cow birthday sign and 7 cows placed on someone’s lawn (such as $35 for 24-hour rental)
  • VALENTINES DAY Signs – charge for planting a sign or multiple lawn signs
  • Pumpkin Sales – purchase from a local vendor or direct from a farm and resell
  • PLANT SALES – contact local wholesale nurseries
    • Summer Flower and Vegetable Flats
    • Christmas Trees and Wreaths
    • Poinsettias and Orchids
    • Easter and Mother’s Day Plants
  • Holiday Photos – Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day. Provide a fun backdrop, families/Individuals have photos taken before and after Church, after school, etc.  Photos edited and emailed for a fee. ($5-$10)
  • Sell Your Group’s Cookbook – Gather recipes from your group and compile a cookbook to sell.  Either copy pages yourself, create a professional-looking booklet (Staples Booklet Printing), or contact a cookbook online printer.
  • Create a Calendar with pictures that represent your group’s interests (pets, landscape, even pictures of the group itself) (Staples Photo Calendars)
  • Sell Ad Space – In your Yearbooks, church bulletins, School play and concert programs, etc.

AMAZON Custom Imprint Shirts – VERY easy to design.  CHECK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Teaching Events:

(Some of these can even be done live on zoom, or other ways online.  Or record these and people can “purchase” the link to rewatch them at their convenient time.)

  • Sports Clinics (Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, etc.)
  • Craft Nights (teach a variety of crafts such as candlemaking, crochet, quilting, needlepoint, etc.)
  • Christmas Wreath Making Class – provide supplies, play music, sell snacks
  • Handyman Events (clinics on how to fix appliances, simple plumbing, electrical, painting)
  • Paint and Sip Nights
  • Cooking Classes
  • Baking Classes
  • Gardening Basics (how to seed a lawn, grow perennials, vegetables, or organic gardening)
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Tai Chi Classes
  • Meditation Classes
Store Events:

These might require a 501(c)(3) – a non-profit designation.  But check with your local stores, they may not –

  • Display Table Inside Store Event – The picture above is of my friend and me inside an Old Navy. Each store register had small (under $1) store items and asked each person if they would like to purchase the additional item to donate to our project. (Works both for you and the store but only if you need specific items for your charity.)  We also had a donation jar and advertised the project.
  • Display Table outside a local store or with permission. Advertise your project, sell items or have a donation jar.
  • Cookout at local grocery stores (Hamburgers, Brats, etc.)
  • Pancake Breakfast at Restaurants like Applebees
  • Caroling or Singing at Restaurants or Malls – some restaurants and stores will pay or allow tips if you sing outside or walk around inside.
  • Wrap Gifts – Individual Shops and Malls during holiday seasons often work with groups to provide wrapping and may even provide you with supplies.  Wrap for a fee, or free with a donation jar.  Contact the location months in advance to reserve your spot.

Reusable Goal Tracking Board

Businesses and Restaurants:

Stores, restaurants, and supermarkets might donate gift cards, products for raffles, and some have promotions where your group gets a designated percentage from one day of shopping or eating (usually by showing a specifically agreed flyer).  They might require a 501(c)(3) – a non-profit designation – depending on the size of the donation.

PROVIDE A PRINTED PROGRAM FOR EACH OF THE FOLLOWING EVENTS – have a program with important information for your event – Surprisingly the most money can be made on selling lines or pages printed in the booklet.  Sell individual lines for greetings from parents, friends to friends, and businesses can take 1/4 to full-page ads.  TRUST ME – this actually might make MORE than your actual event!
Raffles and Auctions:

  • Auction (Ask local businesses to donate items) Can be hosted online or in-person
  • Raffle – sell tickets for various donated prizes.  Could be a handmade quilt, car, hotel weekend, etc.
  • 50/50 Raffle – This is absolutely the easiest fundraiser.  At an event, sell tickets.  Whatever the amount you gather, pick a random ticket – the winner gets one-half of the proceeds and your group keeps the other half!  Or make up a flyer like the sample above and post it on social media and email.

Check out my Amazon Store for your FUNDRAISING NEEDS

Larger Group Events:

  • Host a Car Wash 
  • Dress Down Day – could be a regularly occurring event where students or office workers pay for the privilege of wearing jeans or even pajamas!
  • Recycle Used ShoesHERE for all shoes and HERE for sneakers
  • Recycle – bottles and cans, paper, scrap metal, and wine corks.  Check local scrap yards or Sell on eBay.  Some items require larger amounts to make any decent money – best with larger groups.
  • Restaurant Taste Testing:  Invite a variety of local restaurants to cater your dinner (you pay them at a discount and they stay to advertise) and charge a per person fee to attend.
  • Children’s Carnival – with games, balloon making, and face painting.
  • Monthly Movie Night – Indoor, or outdoor with a projection screen to be watched on blankets, chairs, or even host a Drive-In!
  • Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Food Night (With Health Restrictions – you can turn these into “DRIVE THROUGH Events”) Spaghetti Night, Pig Roast, BarBQue, Fish Fry, Baked Potato Bar or Pancake Breakfast
  • Food Trucks – contact a bunch and park in one location (maybe the church parking lot) advertise – earn money from renting space, percentage of the sales, and/or fees to enter the event.
  • Host a High-Tea – Serve scones, small sandwiches, and tea. Everyone gets to wear their most fun hats. Tables are set with mismatched old cups and plates.
  • Super Bowl Party with Football Squares (sell each square plus entrance ticket, sell snacks)
  • Host a Women’s Holiday Brunch (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.)
  • Host a Craft or Art Fair – You provide advertising.  Charge for each space (you can provide tables and chairs, but not necessary)  Indoor and outdoor events.  Set up a table to advertise your cause.
  • Coffee House with acoustic musicians (ticket cost, free-will offering, sale of snacks)
  • Music concert 
  • Hymn Sing Night (free-will offering, sale of snacks)
  • Trivia Night
  • Bingo Night
  • Casino Gambling Night
  • Host a Haunted House

*Best Competitive Fundraising Events*

Fun for the community and also advertises your project, group, or church.  Charge entrance fees, small fees to vote, sell additional snacks, crafts, etc.  The winners get an award (can be made or purchased inexpensively).  You can host only your church or group members for a fun bonding evening, but other events like Car Shows and Art Shows work best when you involve your larger community.  Elementary school students all the way up through college would enjoy these.

School Classes or Business Competition:

  • VBS or School Donations – Penny or change offering.  You can do challenges between grades or boys/girls.  WEIGH the results instead of dollar amount and have buckets and a big scale. (OR they can use the M&M tubes as I mentioned above. “Change to Change the World”)
  • Jelly Bean Count
  • Crazy Hair Day – children or members make a donation and then can design and wear the craziest hairstyle.  Everyone can vote for different categories like “best use of color”, “best design”, etc.
  • Crazy Costume Day – This can be done for Halloween, but more fun if done during the year.  Pay to enter contest to wear during work or school.  Vote for the winner.
  • Class or Team Donations – each grade or team donates for the privilege of getting to a goal – no homework, special pizza party, etc.
  • Kiss a Cow – Individuals fundraise and the winner gets to “kiss a cow” or another silly event – great for newspapers and publicity  (at my daughter’s college, the President had to kiss the cow as the goal)
  • Pay for the Fun – Get a volunteer (teacher, principal, dean, pastor, executive) and everyone buys tickets to:
    • charge for each strip to duct tape them to the wall
    • throw wet sponges, pies
    • East something spicy or gross
    • dump an ice bucket on their head
  • TikTok Fundraising Challenge:  students can dance, tell jokes, etc. all with a link to your fundraising page (compete for most views, comments, etc.)
  • Baby Photo Contest – Everyone posts their old baby photos. Display on a large board and charge $1 for each vote.
  • Pumpkin Carving Contest
  • Video Game Night
  • Board Game Night
  • Reading Challenge
  • Shave-A-Thon – after “No Shave November” hold a party where everyone shaves together in December. Have contests for the best beard, longest beard, etc.
  • Crab Races, Frog Jumps, Turtle Races, Rubber Duck Race – You can provide the hermit crabs, etc. or they can bring their own.  Each contestant pays an entry fee, you provide the circle or course of the race.  The winner gets “half” of the entry fee and you keep the rest.
Sports:
  • BowlaThon – Registration fee per person, plus they find “donors” to pledge per pin, per strike, etc. to gain additional donations
  • Pool Party with Races – this can be as small as at someone’s large home or getting a hotel, club, or community pool involved.
  • Golf Tournament
  • Mud Run
  • Ironman Event
  • Color Runs
  • Walkathon, Marathon, and 5K
  • Bikeathon (can even include the kids in separate categories!)
  • Polar Bear Swim
  • Sports Tournaments:  Dodge Ball, Soccer, Touch Football, Volleyball, Basketball, etc.
Larger Community Events:

  • Festival of Christmas Trees – provide trees, get groups to sponsor and decorate their tree (for a fee) and compete for prizes.  Charge tickets or free-will offering to view trees. Play Christmas music and provide or sell snacks.
  • Car or Motorcycle Show – Registration fee, entrance fee, prizes for individual vehicles
  • Art Show – Choose several winners in different age groups and categories.
  • Pet Show
  • Cook-Off – Host a Chili Contest, Pie, or Cake Contest
  • Cupcake Wars – like the TV Show, have prizes for the best taste, and most decorated
  • Competitive Eating Contest – Pies, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, etc.
  • Stream the following events (as well as have an in-person audience) and gain more awareness of your cause = more donations
    • Stage a Play
    • Karaoke Night
    • Lip-Sync Challenge
    • Battle of the Bands
    • Variety Talent Night
    • Fashion Show

*Best Fundraising Ideas for Non-Profits*

Registered U.S. public charitable 501(c)(3) organizations in good standing with the IRS can register with a number of businesses for either monetary, goods and/or volunteer resources.

  • AmazonSmile –  When people purchase products 0.5% goes to your charity, at no cost to them.  Each quarter, the AmazonSmile Foundation makes donations to eligible charitable organizations by electronic funds transfer.
  • Costco
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – help with Youth Sports Teams
  • Kohls – purchase discounted fundraising gift cards from Kohls. Those cards are then sold at face value and the profits go directly to your organization.
  • Walmart Local Community Giving
  • Build A Bear
  • AutoZone


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Mary

2 Comments on Best Fundraising Ideas for Individuals, Schools and Non-Profits

  1. I am a church relations coordinator with Operation Christmas Child and I would love to share your fantastic list of fundraising ideas at our Project Leader Workshops. Is this list available to print in a PDF format? Or may I have your permission to copy and paste it?

    • I don’t have it in a pdf form, sorry, it would be way too long and several pages. Directing them to the website is easy and it has so much more explanation in each spot.

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