Top Nine Fundraising Event Ideas

Since fundraisers can be run exclusively online, it’s tempting to think of creative ideas for fundraising events. The fact is, in-person fundraiser events offer benefits you can’t get from virtual fundraising. We strongly recommend adding one of our fundraising event ideas for events (or several) to your next fundraising event.

Start an event fundraiser

woman playing with kids

Connect with your community

Events are a way to bring together friends and family, and people you may not even know yet for a good cause. When everyone sees how much time, effort, and passion you and your fundraising team have devoted to your cause, it adds energy to your campaign in a way participants can see and feel.

  • Your event can strengthen bonds and offer light at the end of the tunnel. If your fundraiser is in response to a stressful situation, gathering neighbors helps ease the emotional weight.
  • If you’re raising money to achieve a positive goal, or to support a friend or a charity in need, an event can inspire everyone, creating a positive energy that carries your campaign to the end.
  • If your beneficiaries can attend the event, donors and potential donors get a chance to connect with them—and see the importance of their contributions firsthand.

Top nine ideas for unique fundraising events

woman with art exhibit

1. Art exhibit fundraisers



Ask friends and community members who are artists—for example, painters, photographers, sculptors, or jewelry makers—to donate a piece to the cause. 

  • All artwork available for sale at the event can be sold in exchange, or through a silent auction, for donations. 

two men on bikes

2. Bicycling, running, or walking event

With these events, participants usually ask donors to give a certain amount based on total number of miles completed. It is a great opportunity for a little friendly competition.

  • Make sure to have sponsors make their donations directly to your fundraising page. 
  • Participants can set up teams, issuing challenges or competitions between participants.
  • Partner with a local businesses to match donations, or contribute a portion of proceeds to the cause for a period of time.

crawfish bake fundraising event

3. Party or banquet

Hosting a dinner party or charity banquet is a great fundraising idea to gather a large group of people together, enjoy a good meal, and gather donations. 

  • Invite your friends, family, and neighbors. 
  • Parties and banquets can be hosted at a home, clubhouse, or banquet hall.
  • Have a jar set up so that attendees can make a donation to your cause at the party.
  • Hold a trivia night at your party and sell tickets to participants to raise money.
fathers dancing with daughters

Hosting a benefit dance (or better yet, a themed benefit dance) is a fun way for adults and kids to come together and raise funds.

  • Share the link to your fundraiser on social media, and encourage anyone who wants to attend to make an optional donation to your fundraiser.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising before the dance.
  • Hold a silent auction the night of the dance as an additional way to raise funds.
  • Have attendees show off their style and host a mini fashion show. A fashion show is a great way to break up the night and encourage donations.
rollerblade team

5. Charity sports event


Host a charity sporting event—maybe a baseball game, basketball game, or a golf tournament

  • Ask friends and family to make their donation in the for of an entry fee as a way to raise money.
  • Have a booth set up at the event where you can accept donations to your cause.
  • Ask local sports organizations and teams if any of the coaches would be willing to help coordinate the event.
  • Partner with a local amateur leagues, who may already have a following that you can tap into on social media.
  • Create an obstacle course as a great way to get others involved before or after the big game.
A skateboarder skating a halfpipe

6. Skate-a-thon



If you’re raising funds for a child (or an adult) who loves skateboarding, throw a fundraising skate-a-thon at your local skate park where kids and adults can skate for a good cause.

  • Try reaching out to pro skaters—maybe they’d be willing to sign a few skateboards that you can sell at your event for help raising money.
  • As always, have a booth or table set up where attendees can make donations to your cause.
man painting

7. Customized promotional items


Create and sell T-shirts, bags, cups, and other items for your fundraising event. This is a great gay to increase awareness amongst community members and a great way to raise money.

  • Look for companies that sell customized marketing and promotional items or custom corporate gifts. 
  • You can customize all kinds of items with the name and image of the beneficiary, or a design that seems fitting for your campaign. 
  • Include the fundraiser name and URL somewhere in the design. That way, anyone wearing your merchandise becomes a walking promotion for your campaign.
  • Partner with a local business or multiple local businesses to sell your items out of.
men fundraising

8. Car wash

Car washes have long been a popular way to drum up support for a good cause and raise money.

  • Advertise your car wash on your fundraiser page and on social media. 
  • Let donors know they can receive a car wash on a certain date. 
  • Provide a way to accept donations at the event from patrons getting their car washed.
  • Get out in the community and spread word of your campaign. Washing cars can also help your fundraising team bond while working together.
community bbq

9. Barbecue night



Host a summer evening barbecue, add a dash of music and entertainment, and you’ve got yourself a fundraising event. 

  • Ask volunteers to help out by bringing side dishes such as potato salad, fruit, vegetables, dessert, chips, baked goods, and drinks. 
  • See if you can find a local band or musician open to donating a performance. 
  • Toss in outdoor games—maybe cornhole, three-legged races, bocce, croquet, or horseshoes. 
  • Ask guests to make a suggested donation in lieu of paying to attend the event.

Make your fundraiser an eventful one

Ready to get started with one of these fundraiser event ideas? Get more inspiration from our easy fundraiser event ideas and creative fundraising ideas pages. Your event is sure to be effective, fun, and memorable. Event fundraising just got easier. GoFundMe is free for campaign organizers, and you can begin withdrawing funds as soon as you start receiving donations. Start your event fundraiser today with so many fundraiser ideas to choose from.

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