5 Top Out-Of-The-Box Fundraising Ideas

by Jun 6, 2017Campaigns, Cause Marketing, Fundraising, GivingBands, Inspirations, Product Spotlight

Out-of-the-box Fundraising Ideas


Effective fundraising is at the core of every successful nonprofit. Do you feel like your fundraising ideas have gone stale? Are you looking for a creative new approach?

We tapped a great resource, Double the Donation, and spoke to founder, Adam Weingar to give us his TOP 5 Out-of-the-box fundraising ideas. Of course, products are one idea, and the core of what Charity Charms is all about, but we love supporting the non-profit community with resources and ideas. So thank you, Adam, for sharing! Here’s what he says:

If you’re looking for something different from your original, go-to fundraisers, here are some unique fundraising ideas for your next campaign that let you put down the raffle tickets and quit baking:

  1. Products
  2. Text-to-Give
  3. Matching Gifts
  4. Walk-and-Paw-a-Thon
  5. Giving Kiosk

See? We have you covered. Read on for a more in-depth discussion of the above fundraising ideas. And if you’re looking for more comprehensive coverage of the general practice of fundraising before diving into these ideas, Double The Donation can help you out with their Nonprofit Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide.

fundraising ideas products

Sell products

What it is

Your nonprofit can design and sell custom t-shirts, hats, water bottles, and even jewelry. With the help of companies like Bonfire or Charity Charms, you can organize a campaign that takes little to no change out of your pocket but puts a whole lot into your nonprofit’s.

Why it works

While promoting your nonprofit, cause, and campaign, you’re raising the spirit and forming a sense of community. And as a result, more and more people purchase your product of choice. That’s more and more people promoting your organization altogether. 

Some companies will even give you your own customized webpage to sell on to eliminate making you the middleman. Most of the time, you won’t have to worry about handling any inventory yourself. It’s done for you. This way, you won’t waste any merchandise either.

How to start

Interested in selling? Here’s the basic process:

  1. Pick your product.
  2. Create your design.
  3. Place your order.
  4. Promote, sell, and fundraise.

Plenty of product fundraising companies can take care of all your product ordering and selling needs.

Like we mentioned earlier, some sites will give you your nonprofit-specific page to promote and share. That way, supporters can buy directly from the site with credit, debit, or PayPal online so you’re not weighed down with the inventory.

In short, with these companies to help you on your path to product fundraising, all you have left to do is promote and engage.

Bonus! Learn How to Create a “Charming” Campaign to Engage Your Supporters.

fundraising ideas text-to-give


What it is

With over 90% of American adults glued to the internet via their smartphones, it’s no surprise that there was a 205% increase in mobile giving last year.

While the text-to-give process can vary slightly from provider to provider, most of the time, your supporter will text your text-to-give number or account to donate. The donor will then be sent a link where they can fill out an online donation form (that’s optimized for mobile!). It’s often very quick.

Why it works

Text-to-give helps reduce donation page abandonment. It’s quick and easy, which means that donors are more likely to finish the giving process than they are with other online fundraising channels. In essence, couple the efficiency with the fact that text is the communication option of choice for many of your donors, and it’s easy to see why text-to-give has taken the fundraising world by storm.

How to start

Compare different text-to-give software for a new, modern way to connect with supporters. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Security – Make sure the platform adheres to the industry’s highest security standards, including PCI-compliance.
  • Accessibility – Check into how quickly you’ll be able to access funds donated via text-to-give.
  • Support – Ensure that you’ll have no issue contacting customer support.
  • Cost – Consider both the price of the platform and the time cost of working it into your fundraising.
  • Usability – Confirm that both your organization and your donors will have no issues using the software.
  • Integration – Check to see how the software will interact with your existing fundraising technology.

Once you’ve picked a provider, make the leap and work text-to-give into your existing fundraising efforts. 

If text-to-give software has you excited about web-friendly fundraisers, look to this for more innovative ideas!

fundraising ideas matching gifts

Matching Gifts

What it is

Through these programs, corporations support employee charitable giving by matching donations made by their employees to nonprofits. The programs are often overlooked because companies don’t efficiently promote them and employees don’t look for them.

In fact, only 1 in 10 eligible donors match their donations every year simply because donors and nonprofits alike aren’t well-versed in which companies have matching gift programs. However, with little work on the part of your organization and your donor, you can double contributions.

Why it works

Because most companies match at a 1:1 ratio, meaning they double employee contributions, nonprofits who actively seek matching gifts see a big surge in their fundraising. With this in mind, something as simple as a promotion of employee matching gifts is proven to significantly increase a nonprofit’s percentage of gifts matched.

How to start

Start by marketing matching gifts to your donors. Donors are the ones who will have to fill out the matching gift paperwork, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lead them to that point.

Promote matching gifts:

  • Directly on your donation pages.
  • Within a page on your website.
  • Via your emails.

Ultimately, awareness is the biggest barrier to matching gift success, and it is your nonprofit’s job to take down that barrier.

fundraising ideas walk and paw-a-thon


What it is

Walk-a-thon event fundraisers with dogs, walk-and-paw-a-thons bring your community together for your cause.

Your supporters can bring their dogs on leashes to walk around your course. Participants will accept pledges for distance coverage in addition to one-time donations. The nonprofit can charge an entry fee and sell concessions, t-shirts, water bottles, and other merchandise to participants while providing incentives for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the walk-a-thon. And, of course, you can set up donation stations around the track.

Why it works

First, it just takes a few steps to set it up. Second, your supporters get to complete an everyday task, get some fresh air, socialize their pups, and actively engage in their community. So participation is an easy sell.

Plus, you’ll attract a crowd of dog-lovers to watch the walk-and-paw-a-thon, further helping your nonprofit’s exposure.

How to start

First, you’ll want to secure a location (i.e. a public field, track, etc.) and secure sponsors to help fund the day. Second, you’ll be the head organizer for this event, so things to keep in mind are:

  • Picking a date and rain date
  • Promoting the event
    • Recruiting enough sponsors
    • Recruiting enough participants
  • Organizing concessions to sell
  • Overall budgeting

With the proper preparation and promotion (you can look to Booster’s Walkathon Guide for help with this), your walk-and-paw-a-thon can be a huge success in addition to drawing in great donations.

fundraising ideas giving kiosk

Giving kiosks

What is it

Perfect for events, a giving kiosk is a portable station that typically comes with a tablet or device so that attendees without cash and checks can still donate with a credit or debit card. A kiosk will accept payments in just seconds.

Why it works

Eliminating the need for cash donations, a kiosk will still allow your donors to give in the event they haven’t made it to the ATM.

With built-in Wi-Fi and a long-lasting battery, your nonprofit can use a kiosk at any kind of event, inside or out. It’s the perfect solution for debit and credit cards at events and tracking donations.

How to start

Your nonprofit can easily set up a kiosk for donations. Whenever you’re looking for the perfect kiosk provider, you’ll want to look for these features:

  • Customizable cosmetics: kiosk colors, logo, branding, and set up/menu
  • Options: donation amounts, donation types, and events displayed on menu
  • CRM syncing: transferring data gathered to your donor database

With a clean look and easy interface, a giving kiosk’s easy donation system will help you improve your event-day fundraising efforts.

It’s easy to get into a rut when it comes to fundraising. But, it’s important that you’re nonprofit frequently evaluates its current practices and looks for opportunities to improve. Ultimately, part of that improvement should involve freshening up your go-to fundraising activities and making sure they’re still the best choice for your organization. In short, the fundraising ideas listed above are designed to do just that.

If our 5 top out-of-the-box fundraising ideas sparked interest and you’re still looking for inspiration for more fundraising ideas, check out these additional sources:

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