Scholarships and Beyond: Creative Fundraising Ideas for Education

If you can find brave supporters to go the extra mile for your nonprofit, a head-shaving fundraiser is a great way to bring attention to your cause and attract new audiences.

Participants pledge to shave their heads (or beards) to raise money. In return, your nonprofit can offer an exclusive perk, prize, or public recognition on your website or social media platforms.

Trivia Night

Trivia nights are a weekly occurrence at bars for a few simple reasons—they’re easy to Creative Fundraising Ideas , affordable to host, and can be customized to appeal to any audience.

Ask a local restaurant or bar to host your fundraising event and encourage participants to form teams in advance.

To earn their spot in the competition, set a minimum fundraising amount that each participant must meet to play. If registrants don’t meet the minimum, they can donate the remaining amount.

Charge an entrance fee for anyone not participating in the competition but still wants to support your cause and be part of the action. You can also host a virtual trivia night to reduce overhead costs. Simply create a list of questions, secure an engaging virtual host, and encourage attendees to tune in for the live event to earn designated prizes.

If you decide to go with an in-person gathering, consider asking if the venue would share a Creative Fundraising Ideas of their food and drink proceeds with your nonprofit. Nothing encourages business like being a socially responsible company.

Collect gently worn clothes and home goods for a yard sale your community won’t want to miss. If you have valuable items, like first-edition books or signed collectibles, you can hold an exclusive auction for these top-tier pieces at the end of the day. In addition to opening up donations to your staff, supporters, and collective networks, reach out to local celebrities or philanthropists for those high-ticket items.

Take pictures of the items and post them on social media to generate buzz around the event. You might just find your next corporate sponsorship while drumming up excitement online.

Community Potluck

Invite supporters to dig out their family recipe books for a community potluck. This cheap fundraising idea is accessible to donors who might not be able to afford a ticket to your annual gala or other large fundraisers but still want to get involved with your cause.

Encourage donors to buy a ticket through your event page, then simply show up with an appetite and their favorite meal, dessert, or drink in hand.

To leave attendees with something special to remember the evening, ask registrants to submit their recipes to your team ahead of the potluck and create a cookbook of everyone’s unique contributions. Either send the book home for free as a gift for attending or sell them for a low price at the event for additional donations.

Today, everyone has a professional-grade camera in the palm of their hand. Kick off an amateur photo contest to find out which supporters can snap the best photo from their iPhone, camera, or mobile device.

Either set a theme for the contest, like sunsets or photos of nature, or keep it broad enough for participants to get creative. Ask each person to submit their photos to your team directly, then publish them to your event landing page where people can vote for their favorite through small donations.

Take it to social media to garner additional votes, and be sure to send an email blast asking community members to help determine the winner.

Participants can either pay an entry fee or earn their spot in the competition through peer-to-peer fundraising. Whichever you decide, offer the opportunity to showcase the winning photo at your next event or share it on social media for everyone to see.

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