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The best 40 fundraising ideas for nonprofits

Looking for fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations or a cause? Browse our list of inventive fundraiser ideas that you can use to raise money for St. Jude or your own cause. We have put together a list that will excite your supporters and help further your fundraising efforts!


St. Jude PLAY LIVE (2016)


Nonprofit fundraising ideas for St. Jude

Since our founding in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has relied on individual contributors for the majority of our funds. Fundraising is vital to our mission; it allows us to treat children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, and families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. But it’s not always easy — raising money takes dedication, passion and a strong work ethic.

Some fundraiser ideas are easy, whereas others take planning. Above all, let your passion for your mission be evident.

When deciding which nonprofit fundraising ideas work best for you: 

  1. Consider the number of people involved and the resources available to you and your budget. 
  2. Think about who your potential supporters are and how to speak to them.
  3. Set your goal, whether it's social media followers, monetary donations or partnerships.
  4. Decide the best tactics to use for your fundraiser idea and to reach your goal.
  5. Be mindful of your budget — you don't want to end up with a deficit after your fundraising project. 
  6. Most importantly, have fun and spread your mission while executing one of our nonprofit fundraising ideas!

Ready for some fundraiser ideas? Skip to ... 


Event and activity nonprofit fundraising ideas


St. Jude hosts many kinds of events across the country, ranging from large formal events to small fundraisers among friends. Organizing an activity or event is a fun way to educate people about your cause. Virtual fundraising events are also a great fundraising idea for nonprofits to reach an ever larger audience of potential donors.

Fundraising tip: Offer incentives for attending, like snacks or a free T-shirt. Make a budget, and decide how much is appropriate to ask community members in return for participating in your event. 



  1. Party events

    From football watch parties to video game marathons, the possibilities are nearly endless. Pick your theme, and let your friends know you're hoping to spread the word and gain support for your cause using these fundraising strategies.

    Read about St. Jude party events:

    1. Drumming event

    2. Car riding event

    3. Music showcase

    4. Auctions and raffles 

    5. Video game or Facebook fundraiser | St. Jude PLAY LIVE | Start a fundraiser on Facebook

    6. Art show | LA Art Show benefiting St. Jude

bike fundraising event

Bike event

  1. Sports events

    Is there a place in your neighborhood to host a fitness or sporting event, such as a 5K walk or a 10K bike ride? Plan your route, coordinate with local authorities then spread the word on social media or using signage. While you're planning, keep participant safety and enjoyment top of mind.

    Read about St. Jude fitness events:

    7. Horseback riding event

    8. Tennis events or golf tournaments

    9. Soccer juggling event

    10. Supercross event

    11. 5K walk or run event | St. Jude Walk/Run

    12. Cycling event

    13. Yoga event


Service and merchandise nonprofit fundraising ideas


Selling items is a great way to raise money, plus having your logo or name of your cause on the product may give your mission widespread exposure. If your budget is small, you can start with an item like stickers. If you have money to spend, try printing T-shirts or hats. 

Fundraising tip: Be smart about how you spend your budget by making sure the cost will deliver a return, even if you don't sell out of all of your items. 


Lemonade stand fundraiser for St. Jude

  1. Sell services

    Our supporters have been very creative with ways they've raised money for St. Jude. Read their stories, and gain inspiration from their awesome fundraiser ideas.

    Service events that have benefited St. Jude

    14. Chowder for a cause

    15. Sisters' lemonade stand

    16. Plant a garden

    17. Host a bake sale

sell items

St. Jude Gift Shop items

  1. Sell merchandise

    We love it when supporters spread our mission by wearing or using St. Jude merchandise. First, consider what makes the most sense for your budget. What might your potential buyers be interested in purchasing?


School and college nonprofit fundraising ideas


Fundraising at your school or college is a smart way to educate and gain support from peers, but it's important to know your audience. For example, funny social media posts might work best for high school students, but support from administration could require a professional presentation. 

Fundraising tip: Fundraising at your school or college usually requires permission from administration, so be sure to seek approval when appropriate. If your ideas won't work at your school, consider working with school officials to come up with a better fit, or you could try something outside of campus.


St. Jude No More Cancer Rally

  1. Host a school event

    Depending on what your school allows you to do, you can get really creative. Get the word out, and make it a fun and informative experience for everyone!

    Learn about St. Jude school and college events: 

    26. Coordinate a neighborhood or town cleanup, and inform participants about your cause

    27. Organize a rally event | St. Jude No More Cancer Rally

    28. Evening or all-night event | St. Jude Up 'Til Dawn

    29. Teen or college gala | St. Jude Teen Gala

    30. Greek events | Virginia Tech's TKE Week

    31. Trike event for preschoolers | St. Jude Trike-A-Thon

    Not seeing an event that's a good fit for your class? We can help you find a program


High school game day

  1. Gain support with incentives

    You could work with teachers or administrators to figure out appropriate incentives for your peers and school to help raise money for your cause.

    School incentive ideas for fundraising:

    32. Non-uniform day for students who support your cause

    33. Offer students a prize based on the amount they raise | St. Jude Your Way prizes

    34. Students get a free, non-alcoholic drink at lunch or a game when they support your cause


Workplace and business nonprofit fundraising ideas


Partnering with organizations or companies is a way to share your mission at a larger scale, by gaining help from an organization's members or a company's customers and employees. 

Fundraising tip: When you present your cause and your fundraising idea to a company, do it in a professional and informative way. Because this is a partnership, come prepared to be open-minded if the company has ideas that change your initial plan. 


Workplace bake sale

  1. Workplace ideas

    If you find a company or organization willing to support your cause, work with them to decide on a good fundraising event. For example, a place of worship might have differing fundraiser ideas than a company.

    Examples of workplace fundraisers:

    35. Casual day for employees who support your cause

    36. Sell raffle tickets for a prize, such as gift cards to a local business

    37. Bake sale to sell homemade baked goods and snacks in order to raise money 


Partner with another organization

  1. Business partnerships and sponsorships

    You could find ways to partner with another organization or company. Consider asking if they'll let you put your logo in their store window or post to their social media channel about donating to your cause. 

    Examples of partnering with local or national businesses: 

    38. Advertising for your mission 

    39. Matching gift donations program | St. Jude Matching Gifts

    40. Payroll deduction from employees to your cause | St. Jude Payroll Deduction


Looking to create your own fundraiser? Learn more with St. Jude Fundraising Resources and start raising funds today!

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