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50 fundraising ideas for nonprofits

Looking for fundraising ideas for a nonprofit or another good cause? Browse our list of fundraiser ideas you can use to raise money for St. Jude or your own cause. 

Choose Your Fundraiser

St. Jude patient Kenadie smiles as she rests her head on her arms in a colorful room.

St. Jude patient Kenadie


The impact of fundraising 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. 

Some fundraiser ideas are easy, whereas others take planning. Explore all the ways you can fundraise to find your preferred fundraising method. Combine your passion for a charity, like St. Jude, with your favorite skills, hobbies or community events.

How to choose a fundraising idea

With so many options available, finding the right fundraising idea may seem overwhelming. Here are a few steps to help you choose the best fundraising method for you and your community:

  1. Consider the number of people involved, 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. Define your strategy — an overall plan to reach your goal, considering all the information you’ve gathered so far.
  5. Decide the best tactics to use for your fundraiser idea and to reach your goal.
  6. Be mindful of your budget — you don't want to end up with a deficit after your fundraising project.
  7. Most importantly, have fun and spread your mission while executing one of our nonprofit fundraising ideas!

Event and activity fundraising ideas

St. Jude hosts many kinds of fundraising 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 charity fundraising events are also a great fundraising idea for nonprofits to reach a 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. 

St. Jude patient Griffin celebrates his "No More Chemo" party with balloons, a a sign, and his family.

St. Jude patient Griffin and his family

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.

Here are some examples of party fundraisers:

1. Drumming event

2. Car riding event

3. Music showcase

4. Silent auction, traditional auction or raffle 

5. Video game or Facebook fundraiser

6. Art show 

See More Ideas

bike fundraising event

Bike event

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 and then spread the word on social media or using signage. While you're planning, keep participant safety and enjoyment top of mind.

St. Jude offers a variety of fitness events to join, or you can start your own:

7.  Horseback riding event

8. Tennis event or golf tournament

9. Soccer juggling event

10. Supercross event

11. 5K walk or run event 

12. Cycling event

13. Yoga event

Learn More


Service and merchandise fundraising ideas

You can raise money for a good cause by selling goods and services. As a bonus, having the logo or name of your cause on the product may give your mission widespread exposure. Whether you sell goodies, like T-shirts or stickers, or you provide services, like planting a garden, there are tons of options. 

Fundraising tip: Budget so that the cost will deliver a return, even if you don't sell out of all of your items. 


Lemonade stand fundraiser for St. Jude

Sell services

If you’d like to sell something, but don’t want to focus on merchandise, offering services can be a useful fundraising strategy. Our supporters have been creative with ways they've raised money for St. Jude.

Read their stories, and gain inspiration from their awesome fundraiser ideas:

14. Chowder for a cause

15. Sisters' lemonade stand

16. Plant a garden

17. Host a bake sale

See Fundraising Resources

sell items

St. Jude Gift Shop items

Sell merchandise

We love it when supporters spread our mission by wearing or using St. Jude merchandise. If your budget is small, you can start with a lower-cost item, like stickers. If you have more money to spend, try printing T-shirts or hats. Also, think about what your potential buyers might be most interested in purchasing. 

If you’re fundraising for St. Jude, we offer a variety of merchandise:

18. Candles

19. Mugs and tumblers

20. Bracelets and koozies

21. Office and stationery

22. Home décor

23. Women's clothing and accessories

24. Men's clothing and accessories

25. Toys for kids

Explore Gift Shop


School and college fundraising ideas

School 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 the school administration could require a professional presentation. 

Fundraising tip: Fundraising at your school or college usually requires permission from the 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

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!

Here are some ideas for your next school fundraiser event:

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

27. Organize a rally event

28. Host an evening or all-night event

29. Attend or organize a teen or college gala

30. Explore Greek life events, like Virginia Tech's TKE Week

31. Attend or organize a trike event for preschoolers

32. Host a talent show

33. Organize a scavenger hunt

34. Organize an ice cream social or pancake cook-off

35. Put together a car wash for the community

36. Coordinate a book sale

Find a Program


High school game day

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:

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

38. Offer students a prize based on the amount they raise

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

Download Fundraising Resources


Workplace and business fundraising ideas

Partnering with an organization or company 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

Workplace fundraising ideas

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

Examples of workplace fundraisers:

40. Casual day for employees who support your cause

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

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

43. Walk-a-thon

44. Cookie dough sale

45. Trivia night

Explore Workplace Giving


Partner with another organization 

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: 

46. Advertising for your mission 

47. Matching gift donations program

48. Payroll deduction from employees to your cause

49. Hosting an event at a local park, like a cook-off

50. Partnering with a local restaurant for your fundraiser's catering

Partner with St. Jude


Create your own fundraiser

Looking to create your own fundraiser? Explore St. Jude fundraising resources and start raising funds in your community today!

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