Fall is the perfect time to host a fundraising event! There are so many fun autumn activities AND donors are feeling more generous than ever this time of year. Discover 20 unique event ideas you can use to take your fall fundraising to the next level.
Keep reading to learn…
- How the pandemic will influence fall fundraising events
- 20 fall fundraising event ideas that raise the most money
Fundraising Events Will Never Be The Same
Nonprofits are learning that fundraising events have been forever changed due to the pandemic. (We think this is a good thing!) Simply engaging and retaining donors is a thing of the past as we pivot in this digital age. Charitable organizations are on the frontlines of creating caring virtual communities united for a cause.
How is your organization evolving to meet our new normal? We’ve talked to many nonprofits who are taking advantage of the world's changes to create a new way to unite online with their supporters and advocates. We hope this list of 20 fall fundraising ideas below helps you continue to rise to this new normal!
20 Fall Fundraising Event Ideas (Hybrid or Virtual)
Receive donations from local businesses and you’ll be ready to auction off fall goodie baskets of your supporters’ dreams (e.g., scented candles, coffee kits, yard work sets). Regardless of your format, fall-themed bidding can take place in-person, online, or a combination of the two.
All you need to do is set up a basic online auction page with pictures and descriptions of each item up for grabs. Then, share the link of the auction page with at-home attendees. For the in-person attendees, have tablets available at your auction items so that both types of participants can bid online simultaneously. This will help your team easily keep track of winners so that you can quickly announce them via livestream. After the winners are announced, don’t forget to invite all supporters to give online on your website to make a lasting impact.
Calling all football fanatics! Recruit your supporters to join your organization’s very own college fantasy football team. Charge an “entry fee” for people to participate, and use the proceeds to support your cause and provide a football-friendly prize for the winner of the football season’s bracketed tournament (e.g., football gear, signed jersey).
Invite your supporters to an unforgettable beer tasting event or brewery tour in honor of Oktoberfest! Can’t meet in-person this fall? No problem. Send supporters special mugs with your nonprofit's branding and other goodies to go along with recommended brews like snacks, stickers, and t-shirts. Then, host an online tasting with a brewmaster and ask supporters to make an online donation to support your cause.
As Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s the perfect time to host your own in-person or remote Turkey Trot. Many families already have a tradition of running 5k on or around this holiday, so why not invite them to yours and make an impact? Races like this can be a great time to build peer-to-peer momentum and actively engage your supporters.
Encourage supporters to donate an hour of their time to volunteering for your cause or to donate an hour of their salary since they’re losing it to the time change anyway. This fundraising campaign is easy to set up online. All you have to do is create an online fundraising event page to collect donations and then share over email and on social media.
6.You’ve Been Boo’ed!
Challenge supporters to “boo” their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers! A “boo” is a goodie bag filled with fall treats. Once someone has been boo’ed, they put a sign up in their yard, office, or desk and then boo someone else! Include information about your nonprofit and branded goodies in the original boo that people can pass on to others. Part of the “boo” challenge can be to donate to your cause!
7.Halloween Costume 5K
Who wouldn’t want to run a 5k with their Halloween costume on? This is the perfect family-friendly race. To ensure everyone has a good time, offer prizes to best-dressed participants, choose a Halloween-friendly location (e.g., haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple orchards), and provide candy and other fall refreshments for all attendees.
Rake in the support with this peer-to-peer fundraiser that raises funds for your cause and helps neighbors in need! Invite your supporters to rake fallen leaves and make a donation at the event. People can even participate from home by helping clean up their own neighborhood and attend a livestream at the end of the event to be invited to donate to your charity.
9.Supporter Cookbook Or Coupon Book
Curate a special fall cookbook or coupon book filled with the season’s best sales. This fundraiser brings in support for your nonprofit and shines a light on local business sponsors. Win-win!
10.Back-To-School Carnival Or Harvest Festival
These classic fall fundraising events provide fun for the entire family! A back-to-school carnival is a perfect way to reconnect with supporters after the summer, particularly if your nonprofit serves students. Similarly, a harvest festival can do the same for nonprofit organizations looking to connect with all kinds of supporters after a break during the summertime.
11.Costume For A Cause Contest
Go all-in with Halloween costumes! Invite supporters to pay an entry fee to participate and receive prizes for different categories. Some of our favorites? Scariest Costume, Best Celebrity Look-A-Like, and Top Couple’s Costume. You could host a small, in-person costume contest with a runway and music for attendees to show off their attire. Then, invite virtual attendees to submit pictures to post on your fundraising page or livestream event.
12.Pumpkin Carving Contest
This is another family-friendly fundraiser. Supporters pay an entry fee (which supports your cause) to carve pumpkins. Competitive participants can submit their pumpkins in the contest to receive prizes for different categories. You could livestream this event as well!
Play some fall classics at an outdoor movie night or virtual watch party. Your nonprofit can raise support through ticket sales and additional food and beverage purchases.
14.Orchard Or Winery Tour
Everyone looks forward to tasty, fall beverages—why not take it a step further to have an impact for good? Consider hosting an orchard or winery tour for your supporters to sip on seasonal favorites all while supporting your cause.
15.Pumpkin Smash Raffle (“Punkin’ Chunkin’”)
After paying a raffle entry fee to participate, supporters can smash or launch their pumpkins into the air to see what they’ve won or get to launch a pumpkin for a chance to win prizes for distance. This may not be a pumpkin-friendly event, but it is a fun one that will help your nonprofit raise more funds and engage with supporters.
16.Baking Or Cooking Class
Chili, pumpkin pies, caramel apples, you name it! Host your very own fall baking or cooking class virtually, in-person, or a hybrid of the two (livestream an in-person class). Invite a local or famous baker or chef to host your event to boost registration. Or, invite your Board of Directors to create a little friendly competition in the kitchen by seeing which board member can raise the most funds for your cause. (Chili cook-off, anyone?)
After paying an entry fee, your supporters will have the opportunity to tour your spooky setup. Or, consider partnering with a local haunted house and ask them to donate 100% of ticket sales for one night only to your organization. Either way, you can educate supporters about your cause along the way, including QR Codes and donation links for attendees to easily make a contribution.
18.Beyond Giving Tuesday
Go beyond Giving Tuesday by partnering with businesses on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday (Amazon Smile). Ask sponsors to consider donating a percentage of the sales to your organization. Help businesses see how your mission connects with their company’s goals and you’ll have yourself a win-win this holiday season.
19.Corn Maze Clues
Partner with a local corn maze so a day or a percentage of proceeds made go toward your nonprofit. Supporters can pay extra to receive special clues that will help them get through the maze and teach them more about your cause.
You bring the snacks, supporters bring the funds! Attendees purchase tickets to your catered tailgate event ahead of time. This is a great way to introduce new people to your cause and get to know your community. You can also do this virtually by sending supporters the “ultimate tailgate kit” with fun food and beverages.
Wow Your Supporters This Fall
Choose a fundraising platform that will help wow and inspire supporters this fall. Ignite pure impact through digital-first fundraising with Givecloud; you can expand your reach, build excitement, and celebrate impact along the way.