BlogFundraising 10+ Unique Fundraising Ideas to Boost Awareness—and Revenue! Fundraising 10+ Unique Fundraising Ideas to Boost Awareness—and Revenue! Author: Sonia Urlando May 31, 2023 Contents 🕑 9 min read Fundraising requires a lot of careful planning, especially when it comes to generating publicity. When you come up with a unique fundraiser that creates a lot of buzz, it can be really effective at conveying your organization’s mission and boosting your local profile. The trick with unique fundraisers is in maximizing return, and not getting too bogged down in the details. In this post, we offer ideas for wacky fundraisers that will get people talking, send people straight to your donation page, and take the worry out of asking for support. These ideas are especially great for experienced fundraising teams and those looking to take their brand awareness to the next level. Not sure where to get started? We’ll show you how! 130+ Awesome Fundraising Ideas: Contests, Raffles, Challenges & More 25+ Cheap Fundraising Ideas For Nonprofits On A Budget 15 Quick & Easy Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Clubs The Perks of Unique Fundraising Ideas Unique fundraising ideas are amazing supplements to fundraising strategies that are seeking more traction, or just need just a little more oomph. With the right execution, your creative fundraiser could: Run away on social media—especially with the right social media strategy! Develop PR for your organization and mission. It might even generate local news coverage! Bring brand recognition to your organization. Make sure your branding matches what’s on your fundraising website! …And more! When starting your fundraiser, fire up your fundraising software, set SMART goals, incorporate your new strategy into your fundraising calendar, and tap into your members’ interests and motivations to give your fundraiser a personal touch. It’s especially key to tailor your unique fundraiser’s concept to your organization’s mission and values. When you find an idea that matches what your membership looks for from your club, you’ll be setting your fundraiser up for success. Without further ado, here are 11 fun and quirky ways to raise money for your cause. 10+ Unique Fundraising Ideas 1. Yoga with Animals Overhead Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: 3 Expected Return: $$$ Yoga with kittens and goats (to name a few) is all the rage. Take advantage of the trend and let people try it out themselves! Challenges to Consider You’ll have to find animals who are relaxed enough to do yoga with—and a space willing to host both animals and yogis. Check with the SPCA on how best to provide for these animals for the day. The Best Time to Do This Anytime. Extra Tips & Tricks This is the perfect event for an animal shelter or petting zoo to get involved with. You could also ask a yoga studio to donate an instructor’s time for your event—especially if they have experience leading yoga with animals! This idea is especially great—and ready-branded—for organizations focused on health, animal welfare, or environmental causes. 2. Community Passport Overhead Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: 3 Expected Return: $$$ Collaborate with local businesses to create a passport of special places and deals with the community. Ask each business to offer a deal to include in the passport and agree to “stamp” the page when the deal has been redeemed, then sell the passports to the community. Challenges to Consider To work well, there needs to be quite a few local businesses participating. However, this is a great way to build buzz for them—make sure to lean hard on the mutual benefit of this fundraiser when approaching them. The Best Time to Do This This could work especially well outside of the busy season, when businesses want to encourage more people—and especially locals—to visit. Extra Tips & Tricks Incentivize people to buy the passports by offering a prize to the first community member to stamp all their pages! Chambers of commerce and other organizations supporting small and local businesses may find this idea conveys their mission perfectly. 3. Meal with a Local Celebrity Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 2 Expected Return: $$ Ask a local celeb (e.g., mayor, popular athlete, local artist, news anchor, or entrepreneur) to donate a few hours to have a meal with a raffle or auction winner. A local restaurant might even be willing to donate the meal in exchange for the marketing from your campaign. Challenges to Consider Be sure to reach out to the public figure early to make sure they can fit you in their busy schedule. You’ll also want to make sure the celebrity has public appeal—a mayor with a low approval rating might not help your campaign! The Best Time to Do This Anytime. Extra Tips & Tricks Instead of dinner, make this idea extra quirky by scheduling a different kind of event—an escape room or corn maze—with the celebrity instead. These businesses might also be willing to partner for publicity—and the quirkier the idea, the more publicity there might be! Art appreciation groups or sports organizations may find particular benefit with this idea. 4. Name a Meal Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 2 Expected Return: $$ Work with a local organization such as a restaurant, winery, or brewery to name a new beer, meal, or wine in your honour! Then determine what percentage of sales from that item will be donated back to your organization. Challenges to Consider Finding a company to partner with might take a while. If you have a personal connection to anyone who owns a restaurant or brewery, that would be a great place to start. You’ll also have to work closely with them to keep track of how much of your product is being sold. Consider setting up a shared document they can update daily or weekly. The Best Time to Do This Partnering with a beer company would work especially well in the summer, whereas Thanksgiving and Christmas could be opportunities for seasonal food or drink products. Extra Tips & Tricks This is an ideal opportunity to establish branding. Remind prospective partners that, as you advertise your fundraiser, you’ll also be advertising their business, too—people may flock to their establishment if they hear it’s for a good cause. 5. Kick the Habit Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 1 Expected Return: $$ Ask people to kick a habit, be it smoking, sugar, or shopping. Then ask them to donate their monthly budget for that habit to your cause instead—or get people to sponsor you for kicking a habit. Challenges to Consider This idea relies on the honour system; there’s no way to keep track of people’s actual behaviors. Make it clear that people should volunteer to kick a habit—no one should be pressured to make lifestyle changes they don’t want to make themselves. The Best Time to Do This People may be especially inspired to kick a habit in January—right after New Years. Extra Tips & Tricks This could work particularly well for organizations that have a link to a specific habit — for instance, a charity helping lung cancer patients could encourage people to give up smoking. 6. Animal Café Overhead Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: 2 Expected Return: $$ Gather some kittens, puppies, piglets, or snakes together, put some tables down, and find a barista! With cat cafés growing in popularity, take advantage of the concept and give people the chance to make friends with an adorable animal over coffee or tea. Challenges to Consider You’ll have to find a space that is okay with both food and animals in the same place. Hygiene might also be an issue—check with your bylaws to avoid being shut down, especially if serving food. Finding the animals themselves may also pose difficulties. Check with your local SPCA for the best way to approach this idea—and keep both animals and people safe. The Best Time to Do This Anytime. Extra Tips & Tricks This idea is especially primed for humane societies or environmental groups. If you have a cat café in the area, save yourself some work and ask if you can rent out the space for your fundraiser! 7. Flamingo a Yard Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 1 Expected Return: $ Grab 20-30 plastic flamingos and plant them in someone’s yard overnight. Then tape a note to their front door explaining they’ll have to pay to have them removed—and they can specify whose house they want to “flamingo” next. Challenges to Consider Make sure community members have been notified this fundraiser is happening so they know that they may get “flamingoed”—and not to freak out when they find a trespasser in their yard. Volunteers should be considerate of the flowers and other decorations already in the yard. The Best Time to Do This You could do this seasonally—flamingoes for summer, or reindeer for winter. Extra Tips & Tricks This can work with gnomes, school mascots, or even forks. Different kinds of objects could raise awareness for different kinds of groups, including school groups, community meal initiatives, or environmental organizations. Get creative! 8. Singing Telegrams Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 2 Expected Return: $ What better way to say “I love you” than with an unexpected singing message? Recruit the Frank Sinatras, Whitney Houstons, and barbershop quartets among your community to fulfill song requests around town. Challenges to Consider Make sure your customers provide a very specific “delivery” time—when they’re confident the recipient will be there to receive it. Unlike flowers or chocolates, the sweet gift of song can’t simply be left on the doorstep. The Best Time to Do This Singing telegrams are a delight all year long, but may be a particularly big hit around Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Extra Tips & Tricks This could be a great opportunity to partner with local choral groups. Tell them you’ll return the favor and man the refreshments stand at their next concert! To help with branding, you may (with the help of a musician!) want to write a branded jingle that your telegram singers deliver before or after the message. That way, everyone knows who’s responsible for sending those dulcet tones around town. 9. Youth Volunteer Day Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 2 Expected Return: $$ Raising money for a school, youth group, or youth cause? Have teens volunteer an afternoon to help with yard work, painting, cleaning, or other jobs needed—for a donation, of course. Challenges to Consider If you already have enough teens for the jobs, make sure you get parental consent before signing them up for a volunteer shift—and assure them the work will be supervised. It may also be worth checking your local labor and volunteer bylaws before you begin. If you have jobs but not enough teens to accomplish them, try partnering with a school or youth group. The Best Time to Do This Start planning in early spring—tasks and scheduling will be easier to organize while the kids are still in school. Extra Tips & Tricks Find out if your area has volunteer hour requirements for high school graduation. If so, this may be a particularly great idea to pursue—you’ll be helping them as much as they’ll be helping you! 10. Chauffeur for the Day Overhead Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: 1 Expected Return: $ Whether you want to be able to have that second glass of wine at dinner or are just plain tired of driving your kids around town, who wouldn’t love to have a personal chauffeur for the day? Ask volunteers to give up a few hours to drive some lucky souls around town. Challenges to Consider Double-check that your volunteers have valid driver’s licenses and that their cars are roadworthy—and clean. The prestige of this prize might wear off if the winner has to share space with a pile of trash or dirty hockey gear! The Best Time to Do This Anytime—though be aware that winter weather may pose a risk. Extra Tips & Tricks Ask the chauffeurs if they’d be willing to place a temporary decal on their car for the day. This will raise awareness for your organization—and make people aware that they could be the lucky winner if they support this fundraiser the next time you run it. This prize could also work great as a raffle or auction prize. 11. VIP Tours Overhead Cost: $-$$ Complexity to Plan: 1 Expected Return: $$ Ask employees or local experts to offer VIP behind-the-scenes tours of special community places like museums, government buildings, breweries, etc. Challenges to Consider You’ll need to get the okay from whichever organization owns the building that you plan to tour, and see if they have any specific rules to follow. On the other hand, this may offer a great partnership opportunity. The Best Time to Do This Anytime. Extra Tips & Tricks This is a great community-oriented option to offer in support of local business or heritage initiatives. It’s also a great option to offer as a raffle or auction prize. Final Thoughts These creative fundraisers are sure to boost your local profile and drive attention to your organization’s cause. Pick the best idea to showcase your mission, attach your branding, and don’t forget to have fun! Whatever wacky idea you decide on, we wish you the best of luck with your fundraising campaign! Related Fundraising Articles Fundraising 🕑 12 Min Read How to Write A Donation Letter (+ Examples & Template) Tatiana Morand Sep 21, 2023 Fundraising 🕑 14 Min Read Giving Tuesday 2023: FAQ + How to Create a SMASH Campaign in 16 Steps WildApricot Sep 14, 2023 Fundraising 🕑 8 Min Read Corporate Sponsorships 101: Everything You Need to Know Korrin Bishop Sep 5, 2023 The Membership Growth Report: Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents Get the report now!