Summer is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to start laying plans your fundraising ideas.

If you’re interested in reaching your goals, you need to get your donors’ attention and get them excited to support your nonprofit’s cause. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of exciting fundraising ideas well-suited for the warm weather.

Keep reading to learn about 7 simple, effective ways to raise funds for any cause or project:

  1. Create a crowdfunding campaign
  2. Sell t-shirts and other merchandise
  3. Host a run, walk, or ride
  4. Organize an ice cream social
  5. Try a water balloon fight
  6. Have a barbecue contest
  7. Design a scavenger hunt

Learn more about these great summer fundraising ideas!

Creating a crowdfunding campaign is a great fundraising idea.

Fundraising Idea #1. Create a crowdfunding campaign

Starting a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to kick off your summer fundraising because it’s simple to set up and inexpensive to run.

If you’re not familiar with crowdfunding, it’s a fundraising technique that uses social media to spread the word about your mission.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Set up your fundraising page – Once you have a platform that you like, create an account and determine your fundraising goal.
  2. Tell your story – Explain your cause and why you’re raising funds. Use video and images to develop an engaging and complete narrative.
  3. Share your campaign – Post a link to your page on social media and encourage your supporters to share your campaign with their networks.

Since crowdfunding campaigns are highly shareable, you can easily spread the word about your cause and potentially gain new supporters.

How to get started

If you want to start a crowdfunding campaign, then you need to find a platform to host your fundraiser.

It’s important to look for a platform that has:

  • Social sharing capabilities. At the core of every crowdfunding campaign is the ability to spread the word about your goal. Find a platform that lets supporters share your page and any contributions they make.
  • Customer support. In case you have any problems setting up an account or accepting donations, you need to use a platform that has technical support to help you solve problems so that you can continue fundraising.
  • Room to upload pictures and images. When you explain why you’re raising money, it’s important to supplement your story with images and videos to engage supporters.
  • Customizable features. You want your fundraising page to represent your nonprofit, so it’s important to brand your page.

You’ll also have to think about the cost of your campaign. Most platforms charge a payment processing fee to process the donations. In addition to this fee, you might have to pay a set-up cost to get your campaign up and running.

For more advice, check out DonorSearch’s guide to the different types of crowdfunding platforms.

Pro tip: Remember to share updates about your campaign’s success via social media, email, and your website. If supporters see that you’re almost at your goal, they may be more likely to contribute.

Fundraise by selling t-shirts and other merchandise.

Fundraising Idea #2. Sell T-shirts and other merchandise

Summer is the perfect time to start selling t-shirts because people are looking for clothes to stay cool under the sun. Not only are t-shirts a great incentive to get people to donate, but they also give donors an opportunity to showcase their support, which is good for everyone!

Every time a supporter wears a t-shirt, they’re promoting your cause, which means you could potentially reach even more people.

Plus, you can design and sell more than just t-shirts; you can put your nonprofit’s brand on:

  • Water bottles
  • Hats
  • Stickers
  • Mugs
  • And so much more!

If you’re not sure what to sell, think about your donors and the items they’d want to buy and wear.

How to get started

First, you need to find a wholesale provider that will let you create and design your shirts.

Some t-shirt fundraising companies will ship and distribute your merchandise so that you don’t have to worry about storing hundreds of t-shirts, and you’ll only pay for the items you sell.

Once you’ve got your t-shirts (and any other items), promote your merchandise on your nonprofit’s website and social media. Be sure to remind people to purchase a shirt before attending any event, and bring some merchandise to sell during your fundraising events as well.

Pro tip: Encourage your supporters to share pictures on social media of them wearing your t-shirts. If your supporters’ friends and family members see your nonprofit on their newsfeed, they might be more interested in learning about your cause.

Hosting a run, walk, or ride is an easy fundraising idea.

Fundraising Idea #3. Host a run, walk, or ride

The summer is the perfect time to host a run, walk, or ride, and active supporters will enjoy the chance to get out and enjoy some fresh air while supporting your cause.

These types of fundraising ideas are well-suited for hospitals and other medical-related causes, but any nonprofit can use them to raise money.

How to get started

While planning for a fundraiser like this does take time, you have the potential to raise a lot of funds from sponsorships, registration fees, merchandise, and concessions.

To host your event, you’ll need to:

  • Pick a day with nice weather. Pick a date well in advance so that you can start planning your event early.
  • Determine a location for your event and request any permits to host your walk, run, or ride. You want to pick a location where you can easily set up tables for drinks and fans.
  • Recruit volunteers to help with the set-up and registration.
  • Send out invitations, and design merchandise to sell at your event.
  • Make sure that you have first-aid supplies and medical care available in the case of an accident.

Pro tip: You can use event software to help you keep track of all the planning and registration for your event.

Organize an ice cream social.

Fundraising Idea #4. Organize an ice cream social

Everyone loves ice cream, especially during the summer! Why not host an ice cream social as a way to raise more funds in your local community.

The great thing about an ice cream social fundraiser is that any nonprofit can host one to raise funds for any cause or project. For instance, if you’re raising money for your church, you can pair it with another fundraiser like an auction to raise even more funds.

Not only is an ice cream social a simple event to organize, but it’s also fun for the whole family!

How to get started

If you want to run an ice cream social, you need to pick a day and location for your event.

You want to pick a day (like a Saturday or Sunday) when the most people can attend. Schedule your event on a day with good weather; no one will show up to your ice cream social if it’s raining!

In addition to timing, location plays an important part in your event. You want to pick a location that has enough space for guests to eat and talk with other supporters. You also need a cool space to store the ice cream.

Some locations that are ideal for an ice cream social include a(n):

  • Ice cream shop
  • Local restaurant
  • Park

You’ll also need volunteers to help set up the event and pass out ice cream. Don’t forget to spread the word about your fundraiser through social media and by posting flyers around the community.

Pro tip: Remember to set up a booth or table where people can learn more about your nonprofit and its mission. That way, supporters can enjoy ice cream and get to know your cause better.

Fundraise with a water balloon fight.

Fundraising Idea #5. Try a water balloon fight

If you’re trying to raise funds for your school or if you’re looking for a family friendly event, try a water balloon fight fundraiser. Everyone will love the opportunity to cool down during a hot summer day, and it’s an engaging way to get your community involved and more informed about your cause.

A water balloon fight is an inexpensive fundraising idea with the potential to raise a lot of funds; charge an admission fee to join the fun or $1 for every balloon.

You should also have a booth at your event where supporters can learn more about your cause (and make additional donations if they’re feeling extra generous!).

A balloon fight can be its own event or part of a larger event like a block party or summer picnic.

How to get started

For this event, you’ll need a few hundred balloons, volunteers, and containers to store the water balloons.

Additionally, you need a location to host your event where the water balloons won’t cause any damage, and you can easily clean up the balloon scraps afterword. A park (with official permission) is a great spot to host your event.

On the day of the event, get there early so that you can:

  • Set up a table where donors can register for the event and make contributions.
  • Fill all the balloons with water.
  • Create an area with first aid kits and medical supplies (just in case!).
  • Set up stations for drinking water, especially if your event is on a hot day.

This fundraiser is so simple; you could even host multiple balloon fights throughout the summer.

Pro tip: After your event is over, don’t forget to thank donors for participating and let them know how their contributions will be used.

Have a barbecue contest to raise money.

Fundraising Idea #6. Have a barbecue contest

One way you can raise funds this summer and enjoy a great meal is by having a barbecue contest. It’s a simple fundraiser that your supporters will love.

Ask a few chefs in your community to make their best barbecue and enter a contest by making a small donation.

Invite your donors to the contest to taste the barbecue and vote on their favorite recipe with their dollars. During your event, you can sell other snacks and drinks to raise even more money.

Whichever chef has the most money at the end of the night wins, and you end the night with more funds for your cause!

How to get started

To pull off this fundraiser, you’re going to need a place to host your event, some interested chefs to participate in the contest, and a prize for the winner. Don’t forget to recruit volunteers to help you set up the event and clean up after it’s over.

Make sure you have a table at your barbecue contest where people can learn more about your nonprofit and cause. Who knows? After learning more about your mission, your supporters might make an additional donation.

Pro tip: Your prize can be as simple as a trophy and bragging rights as the best barbecue chef in the community.

Organize a scavenger hunt.

Fundraising Idea #7. Organize a scavenger hunt

Creating a scavenger hunt is a family friendly fundraising idea that can work for for schools or any nonprofit looking to raise money, and it’s a great way to encourage your supporters to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

To raise funds, interested participants can contribute to your cause to receive the first clue and the chance to win an awesome prize!

Alternatively, you can charge a fee per group and have tiered costs that go up depending on the number of people in the group. After all, the hunt will be much easier with more people, so it makes sense that a larger group would have to pay a bit more to participate.

How to get started

While it may seem complicated, hosting a scavenger hunt is actually very simple. The first step you should take to planning your event is to pick a theme. Your theme could be related to your cause.

For instance, if you’re an animal shelter trying to raise money to update your facilities, your scavenger hunt can include finding things like toy animals or taking pictures of the local wildlife.

Your scavenger hunt will also need a time limit. The number of items you include on your scavenger hunt will help you determine how long you should give participants. Keep your list of items around 25 to 50 and give participants a few hours to find everything.

Keep your scavenger hunt succinct so that even people with the busiest schedules can still find time to participate.

Pro tip: A scavenger hunt is nothing without the thrill of winning, so make sure that you have a fantastic prize. Plus, it will help motivate even more people to participate.


From crowdfunding to barbecue contests and scavenger hunts to t-shirt sales, you can start the summer by enjoying the sunshine with your supporters and raising funds.

No matter what cause or project you’re raising funds for, you’re sure to find one of these 7 fantastic fundraising ideas helpful. Try them all and have fun fundraising!

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