Unique Fundraising Ideas for Small Nonprofits

Fundraising is a vital activity for small nonprofits, enabling them to sustain their missions and make a positive impact in their communities. However, with limited resources, small nonprofits often need to think creatively to stand out and attract donations. Here are some unique fundraising ideas tailored for small nonprofits that can help you engage supporters and raise funds effectively.

1. Virtual Talent Show

Host a virtual talent show where participants can showcase their unique skills from the comfort of their homes. Charge an entry fee for participants and sell tickets to viewers. You can also include a voting system where viewers can donate to vote for their favorite performances. This not only raises funds but also brings your community together in a fun and engaging way.

2. Charity Auction with a Twist

Organize an online auction with a twist by offering unique experiences rather than physical items. These can include virtual cooking classes with a local chef, a personalized poem written by a local author, or a virtual tour of a local historical site. Collaborate with local businesses and talents to offer these experiences, making the auction more appealing and diverse.

3. Themed Virtual Run/Walk

Plan a themed virtual run or walk where participants can register, complete the distance on their own time, and submit their results online. Encourage participants to dress according to the theme, whether it’s superheroes, 80s retro, or a favorite movie character. Provide an option for participants to share their photos on social media with a unique hashtag to build community spirit and increase visibility.

4. Host a Virtual Workshop Series

Leverage the expertise of your team or supporters by hosting a series of virtual workshops. These can range from DIY crafts, cooking classes, financial literacy sessions, to wellness and mindfulness workshops. Charge a fee for participation and offer package deals for multiple sessions. This not only raises funds but also provides valuable content to your supporters.

5. Crowdfunding Campaigns with Impact Milestones

Create a crowdfunding campaign with clear and tangible impact milestones. For example, specify what each donation amount can achieve, such as $25 provides school supplies for one child, $50 covers a month’s worth of meals for a family, etc. Use compelling stories and visuals to highlight these impacts, encouraging donors to contribute to specific milestones.

6. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Challenges

Encourage your supporters to create their own fundraising pages and set personal challenges. These challenges can be anything from running a certain number of miles, reading a specific number of books, or even abstaining from social media for a week. Provide incentives for top fundraisers and recognize their efforts on your website and social media channels.

7. Creative Online Contests

Organize online contests such as a photo competition, art contest, or essay writing challenge. Charge an entry fee and offer exciting prizes for the winners. Promote the contest through social media and partner with local businesses to provide prizes, creating a win-win situation for both your nonprofit and the local community.

8. Subscription Donation Programs

Develop a subscription donation program where supporters can contribute a small amount on a recurring basis, such as monthly or quarterly. Offer exclusive content, updates, or small tokens of appreciation to subscribers, making them feel valued and connected to your cause. This provides a steady stream of income and builds a loyal donor base.

9. Virtual Game Night

Host a virtual game night featuring popular online games, trivia, or board games that can be played virtually. Charge an entry fee and offer small prizes for winners. This is a fun way to engage supporters and build a sense of community while raising funds.

10. Host a Virtual “Cook-Off”

Invite supporters to participate in a virtual cook-off where they prepare their favorite dishes and share the process online. Charge a participation fee and allow viewers to donate to vote for their favorite dishes. Collaborate with local chefs to judge the competition and provide cooking tips, making the event more engaging.


Small nonprofits can successfully raise funds by thinking outside the box and leveraging virtual platforms. By engaging your community through creative and unique fundraising ideas, you can build stronger connections with your supporters and generate the resources needed to further your mission. Remember, the key to successful fundraising is to make it fun, interactive, and impactful for everyone involved.

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