10 Successful Fundraising Ideas Nonprofits Should Consider in 2021

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Nonprofit organizations do incredible work to mold and change the world into a better place. But the ability to accomplish these goals is only made possible through adequate resources. And where some nonprofits find success with yearly events, you may consider shaking things up with a new and fun idea in 2021.

Here are 10 successful fundraising ideas for nonprofits for 2021!

Charity Auctions (Online or Live)

A classic and battle-tested successful fundraising idea for nonprofits is a charity auction. In exchange for publicity during the event, local and national businesses donate products and services for your team to auction off. The guests of your auction get their hands on some great stuff, your sponsors get valuable publicity, and your nonprofit raises the necessary funds.


Following the same idea of getting products and services donated from sponsors, a raffle is an easier way to raise money and award prizes than a full-on auction. It’s easier because you only need a few items versus a large amount of items to fill an entire auction. Set the price for a ticket in the drawing, and start selling tickets. Sell tickets to your network, the public, your fans, and on social media. And instead of all the money coming in on one night (higher risk), you can sell raffle tickets for weeks or even months leading up to the drawing.

If you don’t have products to raffle, a 50/50 raffle is a highly successful fundraising alternative for nonprofits. Sell tickets, and half the money goes to the prize pool, and the other half goes to your nonprofit. What’s nice about 50/50 raffles is you can advertise a higher prize when more money comes in. Often, this creates a snowball effect of more and more ticket sales. It is important to check your local legislation on the legality and bylaws associated with 50/50 raffles in your state. These differ from state to state. 

Galas, Dances, and Dinners

An iconic fundraising idea for nonprofits is a gala, dance, or fancy dinner. Galas may take place online or in-person with the right social distancing guidelines in place. Raise funds by selling tickets to the event and/or pairing the event with an auction or raffle. A pro tip to maximizing the amount you raise is selling multiple levels of tickets to the event, each with additional perks such as photography packages, exit gift bags, sponsor showcases, etc. 

5k Run and Walkathons

Who says exercise can’t be fun? Walkathons and 5k fun-runs are highly successful fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Funds are raised by selling entries for teams or individuals, who you may also commission to raise funds on their own. Giving a prize to the team raising the most funds is a great way to turbocharge the event’s success.

And while events like this traditionally take place in person, they’re certainly feasible online. Stream opening events and facilitate check-ins with people participating remotely in real-time!

Talent Shows

A fantastic fundraising idea for nonprofits that works great in-person or virtually is a talent show. Find local acts who want to compete and get ready to put on a show. Sell tickets, hold an auction, do a raffle, or sell refreshments to boost your fundraising efforts. For virtual events, you can have the acts submit a tape prior, or you can set up a socially-distanced stage where they can perform live. Sell access to the stream online to raise funds, just like a ticket to a live show.

Golf Tournaments

While a golf tournament requires a lot of execution, the ceiling for the amount you can raise is quite high. Golf tournaments allow you to raise money through tournament entries, hole sponsors, raffles, giveaways, auctions, and even a follow-up gala event. It’s an incredible fundraising idea with a lot of flexibility to maximize results.

Tennis Tournaments

Depending on the community you live in, a tennis tournament might be a better fit for a nonprofit fundraiser than a golf tournament. While you lose the ability to do hole sponsors, you can still offer court sponsors, hold a gala, have a raffle, and get in on the auction action. It all depends on which game you think swings up the most support in your community.

Casino/Poker/Game Nights

People love to play games! And this love of entertaining competition presents the perfect opportunity for nonprofits to fundraise. Set up a casino game night or a poker night where guests pay for entry or pay for a certain number of chips. Instead of cashing in the chips for money at the end of the night, guests can cash them in for drawing entries to win donated prizes. Make sure to check your local guidelines for any laws pertaining to charity or nonprofit gaming events.

Art Auctions

An art auction is a unique opportunity for nonprofits to raise funds in 2021. While you’ll undoubtedly raise funds through the auction itself, you can also raise funds by charging admission, selling refreshments, and even taking donations.

Don’t think you have access to real artists? Contact local schools, colleges, and art interest groups. You’d be amazed at how many artists love to donate in exchange for exposure or out of the goodness of their hearts. And if that doesn’t work, children’s art is always a nice touch for an art auction. People are happy to support the cause, even if it means buying a macaroni landscape piece done by a five-year-old.

Zoo Experiences

As outdoor events become more popular in 2021, a private zoo experience tops many lists for unique fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Coordinate with a local zoo or wildlife preserve to create a special event. This doesn’t always mean closing down the park, which could be expensive. Even something as simple as a private tour and an area to hold your event can go a long way. Raise funds by charging admission, running a raffle, having an auction (include special zoo items), and watch the funds roll in for your NPO.

How to Get Started With a Successful Fundraising Idea for Your Nonprofit Now

Picking out the right fundraising idea for your organization in 2021 is the first step. Once you’ve decided on an idea, it’s time to plan and execute. For many of these ideas, the fundraising revolves around selling tickets. Additionally, these events’ success hinges on your ability to convey the information about your event to your potential guests and donors in real-time.

A powerful tool that accomplishes both of these tasks (and a whole lot more) is Event Espresso. Event Espresso is a dedicated online event management plugin that integrates directly with WordPress. Instead of being limited by the confines and fees of traditional event management platforms, you’re now in complete control.

And the best part? It doesn’t take a computer science degree to use Event Espresso. The plugin is user-friendly and a complete solution that works right out of the box. If you’re ready to take your NPO’s fundraising game to the next level in 2021, it’s time to see what Event Espresso can do for you.

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