Spring is a time that sees more people with a tidy sum of cash thanks to their tax returns, itching to go outside, and looking for things to do around key holidays like Easter, Passover, Nowruz, and Mother’s Day. And because we love rapid ideation and an excuse for a fundraiser here at Whole Whale, we’ve put together over 30 fun nonprofit fundraising ideas for you to spring into this season. We’re willing to bet $1 that there’s at least one you haven’t thought of.
1. Give it up for Lent
(varies; usually in March)
Lent kicks off usually at the end of February/beginning of March. If you know you have a supporter base that are planning to give up drinks, treats, or Starbucks, challenge them to donate what they would spend on those weekly cocktails or daily croissants to your cause.
2. Cereal-for-Dinner Dinner Party
March 7 is National Cereal Day and who doesn’t love a cereal buffet? Get a selection of your breakfast favorites and a variety of milks — make it extra fun with a pajama party vibe for your supporters.
#SpringFundraising idea Number 2: Celebrate National Cereal Day with a pajama party for good. #snapcracklepop Click To Tweet
3. Donate on Her Behalf
For March 8, International Women’s Day, ask your supporters about the women in their lives that inspire them. Give them a chance to inspire those women by supporting your cause — you can even showcase photos of the women in your supporters’ lives on social media for a certain donation tier or send out a special IWD card to the women your supporters are donating for.
4. Purim Costume Party Fundraiser
(varies; usually early-mid March)
Purim is a Jewish holiday that brings a community together — and gives everyone an excuse to dress up on a day that isn’t Halloween. Most Jewish nonprofits know that this is the best excuse to come up with punny costumes and read the Megillah, but even if you aren’t an org focused on Judaism, you could team up with a local JCC, synagogue, or Hillel: This is also a holiday where it’s tradition to give back.
5. Buy an hour with Daylight Savings Time…
(second Sunday in March)
Okay, you can’t give your supporters an hour of their lives back when DST takes it away in spring, but you can ask them to buy you some of that most precious resource (time) by contributing the equivalent of an hour’s wages for your team.
6. …or buy a happy hour for Daylight Savings Time
(second Sunday in March)
Or thumb your nose at the spring-forward tradition by spending an hour (or two) at a local watering hole willing to give you the space for some mixing and mingling (in exchange for an entry fee).
Over 30 fundraising ideas for spring, from daylight savings time to National Haiku Day. Click To Tweet
7. St. Patrick’s Day Green
Fill a fish bowl with chocolate gold coins and invite supporters (either IRL or virtually using social media) to guess how many are in there for $2 a guess. The winner gets the chocolate. Too much chocolate after Valentine’s Day? Fill a jar with a 1 lb bag of just the marshmallows in Lucky Charms.
8. Spring Into Action on the Equinox
Use the first day of spring as a call for volunteers, asking your supporters to “spring into action” on the first day of the new season.
9. Nowruz Resolutions
(March 21/Spring equinox)
The Persian New Year coincides with the March equinox and is celebrated around the world (including the 1 million Iranian-Americans living in the United States). It’s also a time for gifts and new clothes, making this a great chance to raise funds or donations of new clothing, especially for children.
10. Pass the Plate at Passover
(varies; usually late March/late April)
Host a Passover seder as an alternative to the rubber chicken dinner or spaghetti supper. Don’t forget to leave the door open and a glass of wine out for Elijah. Whoever finds the Afikomen can be the one to “raise” your proceeds by a certain percentage point.
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11. Easter Egg hunt
(varies; usually late March/early April)
Families want to have fun too! Easter is a great opportunity to invite your supporters’ clan out for a fun-filled morning of treats and egg-finding in a public garden or space. Local libraries may also be open hosting egg-hunters for a good cause. For a laugh, put different donation amounts in the eggs that kids are finding. Their parents get to write the check at the end.
12. March Madness Money
Host a watching party for major games at a bar where the tips and certain drinks go to the charity. You can also create a betting pool for good, where the winner gets a prize if they have the best bracket.
13. Track Relay Race
It’s spring track season, so organize a 24-hour relay for a cause. You can use your health apps to track miles, or partner with an app like Charity Miles.
14. Fantasy Baseball pool
‘Tis another fantasy season! Invite supporters to start their own fantasy baseball leagues where each $100 team entry proceed goes to your cause. Offer to highlight the winners on your social channels.
15. Have a Gala Where No One Shows Up
This is an amazing April Fool’s idea from the Frederic Remington Art Museum: Their annual April Fool’s Day Ball invites users to contribute at normal event-pricing tiers (attendance, attendance + pre-party, attendance + after-party), but then not show up. “On this most serious day of the year, we invite you to please not attend our event. We really hope you will stay home, or maybe enjoy some time with friends elsewhere.” An event with no overhead plus an event that everyone can buy tickets for and then skip the night of? Sold.
37 Spring Fundraising Ideas for Small Nonprofits Click To Tweet
16. Paint Night or Craft-acular
April 7 is National Handmade Day, but even if that date doesn’t work for your calendar, wine and paint go together like PB and J. (Just keep those brushes out of your wine glass.) Invite a local artist or crafty supporter to host an evening on the terrace of a local cafe or office, and let your supporters get their hands dirty while making something fun to take home, all while supporting a great cause. Some local and national paint studios like Pinot’s Palette are happy to partner with local nonprofits to support their cause.
17. Say it with a Haiku
National Haiku Day is April 17. Have an intern who’s a lit major? They can be your point person for crafting customized poems for supporters who donate $5.75, $57.50, or $575 in this one-day digital fundraiser. No poets on staff? Here’s a guide on how to write a haiku.
18. 5k run or walk
Pick a route and get some runners. Remember to have a picnic afterwards for trophies and more opportunities to raise funds. Here’s a great guide to organizing a 5k.
19. Planting Party
If you want to keep it holiday-related, Arbor Day is on the last Friday in April. That said, there’s never a bad time in the spring to have your supporters come out and get their hands dirty. You provide the gardening gear, they get to take home a future basil plant or tulip, and you get to “plant” their entry fees to do more good in the world.
20. BBQ for Good
Mmmm, everyone loves a BBQ. Celebrate National BBQ Month in May with a BBQ for your cause. Host a rib, pie, or hot dog eating contest and have “tip jars” for people to show their support for their favorite competitors in the form of donations.
21. Kentucky Derby Party
(first Saturday in May)
Everyone loves getting dressed up and watching the Kentucky Derby. Find a venue to host the party and use “betting” on the horses to make donations to your cause, or adding a zero to your preferred horse’s number to place a bet on that horse (e.g #3 = $30 bet). Have fun prizes for the winners and plenty of mint juleps (and mint julep mocktails).
22. Picnic & Park Games Tournament
By mid-spring, the sun is shining and people are eager to spend some time outdoors. Get your supporters to gather their classic lawn games and host a day-long olympic tournament at a local park. We’re talking cornhole, bocce, badminton, croquet, ladder golf, and/or anything else gathering dust in the back of their closets. Have participants establish teams ahead of time and fundraise to gain a head-start over the competition.
23. “May the Fourth be with you” fundraiser
(yep, May 4)
Have a costume party or online competition on May 4th (aka Star Wars Day) to see who can geek out the most for good in their Star Wars garb. Feel free to make other fantasy fandoms welcome to the party as well.
24. Mother’s Day Brunch for Good
(second Sunday in May)
It can be stressful to find a fun place to take Mom to celebrate her awesomeness. Find a supporter or venue to host a brunch or tea party and bring all the ladies to the yard. Just keep the mimosas flowing!
25. Garage Sale for Good
Why not encourage a little spring cleaning of all those unwanted goods for good? Help your supporters feel good while they declutter by hosting a yard or garage sale in support of your cause. Get the whole neighborhood or local community involved and create a Garage Sale Trail of your own.
26. Garden Tour or Block Party
While you’re out gathering the neighborhood together, consider hosting a block party or having your neighbors open up their homes for a tour of their backyards or gardens. Offer themed refreshments or games at each home, and charge a fee for participation to support a good cause.
27. Sunday Funday
This is a great excuse to have a great party on a Sunday with mimosas and silent auctions. Also, club and bar venues will cost less on a Sunday morning. The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s, Team Fox young professionals have made these events into a fine art.
28. Art Show and Silent Auction
Reach out to talented local artists, galleries, and museums to see if they can donate pieces, workshops, or behind-the-scenes tours to support your cause. The arts education nonprofit Art in Action does this annually for their Object:Art benefit, using Greater Giving to enable a fun online auction in the lead up to their big event.
29. Beach day
Once it gets warmer and closer to summer, find a beach near you and pick a reason to gather an audience. Remember you may need a beach permit for larger gatherings. Variations on this theme:
- Clam bake or BBQ depending on the beach
- Volleyball tournament: Register teams, lock in the courts and make sure spectators have refreshments
- Host a sand-castle–building competition in the theme of your organization if the water is too cold
30. “Take a hike” day or Sponsored Step Challenge
Have a big, huge audacious goal for the number of supporters you want to hit or dollars raised this year? Get people thinking of that number while they’re out taking in the fresh spring air. Find a sponsor or donor who can match donations for steps over one weekend up to a certain amount, then invite your supporters to take to the great outdoors and rack up those steps to represent something big for your org (like 1 million steps for 1 million students or the 1 million step challenge to fight diabetes).
31. Themed Bake-off
Get ready to host a fun local cookie cookoff or pie-a-thon for all your most competitive supporters (and Great British Bake Off aficionados). You can theme the event and subject of your bakes around something related to your cause, like Pancakes for Parkinson’s.
32. Pet Parade
Dress those fur-babies up in their Caturday best to win fun prizes and support a good cause. For added fun, create a runway and have local commentators narrate the event. This could be especially fun for an animal or wildlife-focused org. Remember to keep all pets welcome for an exotic and fun day for local supporters — Fur inspiration, here’s an entire etsy page dedicated to the cutest hats for rats.
33. Pool party for a purpose
Recruit someone with the space and send out the invites with Eventbrite or a Splashthat page. Have a float race, water balloon toss, or watermelon-seed–spitting contest to raise additional funds for a cause. Offer to dunk your executive director or board chair if you raise a certain amount of money through the event!
34. Spring clothing swap
Have supporters channel their inner Marie Kondo and clean out those closets for good. Find a space where supporters can come together, share some snacks, and swap their forgotten treasures for new digs at a spring clothing swap. If families are more your thing, have supporters bring in all those unused or outgrown kids’ clothes to share through the swap, and build a new wardrobe for the whole family.
35. Drive-in or outdoor Movie Night
Get an outdoor setup with a projector and screen, and get a permit or find space in the neighborhood. Offer a cause-related movie for free but sell concessions like popcorn, soda, and candy for charity and make a public ask for donations for the cause before the movie starts.
36. Dog Walking for Donation
Have a dog walking service where people can pay to have their dog walked by a responsible volunteer. This is a great way to fundraise money for your nonprofit and also help out pet owners in your community. Find a location with good foot traffic and plenty of space to set up your station. Charge by the dog or by donation. Have someone walking the dogs, someone collecting money, and someone directing traffic. Provide some fun extras like music and free snacks or drinks for people waiting in line.
37. Plant Sale for A Purpose
Have a plant sale! This is a great way to fundraise money for your nonprofit and also help out people in your community who are looking for plants. Find a location with good foot traffic and plenty of space to set up your table. Make sure you have enough plants, pots, soil, and volunteers to help run things smoothly. Price your plants reasonably and let people know that all proceeds will go to your nonprofit cause.
37. Garage Sale
This is a great way to fundraise money for your nonprofit and also help out people in your community who are looking for gently used items. Find a location with good foot traffic and plenty of space to set up your tables. Make sure you have enough items, tables, chairs, and volunteers to help run things smoothly. Price your items reasonably and let people know that all proceeds will go from the sale will go to your nonprofit cause.
We hope you enjoyed these ideas! Small nonprofits can use these clever fundraising ideas to bring in much-needed funds without breaking the bank themselves. Be creative, have fun, and happy fundraising!