Fall is an insanely busy time. And that means a fall fundraiser is probably pretty for down on your to-do list. But, it really is a perfect season for a simple fundraiser or two. So, we’ve come up with a few nonprofit fall fundraiser ideas and even rated them: minimum effort | medium effort | maximum effort.
The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and fairs, back-to-school bake sales and halloween parties are everywhere. You know what that means – fall!
Yes, we’re all busy. But, we’re all also looking for as many opportunities as we can find to take advantage of the last few days of bearable weather—and your nonprofit should take advantage full advantage of this beautiful season to host fall fundraising activities for your nonprofit.
Need some inspiration? LEAF it to us!
1. Put your volunteers to work with a leaf-raking fundraiser.
You read that right, a lear-raking service. But don’t worry! It doesn’t take as much effort as you might think. All you have to do is round up some volunteers and get ready to rake in the donations! With a leaf-raking fundraiser, your nonprofit can raise funds while making a difference in the community. For the cost of a donation, your leaf-raking volunteers will get to work raking leaves for donors.
How will you keep track of it all? Well, Zeffy’s event management tools and ticket sales (with one-time scannable tickets) will make it a breeze!
2. A pet costume contest fundraising event is sure to be a success.
We bet you weren’t expecting this one! But, we think your donors are going to love it almost as much as they love their pets! This can happen in a park, a community centre, school gym, church, anywhere really. All you need is a cat (or dog) walk, some human and pet snacks and as many halloween-ready animals as you can find.
All your donors will have to do is dress up their pets in creative fall or Halloween-themed outfits, donate an entry fee (or purchase a scannable ticket), and show up. All you’ll have to do is find a venue, delegate some snack making to a food truck or some volunteers, invite the community (this part will be easy—who wouldn’t want to watch a parade of costumed pets) and award a few prizes. (Offer prizes for different categories such as "Best Costume," "Most Creative," or "Funniest.”)
You can even set the whole thing up using Zeffy’s 100% free event management software.
3. Host a zombie fun run peer-to-peer fundraising event.
Okay, this one definitely falls into the “maximum effort” category. But hey, some things are just worth it. And, a zombie fun run to raise money for a good cause is definitely one of those things. Think of it as a family fun run with a halloween twist.
Participants sign up, create their peer-to-peer fundraising page using Zeffy, raise money by getting businesses to sponsor them or asking for donations, dress up, and run or limp or crawl or drag or whatever their zombie does across the finish line. You can even mix things up with a costume contest!
4. Put on a costume swap event to raise money for your nonprofit.
We know, this one’s a thriller! Rated as minimum effort on our super-scientific scale, a costume swap is sure to attract a lot of attention.
Use Zeffy’s free ticketing and event management software to organize a costume swap event where people can bring their gently used costumes and exchange them for another one.
You can charge a small participation fee, or get a little more creative and charge a fee per costume taken home. Oh, and this is a great way to promote sustainability while helping families save a little money on costumes.
5. Sign your nonprofit up for a booth at the local fall fair.
Fall fairs are often overlooked by nonprofits looking to fundraise in the fall. But, buying a booth (or getting one donated) and setting up an activity or two is a great way to raise money for a good cause. What kind of activities? Well, the list is long, but here are a few ideas:
Fortune telling booth.
To set up a fortune-telling booth at a fall festival or community event all you have to do is dress up as a fortune teller and offer tarot card readings, palm readings, or other mystical experiences. Charge a fee per reading, and make sure to clearly communicate that it is for a good cause and for entertainment only. (Unless you know a real fortune teller…)
Apple bobbing challenge.
This one’s a real classic. To organize an apple bobbing competition all you need are a few big buckets full of water and apples. When fair-goers walk by, they’ll compete to retrieve apples using only their mouths. Remember to offer prizes for the fastest or highest number of apples retrieved at the end of the day.
Host a pumpkin carving contest where participants attempt to carve the best or scariest or funniest pumpkin. The entry fee (donation) should include everything they need: a pumpkin, carving tools, scary music, and a few candies for some much-needed energy boosts.
Be sure to display the carved pumpkins and invite the community to vote for their favourites.
Fall-themed bake sale.
Turning your booth into a bake sale featuring fall-inspired treats like pumpkin spice cookies, apple pies, or caramel apples will be a real treat! You can even ask visitors if they’d prefer a trick or a treat and, if they say trick, have a juggler or acrobat on hand!
6. Fundraise with a fall-themed trivia night.
Hosting a fall-themed trivia night at a local pub or community centre is easier than you might think. Find a venue (Most pubs will be eager to offer up the space if you prmoise to fill it on a slower night.), prepare your questions, write your rules, and make it happen!
Participants can register ahead of time through Zeffy’s ticketing platform, or you can ask for donations at the door. Remember to offer a few prizes to keep things interesting. (The bar might even through in a few rounds!)
7. A haunted house or park or school or … graveyard will attract donors.
There’s nothing new here. But, when an idea works, it works. To create your spooky haunted house experience, set up some creepy decorations, design themed rooms, hire actors to scare, and get creative with your donations.
Charge an admission fee, sure, but don’t be afraid to charge people extra if they forget to scream or award prizes for the ones who scream the most.
8. Host a fall-themed fundraising event.
We know, we’re cheating just a little with this one… We just wanted to pack as many good ideas as we could into this article. So, here are three fall-themed event ideas. But be warned: they’ve all been rated “maximum effort”.
Host an Oktoberfest.
Bratwurst, pretzels, and beer…oh my! Turn a classic autumn event into a chance to raise money for your cause by hosting an Oktoberfest fundraiser. Partner with local restaurants and breweries to provide food for your guests and keep things interesting with a fall-themed silent auction.
A good old fashioned tailgate.
Why just support your favourite team when you can also support your favourite cause? Host a tailgating fundraiser at your next local sporting event. Set up your volunteers with food and drinks to sell to attendees, get volunteers to dress-up in their favourite team’s colours, and maybe even host a few events (think: apple pie eating contest, bobbing for apples, a Carve-A-Thon, or a sport-focused fortune-teller).
A touch football tournament.
A touch football tournament is a great way to get donors, volunteers, and the community at large to come and play for your nonprofit. Set it up like a classic peer-to-peer campaign and have participants pay an entry fee to create their team. Then, invite teams to raise money leading up to the tournament.
Bonus: A candle-making workshop to raise money for your nonprofit.
One of the best things about fall is getting to come in from the cold and curl up on the couch with a warm drink, your favourite blanket, and lighting a candle to top of the whole ambiance. So, why not host a candle-making fundraising event so your donors can create their own fall-scented candles?
For the cost of a ticket, donors will get all the supplies they need to make their own soy wax candle and enjoy a night of mixing pumpkin spice, caramel apple, and so many more fall fragrances for their homes—all while contributing to your cause!