Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas That Work

You may have seen our blog post on “Five Proven Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations.” While I’m not sure you can ever have enough fundraising ideas, there does come a time when you need to select the ones that work for your organization so that you can concentrate your efforts on the potential winners. 

With that in mind, here are some fundraising ideas I’ve found that work and work well for nonprofits.


Dinners, auctions, tours, runs, walks, you name it! There are quite a few ways to develop an excellent event that will attract your potential donors, their friends, and their families. The key is to match your organization’s needs, as well as your organization’s identity, with the event. That will help donors match their participation and donations to your cause.

Planned Giving

Planned giving is all about securing the organization’s future through providing continuing support on a regular basis. This can often be annual, but don’t limit your thinking. Monthly and quarterly are just as feasible, and many of your donors will be glad to step up to this ongoing support—if you’re making the right pitch and providing them insight into the results of their donations.

Matching Gifts

Many corporations offer matching gift programs for their employees. Make sure you get on the list of eligible organizations. Another way to use matching gifts in your fundraising is to seek out donors who are willing to provide a substantial sum to match donations from other supporters. This can be highly motivating for supporters who essentially double their donation with the matching funds. It also lets people know that there is major, visible support for your cause. It becomes “follow the leader” for your supporters.


Memberships can work well for nonprofits such as museums and other causes where people want to identify with the organization and display their affiliation. It’s also a great way to build your donor database and it opens up an avenue for soliciting further support, particularly if you have an annual membership renewal process.

Capital Campaigns

The beauty of a capital campaign is that there is a specific, highly visible goal along with something concrete (often literally) that your donors can directly support. That new building or building renovation can really motivate your supporters. It provides a direct way of contributing and usually includes a deadline that can motivate donors.

Seasonal Campaigns

Every day of the year has one or more “national day of whatever” associated with it. Look up the ones associated with your organization and then use that to drive special fundraising campaigns or events. This can include product sales associated with the time of year as well as breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, and other celebrations. It’s a great way to motivate your supporters and make something happen at a time of year that fits your organization. 

Year-End Giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that a full 30% of all donations for the year happened during December, and within that month 10% happen between the 29th and 31st. From this you can tell that year-end giving needs to be a big focus in your fundraising program. And, make sure you take advantage of the #GivingTuesday program to launch your year-end efforts. Check out our post on “Making the Most of #GivingTuesday” for more information and ideas. 

Direct Marketing

There’s nothing like the tried and true aspects of direct marketing. We wrote about typical response rates recently: telephone 10–20% with house lists, direct mail 3–6%, and email 0.5–3%. These programs work and do so year-after-year. They, of course, need to be integrated with all your fundraising efforts. 

Nearly every one of these fundraising ideas are focused on key dates giving them a timeline or, even better, a deadline. This serves to activate and motivate prospective donors as well as staff and volunteers. No deadline? Mañana will do.

In addition to looking at key dates, spend some time with our blog post “Why Donors Give.” This will start you thinking about the motivations behind your donor’s gifts to your organization. By focusing on the reasons behind their motivations for giving, you’ll better align your fundraising program and the activities that make up your plan. 

There’s More

There’s always more. If the list above is not enough, try “67 Amazing Fundraising Ideas.” There are plenty of ideas to help jump start your fundraising. 

But, there are no silver bullets that magically bring your fundraising up to the level needed to support and grow your programs. 

The ideas listed above and many similar ideas are all well and good in raising money. And, they’re proven effective by many organizations. But it’s sound day-to-day ongoing fundraising through online, direct mail, email, and more that bring in revenue for your cause.

Campaign Now Can Help 

Campaign Now works with a wide variety of nonprofits across many different fundraising programs. We have the services, the experience, and the expertise to help.

Contact us at (855) 329-4327 or

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John Connors

John Connors

John is a passionate patriot and business owner. He launched Campaign Now in 2008 to help free-market oriented, American organizations increase their reach and achieve important results. When he’s not strategizing growth plans with clients, you can find him sharpening his history chops, playing tennis in the Texas heat, or spending time with family.


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