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The 5 Best Fundraising Event Ideas You Need to Know About

Author: Adie M.

Coming up with novel fundraising event ideas can be a tall order for any charity. However, these events are the lifeblood of any NPO. So, it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of the types of occasions your donors enjoy. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of good attendance numbers - i.e. the ultimate goal of any fundraising event. 

Five Fundraising Event Ideas for Innovative NPOs 

Here are a few interesting ideas for fundraisers that go beyond the same-old, same-old to bring a dash of novelty to the mix: 

1. Cooking Demo With a Celebrity Chef 

Cooking demos are a hot commodity these days. There is a growing trend of making food from scratch, and the plethora of cooking shows on TV and streaming platforms has added fuel to this delicious fire. As such, a cooking demo with a celebrity chef is a great way to draw a crowd. The great thing about an event like this is that it can be taken online quite easily if you want to reach a wider audience!

Start by lining up a celebrity chef - ideally someone who has a soft spot for your cause to start with. Then get some sponsors on board to donate ingredients and items for goodie bags. 

If the event will take place in person, you could consider setting up cooking stations for each event attendee. Alternatively, you can simply set up your chef on a stage, where everyone will be able to see their comings and goings. 

Bonus points if you can include some AV that shows the actual cooking on big screens so the audience has a clear view of every step. Nice add-ons to events like these include a recipe booklet to take home as well as a basket or box of ingredients to get your event attendees cooking!

2. Sports Retrospective With a Celebrated Athlete

Athletes capture our imagination in a big way. After all, we all grow up watching these people perform incredible feats in person at games and on the screen with our families. Whether it is football, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, swimming, or weight-lifting, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing someone go beyond the limits to achieve something amazing. 

This is why a sports retrospective with a celebrated athlete is such a great fundraising event idea. The type of athlete that will appeal to your donor base will all depend on your demographic. 

Take some time to consider the type of sports your donors might enjoy. If your cause is mainly female-driven (e.g. reproductive health, etc.), it will definitely be best to get a woman to lead the proceedings, for instance. 

You could also reach out to regular donors to give you some insights into the sports they enjoy. However, in the end, it will come down to finding someone who A) feels a kinship with your cause, and B) is comfortable appearing in front of a crowd. While athletes perform in front of crowds regularly, they aren’t always put on the spot behind a mike, so make sure to check on that! 

Live interview

Once you have your star player lined up, create an event format that will allow them to tell their story in an engaging way. It’s often good to get another industry heavyweight to interview them, so they don’t have to feel like they are making a speech. 

Also, leave plenty of time for audience Q&A. A great bonus would be if they can bring along a signed item (e.g. a ball or game shirt) that can be auctioned off afterward. 

3. Seasonal Styling Occasion With a Fashion Guru 

Shows like Queer Eye have placed the makeover genre of entertainment front and center. If it aligns with your charity’s overall vision and mission, a seasonal styling occasion with a fashion expert is a great way to draw a crowd. 

For instance, you could bring aboard a well-known fashion label to present their latest seasonal line, along with their designer to give insights into the prevailing trends and how it can be worn. If the label can provide a nice one-size-fits-all giveaway for your event attendees (e.g. a scarf, or a bag), all the better. 

You can then follow this up with a live ‘makeover’ or styling session. Identify a volunteer from the crowd and allow your designer, along with some other styling professionals like a hairdresser and makeup artist, to do their magic. 

Afterward, give out goodie bags with some of the products they used during the session and ‘how to’ instructions so your guests can try it themselves at home. 

4. Rapid-Fire Online Auctions 

Of course, online auctions are a great way to generate some welcome revenue for your charity even if you have to keep things socially distant. 

If you want to up the ante even more, you can leverage the scarcity principle to your advantage to generate some excitement around your auction. I.e. Announce the auction with a very short lead time, and attract bidders with a prized and very scarce bidding line-up. 

Promote a live online auction via your social media channels and consider putting some paid promotion behind it to increase your online reach. If you have celebrity benefactors that support your cause, you can also get them to spread the word via their respective platforms. 

5. Livestream Concerts 

Get together some well-known musicians and bands to play a live stream concert for your donors. Sell tickets beforehand and don’t forget the merch! 

Develop a line of bespoke concert T-shirts, caps, etc. that event attendees can purchase for delivery before the concert date. In fact, you can even consider selling drinks and eats for delivery as well! 

Livestreaming a concert


The best fundraising event ideas offer existing and prospective donors the opportunity to support your cause while they have a fun time. There are endless fundraising event ideas to choose from so this is your chance to be creative! 

Ultimately, you want to keep trying new ideas and find what works well for your donors and your nonprofit organization.