Cheap Fundraiser Ideas for Charities and Nonprofits

Cheap Fundraiser Ideas for Charities and Nonprofits

Want to make a big fundraising splash, without draining your wallet? You're in the right blog! Let's check out some awesome and low-priced fundraising ideas for your nonprofit. Schools, neighborhood communities, or just a group of friends wanting to make a difference can raise funds for their cause with a low-priced fundraiser.

Why are low-cost fundraisers such a big deal? Well, to start off, it means all the money raised goes directly to the charity’s mission; who wants their hard-earned fundraising cash gobbled up by admin costs? Nobody. It means that each and every donation has the biggest impact possible on your mission. Last but not least, it means that everyone, whether they’re giving two dollars or two hundred, can get involved.

Schools, nonprofits, and communities rally around these ultra-effective, economical, and low-priced fundraisers. For schools, extra money means more sports gear, more art supplies, and more epic field trips. Nonprofits come closer to fulfilling their mission, whatever that looks like by lending a helping hand, building awareness for environmental causes, or advocating for educational equality. Communities mobilize together, grow stronger, and make positive change happen.

By hosting a bake sale, washing cars, or having a super fun game night, great things can be accomplished with your fundraising goals. These are but a few examples of inexpensive yet effective ways to pool support and attract resources. Low-priced fundraisers work to generate funds toward your revenue goals, and raise awareness around your cause, bringing your community together.

Let's get creative, make an impact, and not break the bank account! Great, economical ideas for fundraisers are the key factor in piecing all together, making rallying support for your cause easier than ever.

Planning Your Nonprofit Fundraiser

Ready to plan an epic fundraiser that doesn't drain your resources? Let's break it down and make sure you hit those fundraising goals. First things first: Setting goals and objectives for your fundraiser. You have to know what you're working toward, right?

Start by thinking through your fundraising goals. How much money do you need to raise? Be specific with your financial targets. Whether it's a few hundred bucks for new school equipment or thousands for a community project, having that clear number in mind gives you a concrete target to hit.

Next, get your event objectives straight. What do you want to achieve beyond just raising money? Maybe it's increasing awareness about your cause, building community spirit, or getting more volunteers on board. These objectives will guide your planning and help you stay focused.

In organizing fundraising, keep it simple and cheap. Write down some ideas for low-cost fundraising: think bake sales, car washes, and online raffles. You're looking for fundraising ideas that don't blow your budget but bring in the bucks.

Step by step, map out your plan. Who's doing what? What's the timeline? Make sure everyone knows their role and sticks to the plan. Promotion, promotion, promotion on social media. Oh, and don't forget to thank all your supporters and volunteers.

Set clear goals and objectives for your fundraiser, plan it out, and keep it budget-friendly with a bounty of innovative ideas.

Creating a Fundraising Budget

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a headache. Check out these tips to make the financial planning for your fundraiser a breeze.

First off, know your numbers. Start off with your total budget; list any expenses that might come your way. List all the costs of hiring a venue, supplies, marketing—anything you can think of that comes into play. This way, you can manage the costs and avoid unexpected surprises in your budget. Remember, it's all about being realistic with your spending.

Next, consider your financial goals. How much do you want your fundraising event to pull in to make it all worthwhile? This figure will guide your spending and keep you on point. Remember, the idea is to maximize profits while minimizing costs. This is where low-cost fundraising ideas come into the picture. Calculate how you can save on expenses without pulling back on value. For example, free or inexpensive venues and volunteer staff or donated items go a long way to stretching your dollars and making it work. 

Have a little cushion for unexpected expenses. No matter how good your planning is, surprises can always pop up, and it's better to be prepared than not. Track every penny you spend. Keep tabs on what's coming in and what's going out because cash flow is one of the major components of proper financial planning for fundraisers. Being accountable makes planning that much easier. With these budgeting tips, you’re ready to mold a fantastic fundraiser without the financial stress.

The Importance of Selecting the Right Cheap Fundraising Ideas 

So, let's break down fundraiser category selection. You need to start at the beginning to ensure it vibes well with your audience and goals.

The first thing you need to do is determine your target audience: who are they and what do they like? Knowing who your audience is leads you to choosing fundraiser ideas that work because a fundraiser that jives with your audience is something they can get behind. If you want to target families, you may host a fun fair or community barbecue. Focusing on targeting a younger audience, think of modern events like a silent disco or a gaming tournament. 

Since we're talking about the audience, you're going to need to define the outcome in your fundraising goals! Do you intend to raise money or build awareness, or both? Your goals will help guide the type of fundraising event. If you’re out to make money, maybe an auction or a gala works is the better choice; but if you want to raise awareness about your cause, you need a public event or a challenge held over social media.

Remember, make sure to pick an event that’s going to be accessible and relatable to your supporters. Think location, timing, and cost—you want them to make an easy decision on attending your event to further your cause! Understand your audience and follow your goals, and you’ll master the art of fundraiser selection and execution. Now it’s time to plan an event that will knock your donors socks off!

A Guide to Cheap Fundraiser Ideas for Your Nonprofit

Are you ready to check out our awesome, thrifty ideas for nonprofit fundraisers? Don't worry; we've got you covered with creative but cheap fundraiser ideas that are wallet-friendly and truly effective. Quirky events and fun activities, these ideas are perfect for nonprofits looking to raise much-needed funds without spending a fortune. Let's get the donations rolling in!

Cheap Event-Based Fundraisers

Bake Sales

Good ol' classic bake sales. These are perfect for school fundraisers and community events. Gather some baking supplies, a couple of great bakers, and satisfy your donors sweet tooths! Set up a table in a high-traffic area, like a school entrance or community center, and watch the goodies run out the door as people flock to your stall. This is a cheap fundraiser that brings mouthwatering goodies and people together for a great cause.

Car Washes

Ready to get a little wet ‘n wild? A car wash is another classic, fun, and effective way to raise big-time cash at an event fundraiser. A few buckets, soap, sponges, and volunteers with high enthusiasm—that's all you need to make it work. Host it in a parking lot or on school grounds, and get those cars sparkling to raise donations. It’s an ideal way to involve the community in raising big money for your cause with little investment.

Garage Sales

Turn junk into cash and have a garage sale. This is an easy, budget-friendly fundraiser idea because there’s hardly any investment involved to make it work. Bring your friends, family, and neighbors' donations and set up a shop in your yard. Promote your sale on social media and around the neighborhood to draw in a crowd. It’s a great way to declutter and make money.

Community Events

Try and think beyond simple car washes with a few larger-scale community events. Host a fun run, organize a talent show, or plan a themed party. These make for big attractions and offer multiple ways to raise money from entry fees and concessions. They’re awesome for bringing community members together for a good cause.

Product-Based Inexpensive Fundraising Ideas

Craft Based Fundraisers

Got a craft and DIY skills? Turn your projects into dollars! Craft fundraisers are a great way to show off your DIY skills and make a difference. Whether we're talking about homemade bracelets or customizable coffee mugs, unique homemade products are always a good way to collect extra money for a good cause. Hire a booth at a local market, community event, or sell online.

Merchandise Sales

Got some cool ideas for designs? Why not turn them into items and sell them to raise money for your cause? Think T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and stickers. Merchandise sales bring in revenue, but what's even cooler is that on top of that, they function as walking, talking billboards for your nonprofit or charity. Every time someone wears or uses your merch, they're spreading the word about your organization! Partner with a local printer for cost-effective merch, and start selling online or at events.

Service-Based Low-Cost Fundraising Ideas

Lawn Care Fundraiser

Do you have a green thumb, or enjoy working outside? Lawn care fundraisers are a perfect way to put your skills to use while rendering some community service and raising money. Services such as mowing lawns, raking leaves, or even planting flowers are great ways to reel in cash. You get the money you need for your mission, and your community gets beautiful yards. Plus, it's a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Definitely one of those fundraiser ideas that are cheap but super effective.

Babysitting Service

Babysitting is a great service fundraiser, especially if you're the type who likes working with children. Parents are always looking for sitters, and you could lend a hand, while supporting a worthy cause. Let people know you;re available via social media or community boards and be sure they're aware the money is going to a good cause. Babysitting not only raises money on the cheap, but it also provides a valuable service to busy parents.


Do you have mastery in educational subjects? How about using that knowledge to help others while you raise money for a worthy cause? Students in your local school community can benefit from your help in math, science, or language arts. Publicize it to your community, and donate the money you collect to your favorite cause. It's an excellent way to put your knowledge to good use, and parents appreciate the support for their kids.

Cheap Virtual Fundraiser Ideas


One of the easiest and most powerful methods of online fundraising, crowdfunding involves creating a campaign on sites such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. Share your story, and remember to give it an emotional touch. Share your campaign on your social media accounts, make noise, show why it's important, and watch the donations roll in

Online Auctions

One of the most fun and engaging ways of raising funds for charity is through hosting online auctions. Get a hold of some interesting items or procure experiences or services to put out for bidding. Online auction tools are available from leading providers like PayBee, eBay for Charity or BiddingForGood. Promote the auction with email blasts, social media campaigns, and on your website. 

Online Contests

Host an online contest on Facebook or Instagram. People get excited with the chance of taking part in a contest to show off their abilities in a talent show, photo competition, or creative writing contest. Add a small entrance fee and exciting prizes for winners. Promote the competition over social media to engage your audience. It’s a fun way to bring your community together and raise funds.

Promoting Your Fundraiser

Ready to knock your next fundraising event out of the park? Running a successful fundraiser involves getting the word out. Rallying people to your cause calls for effective promotion strategies like social media campaigns, email blasts, and old-fashioned word-of-mouth promotion. Get people excited and involved with these killer promotion tips!

Using Social Media

Let's talk about how to use social media to promote your fundraiser and make it the talk of the town. Here’s the lowdown: Social media is an amazing powerhouse for online marketing. With the right moves, you can skyrocket your event visibility and engagement.

Understand the difference between social platforms and how they benefit your event promotion strategy. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, each has its own vibe and audience. Be sensitive to the characteristics of each platform, and the people who use it. Instagram is awesome for promoting videos and images, and Facebook is great for building event pages and spreading the word through groups.

Create a buzz through promoting your social media campaigns. Come up with an innovative hashtag to consolidate your promotional efforts. Update your status regularly with behind-the-scenes posts and shout-outs to donors and volunteers. Live videos on Instagram or Facebook add some spice to your event promotion activities and create real-time engagement.

Partner with local influencers and celebrities. They can take event exposure to a new level. 

Get your followers in on the action by sharing your posts and inviting them to share them to their networks. Use creative promotion strategies like countdowns, challenges, or giveaways to keep the momentum growing. Include a call to action like Donate, Share, or Register for the event.

Be creative and consistent, and watch how social media promotion helps your fundraiser become a hit!

Community Outreach

Let's take a look at some amazing community outreach ideas. We’ve already discussed how social media can take your event success to the stratosphere, but don't forget about the old-school charm of hitting the pavement with event flyers. This strategy still works! Get some professionally designed flyers and post them everywhere in your town or city. Coffee shops, community centers, and local bulletin boards are great spots to draw attention to your cause. This grassroots marketing can pique the interest of people who like helping out local causes.

The next thing on the list is to partner with local businesses or get into community events. Take part in the event; put up a booth, host an activity, or just chat away with attendees. It's about building local connections and getting folks excited.

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth advertising. Let your friends, family, and neighbors know about your event and encourage them to spread the word. The more people that hear about your fundraiser through local outreach, the bigger the buzz you'll create.

Email Marketing

The great thing about email marketing is that you can reach a big audience by promoting directly to a place they visit every day, their inbox. With social media campaigns, your post might just get lost in their feed, while fundraising emails land where people are paying attention. Personalizing your email messages creates a more unique way of engaging each supporter.

Now, onto the strategy: Begin with building an email list. Include past supporters, friends, family members, and anyone you can think of that might be interested in your fundraiser. 

Segment your list into targeted email campaigns so the recipients get information that's relevant to their interests. When creating your fundraising emails, be engaging and get to the point. Channel compelling stories, visuals, and strong calls to action in your email. Don't forget these engagement tricks: a killer subject line, a little humor, and a personal touch.

So get those keyboards clacking, and get your email marketing for your fundraiser activated—it's a surefire way to spread the word.

Tips on Executing Your Fundraiser

Running a fundraiser has the potential to be stressful, but fret not. A few killer tips will help you pull it off easily. From being prepared in advance to keeping your team excited on the project, we've got some of the best tricks of the trade for how to execute a flawless fundraiser that has everyone talking about how it was fun, fabulous, and super successful.

Organizing Volunteers

recruit volunteers who are as passionate about the cause as you. Use your network and post on social media, send emails, and chat with your friends, family, and colleagues. Make sure your call to action entices people to sign up. People are more likely to join if they know they’re going to have fun while doing something meaningful.

Recruiting your crew is half the battle. Now, let's talk about smart volunteer management. The most important rule is clear communication. Set up a group chat or an email list to keep everyone in the loop. Send out key details of your event: their schedule, role, and training sessions. Be sure that everyone knows their responsibility and is comfortable asking questions.

Now you have your event organized it’s time to distribute roles, considering your volunteers strengths and interests, so that noone is overworked or underutilized. Some will be great at greeting guests, while others will be more effective at managing logistics or handling donations. Clear roles make for less confusion and streamline your event coordination. Make sure everyone involved has the resources and training they need.

Keep your volunteers motivated. A simple thank you can do wonders. Maybe even splurge on a pre-event get-together to build team spirit. Remember: people love snacks and food, so make sure to bring plenty for your team on event day. Happy volunteers are effective, excited volunteers.

When event day rolls around, be prepared to be flexible. Remember: things will go awry—and that's okay. Stay positive and adaptable to push through the curveballs. Touch base with the team regularly and check if they need anything from you to assist or direct them.

Remember to thank your volunteers after your event. An email or some small token of appreciation can really make a difference. Take some time to think about what worked at the event and what didn’t, and don’t be afraid to ask your volunteers for their opinions. Their feedback can be useful to improve the next time you host a fundraiser.

Tips for the Day of the Event

Let's move to some pointers and a checklist that will bring grand success to your affordable fundraiser.

Start Event Day With A Game Plan

Have a quick huddle with your team at the beginning of the event day to make sure everyone knows what's going on and what they're responsible for. It's also a great opportunity to re-inspire your team with a reminder of why this fundraiser is so important.

Checkpoint Must-haves

Setup Team: Arrange an early arrival time. The volunteers responsibilities range from placing tables and chairs to hanging banners and signage.

Run through Tech: Test all of your tech equipment, from microphones to speakers and projectors. A quick tech check could save you from any last-minute glitches.

Signage: All directional signage should be in place. This helps the guests flow through the venue with ease.

Greeters: Make sure your welcome team is primed to greet guests with a smile. First impressions last a lifetime!

Pointers For Your Event Day Management

Stay Hydrated And Energized: Make sure you and your team stay hydrated and munch on snacks throughout the day. A well-fed team is a happy team.

Real-time updates: Keep the team updated with major announcements or changes. Use walkie-talkies or group chats for instant communication.

Interact With The Attendees: Walk around, talk to the attendees, and make them feel important. Interaction can make them more generous with their donations.

Monitor Social Media: Have someone live-tweeting or posting on X or Instagram. Social media buzz will draw more attention and donations.


Problem-Solving Squad: Have a few team members prepared to solve any problems that come up. Keep problems contained and find solutions fast.

Stay Cool: If something goes wrong, stay calm. The way you react sets the tone for the rest of the team. Take a deep breath, and tackle the problem head on.

Post-Event Wrap-Up

Congrats, you made it through the day! But don't pack it in just yet. Here are some fundraiser tips for wrapping things up.

Thank Your Volunteers: Thank your amazing team. A small token of appreciation can go a long way.

Clean-Up Crew: Organize a clean-up crew to clean up the venue. This shows respect for the space and is helpful in securing it again for your next event.

Follow-Up Emails: Make sure to thank your attendees and donors! Share some highlights from the event and let people know how the money raised will make a difference to your cause.

Reflect and Improve

Finally, get your team together for a debrief. Talk about what went well and what could go better next time. This reflection is key to honing your event execution skills for future fundraisers.


From bake sales to car washes to online events, there are plenty of creative and pocket-friendly ways to raise funds for your organization. These ideas engage your community, drum up support, and make fundraising fun and accessible.


One key takeaway: the keys to a successful fundraiser are creativity and enthusiasm. Think about hosting an event that resonates with your audience and community. Whether its a bake sale, car wash, fun run, or virtual talent show, the energy you bring creates enthusiasm in othersand inspires them to participate and support your cause.

Pick one fundraiser idea that you think will work with your mission and audience. Assemble your team and get to planning. Feel free to mix and match ideas to create something unique that people will want to participate in. Your passion and commitment are the keys to the success of your fundraiser, so dive in and make it happen. Share your journey on social media, update your supporters regularly, and most importantly, have fun with it. Fundraising shouldn't be stressful—it's your chance to connect with the community and make a real difference for your cause.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, the cheapest fundraising ideas have the most impact when organized with heartfelt desire and a spurt of creativity. With our tips and ideas, you’re well-equipped to organize a memorable and successful fundraiser. Gather your team, plan the event, and let's make some magic happen. Your cause deserves it, and with a little effort, the results will be extraordinary. Let's get out there and make a difference—one awesome, affordable fundraiser at a time!

FAQ - Cheap Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Charities

Q: How can I draft an effective budget for my fundraiser event?

A: Begin by listing all the things for which you might need money to make it work, from renting the venue to supplies and decorations. Collect quotes and scout local businesses for the best deal. Do not miss the small expenses, like printing fliers or buying snacks. Add in a cushion for unforeseen expenses, and track everything using a simple spreadsheet to stay organized and make adjustments as needed.

Q: How can I best make use of social media to ensure effective promotion of my fundraiser event?

A: Social media is your best promotional tool. Create posts with catchy visuals and engage people with the story behind your cause. Use hashtags to push your post to people other than your followers, and tag influencers or institutions who will re-share your post. Go live for better engagement or hold a Q&A to share information with your followers. Remember to share regular updates and countdowns to make the excitement contagious. Post and encourage all your followers to share for more reach.

Q: What are some of the effective ways of recruiting and managing volunteers for my fundraising event?

A: Reach out to your network first: friends, family, and social media followers. Make the call for volunteers sound fun and exciting. Once you have a strong team, set up a group chat for communication clarity. Volunteers should be given roles and responsibilities according to their strengths and interests. Keep your volunteers happy with thank-you notes and snacks during the event. Then follow up with a message or a little gift to say thanks.

Q: How can I best engage the community, and what are the effective ways in which I can increase participation in my fundraising event?

A: Engage people by hosting community events and activities that are exciting and resonate with your target demographic. Use grassroots marketing like posting flyers at community centers. Partner with local businesses for sponsorships or in-kind donations. Create interactive social media campaigns and engage local influencers to spread the word. Put a human touch on your outreach by sharing heartfelt stories and showing the tangible impact of their support to make them feel connected to your cause.

Q: How do I use email marketing to help improve the success of my fundraising effort?

A: Email marketing is a super powerful tool! Start by building a strong email list from past supporters and interested parties. Design engaging emails with storytelling, visuals, and clear calls to action. Segment your list so that you can send targeted messages that resonate with your audience. Use catchy subject lines to boost open rates. Make sure to keep your supporters updated on the progress and success of your fundraising campaign and thank them for their donations.

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