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5 Fun Summer Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

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Summer is finally here! No more cold winter days and dreary skies, it’s time to get outside and get some sunshine after being shut indoors for months. Unfortunately for nonprofits, summer is a slump season for charitable giving due to many factors such as donors focusing on their vacations, or planning out their donations for the holiday season.

Summer fundraising ideas

This means that your nonprofit has to step up the excitement during the summer in order to grab the attention of your donors.

Good thing there are plenty of summer fundraiser ideas that will get your donors back into the swing while having a great time. It’ll still feel like summer vacation while your donors provide the necessary funding to keep your organization running.

I’ve put together a list of five summer fundraiser ideas guaranteed to turn out participants and a healthy profit.

1. Benefit concert

Most everyone loves music. Whether you like pop music, rock, hip-hop, classical, jazz, or folk, there is a tune for everyone. Use the power of music to bring your donors together for a common cause by hosting a benefit concert.

Through ticket sales and merchandise sales, your nonprofit will collect a percentage to be used for a specific cause. Be warned though, this type of fundraising event is more expense-heavy than others. Benefit concerts require venue rentals, hiring performing artists, possibly investing in security depending on the size of your event, catering, and marketing expenses.

Whatever you do, try to underestimate how many will attend your benefit concert so that you aren’t left with lots of empty seats or unused materials.

Make the most of your event budget with these 12 Ways to Cut Down Your Event Budget.

Lastly, follow this guide from Washington Peace Center on how to organize a successful benefit concert.

2. Golf tournament

Personally, I’m not a big fan of golf, but lots of people are. Golf tournaments are a very lucrative way to boost your fundraising in the summer. According to Nonprofit Pro, the Fidelco Fall Classic, a British charity golf tournament, has seen large revenue growth with each year:

“The three-year-old event is a significant revenue generator for the foundation that raised $12,000 its first year and saw 60 percent growth last year, raising $20,000.”

Golf tournaments rake in the cash through event sponsorships, participation entry fees, food and beverage sales, and much more. Similar to the benefit concert, there are a lot of moving parts when planning a golf tournament, but if done right, the fundraising benefits are great.

If you need help planning your charity golf tournament, consult the Golf Digest Planner guide on How To Launch Your Golf Event.

3. Wine tasting

This sort of fundraiser is much easier to pull off than golf tournaments and benefit concerts. Not only that, but there are multiple ways to raise money at a wine fundraiser event:

  • Ticket sales
  • Wine sales
  • Wine raffles
  • Silent or live auctions of rare wines
  • Sponsor apparel

Wine-tasting fundraisers have far less moving parts than big events. You still have to find a winery or wine merchant willing to help host the fundraiser and market out the event, but that pales in comparison to the logistics of organizing a concert or tournament.

This event is perfect for smaller nonprofits that don’t have the means to host some of the larger ideas on this list.

For more information on preparing and hosting a wine-tasting charity event, be sure to check out Local Wine Events’ article on the subject.

4. Outdoor Film Series

Similar to the wine-tasting fundraiser, an outdoor film series is a relatively simple summer fundraising event and is perfect for smaller nonprofits. Host your own single outdoor film viewing or host a series of film showings with very little organizational stress.

Other than finding a showing space and marketing out your event, costs for this type of fundraising event are relatively low. Additional costs rack up once you decide to add concessions to your event, but even those can be profitable if these concessions become sponsors.

Potential revenue streams for this event include:

  • Ticket sales
  • Concessions
  • Silent auction

Want to host an outdoor film series? Read up on this guide to hosting film fundraisers from Southern Outdoor Cinema.

5. Bar crawl

Finally, the last summer fundraising event idea is not as complicated as a benefit concert or golf tournament, but requires more preparation and supervision than a movie night or wine tasting. A bar crawl requires multiple local business partnerships as well as supervision of participants as they migrate from bar to bar.

Bar crawls not only allow you to invite participants to donate, but also exposes your cause to countless onlookers, all with the potential to join your fundraising event on the spot.

This type of event requires route planning, buddy systems for participant accountability and safety, contacting bar owners to include them in on the fundraiser, and event marketing.

There are several ways to draw in revenue from this event, including:

  • Ticket sales
  • Donation buckets passed out at each bar
  • Bar sponsorship
  • Event apparel

Since participants will be moving from location to location, you won’t have much time for additional events such as silent auctions and concessions.

Organize the perfect summer bar crawl fundraiser with this comprehensive guide from Celebrations.

Other summer fundraising ideas and advice

Have you organized any of these fundraising events before? What successes or setbacks did your nonprofit experience? Would you host one again? Let me know in the comment section below!

Once your fundraisers conclude, the work isn’t over yet. You will need nonprofit software to manage your new donors and donations. At Capterra, we have plenty of resources on our nonprofit technology blog to help you with your fundraising efforts:

Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.


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