30 BEST Cheap Fundraising Ideas – That Genuinely Work

Discover 30 cheap fundraising ideas and how to raise funds quickly with our list of 30 quick and cheap fundraiser ideas.

You have a great idea that can improve the lives of many. 

But you don’t have funding? 

You see, good ideas need good money to execute. 

And since this isn’t something for yourself, you might want to partner with others. 

People love to support meaningful causes.

That’s why many nonprofits today get their capital through fundraising

You will be surprised by the high number of people out there willing to partner with someone who has a cause that can bring some good on this planet. 

So, why do you need cheap fundraising ideas?

Some fundraiser ideas can be expensive to execute. 

Since you are already short of money, you don’t want ideas that incur a lot of expenses.

You want a fundraiser idea that will allow you to keep most of, if not all, the money raised. 

We’ve compiled a great list of cheap fundraising ideas. In fact, some are almost free. 

See the list below and choose an idea that matches your project.

Table of contents:

Here’s a look at 30 cheap fundraising ideas you can try today:

  • Host a Second-Hand Clothes Sale Party
  • Teach an Online Class or Workshop
  • Host A Pet Party
  • Create A Donation Website
  • Host A Baking Party
  • Donation Jars
  • Host a Backyard Barbecue
  • Host a Walkathon
  • Start A CrowdSource Campaign
  • Host a Game Night 
  • Host Second-Hand Items Sale Event – Books, Movies, etc.
  • Host a Sports Event (Soccer/Basketball Tournaments)
  • Do A Community Service For Money
  • Host a Cycle Race
  • Host a Baby Photo Contest
  • Do Dog Walking For Money
  • Host A Movie Night
  • Do Grocery Delivery For Money
  • Rent A Room In Your House (or Rent Office Space)
  • Offer A Car Wash Service
  •  Recycle Bottles and Cans (Can and Bottle Return)
  • Design A T-Shirt And Sell It
  • Host A Karaoke Night
  • Offer Cleaning Services
  • Host A Photoshoot For Money
  • Sell Your Designs Online
  • Host A House Party
  • Host A Music Show Event
  • Take A Picture With Santa Event
  • Create A Recipes Book And Sell It On Amazon

Host a Second-Hand Clothes Sale Party

cheap fundraising ideas in order to raise funds

Do you have clothes that no longer fit you? 

Or some that you don’t fancy anymore? 

They can be another person’s treasure. 

Bring your family, friends and the community together for a yard sale party. 

Where you’ll sell pre-owned clothes. 

They most likely have clothes that they won’t mind selling to support your cause. Plan and set the date in a good time. 

And announce it to members of your community.

You could use flyers, social media and emails to spread the word about your planned second-hand clothes sale.

Make sure you highlight the purpose of this sale in your adverts.

People are likely to be drawn to your cause more than the clothes.

Teach an Online Class or Workshop

Think of an area you are skilled in.

It could be in academics, money-making skills or life skills such as building a business, parenting, crafting and others.

You can teach or do an online workshop at a small hourly fee

See our earlier guide to learn how you can get started teaching online from home.

 Host A Pet Party

This features in the list of cheap fundraising ideas because it only requires you to serve some pet food, snacks, and water for the furry friends.

Pet owners will also enjoy savoring pet-themed snacks such as cookies, doughnuts and other bakes. Sell these bites to boost your fundraising efforts.

You could charge an entry fee or have a donation table where guests can donate to your venture.

Create A Donation Website

A website is a great space for showcasing everything that has to do with your cause. 

Supporters can learn about your work, register to support or attend events, make online donations and keep up with the progress of your project. 

The good thing is that you can use a custom website designed for nonprofits.

Host A Baking Party

Prepare tasty treats to raise funds for your cause.

Who doesn’t indulge in baked goods every now and then?

Invite people in your community who would love to showcase their baking skills as well.

Promote the event by pinning posters or distributing flyers around your area. You could also use social media. 

You should target as many attendants as possible. 

Donation Jars

Another example of those cheap fundraising ideas that may not even cost you a penny.

You can actually use recycled jars.

What you need is to find several large jars and make an opening.

Place a sticker on each jar explaining the cause the donations will be supporting.

Talk to shop attendants within your area to allow you to place the jars in their shops.

Shoppers will be dropping their donations and you’ll come back regularly to collect. You can have the jars there for as long as the shops allow you.

Host a Backyard Barbecue

This idea works well during the summer.

It’s a fun outdoor activity that can bring the neighborhood together.

You may choose what to prepare – from veggie burgers to ribs or chicken.

Make sure the attendees know in advance that you are raising money for a specified purpose.

Charge attendance fees or set donation tables and ask participants to donate out of their free will.

Host a Walkathon

You’ve seen this with healthcare-related causes.

It can also work perfectly for other causes.

A walkathon involves walking for specified miles in order to raise money.

Organizers raise money through registration fees and selling items during the walk.

Walkers can also pledge a donation amount matching the miles they walk.

A walkathon is inexpensive to organize.

The only time you are likely to spend is if you are buying items to sell during the event.

It’s possible to go home with 90% of the cash raised through the walk.

Start A CrowdSource Campaign

Crowdsourcing campaigns are becoming popular cheap fundraising ideas.

They take advantage of social media and its power to reach thousands of users from everywhere around the globe.

Using social media, you can create your message and support it with pictures, videos, and other media.

You could highlight what the money will be used for as well.

This gives supporters a clear idea of why you want to raise funds.

Then, share this message on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. 

You will reach your friends, colleagues, and family.

They could also share your message with others in their networks.

The more people you connect with the higher the amount you’re likely to raise.

Host a Game Night 

cheap fundraising ideas in order to raise funds

This is a family-friendly idea that’s inexpensive.

Put together a collection of game boards and invite the neighborhood for a night of fun.

You may consider games like LIFE, Monopoly, dominoes, and chess, among others. 

It’s important that you have enough space, tables, and volunteers to handle several guest players.

You might run games for several nights in a month to increase the amount you raise.

Similarly, raise more funds by serving food and refreshments at a fee. 

You could actually make it more thrilling by turning it into a tournament.

Award some prizes for winners.

Host Second-Hand Items Sale Event – Books, Movies, etc.

This is a splendid idea for lovers of books, jewelry, movies, and other collections.

You probably have a pile of collections that you no longer use.

Books and movies you’ve watched a gazillion times already. 

How about making some cash from them? 

You could even invite your friends to donate gently used items they don’t need anymore. 

Find a high traffic area and host a second-hand items sale event. 

If you are advertising your event, it’s helpful to indicate the categories of items you’ll have on sale. 

Also, have the prices for your items attached.

Host a Sports Event (Soccer/Basketball Tournaments)

Hosting a sports event is a great way to bring the community together. 

You promote an active lifestyle and have some fun while giving those around you an opportunity to support your cause.

Do A Community Service For Money

In many cases, community service is done free of charge. 

But you can explain to the relevant authorities that you are raising money for a cause. 

Your service can involve anything from planting trees to teaching children in nearby schools. 

cheap fundraising ideas in order to raise funds

Just make sure you have the necessary skills to give measurable results. 

You can set a fixed rate or charge per hour.

Host a Cycle Race

Hosting a cycle race is easy if you weigh the available resources, understand the logistical and legal concerns. 

You should prepare well and in good time. 

Consider the number of riders you expect and their riding experience level. Identify a safe road that’s not very busy. 

You will need to work with the local traffic police to guide you

It’s helpful if you can get some police to volunteer in planning and marking routes, marshaling and ensuring security. 

Host a Baby Photo Contest

You ask neighbors and residents in your area to submit their favorite baby photos for a contest. 

Give each photo a number and pin it on a bulletin board. 

People vote for a baby photo of their choice by putting money in containers below each photo. 

This can go on for several weeks or months. 

In the end, you count the donation and the photo with the highest amount takes the crown for the cutest baby in the hood.

Do Dog Walking For Money

It can work perfectly for causes that relate to animals. 

But walking other people’s dogs can be one of your cheap fundraising ideas for any philanthropic venture. 

Identify several dog owners in your area. 

Offer to walk their dogs for specified days in a week. 

You might have to work with a team of volunteers in order to walk several dogs in a day

This increases the amount you can raise. 

Other ideas you might try include pet grooming and pet sitting.

Host A Movie Night

Most people enjoy a good movie now and then. 

And if they learn there’s a movie night in support of a noble cause, they’ll love it more. 

Identify a venue that will accommodate the number of guests that you expect. 

Select a classic film and send the word out. 

You may market through social media, flyers or emails. 

Besides the movie charges, you can sell snacks and concessions to increase your total collection.

Do Grocery Delivery For Money

Most people are too busy to find the time to shop for groceries. 

Others can’t stand the hassle involved in visiting grocery stores. 

They could use your help. 

What if you partner with a local grocery supplier to deliver groceries and share the proceeds? 

You will then need to advertise by using flyers, word of mouth or sharing this in social media.

Rent A Room In Your House (or Rent Office Space)

Do you, your business or any member of your team have a building space that you don’t use every day? 

Your premise can be your go-to resource when thinking about cheap fundraising ideas. 

By renting the extra office space to other businesses, clubs or solo-entrepreneurs for meetings, training sessions, conferences or as a workspace. 

You could also list your personal home or spare rooms in your home for hosting on websites like Airbnb. 

Your target customers will depend on the kind of space you have. 

Other resources you can rent include idle land, sound equipment, vehicles, and others.

Offer A Car Wash Service

This works well if you have volunteers willing to help you wash the cars

You also need an open space like a parking lot located in a high traffic area.

You need water, wash towels, squeegees, buckets, among other supplies.

Organize your team of volunteers into promoters, salespeople, and cleaners. 

Promoters will draw car owners to your station. 

Salespeople will explain the offer. 

It’s important to advertise the event in good time. 

In your adverts, include a message that shows clearly why you are raising the funds.

You might set a price for your service. 

Or just explain your cause and let car owners donate out of their free will.

 Recycle Bottles and Cans (Can and Bottle Return)

It’s an environmentally-conscious way of raising funds that’s simple and rewarding.

You conserve the environment as you raise funds for your philanthropic work.

Another good reason to include this in your list of cheap fundraising ideas.

Identify the companies that run policies that allow people to return used cans and bottles for monetary rewards. 

Find out the specific cans that can be returned and what the reward is. 

Set a convenient drop off point. 

Ask people in the office or the community to bring their used cans. 

Always let them know you are doing this for charity. 

Design A T-Shirt And Sell It

People love to wear t-shirts. 

It makes raising money by selling uniquely-designed t-shirts a viable idea. 

Besides, people will wear this t-shirt even after the fundraiser. 

So, if your designs feature your project, those t-shirts will advertise your cause even after the fundraiser.

Host A Karaoke Night

You just need to approach a local bar or restaurant to host the function. 

Publicize your event. 

Supporters will come sing as they raise funds and create awareness for your philanthropic project.

Offer Cleaning Services

There are many businesses and homes that won’t mind some help in taking their trash out and keeping their compound clean. 

It’s among the simplest and cheap fundraising ideas that don’t require special skills

Check if you have extra time in your day or week to offer cleaning services. 

Of course, you have to do the work perfectly. 

Contact several businesses and homes within your area with your offer

You could even tell them the fee you charge is going to charity. 

Some of your clients might pay extra in support of your cause. 

Host A Photoshoot For Money

There are many people who fancy the idea of having photo portraits. 

And more so, if it’s for a family and kids. 

But they don’t get to plan a visit to the studio for a photoshoot. 

Bring their wishes to live by organizing a fundraising event that has photoshoot sessions.

Sell Your Designs Online

If you don’t have the initial investment for purchasing items that you can print custom designs on, you may sell the ideas

There are people who are short of ideas. 

Others lack the time to practice their creativity. 

We also have people who don’t know how to design. 

But they would love to own or sell unique items. 

They’ll make great customers for your creative designs.

Selling designs online is one of the cheap fundraising ideas that may not require an initial investment.

Host A House Party

If you’ve always organized successful get-togethers or birthday parties at your house, use this to fundraise for your mission. 

It might not be a fundraising event. 

But you can use a family get-together to create awareness about your cause. 

And announce an upcoming fundraiser or an ongoing crowdfunding campaign. 

Host A Music Show Event

If you can sing or know friends who are songbirds, organize a music show. 

Open the show for locals with musical talents to register and showcase their skills. 

It’s important for all participants to agree that the proceeds will go to support the cause.

But in return, everyone gets their talent noticed and winners can go home with a gift.

You may raise funds by charging an entry fee, selling concessions and asking for free-will donations from well-wishers

Take A Picture With Santa Event

Taking a picture with Santa Claus is among the cheap fundraising ideas you can use during the Christmas season.

Parents always queue in malls to have their kids take photos with Santa. 

Give them an alternative at a small fee. 

You could also sell snacks and beverages to the waiting families. 

This will increase your funds. 

Create A Recipes Book And Sell It On Amazon

Have people praised you for your cooking skills? 

You can use this to raise funds for your venture. 

All you need is to write your favorite recipes and package them into a book. 

Ask your friends to get the recipe book at a small fee. 

It’s also possible to invite others in your network to write their recipes as well. Make sure you tell them that you are doing this to raise funds for a cause. 

Sell this book on Amazon and raise more funds.

Wrap Up

Fundraising doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. 

There are numerous cheap fundraising ideas that you can customize to your needs. 

You can begin with any of the ideas given above. 

The most important thing is to be clear about your intentions. 

People want to be sure that you are raising funds for a reasonable cause. 

Involve your friends, family and any other volunteers. 

Raising funds from donors is hardly a solo venture. 

Your family, friends, and volunteers can help streamline your ideas, promote the fundraiser and give a hand during fundraising events.

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