Before we know it, the foliage will start to turn orange and red and everything will be suddenly pumpkin spice flavored—including fundraising! Embrace the changing of seasons and try a few of these fall favorites on for size. These examples are here to help to get the wheels turning for a last-minute sprint or in preparation for a long-term campaign, so see what sparks and tailor these ideas to fit your organization.
We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say that these ideas aren’t revolutionary, but they’re tried and true for in-person engagement that can be brought into the modern age with a digital strategy to drive donations on a larger scale.
For any of the following festive fall suggestions, consider:
- Leveraging text-to-donate tools to reach out to your supporters at scale. Never used text-to-donate tools before? Learn why texting can no longer be ignored.
- Turn a fall fundraising event into a peer-to-peer campaign to empower your passionate supporters to become professional fundraisers.
- Segment your communication with your supporters to personalize your messaging and nurture your nonprofit community.
Branded Pumpkin-Carving Event
Host a pumpkin carving contest where participants can donate or fundraise to enter. Partner alongside local farmers to provide pumpkins or have participants BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) to get the contest started. Work with vendors in your area to provide food, drink, and some nonprofit swag. If pumpkin doesn’t grow in your neck of the woods, opt for a different fall fruit—like apples for bobbing. This is a great opportunity to leverage digital communications tactics, like texting your supporters leading up to the event.
Eat Pie, Raise Cash
Who doesn’t love a good shove-food-into-your-face-fiesta? Though delicious, this does not have to be strictly pumpkin-themed option. Gather your supporters together to participate in food, fun, and community. Consider having a member of your leadership team participate in the contest – it’s always fun to see your executive director get a bit messy, and it can help boost donations.
Smashing Pumpkins Raffle
We’re not talking about the classic 90’s jam band here, but having a jam band at a pumpkin smash wouldn’t be such a bad idea! Supporters can buy tickets to be a part of the raffle where you can auction off items, enjoy some hot chocolate, and get folks amped for the main event. Spectators can choose what level of “splash zone” they’d like to stand in, as you smash your pumpkins from a high point. Use hammers or mallets and let folks do it themselves, or fashion a makeshift catapult to throw your pumpkins sky high!
Make It A Meal
Host a festive pancake breakfast to celebrate your community. Mix it up with pumpkin, blueberry, chocolate chip, vegan, or gluten-free options – as long as your stack is doused in syrup. Reach out to local grocers or farmers to donate ingredients and rustle up some volunteers to be your pancake chefs for the day.
Or, bring together your supporters for a festive chili cook-off underneath the changing foliage. Chili-consumers can purchase tickets to vote on the best homemade stew. Include vegan and vegetarian options whenever possible to make sure all eaters are welcome!
Purposeful Yard Sale
With the popularity of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method and minimalist living on the rise, give your supporters an opportunity to declutter and fundraise at the same time! Host a community yard sale where supporters donate used furniture, clothing, toys, or whatever is not sparking joy. Auction off items of higher-value and communicate your earnings in terms of impact. Want to reach others beyond your hometown? Consider a digital yard sale with proceeds benefiting your nonprofit. Pick a platform like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp or LetGo to facilitate the transactions.
Charitable Walk-a-thon or Bike-a-thon
Walk and Bike-a-thons are tried and true. Depending on the area you live in, this can easily be turned into a hike, naturewalk, or race. Consider dressing up your bikes with festive lights or decorations for some original flair. Raise funds through event registration, pledges and good old-fashioned merchandise.
The old classic! Supporters can run a quick 5K and fundraise in the process – this is a great peer-to-peer fundraising idea, where folks can have their own fundraising pages up and running in preparation for the big day.
Not in the mood for a low-key pie-eating contest? Go big! Pencils of Promise capitalizes on the season and hosts an annual back to school initiative that provides reading and writing tools to students and communities in need.
Receive fundraising and marketing tips from our seasoned pros, straight to your inbox.