These 12 practical spring fundraiser ideas are meant to inspire you and give your nonprofit realistic, doable fundraising methods that are proven to work.
Spring is finally here! And most of us are emerging from a long, hard winter after the end of a difficult year. Spring fundraising is an opportunity to focus on renewal, hope, and bringing people together (virtually) for a cause. We’ve put together this list of spring fundraiser ideas to help inspire you as your prepare for your next campaign!
Now, we do want to note that these ideas focus on digital fundraiser ideas. While it does feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 each day, it still isn’t safe to gather in large groups. So, while some of these ideas are focused on group activities, we’re always talking about gathering digitally.
Types of Fundraisers
As we talked about in our post on Spring fundraiser planning, deciding on a format for the fundraiser you want to do is important. And in this post, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to start you fundraiser, so we’re including the format that works best for each idea.
- Fundraisers: This is a single page campaign, started by your nonprofit. You set the goal, you control the message, and you directly solicit your supporters.
- Teams: A team campaign involves multiple peer-to-peer fundraisers coming together to raise money for your cause, compete on the leaderboard, and work together toward a common fundraising goal.
- Events: An event is a step up from a team. During an event, you’ll be organizing individual peer-to-peer fundraisers and teams to fundraise for your cause. You can also add registration, ticketing, and other elements with Mightycause’s Events product.
Spring Fundraiser Ideas
And now onto the spring fundraiser ideas! Spring fundraisers are usually lighter in tone, interactive, and built to engage your community. Fundraisers focused on bringing people together (digitally) and fostering connections are sure to resonate even more deeply in 2021.
1. Recurring giving campaign
Recurring donors are the foundation of any sustainable, effective nonprofit. These donors invest in your cause on an ongoing basis, and provide predictable revenue to keep your lights on, your staff paid, and your programs funded. Spring is a time of renewal, of planting seeds and watching them bloom… You can see how running a recurring giving campaign in the spring makes a lot of sense, right?
The good news is that we’ve got a post that details everything you need to know about recurring giving, as well as a webinar!
In 2020, the nonprofit sector as a whole saw in increase in small donors. You can steward these smaller donors, who may have given to your nonprofit for the first time last year, with a recurring giving campaign. It’s an easy ask: Can you make that $25 donation you made in 2020 every month in 2021? With your donation of $25 per month, we can [insert description of what you can do with their monthly donation].
2. Host a giving day
On Mightycause, we host a lot of giving days. The basic idea behind a giving day is a 24-hour marathon of online giving that rallies people behind a particular cause, community, school, or nonprofit. #GivingTuesday is an example of a giving day you may be familiar with.
But did you know that you can host your own giving day at any time? Our Events product is perfect for a spring giving day! You can set up an event, recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers, get teams involved (consider teams for your board members and your volunteers), get community sponsors, and bring your supporters together for a giving marathon.
Last spring, one of the most successful spring events we had on our platform was the National House Pawty. They brought together animals lovers and rescue organizations for a Facebook-streaming to give participants a feeling of community even as COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders were in effect all over the country. They raised more than $207,000 for their event!
So, if #GivingTuesday or last year’s spring #GivingTuesdayNow event worked well for your nonprofit, why not replicate that winning format with your own giving day? With our Events product and a great cause, it’s a surefire way to raise money and engage your supporters.
3. Special Date Fundraiser
Of all the spring fundraiser ideas, this one is one of the easiest! A “special date” is just a holiday. And there are lots of them, beyond the bank holidays you may be familiar with! Some special dates in the spring you may want to leverage for your campaign:
- Earth Day (April 22nd)
- Take Your Daughter to Work Day (April 22nd)
- Arbor Day (always the last Friday in April)
- Star Wars Day (May the 4th… if you’re feeling very creative!)
- National Teacher’s Day (May 4th)
- Mother’s Day (May 9th)
The benefit of a special date for your campaign is that the marketing hook is built right in. So, for instance, if your organization focused on early childhood education, you could use National Teacher’s Day to kick off your spring fundraiser (or use it as a day of giving.) There are plenty of special dates calendars available online, so do a search and see if you can find a special date that makes sense for your nonprofit!
This idea takes up one spot on our list of spring fundraiser ideas, but the ideas within this one little suggestion are endless. We’ve seen all kinds of “a-thon” fundraisers on Mightycause:
How these fundraisers work is based on charity marathons, where runners register participate and then ask people they know to support them by donating to the cause they’re running for. But, with this type of fundraiser, the participants aren’t running. They’re reading, dancing, creating art, doing improve, cycling… whatever you choose. (And it works best if you choose an activity related to your cause, but it’s not necessary!)
ArtSeed is a nonprofit from the Bay Area whose mission is to connect talented local artists with vulnerable youth to teach them art. Their signature event is their Art-a-thon, which they have been running for a whopping 13 years. This year, they’re utilizing our Teams product. Their Art-a-thon is still in progress as of this post, and their 12 team members have raised more than $11,000!
The Illinois Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is a nonprofit that provides support for the families, loved ones, friends, and colleagues of police officers who have died in the line of duty. They have been running their annual Cycle Across Illinois since 2014. Their 2021 event is underway, and so far the cyclists have raised more than $33,000 for their cause!
So, how do you know if a Team or Event is right for your fundraise-a-thon? Check out our post on Spring Fundraiser Planning for the breakdown!
5. Charity Walk
Some fundraisers are perennial favorites for good reason. Charity walks are successful at bringing people together for a cause, a format the public understands, and they’re awesome vehicles for sponsor engagement. And the necessity that charity walks be run virtually in 2021 actually opens the doors for many smaller nonprofits to give them a try!
A charity walk was, in pre-pandemic times, a bit of a fussy fundraiser. They’re effective, but they also required a lot of work, like filing paperwork for permits to hold your walk, planning your route and ensuring it’s clear and safe for your walkers, organizing sponsor booths, and so on. But now that people are completing charity walks on their own time, a lot of the red tape is eliminated from charity walk planning. All you need to do is create a Team or Event page, recruit walkers, and get them fundraising as they complete the walk’s distance on their own time!
Doing the charity walk digitally also opens the event up to people of all ability levels. People who walk slower might be hesitant to join a public charity walk, or some might not be able to complete the distance in one go. But doing it remotely allows them to complete the distance at their own pace, in their own neighborhoods.
7. Timely Program Fundraiser
Spring is a great time to do some focused fundraising. Focusing in a particular program allows you to tell the story of what your nonprofit does, zooming in on the nuts and bolts of what you do. And many programs are very timely!
For instance, in spring, many animal shelters and rescue focus on their foster programs. That’s because organizations that accept cats see a dramatic increase in the number of underage kittens brought to them. Since these kittens are too young to be adopted, they usually go into a foster home where they’re cared for until they’re old enough to go up for adoption. Many shelters have gotten creative in their marketing, but a common theme is “kitten showers.” Not only does a “kitten shower” raise funds and bring in much-needed supplies, but they tell a great story about the work these rescues and shelters do to help animals.
But that’s just one example! You can use your spring fundraiser to draw attention to any of your programs and services. It’s all in the marketing & how you tell the story!
8. Board Fundraising
Very often at nonprofits, fundraising staff will neglect to bring their board of directors into the fundraising conversation. And, yes, their key role is strategic planning and governance, but they also made a commitment to be public spokespeople for your cause and help with fundraising. So, this can look different from org to org, fundraiser to fundraiser, but it’s always a best practice to find a way to engage your board in your fundraising!
The easiest (and most common) way to get your board fundraising is mobilizing them for a larger campaign. As an example, Covenant Life School‘s #GivingTuesday campaign used our Events product to put together a “Board Showdown.” Their board raised more than $5,800 for their school!
9. Virtual Gala
In 2020, a lot of nonprofits had to cancel or postpone their spring galas. But in 2021, we have the benefit of knowing that any galas will need to be virtual. That means you can plan ahead… or finally host that gala you’ve been postponing for a year.
Live-streaming is the key to running an online gala. Any speeches, performances, or group activities can be live-streamed (or done over Zoom, if you’d prefer.) And on Mightycause, you can embed any live-streaming links right onto the story for your gala’s page.
With our Events product, you can assign “table” captains, sell tickets through our Eventbrite integration, and run your event like any other! Without having to worry about the state of the rice pilaf from the caterer.
10. National Volunteer Week: April 18 – 24
Your volunteers are the heart of your organization. They not only help keep your nonprofit running by offering up their time and labor, they bring passion and enthusiasm to your cause. So, you should be celebrating your volunteers on a regular basis, but you can thank them in a big way by asking your supporters to thank your volunteers with a donation!
You can spotlight your volunteer program, talk about your rockstar volunteers, share interviews and quotes from volunteers, and tell everyone how much they do for your organization! This can also work as a recruitment tool, so signing up to learn more about volunteering or holding a virtual info session with your volunteer coordinator would be a great secondary call-to-action.
11. Photo Contest
This is one of the most fun spring fundraiser ideas on the list! And it’s a little bit of work up front, but is usually well worth the effort.
Here’s how a photo contest works. All of your contestants create a fundraising page, and ask for their social network to vote for their photo. Each donation counts as a vote. Using our Event or Teams product, you track the competition on a leaderboard. And the photo/fundraiser that tops the leaderboard wins!
This works great for animal shelters and orgs, and can be applied creatively to a lot of causes! An arts organization might host a photo contest with different categories photographers can compete in, an environmental nonprofit might host a nature-themed photo contests. And when you’ve got your winners, why not put them in a calendar you can sell throughout the year?
12. Golf Tournament
Golf is a sport built for social distancing, and golf tournaments can be highly successful fundraising events. Just as an example: Keep Golden Isles Beautiful hosted a golf tournament at the end of 2020. It raised $34,746 – more than double their goal of $16,000!
We have a guide to help you plan your golf tournament. We recommend partnering with a golf course or country club that often hosts them, so you don’t have to learn from the ground up! Sponsorships are key for prizes and swag bags! Learn more in our guide to planning a charity golf tournament.
Looking for help executing your spring fundraiser ideas?
Get started mapping out the details of your spring event by downloading our Event Fundraising Handbook today!