As soon as those fall months start rolling in, everything changes–the weather gets cooler, the trees transform, and everything is pumpkin spice flavored. We think it’s safe to say that fall is one of the most beloved seasons of the year. So, take advantage and host some one-of-a-kind fall fundraisers that will have everyone feeling festive!
Keep reading for unforgettable fall fundraising ideas that those around you will look forward to year after year.
Fall Fundraising Idea #1: All Things Pumpkin Bake-Off
When most people think ‘fall’, they think pumpkins. Not only are they fun to hand pick at a patch with the family, but they taste phenomenal in just about every fall dish. There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh pumpkin pie or that first bite of a fresh pumpkin cookie!
With all the delicious pumpkin-flavored everything coming out of the woodwork, why not turn it into the perfect fall fundraiser – all things pumpkin bake off! Here’s how to pull it off:
- Let people enter: Open up the bake-off to the entire community and charge a fee (e.g. $50/person) to enter. This is one of the ways you’ll raise money for your cause. Consider having a limitation on the number of participants so your judges don’t get overwhelmed and you keep demand for those spots high! The participants can choose any homemade dish that has pumpkin in it to enter into the bake-off.
- Choose your judges: At the foundation of any kind of bake-off are the judges. Pick people who are influential in the community (the Mayor, popular business owner, news anchor, etc.), are decision-makers in your nonprofit, or are culinary experts. Have 3-4 judges that will taste each pumpkin-inspired dish and give them a rating. The dish with the best total rating from the judges wins.
- Pick your favorites: Another way to raise money with your bake-off is to allow for the spectators to pick who they think will win. They simply place a bet on who they think will win, and if that person actually does win, then the participant has to match the spectator’s bet! For example, if Jill bets $30 that Anthony will win the bake-off, and Anthony does win the bake-off, then he also has to donate $30 (in addition to his entry fee donation).
- Crown a winner: After the dishes have been submitted and tasted, have the judges tally up the scores and crown the winner at a big, fun celebration. Reward the winner with a cool prize (something you can get donated from a local business) and share with everyone how much money was raised.
Fall Fundraising Idea #2: The Ultimate Costume Party
Let’s be honest, no matter how old you are, costume parties are always a good time! They give everyone an excuse to have fun, dress up, and be someone else for a day. So, it comes as no surprise that they make for a great fall fundraiser.
Right around Halloween, put on your spooky event with a costume contest as the main feature and invite your entire city. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Sell event tickets + contest entries: To raise money for your cause, sell tickets to your costume party for people to attend (e.g. $50/person). You could make costumes a requirement, but charge an additional fee to enter the costume contest.
- Bring on the fun: We know events aren’t the easiest fundraisers to coordinate since they have so many moving parts, but they are definitely one of the most enjoyable. Make sure you have fun and engaging activities to do there! Outside of the costume contest, consider bringing in local food vendors, a DJ or live band, kid’s entertainment (like face painting or obstacle courses), and even a photobooth. To save on costs, see if any of these businesses would be willing to donate their time, product, service, etc.
When putting on an event like this, online fundraising platforms like RallyUp really make it easy to sell different kinds of tickets and manage registrations all from one place. Having a digital component to an in-person fundraiser is never a bad idea!
Fall Fundraising Idea #3: DIY Autumn Wreath Sale
Feeling crafty? So does everyone else when fall rolls around. While there is no shortage of fall DIY projects out there, wreaths are undeniably at the top of the list. So, take advantage of all the wreath love, make your own… and sell them!
Don’t worry, they are not as complex as they look. A few simple steps and VOILA – beautiful decor for your door. Here’s how to pull it off.
- Recruit for a wreath-making day: Gather up your staff and any volunteers you can get to have a full wreath-making day. The more people you can recruit, the more wreaths you can make. Remember, a lot of people do this for fun so don’t be afraid to reach out on social media or through email.
- Hit the dollar store: Once you’ve got your crafty crew lined up and the wreath-making date locked in, you’ll need to get materials. The best part about this kind of DIY fall fundraising idea is that you can get the majority of the things needed from the dollar store! Make sure to grab a variety of faux foliage so you can create several different styles.
- Make your masterpieces: It doesn’t hurt to dedicate some time at the beginning of your wreath-making day to watch some tutorials on how to do it. They should only take 6 minutes each! Make as many wreaths as you can with the materials you bought. It’ll be good to have a quantity goal in mind based on how much money you want to raise (e.g. if you sell them for $25 each, how many would you need to make to hit your fundraising goal?)
- Sell your masterpieces: After all your wreaths are made, it’s time to put them on the market! To reach the most people, set up a simple online shop with the help of RallyUp. With a shop like this, you can easily share your fundraiser link via text, email, and through social media for anyone to access and share themselves.
Fall Fundraising Idea #4: Guess-That-Goo A-Thon
There’s no doubt that when Halloween comes around, people love being scared or grossed out…voluntarily. There’s just something about it! So, cater to the grossness and hold a guess-that-goo a-thon using Halloween feel boxes.
What’s a Halloween feel box? It’s an empty box or container that you fill with gooey ingredients that people touch, but can’t see. Pair these with a pledging approach to raise money for your nonprofit! Here’s how to pull it off:
- Create your feel boxes & story: Having a spooky backstory that relates to the feel boxes is essential! Think mad scientist and his lab ingredients or witches and their witch’s brew. Then, make your feel boxes with different food ingredients and household items–from ‘brains’ (damp, coarse sponges) to ‘eyeballs’ (peeled grapes). Enclose the items in boxes with an opening at the top so people can stick their hand in and feel, but have no idea what they’re touching!
- Have participants enter to guess-that-goo & people pledge: To raise money for your cause, charge a fee for people to experience your Halloween feel boxes (e.g. $25/person) and try to guess what the actual ingredients are! Take it a step further by allowing friends and family of participants to pledge on how many right guesses they get. For example, let’s say Jeff pays $25 to participate, and his sister Joy pledges $5 for every guess he gets right.
- Put on the a-thon: Choose a date and time to have your Guess-That-Goo a-thon and have all the participants take turns sticking their hands in your feel boxes. After each feel box they go through, they write down what they think is inside to make ‘eyeballs’, ‘guts’, and ‘teeth’. Consider live streaming the event so no one misses out too!
- Donors pay up: At the end of the event, reveal what was inside each feel box, see who actually guessed them correctly, and tally up all the right answers. Based on how much each supporter pledged per correct answer their participant gave, they have to pay up! For example, if Jeff ended up guessing 10 out of 15 of the feel boxes correctly, Joy would donate $50 total ($5 x 10 right guesses).
Fall Fundraising Idea #5: Community Trunk-or-Treat
Trunk-or-treats are super fun fall fundraisers for schools or churches. The concept is simple–just like kids go door-to-door when they trick-or-treat, they would just walk from car one trunk to the next in a parking lot. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Find a good location with lots of space: For your trunk-or-treat fundraiser, you’ll want to hold it at a large, outdoor space. Consider a wide-open area where cars can easily park and open their trunks for kids to walk up to and receive candy. Ideally a very low traffic area like a church or school parking lot.
- Invite families & encourage creativity: The more trunks you can have, the better! Invite the entire community and encourage them to go all out with their trunk decorations. Limit the amount of participating cars based on the capacity of your space and charge an entry fee per person to enjoy the trunk-or-treat.
- Have some other attractions: In addition to your trunk-or-treat, bring in some local food truck vendors and have them donate a portion of their proceeds to your cause as well!
Fall Fundraising Idea #6: Everything Sweet Fall Bake Sale
You can never go wrong with a classic bake sale. A lot of people love to indulge during the holiday season. Especially the sweet treats that come with fall. And bake sales make for one of the easier fall fundraisers to put on! Here’s how to pull it off:
- Recruit your bakers: The first thing you’ll need to do is find out who would be willing to get their baking on for a good cause. Turn to your staff, volunteers, and even local bakery shops to see who’s game to donate their time for some baking! Make sure to have a wide variety of goods (cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, etc) and that they’re all fall-inspired.
- Sell your goodies: Once you’ve collected all your yummy baked goods, sell each of them for a specific price at an in-person event or digitally with a simple online fundraising shop. Make sure to share a ton of mouth-watering pictures when you’re setting up your shop too! That will get them every time.
- Take it one step further: Another way you can maximize your donation potential is to consider adding on a fall sweets recipe book. Just ask your dedicated bakers to provide the recipes they used for their donated goodies and compile them into a cookbook! You can easily add them into your online shop as another sale item.
Fall Fundraising Idea #7: Friendsgiving Potluck
You know what’s better than Thanksgiving? Two Thanksgivings! And you can make that happen by throwing your very own Friendsgiving fall fundraiser.
If you’re not familiar with what Friendsgiving is, it’s exactly like Thanksgiving, but you’re celebrating it with friends. Here’s how to pull it off:
- Go potluck style: With any Thanksgiving celebration, everyone usually has their assigned dishes they’re expected to bring. So, do the same with your Friendsgiving! Everyone who attends is responsible for bringing a yummy dish.
- Charge a fee to attend: Invite your entire donor base and the community to attend your Friendsgiving for a flat, per person fee (e.g, $25 per person, including a dish to contribute).
Hone in on the details: Outside of food, what’s going to really make your Friendsgiving is the environment and ambiance. Pick a nice location, have a beautiful table and chair set up, and knock it out of the park with gorgeous fall decor. Take it to the next level by booking an acoustic-style band to set the mood. As always, lean on your contacts to see who would be willing to donate their time and services to make this event truly charitable in every way.
Fall Fundraising Idea #8: Gimme S’more A-Thon
S’mores are a staple during the fall season. It’s a good excuse to gather around the fire and enjoy something tasty. Just like there are hot dog eating contests, take a similar approach with this s’more themed fall fundraiser!
Who can eat the most s’mores in a specified amount of time? Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to stuff their face with s’mores to raise money for charity? Here’s how to pull it off:
- Recruit willing participants: Reach out to your database of people and market your gimme s’more a-thon to get a lineup of committed s’more eaters! A-thon fundraisers like this are something RallyUp specializes in to make everyone’s experiences seamless.
- Get the s’mores ready to go: On the day of the s’more a-thon, you’ll need to have the s’mores materials ready to go for the participants! Fun fact: the dollar store has everything you need to make s’mores. You can also reach out to your network to see if anyone would be willing to donate these items to lower costs even more.
- Have the supporters pledge on their person: Once participants start lining up to take on the s’more a-thon, they’ll need to notify their friends and family so that they can gain support by receiving pledges. Have them share their online fundraising link to pledge per s’more. For instance, if Katie is participating, her boyfriend can pledge $5 per s’more she eats and will give his total donation based on how many s’mores she scarfed down following the a-thon event.
- Let the s’mores showdown begin: This is the fun part! Hold your s’more a-thon in person so everyone can watch, laugh, and have fun. Based on how many people have entered, hold the contest in rounds for a specific amount of time. So, for example, each round has 10 people and lasts 1 minute. Make sure to have your volunteers prep the s’mores for eating (gloved!) and are keeping tallies of how many s’mores each participant eats.
For anyone that can’t make the in-person event, consider live streaming it with RallyUp for free so they can root their participants on! Of course, once your s’more a-thon wraps up, each donor will donate whatever amount they pledged per s’more.
Make Your Fall Fundraisers Memorable
No matter which fall fundraising idea you go with, you want it to be memorable–something that puts everyone in the holiday spirit, creates long-lasting memories, and raises a good chunk of change for your cause!
When you have a flexible, online fundraising platform like RallyUp on your side, you can check off all those boxes and more. Whether you want to throw an unforgettable event or sell fun DIY items made with all the TLC, we have all the functionality to support you.
Autumn is officially here, so don’t wait any longer to start planning your fall fundraiser!