15 Cost-Effective Summer Fundraising Ideas to Boost Revenue

While summertime is typically slower for large-scale fundraising events, there are still plenty of ways to connect supporters to your mission. Your donors are looking for opportunities to get out of their homes and make some summer memories. Why not help them get the best of both worlds by engaging them in a worthy cause at the same time?  

We’ve collected some of our favorite affordable fundraising ideas that your organization can use to make the most out of longer days on a low budget. Let’s dive in! 

Trivia Night

There’s no better way to spend a summer evening than with a friendly round of trivia. Organizing this fundraiser can be accomplished in a few simple steps. Find a space, rent some tables and chairs, come up with questions, and you’re ready for a night of trivia fun! To make the most of the good weather, host your trivia at a venue that offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

Charge an admission cost for participants or allow them to sign up by teams. To bring in extra revenue, sell drinks and snacks, and ask for additional donations throughout the night. Offer a special prize for the winner, such as a gift card!


Outdoor Movie Night

Going to the movies is fun for the whole family – and can benefit your cause! All your nonprofit needs to do is secure a permit to set up in a local park or public area, rent the equipment, and pick out a film to show. Your options can range from new releases to family classics, depending on the crowd.

Sell tickets individually or in groups to encourage participants to bring their friends out for the fun. Sweeten the deal by bundling a ticket package with popcorn, drinks, and candy, or offer refreshments for individual purchase.

Bake Sale

If you’re on the hunt for a tried-and-true fundraising event on a budget, look no further than a bake sale. Ask your staff and volunteers to spend an afternoon in the kitchen cooking up some delicious treats. Then, sell your baked goods with the proceeds going to benefit your cause.

Consider renting a booth at a local farmers market or partnering with a church to get your bake sale more traction. This will boost your potential for revenue and spread the word about your organization to members of the community.

Don’t forget to offer the option for individuals to make additional donations! Have a QR code that links to your donation page to make it easy for them to show their support.

Car Wash

A car wash is an easy and low-cost fundraiser for any nonprofit. Organizing it couldn’t be simpler – all you need is soap, sponges, and some eager volunteers, and you’re ready to go! Set a fixed price for a wash or ask for a donation in exchange for a clean car. Consider adding additional services to boost your revenue, such as waxing or wheel shining.

To add excitement to the event, organize a friendly competition between car washing teams. Whoever washes more cars and raises the most funds by the end of the day is the winner! This can engage your volunteers and excite your participants, encouraging them to show support by donating to their preferred team.

Used Book Sale

You probably have a book or two that’s collecting dust at home – and it’s likely that your supporters do, too. Instead of using those books as makeshift coasters, why not turn them into cash at a used book sale?

Ask supporters to donate their old books and sell them for a discounted price. Put drop boxes around your community at local businesses or schools that are willing to participate to collect donations. Then, watch as those books bring in cash during your sale!

Plant/Flower Sale

Everyone loves a fresh bouquet of flowers. Hosting a plant or flower sale is the perfect way for your organization to celebrate the warm weather while raising funds for your cause.

Partner with a local nursery to sell flowers to supporters with proceeds going to your mission. Or consider growing the flowers yourself in a community garden. Have volunteers tend to the garden, cut the bouquets, and package them with special wrappings. Then, sell these gorgeous flowers during one of your seasonal events.

Sunrise or Evening Yoga in the Park

Kick off a Saturday morning with yoga in the park! This event is easy to organize and is an excellent way to enjoy the summer weather. Partner with a local yoga studio for a registered instructor or ask if any of your volunteers are willing to lead a session.

Charge a registration fee and head to the park for a relaxing session outdoors! Consider offering this as a series throughout the summer to maximize the event’s potential. (The OneCause Fundraising Platform makes creating an event series a breeze!)

You can even switch up the class times, from a morning family-friendly yoga session to an adults-only evening class, where you can offer alcoholic beverages for purchase. (Note that if you offer alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to find a venue that allows this.)

Board Game Night

A board game night is a low-cost way to bring people together to make memories and raise funds for your mission. The fundraiser is easy to organize, sparks friendly competition, and spreads the message of your mission to the community.

Determine what kind of game you’d like to play – think about what type of games can draw a crowd, like bingo or euchre. Charge an entree to all players and sell snacks and refreshments throughout the evening.

Craft Fair

Are you a crafty person? How about people on your staff or volunteer committee? Tap into the creative potential of supporters around you and host an epic summer craft sale!

Because this event requires a large space to work with, consider partnering with a local school, church, or other community organization to make use of their space. Make sure to promote your event to local crafters and charge a small fee to sell or shop. On the day of, sell refreshments and food, and request donations from those who attend. Your supporters will have a memorable day supporting your cause and local creativity!

Fitness Challenge

Summer is the perfect time to get active outdoors. Encourage your supporters to participate in a fitness challenge and take a pledge toward a fundraising goal. This style of online fundraising event is low-cost and flexible depending on the challenge. Consider challenging participants to a certain number of stairs climbed, miles walked/biked, pushups completed, etc. The sky is the limit!

Remember that your challenge should be accessible to participants of all fitness levels. Encourage your participants to host their own personal fundraising page so they can share their pledge and progress with their friends and family.

Guided Nature Hike

Lace up your boots and organize a guided hike in a local park, trail, or nature preserve. This event is fun for all ages, and practically cost-free; all you need to do is promote the event to your supporters.

Charge a small upfront fee for participants and enjoy the great outdoors! You can host a series of hikes throughout the summer to boost even more revenue.

Community Barbeque

A barbeque is an excellent way to draw a big crowd during the summer. With families out and about looking for fun, your event could be the perfect evening entertainment.

Partner with a local barbeque restaurant or other food operation and have them sponsor a meal with proceeds going to your cause. You can ask them to donate food, condiments, or buns in exchange for promoting them at the event. Or, have your volunteers fire up the grill themselves! Working with something simple like hot dogs and hamburgers makes it easy for your staff to showcase their grilling skills.

Pool Party

There’s no better way to have fun in the sun than with a pool party! The event requires planning upfront, but less execution for your staff to manage the day of. Simply rent out a community pool for a day and promote the event to your audience.

Ask for donations ahead of time and sell items like food, drink, sunscreen, sunglasses, and more to those at the pool. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the sun!

Outdoor Concert

Who doesn’t want to spend a breezy summer evening getting outside and listening to music? An outdoor concert is the perfect way to get your audience out of their homes and support your cause.

Partner with a local band or performer that will wow guests with their musical skills, or tap into talent from your volunteers. Host your event in a park, or partner with a neighborhood HOA to get the entire block engaged. Sell refreshments, ask for donations throughout the evening, and consider offering picnic blankets or lawn chairs for your supporters to rent.

Summer Fun Run/Walk/Ride

Run/walk/rides are staple fundraising events, and the warm weather is bound to boost your attendance. These dynamic events get your supporters up and moving for a great cause, pairing the best of both worlds of physical movement and philanthropy. Organizing one of these events is relatively simple and can lead to major revenue for your organization!

Charge an entry fee and ask for additional donations on your event page. You can even have your participants pledge to raise and create their own personal fundraising page. Then have fun, knowing you’re letting your supporters take a rewarding and active role in your organization’s fundraising efforts. Make sure volunteers hand out water to keep everyone cool in the heat!

Wrapping Up!

Summer is the perfect time to have fun in the sun with your supporters engaging in your cause. Remember that every little bit raised counts toward your goal of furthering your mission.

As you begin brainstorming campaigns on a budget for this summer season, make sure you have the right fundraising software to support them. From offering personal fundraising pages to organizing a big event, the OneCause Fundraising Platform provides a variety of tools that will help your organization make the most of your summer fundraising calendar and maximize revenue.

With a strong campaign and robust fundraising tools at the ready, you’re ready to make a splash this summer!

Eager for more fundraising tips and tricks? Check out these additional resources: