Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Supporter driven fundraisers are on the rise and one of the fastest growing types of peer-to-peer fundraising. Nonprofits of all shapes and sizes are empowering their donors to “Fundraise Your Way!”
According to our latest research study, the average donation to peer-to-peer DIY grew 117% in 2020.
Peer-to-peer DIY fundraising has been around for quite a while and is known by a few other terms as well: supporter-driven campaigns, occasion campaigns, third-party fundraising.
No matter what you call it, the best part of these popular campaigns is that supporters plan, execute, and fundraise for you!
These fundraisers empower supporters to fundraise “their way” by hosting events, creating challenges, donating for occasions, and personalizing their passion for your cause.
Why are they growing in popularity? Because they are:
As nonprofits look to create a peer-to-peer DIY fundraising strategy, gathering ideas for types of DIY fundraisers is a great starting point. And the good news is, we have 50+ awesome ideas ready for you.
These ideas are grouped into five categories:
Keep reading to see if one of these ideas could work for your organization!
At OneCause, we’ve worked with countless nonprofits to support their DIY fundraising efforts, so we’ve seen firsthand the impact that a well-executed strategy and fundraising solution can have for both on-the-ground and virtual fundraising.
Peer-to-peer fundraising software has the ability to spin up personal campaigns, so your supporters have the ability to take the reins on their events, challenges, donating occasions, and more.
The right software makes it easy to house these DIY opportunities on your website and communicate them regularly in your donor marketing channels.
Ready to see the OneCause difference with DIY fundraising? Take the test drive today.
Do you have supporters with unique fitness expertise to share with your community?
Ask them to host a fundraiser to gather like-minded participants and raise funds, while doing an activity they love.
Set up an online event center to host the classes, and charge participants a registration fee or suggested donation. Classes can be a great way to strengthen ties with donors by delivering real value and a new experience that goes beyond fundraising.
For virtual fitness classes, explore live streaming services to broadcast the classes you offer.
A high-end, hands-on cooking class with a professional (or local!) chef in your community could be a great DIY fundraiser.
Your supporters can contact culinary schools, notable local restaurants, or the best chef in town to discuss their event and explore your options.
A full-day learning experience or a fun class and dinner event might be very appealing for the gourmets in your audience.
Once your supporters market the value of this event, they can charge an entry fee and include a donation appeal during the cooking class to bring in those funds to support your cause!
Effectively communicating your cause via social media is simple and doesn’t require a large team or a giant budget—making them a popular DIY fundraising idea.
Everyone remembers the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, right? That viral challenge was a huge win for The ALS Association, helping them raise over $115 million!
Try creating your own unique challenge for supporters to complete and share online, along with a dedicated hashtag and clear instructions for donating to your cause online.
Tip: Peer-to-peer fundraising technology will be a great asset in this campaign. Supporters can spin up their own fundraising pages and link to their individual page when they post their video online. Watch the wildfire spread!
Giving Days are great because there are quite literally hundreds to choose from throughout the entire year and the fundraising takes place online.
To really maximize your giving potential, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Tip: Having a clear call-to-action (e.g., Donate Now) will be essential in gaining traffic to your online fundraising site.
Have your supporters bring their best creative mind to the forefront while planning this Do-It-Yourself fundraiser.
The key is tying this fundraiser back to the mission. Think about crafts that would best communicate your cause to donors.
As you start to plan, make sure your supporters have these measures in place: an event registration page (Charge a ticket to raise some money before people walk in the door!), a venue, and art & craft supplies.
On the day of the class, design a pause in the event for a mission moment and donation appeal. Your attendees and supporters are there for your cause – remind them of that.
These campaigns bring a community together to provide powerful testimonials and create something good out of loss.
Tributes and memorials raise more and reach more with a peer-to-peer fundraising solution, with the opportunity for each participant to set up their own fundraising page and give their tribute to honor the loved one.
Check out how Faith’s Lodge created a social community through awareness with a memorial campaign here.
A car wash is an easy and profitable fundraising event for DIY fundraisers. Between the event’s simplicity and everyone being outdoors, it’s hard to find a better fundraiser!
Your supporters will need to invest in soap, sponges, and promotion. Their most loyal volunteers and DIY recruits can help wash cars the day of.
Car washes are fundraising staples that speak for themselves. They’re low-cost, quick, and easy ways to bring in funding.
What’s better than painting? Painting while sipping on a beverage.
Bring this perfect pair together with an event any Do-It-Yourself fundraiser will be excited about. Have the DIY fundraiser gather the supplies themselves or partner with a local paint and sip establishment—yep, they exist!
Charge a ticket for entry and see the funds come in for your mission.
Though most popular with schools, a talent show can be an amazing supporter-driven fundraising event for any audience or cause.
Your supporters can make your talent show as over-the-top or low-key as you’d like. Simply charge an entrance fee for contestants, sell tickets to spectators, and sell concessions for extra donations.
Add a lucrative twist by having the audience vote with their donations. Set out tip jars with each contestant’s name and photo or allow your guests to give online and indicate their favorites by donating to the specific person.
Calling all chefs! A DIY charity cook-off is a classic way to engage your supporters and raise some money for your cause—and did we mention eat a lot of good food, too?
To pull off this event, your supporters will need some sort of theme (bonus points if it relates to your cause!) and plenty of willing participants. Charge a small entrance fee and sell tickets to the big event for all your hungry guests.
Tip: While you should encourage any and all local foodies to submit a dish, you might also want to reach out specifically to restaurateurs and well-known culinary experts in your community. Engaging with local businesses or prominent individuals will help you promote your event to their loyal customers and fans and might lead to potential sponsorships down the line.
Dog owners out there know the pain of washing their dog in the bathtub at home or the pain of reaching into their wallet for an expensive grooming session.
Solve both pains with this fun fundraiser!
All your DIY fundraisers need to do is:
Dog owners will be ecstatic that their dog is being groomed for a good cause.
A fun run is just as fun as it sounds! This themed race encourages friendly competition and a fun event for every age. Your supporters won’t be able to turn down this chance to support your cause and have an exciting afternoon.
As your DIY fundraisers launch their fun run, participants will accept pledges from family, friends, and peers for how far they can run. It will easier than you think for participants to accept pledges if they’re fired up about your event!
Like walkathons, fun runs are popular because they are healthy, active, and lucrative. As long as you empower your DIY supporters with the right resources and team to accomplish a fun run, they are a surefire choice.
Have your supporters create a scavenger hunt opportunity where people walk, bike or drive to pre-assigned locations in your area and answer questions at each site. At each place, there are questions related to a theme such as environmental, wildlife, historical, etc.
One scavenger hunt fundraiser had people form teams and each person donated $40 to play. There were 12 stops in three hours, and it culminated in a party outside with prizes. Their scavenger hunt raised almost $100,000. Check out their success story here.
If you’re looking for a Do-It-Yourself event idea that’s a little different than a 5k, try having your supporters host a concert.
We know what you’re thinking. Big rock stars? There’s no way that’s in the budget. But don’t worry, your supporters won’t have to throw down too much money to pull together this stellar event.
With the help of local artists, their networks, and your own, this event will be easy to pull off.
Even better, encourage additional donations by hosting a text giving campaign in conjunction with your concert.
Depending on the game, this Do-It-Yourself event can be held as an individual or team competition. Board games like Scrabble, Catch Phrase, Connect Four, Twister, Uno, etc. will sure bring a crowd together.
Have your supporters craft a tournament and ask all participants to pay an entrance fee. The top 2 or 3 participants win a prize with the funds raised all going back to your mission.
Tip: Make this a recurring fundraiser! Bring a group together monthly to raise money for your cause – 12 times per year!
Organize a supporter-driven bonfire night and roast marshmallows, tell campfire stories, and enjoy each other’s company.
This idea provides a perfect transition from summer to fall, bringing supporters together outdoors to support your cause. As you’re sitting by the fire, you can also host a scary story contest. Either charge an admission fee or ask participants to donate online via their phones.
When designing your Do-It-Yourself run/walk for your supporters, be sure your team thinks through the following fundraising questions:
Empower your supporters with the tools necessary to create their own 5k fundraiser, and you’ll see the return in that investment.
One of the most popular ideas out there right now is the Date Night event – for many reasons. It’s easy to pull together, can be produced inexpensively at, and it’s fun to bring people together.
All parents love a night out (no matter how old their kids are). The ideas are endless with a parent’s night out – popular ideas include:
Don’t forget to have your DIY fundraisers charge admission for the date night. Take it to the next level and offer arranged childcare for the night (for a donation)!
Are you looking for a fundraising event that will really make a splash? There’s nothing quite like a polar plunge, a peer-to-peer fundraising event where supporters raise money for a cause and then jump into cold water, outside, in the winter.
Before you make the jump, be sure you empower your fundraisers with the right fundraising platform. See the OneCause difference.
Tip: Make sure to utilize social media to spread the word and create an awareness buzz for the mission.
Who doesn’t love a social pub crawl, especially if it comes with a charitable twist?
Nonprofits can turn to support local restaurants and bars to see if they offer discounts or percentage nights (for example, 10% of sales would go to a nonprofit organization).
Then encourage Do-It-Yourself fundraisers to plan a pub crawl around these locations.
Participants can take the excitement to the next level by breaking into teams and competing in challenges at each location as a way to raise more donations. Or create wrap around events that tie into a larger peer-to-peer campaign!
For your sports enthusiasts, this DIY fundraising opportunity allows them to organize an athletic experience that is wildly popular.
Supporters can focus on a handful of sports or just one—depending on the expertise of the organizers and coaches.
All your supporters need to do is:
Fashion shows are bound to be a winning DIY fundraiser, especially for the women in your supporter base.
If your organization or charity has organized a similarly female-driven event in the past with success, start by reaching out to someone at a local boutique, or if a professional fashion stylist is in your circle, ask away!
Partnering with charities is excellent publicity for local boutiques and fashion stylists. For many of them, this could mean new potential clients in the right audience.
Encourage DIY fundraisers to make this event a girl’s night out and market it to the women in your community. It’ll be a blast!
Have your Do-It-Yourself fundraisers organize a golf tournament wherein supporters donate a preset amount in order to participate on a team with friends, with the winners taking home a prize of course!
If your donor base enjoys a little athletic activity and healthy competition, a golf tournament is hard to beat.
Tip: Ticketing capabilities in your fundraising software are key to supply DIY events with tickets and registrations to their golf tournament. OneCause ticketing features make it easy for your organization to create custom packages and track your ticket sales.
There’s nothing more fun than a little trivia competition.
Most importantly, encourage DIY supporters to build up the excitement with fundraising challenges before the trivia night. You might even frame your trivia categories around your cause so that your evening is both entertaining and extra-educational.
Anyone can compete in a trivia tournament, but more importantly, almost anyone can plan one with next to no hassle.
Tip: If you’re supporting a school, DIY supporters could even make the trivia students vs parents! Let the competition ignite your fundraising.
Selling branded merchandise is a classic year-round fundraising idea for nonprofits.
The rise of virtual fundraising has made it more important than ever to offer easy ways to buy your merchandise outside of in-person events. For example, a product fundraising company like ABC Fundraising can help you create your own fundraising web store to sell your merchandise online. Another option is to encourage P2P fundraisers to create their own team shirts!
T-shirts never go out of style. Give your supporters an opportunity to support your cause with cool gear.
Encourage your Do-It-Yourself supporters to make their own t-shirts unique for your community and supporters. Empower them with the idea to create t-shirts with:
From there, DIY fundraisers can either find a local artist and ask them to design a t-shirt or design it themselves to sell for a donation. People love one-of-a-kind items!
With the ability to make custom calendars online, this fundraiser is a click away.
Motivate your supporters to create their own calendars with unique photos of past events/fun pictures and sell them. And then sell them to their friends, families, and networks to raise funds for your cause.
The best part – you only need a link to purchase, making the reach exponentially more than hosting an event.
If you have ever received a care package, you know how meaningful they can be. Have your supporters get a group together to arrange packages, and then sell them to people looking to send them to a loved one!
Packages could include:
Tip: Theme the packages to make them even more unique.
Organize this meaningful keepsake and spread the good food with this DIY idea.
Have supporters collect recipes from family, friends, and peers in their community. Reach out to local chefs, gather family recipes, and include cooking tips.
With the right peer-to-peer software, your supporters can make this a competition. Purchasers of the cookbook can form teams and raise money as they cook the recipes in the cookbook and deliver them to people willing to donate.
Tip: To save money on printing, make the cookbook digital. That way, you can send the cookbook as a PDF and recipients can print it out themselves if they wish.
Grab some popcorn! Movie nights are a terrific way to raise money and enjoy a cozy night with your favorite flick.
While your supporters will have to secure the rights to the film of your choice, the rest of the planning for this fundraising event is relatively simple:
Ask your team to donate the price of a movie ticket to your page, and you’re all set. This is a great option for Ambassadors looking to build their network!
Celebrating a birthday is fun and exciting. Plus, it’s also a great occasion to fundraise for a worthy cause.
Any DIY supporter can turn birthdays, or any other big event, into exciting fundraising opportunities by adopting a charitable birthday social media strategy.
This tactic is extremely useful for generating year-round revenue. You get the donations when the supporters fundraise for their birthday, and the supporter can feel proud that they’ve helped your organization.
For some of your nonprofit’s projects and initiatives, crowdfunding might be the way to go as a Do-It-Yourself fundraising idea!
This online fundraising method involves creating a campaign page that explains what you’re raising money for. Then, encourage supporters to share your project far and wide.
Effective social media marketing is essential for success with crowdfunding.
Tip: Note that crowdfunding works best for especially eye-catching or emotionally compelling, time-bound projects. Raising money for your annual fund might be best left to a traditional fundraising campaign or virtual event.
OneCause is prepared to help nonprofits reach fundraisers where they are.
Whether you are looking to add a virtual component to your event or take an event virtual, OneCause can help.
Virtual happy hours and gatherings are a more casual way to engage with supporters. These events are fairly easy to plan, requiring only technology, a promotion plan, and a loose schedule of topics to discuss.
Leading up to the happy hour, have fundraisers compete to see who can raise the most for the cause. The key is to keep the fundraising top of mind while you socialize.
Or encourage your DIY supporters to make it a series of weekly virtual happy hours to let everyone have a chance to join. Just be sure to follow the same virtual event best practices that you’d use for a live-streamed event.
Tip: These events are ideal for smaller groups of supporters, so try targeting your virtual happy hour to a specific segment of donors or volunteers.
With a text-to-give campaign, your DIY fundraisers simply have to promote a phone number or short code to their friends and family.
Because promotion is key for this campaign, make sure to arm your donors with quick social media posts or graphics to better market the campaign.
OneCause offers text-to-donate capabilities through our product Text2Give—perfect for an easy text-to-donate fundraiser.
Try empowering your supporters to organize a traditional walk-a-thon.
Using centralized fundraising software, you can launch a peer-to-peer style fundraising campaign leading up to your virtual walk for supporters to use.
The participants then log their activities in your campaign center, generating donations and pledges along the way.
Dance-a-thons can take place anywhere, depending on size.
Encourage supporters to set up individual or team peer-to-peer fundraising pages and leverage their extensive social networks to raise money for the cause and host a big dance party.
All the bookworms in your donor base will be ecstatic with this DIY fundraising idea. Offer everything you would need for a cozy weekend of reading in one place!
Have your supporters decide how long they want the read-a-thon to be. From there, it’s up to them to make it unique and drive home the mission.
To get the funds in the door, charge an admission fee or make time for donation moments throughout the night.
Tip: Encourage readers to share on social media how much they are reading along with their personal donation page. That way they can ask for donations the more they read!
Spare yourself the hassle and encourage DIY supporters to organize a bowl-a-thon ripe with team fundraising challenges, social activities, and fun giving opportunities leading up to the bowling alley.
Have your Do-It-Yourself supporters organize the event and charge an admission fee at the door.
You can even take this team fundraising peer-to-peer idea virtual! Check out how Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County Pivoted to Virtual Bowling.
Make this fundraiser a slam dunk with competitive fundraisers looking to win.
Have your Do-It-Yourself fundraisers choose which way they want to organize their event:
Get people to come, charge an admission fee (even for those coming just to watch the games), and give the winners a prize.
Tip: The key to this DIY fundraising idea is promotion and recruitment. Advertise the event online with your event page as well as in-person.
A Serve-a-Thon fundraising event helps your organization raise money while performing some needed community service! Just like your fun run, your participants can accept pledges for the amount of trash they pick up.
Your participants can ask for donations from their families, friends, and peers. Pledges can serve per item of trash or per pound of trash!
For example, someone might donate a dollar for every aluminum can you pick up or $5 for every pound of garbage your collect.
All your supporters need to do is recruit volunteers, collect pledges, and get to cleaning!
This cute DIY fundraising idea combined with a little competition will be a guaranteed hit.
Here’s how your supporters could organize it:
Pledge drives are perfect for quickly generating a lot of buzz and support.
These fundraising campaigns involve encouraging donors to pledge their support in the form of donations to be collected later. By making it easy and fast for supporters to make pledges (and provide contact information for later follow-up), your nonprofit can secure support from a wide audience.
While pledge drives are often held in direct response to a crisis, they can be effective for DIY fundraising when planned well by your supporters.
This supporter-driven fundraising idea may be the simplest yet.
Have your fundraisers collect multiple jars and hand them out to individuals in your community with the goal of filling them with spare change throughout the year.
At the end of the year, these individuals will donate the money back to the cause – you’d be surprised how something so simple pays off!
By identifying a handful of top supporters and highlighting them as Ambassadors, nonprofits can maximize incoming donations.
These Ambassadors do a bulk of the social and in-person fundraising, and at the end of the campaign a big party, virtual or in-person, reveals which Ambassador raised the most money.
The top three keys to fundraising success with Ambassadors include:
Ambassador fundraising is a subset of peer-to-peer fundraising that encapsulates Do-It-Yourself fundraising.
Tip: Get all the details and strategies about Ambassador Fundraising in our eBook here.
Everybody screams for ice cream! An ice scream social gives a one-of-a-kind experience for your community.
Have your supporter-driven team chat with the popular ice cream shops in your community and solicit a donation or gather the ice cream yourself and bring people together to support your cause.
Honor a longtime supporter of the school and a well-respected member of the community with a legacy gift that lasts forever.
Give your community the opportunity to support that person through this DIY idea. Your audience will see the exponential value of a name dedication.
Some unique name dedication ideas include:
If your donor base largely consists of parents and young families, free childcare fundraisers might be excellent DIY idea to consider. Everyone wants some time away!
Have your supporters reach out to local, reputable childcare services – including daycare centers, after-school programs, and professional nanny services. Discuss arranging a donation of their services or a reduced rate that your nonprofit could pay once a minimum donation has been reached.
Give parents a well-deserved day or night off and you’re bound to generate some healthy competition.
Tip: Make it a win-win for you and the childcare provider and include a few things for the kids to do. (Think: board games, arts & crafts, movies).
All your Do-It-Yourself fundraisers need is, well, wine! And a place a supporter can host a group.
Follow these steps to execute an awesome wine pull:
A wine pull is a game of chance with a tempting prize that not many of your guests will be able to refuse.
Tip: Make sure the bottles range in price to increase the game of change for your supporters. Your attendees might walk home with a bottle that costs less than they donated or is priced significantly higher than what they paid!
Penny wars are a go-to for anyone looking for a quick, easy way to bring in new donations.
This DIY idea is a fun, competitive game to play between teams. Here’s how it works:
Plopping a few dimes or quarters into penny war jars is easy, exciting, and fun for supporters to participate in.
While this is technically an ‘easy’ peer-to-peer fundraising idea, it is also the goal of every single nonprofit organization to go viral.
By creating a challenge on social media and using organic shares and networking to promote this campaign, nonprofits can raise money through their supporters without investing any overhead funds.
Bonus! The best viral campaigns also serve as a way to increase brand awareness and get a nonprofit noticed, which can have long-term benefits and create new, dedicated supporters.
One tried-and-true peer-to-peer DIY fundraising campaign is the head shaving fundraiser, because it combines multiple aspects of traditional peer-to-peer campaigns.
To have your supporters run a successful head shaving fundraiser, make sure to:
Empower your supporters to take on a door-to-door DIY fundraiser! The request is simple: go door-to-door in a neighborhood asking for loose change and donations or selling products like popcorn, chocolate bars, or branded mugs.
Once you’ve collected your donations, go to the bank – if you’ve gathered change, most banks will let you exchange coins to bill for free as long as you have an account there. And if you’ve been selling products door-to-door, make sure you quickly place your orders with your fundraising product company!
This fundraiser gets your supporters out fundraising on your behalf while also spreading the good word of your mission.
Peer-to-peer fundraising events will be an important part of nonprofits’ strategies going forward. Whether as in-person or virtual campaigns, the DIY peer-to-peer tactics give organizations an unprecedented level of flexibility and reach. Plus, they give donors the ability to call on their network.
With the right technology and strategies on your side, your nonprofit can begin building out an exciting calendar of DIY events—maybe even one of the ideas above!—to secure more support in your future fundraising strategy.
Using comprehensive software like OneCause makes it easy to plan and execute a complete peer-to-peer strategy, including events, ambassadors, and gamification. But, we learn best by seeing what others do, so check out how How a Community Rallied Online to Support Cosgrove Animal Shelter.
Ready to get started with a DIY fundraising strategy but want to look at a couple more resources? We have you covered.