53+ Summer Fundraising Ideas for Your Nonprofit

April 23, 2024
10 minutes
A painting of three beach balls in red, blue, and yellow.

Is summer usually a slow fundraising season for your nonprofit? Summer is a fun, social season with lots of people wanting to enjoy outdoor events and everything their local community has to offer. With a little creativity and good marketing for your summer fundraising ideas, your nonprofit can raise some extra dough while the sun shines.

Summer Fundraising Ideas for 2024

To inspire your fundraising this summer, we’ve put together a list of fun-in-the-sun fundraising ideas that'll engage your donors and help you raise money for a good cause. If you want more fundraising ideas, we're full of them!

June Fundraising Ideas

Start the summer off swinging! By jumping into these June fundraising ideas, you'll set a sizzling standard for the rest of the season.

1. National Leave the Office Early Day (June 2)

Start off summer with a bang! Lure office workers away from the office (or home office, as the case may be) with a tempting Happy Hour event, complete with refreshing blended drinks. Remember, there are all kinds of things that could make a get-together happy—you don't have to feature alcohol. Who knows, this may be one of the most successful fundraising campaigns examples!

2. World Environmental Day (June 5)

If your nonprofit’s mission includes environmental stewardship, World Environmental Day is the perfect opportunity to raise funds. To keep things lightweight, you could send out a great fundraising email to your email list and direct them to a special donation page for your awareness day. If you want to kick it up a notch, host a community clean-up and ask donors to pledge a small amount per bag of trash picked up.

3. Great Outdoors Month (June)

Celebrate the outdoors all month long by hosting your events outside and taking advantage of local outdoor attractions—and everyone's eagerness to get out of the house. Your nonprofit could also organize family-friendly by-donation hikes that help your community enjoy the local outdoors.

4. Native American Citizenship Day (June 2)

On June 2, 1924, the United States Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act. Other days to celebrate Indigenous people are Indigenous People's Day (October 11, US) and International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (August 9), a United Nations Day of Observance.

5. Juneteenth (June 19)

This Juneteenth, consider commissioning a local mural to recognize the history, struggle, and joy of Black Americans. Ask your community to contribute, find a Black artist, and pay them. Then host a "ribbon-cutting" for the mural and include the artist so they can provide deeper context to their art if they would like to.

We're talking outdoors for summertime, but remember, "the outdoors" doesn't just mean forests or parks. It also means the streets and towns where we live. If there are recent Black Lives Matter murals in your city, commission a community member with expertise to lead a tour for donors. Pay the artists to show up and speak on their work. Video the tour and put it on your website for further-reaching content, and don't forget to highlight and support Black-run and Black advocacy organizations.

6. Father’s Day (Third Sunday in June)

Father’s Day is the perfect day to ask donors to make a donation in honor of their dads, father figures, and beloved parents. Use your fundraising email on this day to tell a story about a parent your organization has helped or share a story about a donor who is also a father figure. Make sure you create a special thank you letter to send to all the parents who have been honored.

7. Summer Solstice Dinner

So... technically, Summer Solstice is the first day of Summer, though many people think of Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer. Summer Solstice also happens to be the longest day of the year, making it a great one to spend time outside and a perfect day for a food fundraiser idea. Invite your donors to celebrate the changing seasons at a Summer Solstice dinner that raises money for a good cause.

Summer Solstice bad timing for you? Summersgiving is making a break for all-star holiday status; try that! It's Thanksgiving in the summer—the perfect opportunity to give thanks and break bread with friends and eat some delicious holiday food at the same time.

Bonus points if you engage a local caterer and community farm for a supper full of local love!

8. National Selfie Day (June 21)

Ask your supporters to take a selfie, tag you on social media, and make a donation. Create a custom donation page and hashtag to go with this silly, short-term fundraiser and start the sharing!

9. Host a Summer Golf Tournament

A major theme of these summer fundraising ideas is being outdoors and enjoying the season—while hitting your fundraising goals. We guarantee that some of your supporters take advantage of the nice weather by hitting the links. If your nonprofit wants to host a bigger fundraising event this summer, a golf tournament may be a great option!

Consider adding a fun theme to the tournament that encourages golfers to get a little creative or even silly with their attire, then award prizes for best costumes.

10. National Handshake Day (Last Thursday in June)

In these days of viruses and vaccines, Handwashing Day may be more appropriate than Handshake Day, right? Right?! National Handshake Day is ripe for the TikTok generation. We suggest you make up a complex, multi-step handshake (that works for one or more people) and get your social media crew to post themselves going through the motions. Use the handshake as a raffle entry! Bonus points if you can work in some of the fancy effects that make TikTok so magical—before it's banned!

11. Eid al-Adha (sundown June 15-sundown June 16)

Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, is one of two official holidays within Islam. This 4-day celebration honors Ibrahim's obedience and willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

12. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Day (Last Sunday in June or June 28; check your local organizations!)

Depending on where you live, there may already be Pride events happening on this specific day, so if you're not part of this community, find out how you can support those events before you start anything of your own.

For your donor base that wants to support but isn't sure how to show up, extend an offer to your local LGBTQIA+ organization to do post-party cleanup—parades, festivals, and marches can generate a lot of refuse! Get donors to sign up, show up, and clean up, or make a donation to support the nonprofit you're working with.

July fundraising ideas

July and August are in a dead heat for best fundraising month of the summer—try these July fundraising ideas and you'll see how hot July fundraisers can get!

13. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July)

Recognizing this important and timely matter is crucial to our collective future. Due to societal risk factors, minorities face a greater risk of experiencing mental health issues and reduced access to mental health care.

14. Drawing Contest

All ages welcome! Hold a drawing contest for your supporters with a seasonal summer theme. Ask for a small suggested donation to have supporters' artwork featured on your website (hello, fundraising websites!) and entered into the contest. The prize can be a swag item that you're swimming in or it can just be bragging rights on your nonprofit's website, plus a social media shout out.

15. 4th of July BBQ fundraiser

4th of July is a fun, family-oriented holiday in the United States. Folks love, love, love to break out the BBQ, so help your community kick off their 4th of July with a lunchtime BBQ fundraiser. It’ll be early enough in the day that your supporters can still hit up their favorite 4th of July bash and enjoy the fireworks.

16. National Ice Cream Month (July)

Who’s going to say no to an ice cream social for a good cause?? Your nonprofit could self-host an ice cream social and invite supporters to come to your facilities and enjoy their favorite flavor with #AllTheToppings, or you could partner with a local ice cream shop to have them donate their profits to your nonprofit on a certain day.

17. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day (Sept 21)

This idea probably isn’t going to get your nonprofit any additional funds, but it’s the right thing to do. Commission a wage study of your nonprofit. Discover once and for all whether you’re paying your folks what they’re worth—on a scale that doesn’t leave your Black and POC staff, women, team members with disabilities (including invisible disabilities), and non-cis and hetero contributors on the crap end of the scale.

If you have to sell this idea to a reluctant board, here's an argument that may sway them in the “do better” direction: you’re far more likely to attract and retain great staff with competitive salaries and a commitment to salary transparency—saving your org precious time and funds.

18. International Non-Binary People’s Day (July 14)

Being halfway between International Women's Day and International Men's Day, July 14 has been designated as International Non-Binary People's Day, and aims to raise awareness of the issues that non-binary people, or people who do not identify with the gender binary, face.

19. Summer Concert Fundraiser

Hands up if you love a good outdoor concert! ✋ Yep, our hands are up too! We’re also willing to bet that you’ve got some pretty talented local musicians in your area who would be down to play at a summer concert fundraiser. Find a fun outdoor venue and start inviting your supporters for a night of fun and music!

20. National Hot Dog Day (Third Wednesday in July)

We are not going to suggest you put on a hot dog-eating contest. No. Maybe go the other direction and set up a peer-to-peer fundraiser with pledges coming to support your fundraisers that refrain from eating animal products on July 20.

21. Disability Independence Day (July 26)

This is less of a fundraiser and more of a way to recognize the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: get your nonprofit's website in compliance with Web Compliance Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Think about it: a more accessible online fundraising experience means more donations.

It may take some funds—the best way to get your site in compliance is to pay an expert—so a fundraiser leading up to Disability Independence Day may be in order. Ask your donors to each donate $7.26 to commemorate July 26, 1990; be transparent when you make the ask and make sure your donors know that web accessibility means independence for all.  

22. International Friendship Day (July 30)

Cue You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story! We’ve all got friends that we majorly love and appreciate. Use International Friendship Day to invite your supporter to make a donation in honor of that special person.

August fundraising ideas

Just because we're heading into the home stretch of summer doesn't mean that August fundraising ideas are cooling down. Try these August fundraisers to turn up the heat.

23. DOGust 1st: Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs

How 'bout commemorating doggie birthdays with a photobooth? You provide the booth and props, and your supporters provide the puppies and viral adorableness. Or your shelter can put on a birthday adoption party for double the celebration!

24. Summer Sports Roundtable

Who doesn't love sports?! With MLB, WNBA, NASCAR, MLS, and more sports playing through the summer, you can convene a roundtable of interested supporters to promote discussions, learning, and celebration of the world's greatest competitions. Offer a badge, patch, or pin to commemorate your sport and your gathering of the minds.

25. Relax for a Cause on National Relaxation Day (Aug 15)

We could all use a little more relaxation and a break from our busy lives. This awareness day offers you a ton of creative ways to fundraise for your nonprofit. You could partner with a local salon and ask them to donate a portion of their sales or sell a specific Your Org-themed package. You could organize a by-donation stretching class. You could partner with local massage therapists to donate a portion of their sales that day. You could even organize meditation classes to help your supporters get their zen on. See what we mean? We're getting really amped up over all the ways to relax and raise money!

26. International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition (Aug 23)

On August 23, we honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, and commemorate the uprising in Santo Domingo that catalyzed the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

27. National Waffle Day (Aug 24)

We’re always looking for more excuses to eat breakfast foods, so National Waffle Day is one of our not-so-secret-faves. Your nonprofit could host a waffle bar fundraiser that lets supporters indulge in a favorite food while raising money for a cause they love.  

28. Women’s Equality Day (Aug 26)

This marks the date that women got the right to vote in America, so what better event to hold than a voter registration drive? Hand out popsicles, get voters registered, and make that donation ask.

29. Fantasy Sports League

A fantasy sports league, how fun! Obviously, your nonprofit can make some bank by hosting a summertime baseball fantasy league, but what if we turn this on its side? Look for a sport that's new to you and your donor base and get into it! Roller derby and Tour de France compete in the summer! Now, turn the idea on its head: imagine your fantasy sport and make a league for that. Lots of people would pay to join a beer-drinking or quidditch league. Or make up your own sport! Now, that's a fantasy!

30. Form Partnerships with Popular Local Events

No matter where you live, we’re willing to bet that there are some popular local events that happen in your area every summer. Think music festivals, farmer’s markets, food festivals, and more. Oftentimes, these events work with charity partners to donate a portion of their proceeds back to the community and bring awareness to local nonprofits. Do some research into local events and see if there’s a good partnership fit for your nonprofit.

31. International Overdose Awareness Day (Aug 31)

Did you know that drug overdoses are a public health crisis? International Overdose Awareness Day recognizes the painful effects that drug overdoses has on individuals, families, and communities, remembers the victims without stigma, and strives to put an end to overdoses.

September fundraising ideas

If it's September, fundraising ideas have to include summer and back to school all in one, but all that excitement and angst leads to big fundraising success.

32. National Suicide Prevention Month (September)

Especially in support of those who feel targeted or othered, this time of awareness is crucial. Raise on behalf of a lifeline organization or highlight the lifesaving work in your September communications.

33. National Tailgating Day (First Saturday in September)

It's the essence of sports celebrations: tailgating. We suggest bringing the competition to the tailgate with a chili cookoff! If there are no sports events going on, this is the perfect opportunity to make tailgating itself into a sport, complete with donation entry fees and prizes!

34. Labor Day (Sept 2)

Acknowledge Labor Day with a Helping Hands auction. Donors bid on donated services, like holiday light hanging, gutter cleaning, website refreshing, photography sessions, or anything else that a staff member, client, volunteer, or supporter would like to offer up. Talk about in-KIND donating!

35. 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

36. Positive Thinking Day (Sept 13)

This is the perfect excuse for a social media fundraiser! In classic chain mail style, ask supporters to share the positivity or donate, and for those who share, have them continue the chain of positivity or donate, and so on. Think positive and think big to bring in lots of donations.

37. Rosh Hashanah (Sundown Oct 2 - Sundown Oct 4)

The first of the Jewish High Holy Days, and a great opportunity to show donors exactly what a $36 donation will achieve toward your mission. Alternatively, ask for peer-to-peer fundraisers to get 36 donations.

38. Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 - Oct 15)

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates Hispanic Americans who have and continue to inspire others, achieve their goals, and contribute the rich tapestry of American society.

39. Oktoberfest (Sept 21 - Oct 6)

Bring on the beer, schnitzel, and weiner dog races! In fact... with you hosting a dachshund dash, you've got a WEINER of a fundraiser on your hands. Hold a simple festival with grilled (veggie) dogs, beer sales, and the cutest dog competition known to man.

40. Miniature Golf Day (Sept 21)

This fundraiser is a hole-in-one. Partner with a mini-golf course to put on a Gulliver Golf fundraiser where you question whether the golf is mini or the donors are giants. By shifting your perspective and playing a little pretend, your donors can be big and give big.

41. International Day of Sign Languages (Sept 23)

Worldwide, there are more than 70 million deaf people using over 300 fully-fledged sign languages, distinct in syntax and structure from spoken languages. Since language is a bedrock of culture, and since words have meaning, amplifying the natural expressions of millions of people is pretty powerful.

42. Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival) (Sept 16-18)

Provide your community with an opportunity to learn and celebrate during this Korean harvest festival that focuses on the twin bounties of food and family. Yum and Yay!

43. National Coffee Day (Sept 29)

Our favorite day of the year. We say sell donuts and strong coffee, then celebrate with like-minded donors at an all-day dance party.

Looking for back to school fundraising ideas? Check out our school fundraising ideas blog post!

More outdoor fundraising ideas for the summer

If you haven't stepped foot outside for an under-the-sun summer fundraiser, there are countless reasons to get onboard with these outdoor fundraiser ideas.

44. Organize a Charity Water Balloon Fundraiser Fight

At some point during the summer, we’re all looking for a way to cool off. So when the temps start rising, it’s time to organize a charity water balloon fundraiser fight! While you can invite your whole community to sign up, we think this could also be the perfect corporate engagement opportunity for your corporate donors who want a fun employee engagement opportunity (and a chance to soak the CEO!)

45. A Classic Car Wash

Throw it waaaay back with this car wash and ask local classic car owners to bring their babies for a loving handwash. Advertise a Car Wash and Show to get people to come with their own cars. If your neighborhood fire department has an old fire engine that you can wash, that’s another tried-and-true way to get families to your event.

46. Show an Outdoor Movie

When the weather’s nice, people love packing a picnic and heading to an outdoor movie. Consider hosting a movie as an outdoor fundraising event for your nonprofit this summer. You can also sell snacks and drinks to raise a little extra on top of the ticket prices.

47. Pet Pool Party

Find a common area like a park or a neighborhood meeting spot and fill baby pools with water and ice. Bring lots of treats and towels and invite the neighborhood dogs for a refreshing day of play.

Cool indoor fundraising ideas for hot summer days

48. Video Game Marathon

The gaming-knowledgeable among us can lead the charge on this one. Run it as a peer-to-peer fundraiser: gamers get their friends, families, and foes to donate a set amount for every hour they keep up the good gaming (in their nice, cool basements?) Participants can meet up in a MMO or play their own faves. Even better? Get a Twitch livestream going to spread the love.

49. Icebox Delivery

Deliver icy cool treats to supporters’ homes—ice cream for the lil ones and frozen cocktail mixers for the age appropriate. (Frozen mojito ice cubes! Freeze combined lime juice, simple syrup, and crushed mint, and deliver with a bottle of seltzer. Recipient just adds rum!)

50. Sweat Savers

Ask supporters to turn down their air conditioners for a day, a week, a month! and donate what they would have paid their local electric company. Bonus, this is great for the environment, too!

51. Chilled Brunch

Have a brunch where everything is on ice. Think vodka ice luge, shrimp and oysters on ice, gazpacho, and those fancy schmancy ice cubes you see on TikTok.

52. Indoor Fix-It Days

When it's super hot, no one wants to be outside cleaning gutters or wrenching under a car or mowing the grass. Fix the stuff inside the house where it's cool! Ask a few of your handiest supporters to lend their expertise in fixing the inside doors, floors, and mores of your clientele or community members with mobility or accessibility issues.

53. Good Ol' Fashioned Call-A-Thon

If we're gonna be lounging around inside, let's make some calls! Ask your supporter with the coldest AC to allow you to host a Ring 'n' Refresh. Volunteers come by, cool off with beverages and snacks, and make a few calls on your nonprofit's behalf. Drop In 'n' Donate. Freshen 'n' Fundraise. Hydrate 'n' Holler.

Summer fundraisers ideas: Key takeaways

  • Take advantage of the great weather and summer sunshine—a fun run is cost-effective, healthy, and full of Vitamin D!
  • Summer activities and fundraisers help keep kids on summer break occupied... which turns parents into happy donors.
  • Refreshments like lemonade, popsicles, and ice cream are always a big hit when you use any of these summer fundraiser ideas.
  • Stay safe by making sure that you and your donors are hydrated, slathered with sunscreen, and taking lots of breaks in the shade.

Outdoor fundraiser ideas FAQs

How can I make money in the summer?

Classic ways to make money in the summer are to sell refreshments like lemonade, popsicles, and ice cream. Other excellent summer moneymakers are car washes, pool parties, and group camping trips. Lead a hike, plan a beach day, throw a happy hour with tropical drinks, or show an outdoor movie.

What is the easiest fundraiser?

The easiest way to fundraise is getting your community involved. Partner with local businesses or the fire department and hold a fundraiser online as well as in person. Use your network to splash it over socials and keep the fundraiser running until you hit your goal!

What are the most profitable fundraisers?

Pump up fundraisers' profits by going online. Fancy, splashy galas and balls are exciting, but they cost a lot. Digital fundraisers, specifically peer-to-peer fundraisers, cost less and are far more profitable. Try asking your supporters to fundraise on your behalf—you'll see your profits go through the roof.

With so many fundraising ideas, we know you’re about to make this a blockbuster summer for fundraising!

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