6 Summer Fundraiser Ideas for 2021

Is your organization in the process of planning a summer fundraiser? While fundraising during COVID times seems challenging, having an engaging and accessible event is still possible. Plenty of options are available—from outdoor events to virtual fun. Many traditional fundraisers can also be tailored and still work with social distancing. Here are six pandemic-friendly fundraiser ideas for summer 2021.

Digital scavenger hunt 

Magnifying glass over keyboardIf you’re tired of traditional summer fundraisers but want something that’s flexible and safe, try a digital scavenger hunt. Give participants a specified time frame and a list of clues to search for online. This could include content on your organization’s website or social media accounts. Set up a form with a donation amount for the registration, and be sure to encourage your participants with prizes! Perhaps the overall winner could receive one of your products or services for free.


Virtual auction 

Auctioneer and audience at a fundraising eventA virtual auction can be tricky to set up, but it’s still a solid fundraising method. Start by soliciting items or services and creating online donation forms. We suggest working with a company like Clickbid Mobile Bidding to ensure bidding is made easy and done right with the latest technology. Once a time frame is established, inform participants that they have until the deadline to submit their donations. Posting updates on social media can be a good incentive, and giving the winners a social shout-out can be a fun addition, too. With a virtual auction, be up-front with donors and make them aware that a donation may not guarantee a prize. In addition, some places have certain laws or rules about auctions or similar events (like raffles), so verify that before you set up your event.

Drive-by parade 

Family inside vehicle in drive-by paradeChances are you’ve seen a parade of cars driving past someone’s house for a quick birthday celebration. Perhaps you’ve even been a part of one. If your organization is based at a physical location, you can adopt this same idea for a summer fundraiser. Ask participants to swing by during a specific time frame, keep donation buckets handy, and maybe encourage parade-goers to decorate their cars. Hand out popsicles, play some music, or try anything to have fun with it.


Car wash

Car wash materials for summer fundraiserThis classic budget-friendly fundraiser works for any summer. Round up some team members or volunteers and spend a couple hours outside with hoses and buckets. If you spread out around each car or take turns with responsibilities, everyone can stay safe. Be sure to advertise that the car wash is by donation. You’ll probably find that people are happy to support a good cause while leaving with a shiny car. But, the key to this fundraiser’s success is your enthusiasm! Being loud and energetic will attract drivers who are passing by. 

Drive-in movie 

Cars at a drive-in movieA drive-in movie works well for keeping everyone socially distant. This one may require some extra planning, but it’s great for getting families involved. Find a lot and set up a projector, screen, and speakers to play the movie. If this isn’t feasible, contact a local drive-in movie theater and see if you can use their space. Whether you charge for tickets up front or walk around and sell concessions during the event, there are multiple options for raising funds. Most importantly, be sure you have the proper rights to any movie before the screening. 

Outdoor fitness class

Outdoor fitness classGet outside and earn donations by hosting an outdoor fitness event. From yoga to Pilates to Zumba, the options are seemingly endless. Recruit a volunteer to lead the class and charge a fee for participants. Make sure you host the class somewhere with ample space that allows everyone to spread out. You can even make this a recurring event throughout the summer if you gain enough interest.

In short, summer is an ideal time to head outdoors while also allowing the option for virtual fun. This means that fundraisers are still possible this year, so fundraiser ideas shouldn’t have to be stressful. With any in-person event, just be sure to follow state guidelines and encourage everyone to stay safe. Here’s to putting “fun” in fundraisers this summer!

BONUS: A reverse fundraiser!

Reverse fundraiser summer 2021Watch out golf outings and galas—there is a new fundraiser model debuting this summer! A “reverse fundraiser” is a method that encourages donors to investigate if they or their companies have any unclaimed assets held by the state, commonly called escheatment. With over $50B in government custody, many, if not most people, businesses and nonprofits have some funding they can reclaim. So, where does the fundraising come in? Encourage attendees to donate a portion of their reclaimed assets to your cause! Check out the latest Hubcast episode for more information about the first annual reverse fundraiser and how this model could help you raise funds this summer.


Summer fundraiser ideas

Kayleigh Fongers

Kayleigh Fongers is the partner communications coordinator for Nonprofit Hub & Do More Good. She graduated from Calvin College (now Calvin University) with a BA in Writing. She has a background in journalism and a heart for nonprofit work.

June 3, 2021

You May Also Enjoy

Two professionals shake hands, representing a business and nonprofit partnership
Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Needing money is a common denominator among all nonprofits. We may do different things, serve different causes, or even operate in different areas of the world. However, we all need funds. Two of the tried-and-true methods for raising dough, sponsorships, and charitable donations, can cause a lot of confusion. Here’s your guide to keeping them straight and also maximizing their ability to support your mission.

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.