Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins has more than 15 years of experience in media, design, and content marketing and is a freelance writer and designer.

Apr 19, 2022
Published on: GiveWP
2 min read

Nonprofit fundraisers have a whole new look for summer 2022. With a mix of in-person events and virtual options there are more ways than ever to create a great fundraiser.

These summer fundraising ideas can help jumpstart planning to create a fun way to raise money during the hotter months of the year. The common thread is that every one of these options can connect to your website and online donation platform to maximize impact.

Float for a Good Cause

Everyone loves to play in the water to beat the heat. Plan a summer fundraiser on a local waterway or at a pool. Bonus points for a fun factor by creating a flotilla-style event where everyone hits the water on their favorite inflatable.

Accept donations at the door (or river put-in) to support your mission and create challenges that floaters can buy into. Challenges might include best dressed contest or most creative float.

You can also create team pages and fundraising goals for groups. (The biggest donor group gets to pick a local celebrity’s floating device or earns first dibs at the food truck line post event.)

Steps to Set Up This Fundraiser

  • Create an event page on your website. Don’t forget to add a donation form in the sidebar!
  • Include a countdown timer until the live event to generate even more excitement.
  • Partner with food and beverage vendors to sell at the event and split a portion of the proceeds with your organization.
  • Send marketing emails leading up to the event, with goals for donors, team information, and swag item information.
  • With an outdoor event, don’t forget to schedule a rain date.
  • Don’t forget to put out physical donation jars or have someone on site to accept online credit card donations the day of the event.

Host an Adult (and Kids) Field Day

A field day with classic outdoor games brings out the kid in everyone. Classic games don’t require a lot of equipment and can generate a lot of buzz for your organization as an instant hit of a summer fundraiser.

Field day activities can be for any age – consider adult, kids, and mixed options – and offer options for individuals or teams.

All it takes is a big, outdoor open space and a few basic items to play games and compete for bragging rights in games such as:

  • Sack race
  • 50-yard dash or relay
  • Pool noodle baseball
  • Ring toss
  • Cornhole
  • Tug of war

Steps to Set Up This Fundraiser

  • Create an event page on your website.
  • Use the Form Field Manager with a text area to ask donors what events they want to participate in.
  • Use the GiveWP Donation Upsell if you have a WooCommerce store where people can purchase your cause swag to wear at the event.
  • Create donation challenges to help participant snag “cheats” for their events, such as an extra person for tug of war, a head-start during a race, or extra turns during other events.
  • Send marketing emails leading up to the event, with goals for donors, team information, and swag item information.
  • With an outdoor event, don’t forget to schedule a rain date.
  • Remember to bring physical donation jars or have someone on site to accept online credit card donations the day of the event.

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Plan a Summer Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt can be a fun way to bring people together for an event without a large gathering. Perfect for summer fundraising, scavenger hunts can be a fun way to help participants and donors learn more about your organization and ties to the community while engaging in a fun activity.

The new spin on this old idea is to offer a limited set of clues and “auction” additional clues to donors. The greater the donation, the better the clue!

Steps to Set Up This Fundraiser

  • Create a page for the event on your website with a basic set of clues and the rules.
  • Include the donation form with a recurring donation option (for bonus clues for recurring donations).
  • Include the extra clues based on donation levels on your donation receipt.
  • Map out relevant scavenger hunt items that connect to your organization.
  • Create a hunt that includes physical items and stops that require participants to track using a hashtag on social media. (This can help engage non-participants as well.)
  • Create and schedule an email campaign.
  • Set a range of dates for the event so that you can build on the online buss surrounding previous weeks.
  • Schedule social media posts throughout the fundraiser using your hashtag.
  • Follow up with social media posts and email blasts to donors showing the completed the hunt.

Virtual Coffee Klatch

If your community misses the opportunity to sit down in a coffee shop together, why not create the next best thing? Host an online event to sip a cup of coffee, chat with your community, and share some great coffee and baked goods recipes.

Steps to Set Up this Fundraiser

  • Create a form for your virtual coffee klatch.
  • Choose a date for your coffee chat, and make sure to include the date and description for the event in the Form Content Area of your GiveWP form.
  • Use a great coffee and baked goods photo for your featured image that makes your donors practically smell the coffee brewing when they see it.
  • Use a single-level donation for your sales. (Enable custom amounts in case your coffee drinkers are feeling generous.)
  • Enable the Form Field Manager with a text area to ask your donors to contribute a recipe for baked goods or a favorite coffee preparation.
  • Customize your donation receipt with the online link for the event, and a reminder of the date and time. Think about adding a few great baked goods recipes to really personalize the campaign, or links where your donors can purchase free-trade coffee online.
  • Create and schedule an email campaign. Include the recipes and coffee ideas submitted through your form.
  • Schedule social media posts throughout the fundraiser. Use fun sayings like “The day begins with coffee…” and fill in the blank with fun things your staff comes up with.
  • Be sure to start the event on time, and encourage everyone to share what they’re drinking and eating, any great coffee tips, and any other conversation starters that work for your group.
  • Follow up with social media posts and email blasts to donors showing them the screen shots of the online event. Include all the recipes and coffee prep ideas that your donors submitted through the form.

Online Balloon Fight

There’s nothing like a summer balloon war to cool you off! Here’s your chance to throw a virtual water balloon at a friend or family member all for a good cause, without the mess and cleanup.

This fundraiser will use the Tributes add-on of GiveWP to send an e-card to “hit” your target with a virtual water balloon, challenging them to send one to someone else. The more people engage in the balloon war, the more money you’ll make.

Steps to Set Up this Fundraiser

  • Create a form for your virtual balloon war.
  • Explain in your Form Content Area how it works. “Send a virtual water balloon to someone, and challenge them to send one, too!”
  • Use a single-level donation for your sales. (Enable custom amounts in case your balloon tossers are feeling generous.)
  • Enable the Tributes function for the form. Change the Tribute Text to “Your balloon target.” Make sure you’ve enabled e-cards.
  • Add a great water balloon image to your e-card, and change the text to reflect the competitive nature of the balloon war. “The {amount} donation that {donor_name} made to the “{form_title}” fund in your name will help our cause and be put to good use making a difference – and, of course, they had fun tossing a water balloon at you!”
  • Create and schedule an email campaign. Include the fun images and summer sayings like “Cool off. Throw a virtual balloon. Help us raise some funds in the process.”
  • Schedule social media posts throughout the fundraiser. Make it fun.
  • Follow up with social media posts and email blasts to donors showing them how much you raised in the process.

Have a Chili Cook-Off

This fundraiser engages your at-home chefs in a virtual cook-off. Each cook prepares their own chili, photographs it, and shares their recipe for your fundraiser.

We’ll use the GiveWP Donation Form Grid to create this competition. Each form corresponds to a different chef’s submission. Your donors will “vote” for the best image/recipe combination with their donations.

Steps to Set Up this Fundraiser

  • Create a form for each chili submission.
    • Use the submitted photo for the featured image for each form.
    • Set a donations goal for each form (set the color to red for the “heat” of the chili).
    • Explain that all money raised through the voting will be used by your organization to further your mission.
  • Create a form grid for your forms on a fundraising page dedicated to this campaign.
  • Include the recipes (or a link to them) on your donation receipt.
  • Once one of the forms has reached its goal, announce the winner and then tell people to keep voting for second and third place, etc.
  • Create and schedule an email campaign.
  • Schedule social media posts throughout the fundraiser.
  • Follow up with social media posts and email blasts to donors showing the completed project, and links to the recipes online.
  • Send the winner a “golden spoon” as the winner of the contest.

Which Summer Fundraiser Will You Choose?

Summer is just around the corner! Make sure your summer fundraising ideas are out of this world. If your favorite summer fundraising idea isn’t listed here, let us know what it is in the comments.

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