fundraising ideas

At a loss for ideas? Look no further! Here are the A to Z's of options to help you start your donation campaign.


Host an auction. If you don't have a big ticket item donated, that's no problem. Auction off services like yard-work, babysitting, cleaning, or even a home cooked gourmet meal!


Nothing like an old-fashioned bake sale to bring in some dough.


If raising funds doesn't seem to fit your workplace or organization, consider holding a charity drive
and asking people to donate nonperishable food items, lightly worn or new clothing, or other needs for your local charities. Ask the United Way staff what the most pressing needs are for ideas.


Going door to door in your own neighborhood will help drive home the fact that these donations will impact your own community.


An envelope fundraiser is great to do at work. Simply number one hundred envelopes from 1 - 100 and leave them on a table. People can pick up whichever numbered envelopes they wish--but they need to return it with that amount inside. For example, Envelope #1 would only need $1.00, but Envelope #100 would need $100.00.


Food truck or restaurant partnerships are an easy way to bring in a lot of donations. Ask a favorite local eatery to donate a portion of their profits from one night's sales to your cause. Then promote that night like crazy!


If you are attempting to bring in top dollar donations, a formal gala event will appeal to those types of donors. Ask for donated catering, volunteers, and decoration and make it a night to remember.


A Heart chain is easy for anyone to do. Cut out many paper hearts, and everyone who donates gets to sign their name to one. Then make a chain--the more the chain grows, the more people will want to be a part of it!


Incentives can go a long way--if you can't offer physical prizes, offer things like pizza parties, dress down days, or even a day off school or work if a certain goal is met by a deadline.


Give people jars to collect all their loose change for a certain number of time. Offer a prize to the person with the highest dollar amount at the end for added competition.


Host a karaoke contest. All you need is a karaoke machine, one prize for the best singer, and a crowd. Charge an entry fee and let people sing their hearts out!


Go back to your roots with a good old fashioned lemonade stand. Don't have time to stir a bunch of lemonade on the sidewalk? Not a problem. Use an online crowdfunding platform, like CaringBridge or GoFundMe, to create a virtual lemonade stand. It may be simple but the idea is sweet!


Matching Fundraisers are excellent for a workplace or school with a willing president or principal. Whatever dollar amount the general population of your organization can raise will be matched by your business or school, bringing in twice the donation you aimed for!


Network--use the people you know. Don't be afraid to ask for opportunities or donations. Share why you're passionate and invite people to be a part of the mission.


Create an Obstacle Course for people to participate in for a small fee. The great thing about an obstacle course is that it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. With the right creative minds on the project, you may not have to spend a dime--using things that you can find around the house or the office.


Pi Day (Pie Day!) gets everyone in on the fun. Nominate or appoint a "victim," and for donations, let people take a turn trying to hit them with a pie right in the kisser!


A Quiet Campaign to stop the music! Blast an annoying song through the PA system at your workplace, home, office, church, school--wherever--and refuse to turn it off until you meet the donation goal amount.


One of the most classic fundraising ideas is organizing a Run/Walk for the community. Invite people to enter the race, commit to a number of miles, and ask their friends and family to sponsor them for each mile they complete.


Ask people to donate their used shoes and host a shoe sale, donating your profits to your campaign.


Sell LIVE UNITED T-Shirt Note pad sheets for $1 and offer to color them and hang them up in your office or at your front desk. OR Set up a texting campaign through a program like Mobile Giving or Sumotext, allowing people to donate by simply sending a text message.


Just like the shoe sale idea, ask people to donate their used books and host a used book sale, donating all of your profits to your campaign.


Put your heads together and brainstorm a Viral Challenge--consider how popular the Ice Bucket Challenge was!


Penny Wars are a great way to collect donations, with the added bonus of some healthy competition. Just like giving is its own reward, winning can be, too!


Give-it-Up or X-it-Out! Sacrifice a small joy--like eating out, sodas, or a new dress--and put all the money you would spend there into the charity. Challenge and inspire your friends, family, and community members to take on this sacrifice together, and set a certain amount of time to participate.


Invite everyone in the neighborhood to participate in a community yard sale. Participants can either pay for a space on the yard, or agree to donate a portion of their sales.


Host a Pizza Party! Get people together talking about the cause, the mission, and where the donations will go--sometimes just starting the conversation can make all the difference when it comes to raising funds.

learn how your donations help real families in our community.

watch video

United Way is grateful to our sponsors