Outside of the time leading up to and including the year-end fundraising season, the months of April and May generate the highest donation volume, according to 2017 Classy data. To prepare yourself for a stellar spring, we’ve compiled 25 spring fundraising ideas to help you make the most of this lucrative time of year.
1. Spring Cleaning Garage Sale
Ask supporters to donate items to your organization’s “garage sale” that they’d ordinarily give away or sell. Set up shop at your office or a well-trafficked public space, and sell items in exchange for donations.
2. March Madness Open House
An estimated 70 million Americans create March Madness brackets. Invite your community to join you at a local watering hole for a college basketball game screening. Set an affordable donation amount for admission, bring along marketing materials to distribute, and use the game as an opportunity to meet supporters face to face.
3. Fashion Show
The fashion industry releases new designs two seasons in advance—if only we could all be so ahead of the game. Take a cue from savvy sartorialists and host a fashion show. Partner with local vendors, reach out to universities for designers, recruit volunteers for models, and charge for entry. You can even have each designer or model create peer-to-peer fundraising pages and compete against each other for a prize.
4. April Fool’s Day Fundraiser
Forty percent of people are adamant participants in April Fool’s pranks. Tap into the fun of April 1 by partnering with local comedians or radio hosts to set up a “you donate and we prank” style campaign. Start by sending an email appeal to your supporters and explain the premise: “In exchange for a contribution, X comedian will call a friend for a prank phone call.” The larger the donation, the more “severe” the prank.
5. Easter Egg Hunt
Set up at a public park and charge for registration. Sell tickets ahead of time to ensure you have enough supplies for all participating kids.
6. Passover Dinner
Eating can be tricky when you’re observing Passover. Ease the stress for many by hosting a dinner full of acceptable foods and traditional recipes. Partner with a local restaurant and charge per plate.
7. Mother’s Day Breakfast
Most mothers look forward to their special day as an opportunity to rest. Give moms a hand and host a fancy breakfast where they won’t have to lift a finger or eat toddler-made pancakes topped with Gummy Bears. Partner with a local restaurant and sell tickets ahead of time.
A mother’s day campaign could also be a fitting idea if your organization’s founding story is tied to an individual woman. For example, the Queen of Hearts Foundation runs a Mother’s Day campaign to honor the woman that inspired their organization’s work.
8. 5K or Run/Walk/Ride Event
As the weather improves, people will be excited for an opportunity to get outdoors after being cooped up all winter. Still dealing with snow? Try an indoor treadmill-a-thon or Spin-a-thon®. Invite each registrant to create their own personal fundraising page and use prizes to incentivize them to raise as much money as possible.
9. High Tea Party
This spring fundraising idea involves renting a space to host high tea. Sell tickets in exchange for a seat, tea, scones and finger sandwiches. Be sure to ask attendees to wear their Sunday best.
10. Flower Delivery
If spring is known for anything, it’s the sudden sprinkle of color as flowers begin to bloom again. Partner with a local florist and sell flowers for pick-up and delivery. Early May is a great time for this fundraiser since Mother’s Day is the biggest holiday for the floral industry.
11. Earth Day Hike
Hiking is a great outdoor activity, but it can be even better when it’s organized as a group event. Have supporters register for your hike ahead of time and create their own personal fundraising pages. On the day-of, provide guides and goodie bags, and award swag to top fundraisers.
12. Arbor Day Community Garden
A community garden is a plot of land, public or private, that is gardened by a group of individuals. Find an available location and ask your supporters to fundraise for the opportunity to a plot in the garden. If you have, say, 10 plots, set a fundraising minimum and then award plots to the 10 people who raise the most money. To give others a chance to use the garden, make it an annual event and renew the competition each year.
13. St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl
This spring fundraising idea is a Classy favorite: Plan a walkable route and partner with local bars for a pub crawl. Charge for registration and incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising by setting each of your participants up with a page to appeal to their network. To up the camaraderie, give your crawl a costume theme, provide T-shirts or gear for each fundraising level, and incorporate games for prizes along the way.
14. NBA or NHL Playoffs Viewing Party
Spring is an exciting time for sports fans. As the NBA and NHL gear up for the playoffs, host a viewing party as a chance for your community to support their favorite team and a great cause. Partner with a local bar to get part of their proceeds donated to your organization, or sell tickets to get in the door.
15. Golf Tournament
Golfers anxiously await the opportunity to get back on the green in the spring. Host a charity golf tournament and raise the stakes for entry. Set fundraising requirements and appeal to local businesses to secure prizes for the lowest scoring participants. For their sixth annual “Drives for Rides” golf tournament, The Emilio Nares Foundation grants participants a game of golf, a cart, lunch, dinner, drinks, a reception, and prizes throughout the day.
16. Spring Fling Dance
This spring fundraising idea is inspired by the popular high school dance. Rent out a large space, ask for donations in exchange for tickets, connect with vendors to donate snacks and drinks, and host a night of good old-fashioned fun. Want to put a spin on it? Choose a spring party theme that will guarantee great costumes, like 80’s prom, casino night, or masquerade ball.
17. Spa Day Contest
For some, spring weather screams rain, grey, and mud. Change that mindset by attracting supporters with mud masks from the comfort of an indoor spa. Partner with local facilities for donated services and then incorporate online fundraising by running a contest. You could award services to top peer-to-peer fundraisers, or enter those who donate to your crowdfunding campaign into a drawing.
18. Plant Sale
In the spring, gardeners gear up to get their plants in the ground. Many plant seeds indoors in the colder months so they’re ready to transport into the soil when the ground gets warmer. Tomato and pepper plants are often started indoors in March, while several varieties of vegetables can withstand spring frosts.
Coordinate with local farmers or gardeners to host a yard-to-table plant sale. Post fliers around the neighborhood and email your constituents that you’ll be selling fresh veggies and are welcoming donations.
19. Mowing for a Cause
For much of the country, spring is the season of cleanup. Stray sticks and stones have wandered into yards, and the grass—having finally escaped the snow—looks unruly as ever. Take the burden off of your community and advertise a lawn maintenance and cleanup service in exchange for donations. Recruit landscapers to volunteer their services.
20. Spring Break Volunteer Trips
Does your organization often work with volunteers? High schools and colleges typically schedule their breaks around the Easter holiday, which can fall in March or April. Plan an excursion that allows students to apply their time and money to giving back.
21. Bird House-Building Contest
Chirping birds are all around this time of year, and people are building and shopping for houses and seed for their backyards. Get creative with this spring fundraising idea and run a wood-working contest. Set each registrant up with a peer-to-peer fundraising page and ask them to secure “votes” for their house in the form of donations.
22. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Seminar
This best-selling book by Marie Kondo instructs readers on how to declutter your home. Use the book as inspiration and design a seminar that helps people adopt a “spring-cleaning” mindset all year long. Sell tickets for seats and ask for additional donations in exchange for food and refreshments.
23. Petting Zoo Day
Partner with a local zoo or farmer to set up a child’s spring-time dream come true. An “animal babies” theme is perfect for this time of year. Sell tickets and have your community come out to see ducklings, lambs, bunnies, and more.
24. Beach/Grounds Clean-Up
To make it even more dynamic, couple this spring fundraising idea with another activity, like a barbecue or outdoor concert. Ask for donations and give your supporters a chance to feel like they physically made a difference and moved you closer to achieving your mission.
25. Field Day Games
This popular high school event involves teams competing in a slew of activities such as a three-legged race or game of basketball. Have teams register together and provide them with fundraising pages. Award prizes for most raised, activity winners, or the best uniforms.
When you create fundraising events and campaigns that tie to seasonal experiences, you give people a relevant opportunity to connect with your organization. What’s more is that once you hold a successful seasonal event, you have the opportunity to make it an annual occurrence.
Have something to add to the list of spring fundraising ideas? Let us know in the comments below. Or for more inspiration, check out our other fundraising ideas.