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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Bishop

6 Unconventional Fundraising Event Ideas

Ready to get creative with your nonprofit fundraising events and say goodbye to the formal gala model?

We’ve been inspired by the creative thinking of nonprofits when it comes to raising funds. Here are some of our favorite examples, plus ideas from our team for unique fundraising ideas that shine:

Bring Art Into the Mix

Elevate your luncheon or evening fundraiser by calling on the help of artists. Incorporating customized and thoughtful pieces into your event gives it a unique flare while making a memorable statement.

Ladies at Empty Bowls Fundraiser
Photo credit:

Empty Bowls does an outstanding job of incorporating art into their fundraising. Over the past decade, Arizona potters have crafted more than 11,000 bowls that have raised almost $800,000 to help feed people experiencing hunger and food insecurity in the community.

This annual fundraiser is an opportunity to appreciate pottery while enjoying a meal with community members.

Think Outside the Box

Flash tattoos have been a popular trend on Friday the 13th, but this summer parlors across the country are using their skills to fundraise for an important cause.

Golden Rule Tattoo in Phoenix is one participant offering themed tattoos in support of the National Network of Abortion Funds. Proceeds go to the nonprofit, and the messages tattooed on supporters will live on with them as a reminder of their dedication to the cause.

Get Outdoors

Cloth & Flame Red Rocks Dinner Event

Most of us spend plenty of time sitting at our desks inside. Take your fundraiser to the outdoors for a refreshed version of a traditional gala.

Arizona-based events company Cloth & Flame can help you plan the most aesthetically-pleasing, picture-perfect event that speaks to your goals and brand.

People are willing to pay big bucks for one-of-a-kind experiences, and we can’t imagine anything better than dinner in Sedona overlooking the Red Rocks.

Partner with a local winery or brewery for a ‘tasteful’ fundraiser

You know what they say, where there’s a wine there’s a way

Make it a local event your supporters can’t miss by partnering with a winery or brewery for a tasting. Or, even better, add a philanthropic business to the mix that aligns with your mission.

Think BIG clients Molina Fine Jewelers frequently hosts fundraisers for nonprofits. Recently, Molina partnered with Adobe Road Winery to host a fundraiser for Cryotherapy for Veterans at their Phoenix boutique.

Events like this attract donors from many different circles. Plus, who doesn’t love a toast for a good cause?

Align with a Holiday Event

Photo credit: News-Herald

Spooky season is creeping up on us, and with it comes opportunities to partner with existing holiday events or create your own!

We love this example of raising funds through a Zombie Walk. The Wyandotte Zombie Pub Crawl brings together hundreds of people in Michigan for a fun event for a good cause. Event organizers, Be Well My Friends, have donated the net proceeds for the past six years (over $62,000) to the “Yes, Ma’am” program, which bi-annually provides breast screenings and free mammograms to under-insured women.

Our team is now envisioning pet costume parades, holiday trivia, or maybe even a Valentine’s matchmaking fundraiser?

Don’t Sleep On NFTs

For those that need a refresher on all these techy terms: NFTs are non-fungible tokens. These digital assets are rising in popularity by the minute, and it’s not too late to get your nonprofit involved.

If your attendees are interested in art, technology, marketing, legal trademark issues, or fundraising, there’s a good chance they’re thinking about NFTs, according to MeetingsNET.

This online fundraising event idea takes some digital know-how, but here's a resource from Charity Navigator to help along the way.


However your event unfolds, Think BIG is here to support you with our graphic design, marketing and event planning expertise! Get in touch.

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