• AmFund

20 Engaging Fundraising Ideas for 2020

It is never too early to start planning for your fundraising events! In honor of the new year, DipJar and AmFund have partnered together to bring you twenty engaging fundraising ideas that may help your organization raise funds to support its mission in 2020. 




1.          Silent Auction

Silent auctions can be a fun and worthwhile way of raising money for your organization. Don’t be fooled though! While silent auctions aren’t as fast-paced as live auctions, they still require plenty of planning in advance. Since the bidding during silent auctions is conducted on paper and not out-loud, there’s no need to have an auctioneer present but you will need exciting items to auction off! Some other things to remember are keeping a master list of all the items, recruiting volunteers to help set up, and training volunteers to monitor and close tables at the appointed time who can also answer questions. Sound like a lot? Reach out to us at AmFund at amfund.org or dipjar at dipjar.com for help! 


2.          Live Auction

Unlike silent auctions, live auctions are conducted out loud by a professional auctioneer and full of high-energy audience participation! Just like any other auction, there are some things that you should consider when planning for a live auction. You will want to seek the help of a professional benefit auctioneer--trust us it makes a difference. Once you have secured an auctioneer,  the priority should be on gathering lucrative auction items. Reach out to your board and see what they would want to bid on. Travel opportunities and other “exclusive” items are always hot! Reach out to AmFund at amfund.org for help with your auction. The goal is to have a very select number of items that most everyone wants to bid on, this creates the ever-so sought after bidding wars at events and raises the most funds! If the auction is widely appealing and memorable, that could not only lead to more bidders but could also attract more donors for future events. 


3.          Raffle

Raffles can be a casual alternative or addition to an auction and can be used at all different types of fundraising events--from 5ks, to golf tournaments, to black tie galas!. Before you host your raffle, you should check the local government regulatory agencies to make sure your organization can legally hold a raffle. Some states may fully prohibit raffles while others place regulations on how many raffles non-profit organizations can conduct per year and the types of prizes that are allowed. Need help with an exciting raffle item? Reach out to AmFund at amfund.org. Need help processing all of those raffle ticket sales? Reach out to dipjar at dipjar.com.


4.          Prize Wheel

A fun interactive way to distribute prizes is through a prize wheel! Here participants play a flat fee to spin and win some sort of small prize. Typically the prize should tie back to your organization so people are reminded of your mission and cause. 


5.          Wine Pull

For a wine pull bottles of wine varying in type and price are collected, wrapped, and displayed for attendees to purchase at random. This fundraising component could be a great opportunity to get a local winery involved by either donating or sponsoring your wine pull. The winery could also provide “Vineyard Volunteers” to help run the wine pull. Try contacting local wineries and vineyards to ask if they would partner with your charity by donating a couple of cases/bottles. Be sure to thank the wine donors/sponsors who made the event possible on the day of the wine pull.


6.          Mystery Box Pull

A mystery box pull is very similar to a wine pull, boxes that have surprise prizes inside of them are collected, wrapped, and are placed at a table. Attendees can purchase a box at random, and keep whatever prize is inside. Prizes can range in value and have boxes purchased at a flat rate. Event attendees love opening boxes and seeing what they and their friends each won! Alert your attendees--this can sometimes get competitive and sell out quick! Be sure to get your boxes early! 


7.          Dessert Grab

This is when desserts (beautiful and unique, typically made by board or committee members) are sold or auctioned to each event table as their dessert for the evening. Usually it can be done as a race and the first person from each table to purchase and grab the dessert of their choice wins! 


8.          Bingo Cards

If you’re planning on playing bingo, bingo cards can be a very simple way of fundraising for your organization. You could either sell an entry package, which would include entry to the event and a bingo book with bingo sheets for each game or you could just sell bingo books once the participants have entered.


9.          Centerpieces

For this idea, decorative centerpieces would be sold for a certain amount at the end of an evening gala. This works great if the centerpieces are related to your mission or made by those you serve. EX: clay pots of plants beautifully painted by students of an afterschool program sold as centerpieces after the fundraising dinner is over for $45 each. 


10.        Heads or Tails

Usually done after a live auction, where necklaces, rings, or trinkets are sold to guests to raise funds and identify their participation.. Guests can purchase as many of these trinkets to earn “lives.” When it’s time for the game, participants will stand and select either “heads” or “tails” by putting their hands on their heads—or their tails! The emcee or auctioneer will then flip a coin and the participants whose choice matches the coin flip get to stay standing. The auctioneer continues asking participants to select “heads” or “tails,” then flipping the coin, eliminating more players until only one player is left standing. This is your winner! This is a great way to get donors to “dip” in the DipJar at your annual event! 


11.        Chance Auction

A chance auction is a combination of a raffle and an auction where ticket buyers can choose which prize to focus on. Where raffles have all prizes coming out of one hat, a chance auction has each prize in its own hat. In a chance auction, bidders buy tickets, which are chances to win items and bid them on any item they want by placing one or more tickets in that items hat.


12.        Super Silent Auction

A high value silent auction that is done for only a brief amount of time (7-10 minutes), near the close of the evening. It is fast, and made up of valuable items hence the name“Super Silent”. You will want to make sure to advertise about this in advance and “tease” your auction items so donors come ready to bid! A great example of this is an exclusive travel auction. Reach out to the team at AmFund for help with a Super Silent Auction.


13.        Wine Toss

Imagine the “grown up” version of a ring toss! Set up your wine bottles in a triangle and let attendees purchase tries to ring the bottle! Pay per throw and the bottle that a participant’s ring lands on is theirs to drink.


14.        Design Challenge

A design challenge can be an interesting way to incorporate custom merchandise as well as boost interest in your campaign. For this challenge, an organization would ask its donors and supporters to submit their t-shirt design ideas for your next event. Once you’ve established a winning design, you can order these t-shirts and have them up for sale at your event! (Even better if you get the t-shirts or printing donated by a local print shop--free advertising for them--free shirts for you!)


15.        Dip for a Cause (for the fund a need ex: $300 to feed a family for a month)

For this idea, participants could use a Dipjar that’s been set up at their table to donate for a certain cause. An emcee could list different causes throughout the night, and interested participants could simply donate via Dipjar.


16.        Funny Money at a Casino Night

Participants purchase “funny money” to gamble with. They’ll purchase a set amount of chips or funny money and use it to play various casino games throughout the night.


17.        Bail out of “Jail”

This game is typically done at Grad Bash fundraisers for school festivals. A person of authority, whether it be a principal , president, teacher, etc, is put into a “jail” and has to be bailed out with donations for the fundraiser. This is fun and interactive for participants of all ages! Bonus when the competition starts to get intense and the “bail” starts to get set higher--raising more funds for your cause!


18.        Gift Card Grab

In a gift card grab, gift cards are concealed in envelopes and donors can purchase envelopes for a set price at random. The value of  gift cards will all be above their purchase price, so the game stays enticing to participants. It is best to reach out to local establishments to get gift cards of various values donated. This gives the establishment recognition and free advertising, while at the same time supporting your cause! 


19.        Gems in a Glass

For Gems in a Glass, champagne glasses with fake gemstones inside are sold to various attendees. One lucky glass will have a real gemstone in it. This is a great way to engage with a local jeweler. You can invite the jeweler as a thank you and recognize them the evening of your fundraiser. 


20.        Mystery Keys

During mystery keys, a certain number of keys will be sold throughout the night. One of those keys will open the box which contains a coveted prize. Put the keys on lanyards (*bonus sponsorship opportunity) that participants may wear around their neck.