25+ Virtual Fundraising Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

As the world becomes more dependent on technology, so does philanthropy. In an era where many of our daily activities take place online, nonprofits and other charitable causes have embraced the digital realm to do more for their missions.

Connecting with supporters requires thoughtful virtual fundraising ideas that are just as engaging and meaningful as in-person ones. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of our favorite virtual fundraising activities that you can use for your strategy. Keep in mind that all of these ideas will rely on a well-designed and attractive website to market the various activities, so before you start fundraising, make sure your website is as impactful as possible.

Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or an individual looking to make a difference, the ideas we’ll share will inspire you to connect, engage, and drive change, all from the comfort of your digital device.

Ready to get started? Let’s explore our favorite virtual fundraising ideas!

But first, download our guide on building a digital fundraising strategy to help bring these great ideas to fruition.

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Use this virtual fundraising idea, eCards, to engage your supporters.


Card fundraisers are a great way to engage supporters to give to your organization. Between an attractive photo or design and a thoughtful message, cards help supporters feel connected to your nonprofit, especially if they’re sent by someone they know and love. Plus, supporters are more likely to hold on to particularly beautiful cards than regular fundraising letters, which will remind them of your organization. 

However, traditional cards and mail are slow processes, and printing physical cards can quickly become expensive. With eCards, you can send creative, artfully designed virtual cards straight to your supporters. Encourage your supporters to buy cards to send to their family and friends for holidays, birthdays, or to spread the word about your fundraiser. 

How to Get Started

eCard fundraisers require both assets for supporters to design their cards and a platform for your nonprofit to sell and host your eCards. Partner with an eCard fundraiser, then set up your platform and receive access to all of the tools you’ll need. 

Your platform should allow you to upload images and branded designs for your cards, and some may even come with a set of pre-existing images to get started. From there, you’ll just need to market your eCard fundraiser to your supporters. 

T-shirt fundraising is our favorite virtual fundraising idea.

T-Shirt Fundraising

While many nonprofits consider t-shirt fundraising to be a primarily in-person fundraising activity, it can be an incredibly effective online fundraising strategy as well. Using a t-shirt fundraising website, you can easily design and sell your custom t-shirts to your supporters for any special occasion or awareness campaign. At the end of the campaign, you collect the profits, and your supporters get their new custom shirts! Plus, you can pair your online t-shirt campaign with other virtual fundraising ideas like virtual 5Ks and peer-to-peer events.

If you’re unfamiliar with t-shirt fundraising for nonprofits, we recommend using a platform that has low donation fees, no upfront costs, and lets you keep 100% of the profits from your t-shirt sales. This way, your organization takes on zero risks when you launch a campaign!

How to Get Started

The best part about this fundraising idea, apart from how lucrative it can be, is that it’s very easy to get started. All you have to do is look for a t-shirt provider and start designing.

If you’re not a very good designer yourself, ask your supporters to get involved with the process. Offer a design contest where supporters can submit designs for your next t-shirt and vote on their favorites. Then, use the winning design for your fundraiser. Just make sure to also include your logo and brand colors!

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a virtual fundraising idea that enables supporters to raise money on your behalf.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a completely virtual fundraising idea that leverages the connections your supporters have with their friends and family in order to raise funds. Here’s how it works:

  1. You create the main fundraising page explaining the campaign.
  2. Supporters also create their own personalized fundraising pages to raise funds on behalf of your organization.
  3. You can coach supporters through fundraising, teaching them how to best reach out to friends, family, and new supporters.
  4. New supporters donate to the fundraiser.
  5. Your organization follows up with the new supporters, offering additional ways for them to continue getting involved.

This is another virtual fundraising campaign that can be easily combined with other opportunities, usually leading up to events.

How to Get Started

To get started with peer-to-peer fundraising, the first thing you need to do is find a P2P software provider. Then, choose a goal for your campaign and start designing your page. Don’t forget to share context for the campaign on the fundraising page and brand it to your nonprofit.

Craft a plan that you can use to coach your fundraisers who volunteer to work with you and raise money on behalf of the organization. Then, get started recruiting fundraisers and watch your revenue soar!

Virtual 5Ks help encourage an active lifestyle while raising money for your organization.

Virtual 5K

Nonprofits have been hosting 5K events for years. However, traditional events don’t allow for much social distancing. Therefore, many organizations have started hosting virtual alternatives, allowing supporters to run their own course, record their time and submit it to the host organization.

When you host this virtual fundraising event, you have several opportunities to raise funds. The first is that you can collect registration fees from your attendees. You can also sell race merchandise and other promotional goodies, or include the swag as a part of the registration fee.

Make sure to provide specific instructions for supporters to record and submit their times. If they need a specific app or technology to track their pace, make sure the process for obtaining and using the software is clear.

How to Get Started

To organize a virtual 5K event, you’ll need to first decide how you’re going to collect the times. If you go through a third-party site, they might have registration software built in that supporters can use to sign up for the event. If you decide to use the honor system and ask people to track their times on their own, you’ll need to look for a different registration option for people to sign up.

Any time you create a virtual event, you should also be sure to add it to your event calendar on your well-maintained website. From that event, you can link out to your registration page so that it’s easy for supporters to sign up for the opportunity.

Matching gifts are a virtual fundraising idea that ensure any corporate giving program funds are not left on the table.

Matching Gifts

Matching gifts are donations contributed by companies in support of their employees’ gifts to a charitable cause. For instance, a company may agree to match any donation over $25 that one of their employees makes to an eligible nonprofit.

These gifts provide an often untapped fundraising potential for nonprofits. While many individuals are eligible for these gifts, they’re often unaware of that eligibility, leaving the additional funds on the table.

Promote matching gift opportunities to your supporters and encourage them to research their eligibility for the programs.

How to Get Started

To get started with matching gifts, you should first download a matching gift database. You can embed this database directly on your online donation page or on your confirmation page, encouraging everyone who donates to also search for their employer to see if they have a matching program.

Market the matching gift opportunities to your supporters, being sure to define matching gifts and explain how to use the database. This way, supporters can find their own eligibility and take the next steps to secure the additional funds.

Volunteer grants are a powerful virtual fundraising idea for nonprofits who rely on volunteers.

Volunteer Grants

Corporate volunteer grants are a type of CSR program in which companies donate to organizations where employees regularly volunteer. Also known as “Dollars for Doers” programs, these corporate giving initiatives encourage employees at companies to give back to their communities through volunteerism.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. An individual volunteers at a nonprofit organization.
  2. The volunteer researches whether their employer offers volunteer grants and what the eligibility requirements are.
  3. If eligible, they let their company know where and how long they volunteered. This typically means logging hours in their company’s CSR platform.
  4. The company confirms the volunteer hours with your nonprofit.
  5. If everything is in line, they’ll donate to your organization.

Companies typically offer volunteer grants at an hourly rate. The longer someone volunteers, the more the business will donate. Whether you offer virtual volunteer opportunities or in-person ones, this is a solid virtual fundraising idea for any cause.

How to Get Started

You’ll need to work with companies to leverage this virtual fundraising idea. Start by researching your current volunteers’ eligibility. If you notice several volunteers work at the same company, check if that business offers volunteer grants. If not, you might reach out and encourage the business owners to launch a program.

Know that companies leverage dedicated CSR software to power these programs. Double the Donation’s employee engagement tools article explains that employees can track their volunteer hours and fill out volunteer grant requests within these portals. Encourage your volunteers to explore their companies’ CSR portals to find relevant guidelines and determine their eligibility for volunteer grants. In no time, this will transform into a reliable revenue stream for your nonprofit!

Crowdfunding campaigns present a virtual fundraising opportunity for you to raise small amounts from lots of people.

Crowdfunding Campaign

You’ve probably come across a few crowdfunding campaigns before, whether you’ve hosted one for your nonprofit, contributed to one online, or simply seen one advertised. The point of crowdfunding campaigns is to collect small donations from a large audience, allowing the fundraising dollars to compound and add up.

It’s estimated that 22.4% of crowdfunding campaigns meet or exceed their goals. Your organization can be one of that 22.4% with the right marketing strategy! You’re at an advantage when compared to some of the other campaigns out there as you have an entire marketing team on your side. Many of the existing campaigns don’t have that kind of backup.

All you have to do is create a fundraising page, then encourage your supporters and followers to share it among their friends and family. The more it’s shared, the more people will donate, and the more successful the campaign will be.

How to Get Started

The first thing you have to do to get started with your crowdfunding campaign is choose a platform on which to host your fundraiser. While GoFundMe is one of the most well-known platforms, you’re not limited to that one! Other potential platforms include Fundly, Bonfire, Kickstarter, Crowdraise, and more.

After you’ve chosen a platform, you’ll need to design your fundraising page. Explain your campaign, provide heartfelt information and a single image to reflect your mission, and make sure it’s easy to share the campaign with social sharing buttons.

Online auctions give a twist to a classic idea, making it a well-received virtual fundraising idea.

Online Auction

Online auctions are a classic fundraising event that nonprofits have used with success for years. In-person silent auctions often ran in the background of other events like galas and races. Even though you’ve moved online, you can still offer virtual auctions in a similar fashion!

Silent auctions are the best suited for the virtual realm, able to run for multiple days on end and directly from your supporter’s smartphones with mobile bidding.

Make sure to carefully consider your audience before you start procuring items for your auction, ensuring you choose the right ones to intrigue your participants. For example, you wouldn’t try to intrigue an elderly audience with prizes like helicopter rides or skiing packages. But those prizes would be perfect for an audience of young adults.

How to Get Started

Moving events online is one of the major trends in the nonprofit sector right now, meaning you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a platform on which to host your virtual auction event. Consider your ideal bidding process before you choose a provider. Do you want to enable mobile bidding? Is the auction a part of a larger event? By deciding what you want the process to look like early on, you can choose a platform that offers the necessary features.

Once you’ve picked a platform, define your audience for the event and start procuring items. You might ask for local businesses to donate the items or ask them to sponsor the event so you can get a discounted rate. After you’ve collected the majority of your items, start marketing! Get the word out and link people directly to the registration page so they can plan to attend.

Schedule a virtual tour with your supporters for your next virtual fundraising idea.

Virtual Tours

While social distancing regulations make it close to impossible to allow for in-person tours of your facilities, virtual tours are a great way to show your supporters an insider’s view of the work that your organization does.

Virtual tours provide dual benefits for your nonprofit. First, it raises revenue as people either register to attend or provide optional donations during the event. Second, supporters better understand what your organization does, meaning they’ll feel more connected and more likely to continue contributing in the future.

How to Get Started

To get started with this virtual fundraising idea, you’ll need access to live-streaming software or some high-end recording equipment. There are essentially two ways that you can organize this tour, either you carry a camera around a site to show supporters everything live, or you can pre-record the tour, but use live streaming software to answer any questions supporters might have or give commentary on the tour.

After you have the tools you need, map out the tour and start promoting the event! Ask supporters to register to attend. You can either ask for a small registration fee or ask for optional donations during the registration, the second of which will likely result in more registrants.

Community cookbooks provide awesome recipes to all supporters and makes a delicious virtual fundraising idea.

Cooking Classes

Cooking classes are an entertaining way to bring your supporters together for an evening of fun while raising funds for your mission. You can set up this event in a variety of ways, either you can provide an ingredient list for the supporters to go to the grocery store themselves or you can have them purchase everything through your organization and you send the ingredients to them in proper shipping containers.

If you ask them to pick up their own ingredients, you might ask for optional donations for the event. Or, if you send the food to your supporters, include a registration fee that covers the food and a donation when they sign up.

Then, ask a chef (or a really good cook at your organization) to guide them through the process of making a delicious meal. You may even consider hosting a “family meal” over Zoom or other video conferencing software so that everyone can enjoy it together.

How to Get Started

When you get started with this event, you’ll likely want to pre-record the actual cooking lesson. That way, if there are internet issues or other problems that occur, supporters won’t miss any important steps. Ask supporters to register, then they’ll gain access to the recording.

You can ask the chef to join a video conversation with the attendees either during the event or just after it. That way, your attendees can ask questions and gain background knowledge about the chef’s experience.

While people miss movie theaters, you can give them an opportunity to enjoy a movie with friends with a film screening virtual fundraising idea.

Virtual Film Screening

While movie theaters may be fairly inaccessible due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations, that doesn’t mean the love for movies has diminished! Invite your supporters to watch a movie together using virtual platforms.

Using software like NetflixParty, everyone can enjoy a screening together from the comfort of their own couches. Another alternative is to offer a drive-in movie or socially distanced gathering space outdoors where individuals can watch from six feet apart in a common area.

However, there are a lot more coordination steps that you’ll have to consider when bringing people together, like how to ensure maintained distance, the screen and audio for the movie, and more. Generally, allowing everyone to watch from home is a simpler and faster way to coordinate a virtual film screening.

How to Get Started

To get started, choose a movie that you’d like to watch as a group, or allow your supporters to vote on their favorite. Make sure your choice is available for whatever platform you decide to stream the movie through. You’ll also need to make sure that all participants have access to the right software in order to view the movie.

Then, in order to raise funds during this event, we recommend asking for donations before, during, and after the event itself. Or, you can offer to send popcorn, soda, and candy baskets to everyone in exchange for their donation of a certain amount.

Online concerts are a virtual fundraising idea that support local talent.

Online Concert

Online concerts bring your supporters together for an evening of music and fun. Recruit a talented musician to play for your supporters; or, maybe even recruit one of your supporters to donate their considerable talents by playing for others!

This type of event will also require considerable marketing strategies in order to get attention. The last thing you want is for your musician to play without an audience. Make sure to promote the event with your organization’s newsletter, on social media, over email, and with other virtual platforms.

At in-person concerts, organizations can sell swag and merchandise to earn an extra buck while further promoting both the cause and the musician. You can do the same thing for virtual concerts! Set up an online merchandise store so that supporters can purchase a t-shirt, mug, or another item to support the cause and remember the amazing event.

How to Get Started

You’ll need some high-end live streaming equipment to get started with this event. Then, you’ll need to choose a space where your musician can play and set up the equipment to stream their music.

There are several options that you can use to earn donations for your organization’s online concert. For instance, you can ask for voluntary donations before and during the event, sell tickets for attendance, and sell merchandise in support of the cause.

Start your next quarantine project with a craft night virtual fundraising idea.

Craft Nights

Just as you can teach people how to make unique recipes through virtual cooking classes, you can teach people fun crafting tips with craft videos!

From entertaining DIY projects to learning a new skill, people have been craving the opportunity to learn something new while they’ve been stuck in their homes. For instance, you might decide to teach people how to knit, crochet, or create Valentines for their loved ones. Also, be sure to consider your mission and if there are any craft options that could relate to your overall cause.

Michaels offers a number of projects and ideas where you can gain inspiration for your organization’s next craft night, also providing the tools and supplies necessary for creation. However, you can also use other sites like Pinterest and Google for new ideas.

How to Get Started

The first step to launch your own craft night is to find a creative project idea and test it out (or let your creative coworkers test it out). Then, pre-record videos showing supporters how they can also create a beautiful work of art.

Invite supporters to join in on the fun! Try putting together the kits that supporters will need to create the projects, then selling the kits to them through your online store. When they buy a kit, they’ll also gain access to the instructional video to create the project. Be sure to also invite your supporters to share the photos of their finished products and even provide a prize to the best one.

Giving days are a virtual fundraising idea that you can model off of the incredibly popular Giving Tuesday events.

Giving Days

The most popular giving day for nonprofits is undoubtedly GivingTuesday. As a nonprofit professional, you know the power of an effective GivingTuesday campaign, so why not create your own version!

A giving day is an annual day each year where you ask supporters to give to your mission and raise funds for your cause. It creates a sense of urgency for supporters to get their donations in before the day ends.

You’ll need to heavily promote giving days in order to get the word out about the opportunity and encourage people to get involved. Make sure you start promoting at least a month in advance of the giving day itself and planning long before then.

How to Get Started

The first step to creating a giving day is to simply choose a day on which you want everyone to celebrate your organization. Then, you can start planning what you want it to look like. Will you have an event to celebrate? A virtual event to get people excited? Or potentially prizes to distribute to the top or randomly chosen donors? Planning what you want the day to look like will help guide your marketing efforts.

Because these campaigns take place largely online, you should make sure your donors have the tools they need to make their gift. Design a well-optimized donation page on your nonprofit’s website and offer other ways to get involved such as by check or pledge. As you’re planning your campaign, you can look at the various GivingTuesday or GivingTuesdayNow tips and strategies to gain inspiration for your own giving day.

Facebook offers fundraising tools with zero payment processing fees, creating one of the most inexpensive virtual fundraising idea options.

Facebook Fundraisers

If you’ve scrolled through this social media platform at all, you’ve probably run across a Facebook fundraiser or two. Supporters can create their own fundraisers on Facebook in support of their favorite charities (hopefully, yours!). Then, they can share the fundraiser with their online network to gain traction and funds for the organization.

One of the greatest things about Facebook fundraisers is that the social platform covers all payment processing fees and doesn’t require a platform fee, making it completely free for your organization.

However, where there are many reasons to appreciate Facebook fundraisers, there is also one downside: you’ll have limited information about your donors. Privacy laws only allow for you to find donor information about those who opt into allowing you to see it. Either way, it’s still a great source of revenue when you’re able to set yourself up for success.

How to Get Started

Because it’s the supporters who are the ones who create fundraisers through Facebook, you’ll simply be supporting them throughout the process. Therefore, the first thing you should do is create a guide for how supporters can conduct their own Facebook fundraiser. Then, use that guide among other marketing materials to persuade supporters to start campaigns.

Next, you’ll need to sign up for Facebook Payments. While the default payout option is Network for Good, which uses donor-advised funds, Facebook Payments allows for a direct payout to your organization. You’ll probably want Facebook Payments as you’ll receive the funds faster and can receive more donor information than the alternative.

Finally, track the fundraisers created through Facebook and be sure to communicate your appreciation for loyal supporters who set up the opportunity.

Google offers grants up to $10,000 for nonprofits, so take it into consideration as you plan out your next virtual fundraising ideas.

Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants aren’t necessarily a fundraiser, but they do allow you to gain more online traction, and therefore more donations as additional people learn about your cause. When more people visit your website, they’ll learn about your incredible organization and feel more compelled to get involved.

Essentially, Google offers grants that allow nonprofits free advertising for up to $10,000 using Adwords on their search engine. These ads are shown above the search results for specific keywords that are typed in by searchers.

You can choose keywords with which you want your organization to be associated, then run an ad campaign through Google. Be sure you choose the keywords and the page they’ll click through to strategically. This will help you get additional brand recognition and more supporters over time.

How to Get Started

The first step you’ll need to take before you start looking for Google ad grants is to make sure you’re happy with everything on your website. Be sure the formatting is attractive, everything is easily navigable, and that it’s accessible for all users.

Then, you should check your eligibility to receive these grants and apply through Google. Once you’ve been approved, choose your keywords and track the results of the campaign to see how much more visibility your site will have.

Community cookbooks provide awesome recipes to all supporters and make a delicious virtual fundraising idea.

Community Cookbook

Do you have a family recipe that your friends and neighbors never stop asking for? Most of us have a favorite meal that our parents used to make for us when we were young, bringing back lots of memories when we recreate it as an adult.

Creating a community cookbook lets everyone share those recipes that they love so much. Plus, it can be accomplished almost entirely online with minimal contact.

Tools like CreateMyCookbook make it easy to input your supporters’ favorite recipes, attributing them to the correct author, then sell the cookbooks back to the community. They’ll get to try new, amazing recipes while knowing they’ve helped a worthy cause.

How to Get Started

Ask your supporters to send in their favorite recipes to be added to the cookbook. You may consider offering caps to the number of recipes in certain categories for a well-balanced cookbook. For instance, you wouldn’t want 50 members of the community to send in desserts while only 5 sent in chicken recipes.

After you’ve collected the recipes, you can get the cookbook printed and sell it back to your supporters. They’ll love seeing their own recipes in the book as well as the new ones they get to try!

If your organization works with animals, you might consider virtual “adoptions” for your next virtual fundraising idea.

Virtual “Sponsorship”

If your organization operates a zoo, conservation, or another organization that works with animals, you might consider offering virtual “adoption” or “sponsorship” options to encourage supporters to contribute.

Supporters can sponsor one of the animals at the organization, learn more about the type of animal, and be featured on your website as a contributor to that animal’s well-being.

Zoo Atlanta offers options that allow supporters to sponsor different animals at the organization, learning about them with a kit of information about the breed of animal and getting free merchandise in exchange for the sponsorship. Looking at the options available at some zoos can help give you ideas and inspiration for what this virtual fundraising idea can look like.

How to Get Started

To get started, put together kits that provide educational materials about the particular animal or species for the animals. You should also be sure to include some t-shirts, hats, and other organization merchandise in these kits as a thank you.

Then, assign a price for the “sponsorship” and start promoting the opportunity. After supporters sign up for the opportunity, you can send them the kit of information and merchandise as a thank you.

Video game tournaments provide a virtual fundraising idea for supporters who love to battle their friends online.

Video Game Tournament

Video games can be played from anywhere, making them a great way to engage your supporters from their own homes. So long as they have the console or technology on which you’re planning to play, you’re essentially ready to get started with a video game tournament!

Of course, you’ll need to do some work ahead of time, deciding the rules for the tournament and making sure it’s accessible for all of your supporters who want to play.

The best part? In order to set rules and create a well-designed online tournament, you’ll need to play the game and anticipate some of the challenges that your participants may run into. You get to play video games to set up your virtual fundraising tournament!

How to Get Started

The first step to setting up a video game tournament is choosing the game that everyone will play. Make sure it has the capability to be played from anywhere and from the desired devices.

Market the opportunity and invite supporters to register for the tournament. You might require a small registration fee or ask for optional donations in order to raise funds for this online event. Be sure to communicate the rules very clearly when you set up the tournament. Then, let the games begin!

Text-to-give drives present a virtual fundraising opportunity that enables supporters to give from their mobile devices.

Text-to-Give Drive

Text-to-give drives allow supporters to leverage their cell phones in order to give to organizations. They can send a text message to a preset number, are sent a link in return, and use that link to fill out their donation information to give to the nonprofit.

These drives are often used as a virtual fundraising idea for churches as they offer tithing options during services. But, they’re also great for nonprofits to accept additional donations during events and for other organizations who want to make donating easy for their supporters.

You might decide to include the number for your text-to-give drive directly on your nonprofit’s website or to promote it as an opportunity during specific campaigns. Just be sure that you’re very clear about when you want supporters to text in their donations.

How to Get Started

To get started with this virtual fundraising idea, you’ll need to set up your pre-fixed custom number with a text-to-give platform. Then, start promoting that number to your supporters as a new way they can give to your organization.

This idea is especially effective to pair with your organization’s giving day. Even when supporters are on-the-go, they can still participate in the giving day by simply sending a quick text!

Get supporters to learn more about your mission by completing a website scavenger hunt for your next virtual fundraising idea.

Website Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a great way to entertain your supporters, encourage them to learn more about your cause, and drive donations all through your main online platform. Just ask them to accomplish various tasks and find certain things on your website.

This idea may require some creative strategizing from your web design team, as they can include images or graphics that supporters can find. This idea does more than drive donations, it also encourages additional engagement opportunities among your supporters.

Don’t make the hunt too long or tedious, but a quick and entertaining way to communicate your mission to your supporters. For instance, you might write clues to the next scavenger hunt item in rhyme. Be sure to offer a prize to anyone who completes the entire scavenger hunt!

How to Get Started

Communicate with your web development team to see how they would best like to incorporate the event. You might “hide” different items or graphics on the site for people to find or ask them to complete activities (like read your mission, sign up for your newsletter, or donate).

Be sure to market the opportunity well and offer a prize to anyone who completes the hunt! You might decide to offer one grand prize for one lucky winner and decent prizes to others who complete the tasks or simply provide quality gifts for everyone who finishes the hunt.

Cupcake decorating contests are a perfect virtual fundraising idea for both kids and adults!

Cupcake Decorating Contest

Cupcake decorating contests are a great virtual fundraising idea for either kids or adults. However, if you’re offering the opportunity to both children and adults, you might decide to separate contestants into categories and choose multiple winners of the contest.

Whether your supporters choose to create a monster, pumpkin, holiday wreath, or flower cupcake, the design possibilities are endless. You might even offer some photos for inspiration!

When you set up this challenge, you have the option to have everyone video stream their decorative process, or you can just ask everyone to share their finished product. Then, you can offer prizes for the best overall cupcake, the most innovative, the most colorful, and any other aspects you can think of.

How to Get Started

Start by setting up a registration page for your cupcake decorating event. Encourage people to donate as they register (although you don’t have to require it) and provide them recommendations for a cupcake decorating kit. You may even provide a recipe!

Then, ask everyone to make their cupcakes at home and ask them to submit pictures of their favorite creations for the vote. Encourage everyone to vote either with their likes or with their dollars to choose a favorite cupcake design. You might even host a cupcake celebration where everyone can enjoy their creations together and you can announce the winner. Be sure to offer them a prize!

Online exercise classes present a virtual fundraising idea that encourages people to stay active.

Online Exercise Classes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people have been searching for new opportunities to get involved with online activities, especially exercise classes. By offering online exercise opportunities, you’ll instill healthy habits for your supporters and represent your organization as one that prioritizes an active lifestyle.

That prioritization makes online exercise classes a perfect option for YMCAs, schools, and other similar organizations. Simply ask for a small donation for supporters to join the class and always offer additional donation opportunities for those who feel compelled to give more.

In these classes, be sure you offer options that require minimal equipment on the part of your supporters (or link them to places where they can purchase the required materials). For instance, you might host yoga, jump rope, dance, HIIT, and other types of classes. You can look online at sites like Eventbrite to get inspiration for your own classes.

How to Get Started

The first step you should take to get started with this virtual fundraising idea is to find a coach who can help teach the online classes. Then, you’ll need recording or live streaming equipment to teach the classes (either recorded or live) depending on your preference.

Promote the class opportunity using your social media accounts, your website, and other platforms. Because you’ll be hosting the event online, we recommend primarily using virtual promotion platforms. That will make the opportunity the most visible to people who are most likely to take advantage of the opportunity.

Instead of asking for money, ask for in-kind donations with a wishlist virtual fundraiser.

Wish Lists

Instead of asking for donations from your supporters, you can ask for in-kind donations and provide a wish list of items that you need to accomplish your mission. Be sure these items very specifically support your cause and that it’s clear to supporters the purpose of each item.

For example, if you provide music classes for kids, you might ask for musical instruments or songbooks on your wishlist. Often, people will be more likely to buy you something rather than give a donation because it’s clear how the contribution will be used.

Feature this wish list on your organization’s website along with the other opportunities that supporters have to contribute. That will ensure it’s easily accessible for your intended audience.

How to Get Started

Create your nonprofit’s wish list on a popular and trusted site like Amazon. Then, promote that opportunity to your supporters. Be sure to clearly explain what the wish list is for, how it will help your mission, and the part that your supporters are playing.

Then, watch the necessary items that you need arrive at your door! Be sure to send out thank you notes to each of your supporters who purchased an item on your behalf.

A-thon fundraisers are an excellent virtual fundraising idea for kids and adults of all ages.

A-Thon Fundraisers

A-thon fundraisers are pledge-style fundraisers that you can use to encourage your supporters to read, exercise, dance, or form other healthy habits. Plus, you’ll see the additional benefit of raising funds for your cause.

This virtual fundraising idea is a great option for kids to participate and build philanthropic values from a young age. For instance, you might ask all of the kids to collect sponsors who will make a donation per page of the books they read or per steps that they take during the day.

In order to take this idea virtual, you’ll need to have a virtual sponsorship form and a way to track the particular activity that your supporters are participating in.

How to Get Started

First, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper software to create a pledge fundraiser. Then, assign the activity that you want supporters to complete (reading, running, walking, dancing, etc.). Ask your supporters to sign up and start collecting pledges.

Set a time when your supporters must complete their activity and a method of recording that activity. Finally, collect the donations from the sponsors.

Online wine pulls present an opportunity to raise money while enjoying a beverage at your next virtual fundraiser.

Online Wine Pull

Online wine pulls are similar to the in-person alternative, but it’s completely virtually run. For instance, while you’d offer different bottles of wine that are wrapped or decorated to obscure the name for an in-person fundraiser, you can simply number each of the bottles for your online one.

Then, ask supporters to purchase a bottle and select the number that they want to “take home.” You can ship the wine to their homes instead of offering them the bottle right then and there at the event.

After your virtual wine pull, you might offer a virtual happy hour, allowing supporters to share their bottles and engage in conversation while they enjoy the beverage.

How to Get Started

The first step to create your own online wine pull is to purchase the bottles of wine that you’ll need for the event. Some should be more expensive while others are not quite as much (although, they should still be enjoyable).

Invite your supporters to sign up and purchase a bottle (without seeing what they’ll be getting) and then ship it to their homes. Be sure to also look up the restrictions about shipping alcohol for your state before getting started.

Remind supporters of your organization every day as they mark off their new calendar by hosting a calendar virtual fundraising idea.

Calendar Fundraiser

You’ve probably seen calendar fundraisers for other organizations before—whether it’s for the fire station or for your favorite restaurant, they can help earn additional funds. Selling calendars gives you the opportunity to remind your supporters of your mission year-round as they are able to view a different image related to your organization each month.

Try creating your own calendars with pictures from your mission sites, volunteers, or other pictures that are relevant to your organization.

Then, sell those calendars back to your supporters. If you include images of your supporters in the calendar, be sure to get their permission first. But more than likely, they’ll love seeing their faces on the calendar they keep on their walls!

How to Get Started

First, start taking pictures at your mission sites, fundraising events, or of your staff members. Be sure to get all disclosure agreements signed if necessary. Then, compile those into an annual calendar.

Then, promote the calendar to your supporters using your website, social media, and other platforms. Make sure it’s possible for them to make their orders online and then ship the calendars to those who make the purchase. Remember, this idea is usually the most impactful toward the end of the year or at the beginning of a new year.

One creative way to fundraise is to sell products through a dedicated fundraising product provider.

Product Fundraiser

When you think back to your elementary school days, you might remember participating in product fundraisers for your school. You likely went door to door in your neighborhood, collecting orders for a product like cookie dough or popcorn. Maybe you even competed to be your school or grade’s top seller and win a prize!

So, why not tap into your school kid roots and try out a product fundraiser for your organization? You can sell your products through a fundraising web store, which will make promoting your fundraiser super easy. Simply include the link to your store in social media posts and email newsletters. You could even announce your fundraiser via direct mail and include a QR code on your letter or postcard that takes supporters directly to your store.

Plus, product fundraisers are extra fun for supporters! They’ll love getting a little something for themselves in return for their generosity, especially if you offer products they actually want.

How to Get Started

To set up your product fundraiser, partner with a dedicated product fundraising company like ABC Fundraising. The right company will offer a variety of product options, so be sure to select something that you know will appeal to the most supporters possible. While you can sell a number of tasty treats like popcorn, also consider branded merchandise like face masks, travel mugs, or flip-flops. Supporters will love repping your organization with these useful items.

Once you’ve selected the product you want to sell, contact your product fundraising company to get started. They can help you get a fundraising web store up and running, too. Then, promote your fundraiser and direct supporters to your web store. After you’ve received your pre-orders, place an order with your product fundraising company. You and your team can then distribute the items to your supporters once they arrive.


While these ideas represent a fair number of virtual fundraising ideas that you can choose from, they’re definitely not the only ones out there! Get creative and consider your audience when you’re choosing the right idea for your organization. Make sure you plan something that they’ll want to engage with.

If you’re looking for additional information for your nonprofit’s virtual strategy, check out these other awesome resources:

Are you ready to take the next step in your digital fundraising strategy? Download our guide.

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Self-described as a “non-profit junkie,” Sarah has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the non-profit sector. Her project management experience spans a variety of non-profit management disciplines including strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, fundraising and research. She has worked both in and for the non-profit sector at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and the consulting firms The Lee Institute and The Curtis Group. With her ever expanding non-profit tool belt, Sarah joined Cornershop Creative to tap into her techie, creative side, while developing meaningful partnerships with her clients to help them more effectively achieve their goals. Along with her extensive training in facilitation, Sarah is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati DAAP School where she received a dual bachelors degree in Women’s and Urban Studies, as well as Wake Forest University School of Business’s Nonprofit Management Certification Program. Passionate about civic engagement, Sarah is currently a member of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s Aquarium Connection and the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach. Sarah and her husband, Bryce, live in Norfolk, VA on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay where she moonlights as a mermaid and raises their daughter, Indigo, and menagerie of animals: their dogs, Daisy and Mokona, and cat, Nestle.