25 Fun Summer Fundraising Ideas
July 10, 2023
10 min read
With sun-drenched weekends and the surge in social energy on your side, summer is an ideal time to tap into the collective generosity of your community and raise money for a cause close to your heart.
A well-executed fundraising event in the summer can rally community support and amplify the charitable cause you’re passionate about, but coming up with fresh ideas isn’t always a picnic.
That’s why we’ve curated 25 summer fundraisers to give you a head start. But before we dive in, let’s review a few tips for success.
Summer fundraising 101
Spread the word
Leverage the surge of social summer energy to build a supportive network, spread awareness, and rally support for your fundraiser. Social media campaigns, interactive challenges, and partnerships with local influencers can help amplify your reach and generate a greater impact.
Make it fun
Summer is synonymous with fun, so make sure your fundraising events reflect this. And what better way to draw in participants and donors than by offering a memorable and enjoyable experience? From themed parties to outdoor concerts, your fundraising event can become the highlight of the season, attracting a diverse crowd and generating greater support.
Choose the right time
Summer is prime time for vacations and time off. When picking a date, try to accommodate as many people as possible. Consider the summer schedules of who’s attending when selecting a date for your fundraiser. For maximum participation, consider organizing an early-summer event and steer clear of public holidays.
Work smarter with a Giving Group
Creating a Giving Group makes fundraising efforts a breeze. Easily receive donations, track your progress, and celebrate the success of your fundraiser all from one place. Simplify your fundraising event in three easy steps:
- Create and log in to your Impact Account
- Create a Giving Group for your fundraiser.
- Share the unique link with your guest list and your fundraiser invites.
With a Giving Group, friends and coworkers can combine forces and pool funds to raise money supporting one or more registered Canadian charities on Charitable Impact.
25 fun summer fundraising ideas
1. Family Field Day
Choose a family-friendly location and plan games like sack races, relay races, and more. Charge entry fees with different ticket options and have your volunteers run the activities.
2. BBQ Cook-off
Everybody loves a good barbeque in the summer! Host a BBQ cook-off competition where participants showcase their grilling skills and charge an entry fee for tasting and voting. This mouth-watering fundraiser will bring in the crowds.
3. Superhero 5K Run
Ask guests to dress up as their favourite superheroes for a lighthearted 5K fun run, with entry fees benefiting your fundraising efforts. Get the crowd in the superhero spirit by having a costume contest before the run—heroes strike their best hero poses at the start line and hand out playful awards.
4. Scavenger Hunt
Bring back childhood fun with a classic scavenger hunt! Set up a fun and challenging adventure for any age group you want. You could have the hunt all over the city or just in your backyard. Whatever you decide, it’ll be a fun way to exercise your brain while fundraising for causes you care about.
Bird-a-thons are great ways to engage animal and nature lovers in your community! You’ll need to form teams and have each team fundraise by asking their networks to pledge certain amounts depending on how many bird species the team spots. Explore nature and get outside with this unique fundraising idea.
6. Car Wash
Car washes are a classic way to fundraise. You need water, soap, a few buckets, and sponges, and you’re in business! car wash fundraiser is a fun and reliable way to bring in some donations in support of your favourite causes.
7. Outdoor Craft Fair
Organize a craft fair featuring local artisans and charge booth fees for participants.
8. Outdoor Talent Show
We can all agree that in 1987, Dirty Dancing taught us that the greatest summer event of all is the talent show. Ask competitors to raise money as their entry fee, give prizes for the most money raised, and put ticket proceeds toward the causes that matter to you.
9. Ice Cream Social
Who doesn’t love ice cream in the summer? This is a great, kid-friendly fundraising idea that is perfect for the season. You can host an ice cream social or partner with a local ice cream shop, with a certain amount of the proceeds going to charity.
10. Community Yard Sale
We all have too much stuff taking up space in our houses. Why not get rid of it and raise money for a charity simultaneously? Hosting a garage sale and donating the money you make is a fabulous win-win and super easy for anyone to organize.
11. Grownups-only Lemonade Stand
Contrary to popular belief, lemonade stands don’t have to be just for kids. Make a big batch of adult lemonade or other fun cocktails for your supporters. This is a refreshing way to socialize and have fun while raising money for your cause.
12. Watermelon Eating Contest
Are you ready to indulge your competitive side while supporting a good cause? Are you someone with a big appetite? Try hosting a watermelon eating contest as a fundraiser.
13. Hula Hoop Contest
Organize a hula hoop competition with different categories and age groups, and spice it up by incorporating themed challenges. Be creative! You could award extra points for creativity, style, and the ability to keep a straight face while attempting outrageous hula hoop moves.
14. Retro Game Night
Take a retro game night to the next level by having a “dress like the era” competition. Encourage attendees to come dressed in their most outrageous ’80s or ’90s attire, with big hair, neon colours, and leg warmers. Create a dance-off using the iconic moves from games like Dance Dance Revolution, or have a limbo contest to test everyone’s flexibility. Remember, the cheesier, the better!
15. Trivia Night
If you’re a history buff or a pop culture fan, a trivia night is a fun way to support your favourite charity and show off your knowledge. You can either sell tickets or ask that participants donate, and it’s off to the races.
16. Paint and Sip
Paint and sip nights have always been a popular way for couples to spend date nights, so why not host one as a fundraiser? You’ll provide the art materials and the wine, and the ticket fees will go to your charity. You could even plan your event outside and have the attendees paint a beautiful summer sunset. How romantic!
17. Happy Hour
Sunny patios + happy hour= feel-good summer vibes. For happy hour fundraisers, a portion of the proceeds from each purchase goes to support the charity’s mission. Young professionals love a summer happy hour, so this is a great way to target that demographic.
18. Video Game Stream
Lots of professional video gamers hold charity streams, and you can too! Choose a game you and your friends enjoy, set up the stream, and start playing. Then you can invite viewers to donate to a cause you care about and even correlate certain donation amounts with specific actions in the game. The more they donate, the more they can control how you play.
Or just a regular walk. A walkathon is a great summer fundraiser because it’s accessible to many people. Do laps at the local track or a circuit route through your neighbourhood. Even plan pit stops at local coffee shops, breweries, wineries, or whatever is fun in your area. A simple donated entry fee can be huge for your cause, or you can maximize your donations by challenging walkers to collect pledges from friends, family, coworkers, and everyone else.
20. Golf Tournament
This fundraiser is a hole-in-one! Gather your golf buddies and tee off for a day of friendly competition, networking, and philanthropy. Charity golf tournaments are a great way to get outdoors and raise money for the causes you care about.
21. Summer Concert Series
An outdoor concert series is a great way to make the most of those lovely summer evenings. Find a few local musicians willing to donate their time and use the profits from ticket sales to support your causes. You may even find some new supporters from your performers’ fan bases!
22. Drive-in Movie Screening
Feel the nostalgia with a drive-in movie fundraiser! Whether you screen a scary movie for the horror fans in the crowd or the newest animated hit for the kids, this event will surely be a blockbuster hit. You can raise additional funds by offering delicious concessions. Popcorn, anyone?
23. Dog Fashion Show
Cuteness overload! A dog fashion show gives owners the perfect opportunity to prove once and for all that their pet is the most adorable. You can raise money through entry fees and ticket sales and give out prizes for different categories.
24. Pie in the Face Challenge
Ah, the classic pie in the face. It’s always a hit. Why? Because everyone loves to watch a pie being smooshed into someone else’s face. It never gets old. Allow people to nominate friends, family, or local personalities to receive a pie in the face in exchange for donations to your cause.
25. Teddy Bear Picnic
This is a family-friendly event that’s underestimated. What kid do you know who doesn’t have a favourite stuffie in their life? Invite families to join a community Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and ask kiddos to bring their stuffed animals for a fun day. Charge an entry fee for families and offer fun activities like teddy bear parades and crafts.