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15 best corporate fundraising ideas to implement this year

April 09, 2021
A diverse group of friends and coworkers participating during a community cleanup, one of many corporate fundraising ideas.

Approximately $5 billion are raised through workplace giving annually, and a large chunk of that comes from corporate fundraising

Your corporation may already offer matching gifts, in-kind giving, or volunteer opportunities, but you can build out a more robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) program by trying out new company fundraising ideas. One of the best ways to engage employees and give back is to hold events to benefit a local charity or nonprofit. 

We’ll introduce you to 15 corporate fundraising initiatives you can implement to engage your employees and boost giving!

As you dive into new fundraising initiatives, your goals and how you measure success may vary. The important thing is to track your impact in a meaningful way that allows you to share your company’s story and continue to build as your programs progress. 

If you’re looking for high-impact events, we’ve compiled the best for you, starting with some classics:

Classic corporate fundraising ideas

1. Raffle

A raffle is one of the easiest fundraisers to execute, plus you have the potential to get everything you need donated. With such low overhead costs, raffles have the potential for extremely high profits. 

Ask local businesses to donate prizes in exchange for publicity. These can range from gift cards to more high-profile items like a weekend getaway. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to convince a local print shop to donate the physical raffle tickets in exchange for some small advertising of their services. 

The more prizes you can offer, the better off your fundraiser will be. Attendees will be more likely to buy raffle tickets if they feel their chances of winning are higher. 

2. Silent auction

Silent auctions are similar to raffles, except that guests have more control over the items they win. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  1. Solicited auction items from local businesses. 
  2. Bid sheets or online auction software where you can list a reasonable starting price and a “buy it now” price for each item.
  3. A large event space, set up with plenty of tables for bidders and a designated area for refreshments. 

Like raffles, silent auctions can be very profitable for your organization. The more unique the items you have up for auction, the better. If you can get a celebrity to donate a signed item or a time-sensitive experience like a meet-and-greet, even better! 

A silent auction is an excellent corporate fundraising idea for companies with a more conservative employee or client base. Raffles, wine tastings, and parties can get loud and exciting, which is great for some guests. Silent auctions offer a calmer event as an alternative.

3. Walk-a-thon

Promote charitable giving and an active lifestyle with a walk-a-thon! Encourage your employees to turn to their friends and family members for sponsorships. You can also solicit vendors and neighboring businesses. They’ll be more than willing to donate to this great cause. Sponsors donate a small amount of money (usually $3-$7) for each mile the employee walks. 

All you need for this event is a designated track or route and a pleasant, sunny day. You can easily promote the event through social media, company internal channels, and word-of-mouth. 

4. Wine tasting

Do many of your employees enjoy wine? If so, this event will guarantee attendees. It’s such a popular event that you will likely even be able to pull in people outside of your supporter base to attend.

To put on this event, all you need to do is:

  • Find a local wine retailer and wholesalers.
  • Recruit some willing volunteers and servers.
  • Set up your event space for tasting.

If not everybody in your company is into wine, offer specialty cheeses and other drink options to get them out of the office and into an enjoyable atmosphere. Sponsors donate wine for employees to try out and purchase, then you give a percentage of the proceeds to the specified nonprofit. You could even see if one of the sponsors is willing to donate space for the event.

5. Gala

Galas are more complex fundraisers to organize, but they can make a major impact on your company and the community. With widespread advertising, not only will your employees want to attend, but so will their friends, family, and community members.

You’ll need a large event space, caterers, entertainment, and a few activities, such as raffles or auctions. In this case, you will want to auction off slightly flashier items to help cover the cost of the additional elements. Many of these can still be donated, though, like food and prizes.

Unique corporate fundraising ideas

6. Fashion show

If you want a sensational event that appeals to a younger crowd, try a fashion show fundraiser. With proper planning, this event can result in tons of money raised, more engaged employees, and a great PR event for your company. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Find a clothing retailer who might be interested in donating or sponsoring their time and clothes. You can also see if any local fashion designers would like to contribute their own pieces. 
  2. Recruit a few models and plenty of volunteers to help with the production.
  3. Secure an event space.
  4. Contact your local university about advertising your event as part of an ongoing fundraiser for school groups.

If you can generate interest, consider having your employees model the clothing. Family and friends will flock to the event to see your employees strut their stuff on the runway. The catwalk is also a great opportunity for local businesses or designers who donate clothing. They get publicity, support a good cause, and get their items back after the event.

7. T-shirt drive

From interns to CEOs, everyone wears a t-shirt now and then. Contact a print shop to order t-shirts with a unique, relevant design. Some shops even have art departments that will help you design it. 

The shirts can cost $10-$15, but for a good cause, you can usually sell them around the office for $25-$30, helping you put more of your proceeds towards your cause. You can also set up a website to take orders from people outside of your company. You can order anywhere from 100-500 shirts, which usually takes about two weeks. The best part? You get to keep the leftovers for future fundraisers!

8. Trivia night

If you’ve noticed a bit of healthy competition forming between some departments in the office, a trivia night is right up your alley. You can either:

  • Host your own trivia night with a little extra prep. 
  • Enter teams of your employees in a trivia competition at a local restaurant. 

Divvy up your teams and let your staff compete to win a donation to the nonprofit of their choosing. Not only does hosting a trivia night benefit employees and colleagues, but it’s also a great way to network with others in the industry.

9. Charity concert

Is there a local band that your employees can’t stop talking about? Reach out and book them for a show—they may be willing to reduce the booking price since it’s for a good cause. Sell tickets to the event, book food and drink vendors, and enjoy the show!

10. Charity art show

Whether it’s your own employees or students at a local art college, it’s likely you know a few creative people looking to showcase their work. 

Reach out to see if any artists would like to donate work to sell in support of a nonprofit, or ask if they might contribute a portion of their profits. Set all the artists up at a venue (it could even be your own office!) and sell tickets to the public. 

Easy corporate fundraiser ideas

11. Office garage sale

Everyone has items lying around their house that they’ve been meaning to donate or sell. Have your employees bring some of their unwanted clothing, books, and toys into the office on a Saturday and open it up to the public. Employees can buy from each other, sell to the public, or both!

This fundraiser requires a bit of extra preparation:

  1. Reach out to employees and ask if they’d like to bring in some of their used or unwanted items for an office garage sale.
  2. Set the date up on the calendar.
  3. Advertise the event to the public (if you have enough space).

On the day of the garage sale, let everyone create their own stations to sell their items. Then, donate the proceeds to the nonprofit(s) of your choice.

12. Penny jar

Not all fundraisers have to be glamorous events. Sometimes all it takes is a glass jar and a commitment to giving. 

Place the container of your choosing at the front of your office, and encourage employees to add to it whenever they get a few extra pennies. Each little bit of loose change adds up, and you’ll be surprised at how much you collect by the end.

13. Empty can collection

Similar to collecting loose change, you can start an office collection of cans to recycle. If your employees are avid soda drinkers, this fundraiser is perfect. Every time they drink soda at the office or even at home, have them add the empty cans to your communal collection. 

When you’ve filled several bags, take them to the recycling plant and collect money in exchange for them, usually five cents per can. If you have a lot of cans to recycle, this can add up to a decent-sized donation. Run this fundraiser year-round for the best results. 

14. Corporate recipe book

As far as time and effort go, this one is on the low end. Here’s how it works:

  1. Have each of your employees bring in a recipe. It can be something they’re famous for in the office, something their grandmother made, or anything else that’s meaningful to them. 
  2. Compile all of the recipes and take them to a local print shop to be made into a book.
  3. Employees then sell the recipe books to friends and family, with all the proceeds going to the nonprofit of choice. 

All you need for this fundraiser are employees who have a passion for cooking and a print shop. Not only does it require little effort, but it also allows employees to share a piece of their personal lives with others.

15. Casual day

Let employees dress comfortably in the office and support a good cause! Essentially, employees raise or donate money to “buy” the chance to dress casually at work. You can make it a set price or give employees options, such as $50 for a day or $200 for a whole week. 

Engaging employees with corporate fundraisers

Corporate fundraising works for companies of all sizes, and you can make it as large or small of an event as you’d like. Once you’ve hosted one successful fundraiser, dive deeper into all the ways you can develop engaging CSR programs and give back to your community.

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    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Employee giving