18 October Fundraising Ideas: Practical & Creative (+Tips)

Fundraising ideas for october

As the vibrant colors of fall take over, does your non-profit organization struggle to find creative and effective October fundraising ideas? Does the excitement of Halloween and the anticipation of the holiday season make it harder for your message to stand out? Or perhaps, you’re challenged by the practical aspects of organizing an event during a time when the weather can be unpredictable.

In this article, we aim to tackle these questions head-on. We’ll explore the unique opportunities and potential challenges October presents for fundraisers, providing a myriad of ideas that your organization can benefit from. From thematic fundraisers anchored in Halloween festivities and autumn’s bounty to tapping into the spirit of corporate giving in Q4, we’re confident that these insights will empower both seasoned fundraising professionals and first-time volunteers. Let’s dive in!

October Fundraising Ideas For Most Success

Thematic Fundraisers for October

As stated in the article on September fundraiser ideas, fundraisers resonate deeply because they capture the spirit of the season, making them an effective strategy in October. Leveraging prevalent themes can captivate potential donors’ attention and increase participation. Let’s explore some of the October fundraising themes non-profits can employ to maximize their impact.

Halloween fundraiser for October

1. Halloween-Themed Fundraisers

With Halloween being one of the most celebrated events in October, it makes sense to integrate this theme into your fundraising. You can host a costume party, with entrance tickets serving as a direct way to raise funds. This can be a fun-filled event where attendees can dress up, enjoy Halloween-themed food and beverages, and participate in Halloween games. You can also incorporate a contest for the best costume to add an extra element of excitement.

Moreover, organizing a haunted house in your local community can also prove profitable. Partner with local businesses for sponsorships and donations of decorations, lighting, and sound equipment. Charge admission for a spooky experience that will not only entertain but also help your cause.

2. Fall Harvest Fundraisers

A fall harvest festival allows you to celebrate the season while raising funds for your organization. Besides a pumpkin patch and corn maze, consider incorporating a farmers market where local vendors can sell their autumnal produce and goods. You can collect a small fee from vendors for setting up their stalls, providing another stream of funds.

Moreover, you can organize activities like hayrides, scarecrow making, or fall crafts that families can enjoy. These could require tickets or small fees to generate more funds. Additionally, offer seasonal food and beverages for sale. Think beyond the classic apple cider and pumpkin pies. How about a squash soup station or a build-your-own caramel apple stand? This not only brings in additional income but also enhances the overall festive atmosphere of your event.

Breast cancer awareness - October fundraising idea

3. Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it presents an excellent opportunity for non-profits to hold meaningful fundraisers. An impactful strategy is to host an educational event where attendees can learn more about breast cancer, its prevention, early detection, and treatment. Include survivor stories, expert talks, and Q&A sessions. Charge for tickets, or ask attendees to give a donation of their choice.

Alternatively, consider partnering with local businesses for a “Pink Day” where a portion of the day’s proceeds go to your organization. This could be a bakery selling pink pastries, a retail store offering a discount on pink items, or a restaurant creating a special pink-themed menu. You could also organize a “pink product” sale, where you sell items such as pink ribbons, t-shirts, or wristbands, with all profits going towards breast cancer initiatives.

Remember, while these fundraisers aim to raise money, they should also help raise awareness, offer support, and contribute to the broader fight against breast cancer. Always approach these fundraisers with care and sensitivity.

Absolutely, let’s dig deeper into these October thematic fundraisers.

4. Oktoberfest Fundraiser

Borrow a page from the German playbook and host an Oktoberfest-inspired event. You could set up long wooden tables, blue and white decorations (reflecting the traditional colors of Bavaria), and hire a local band to play polka music. Work with a local brewery to supply a variety of beers and partner with a caterer or food truck to provide traditional German food like bratwurst, pretzels, and sauerkraut.

To raise funds, sell tickets to the event and offer different tiers. A VIP ticket could include priority seating, a free beer stein, and a complimentary meal. Regular tickets could cover entrance and a free first drink. You could also host a silent auction or raffle during the event with prizes donated by local businesses. Make sure to promote the event well in advance and make tickets easily purchasable online.

5. Spooky Movie Night

We have recommended an outdoor movie night in our post on seasonal fundraising ideas as well. But one way to make it interesting is by turning it into a spooky movie night. A spooky movie night can be an engaging community event that caters to both adults and children. For this event, secure a large outdoor space like a park or a school ground. Depending on the audience, choose appropriate Halloween-themed movies. Think “Hocus Pocus” for a family-friendly crowd, or classic horror movies for an adults-only event.

Make the movie night more than just a screening – create an immersive experience. Arrange for Halloween-themed snacks like ‘monster popcorn’ or ‘ghoulish punch’. Set up photo booths with props for memorable snapshots. Sell tickets online, and consider offering a ‘snack package’ ticket that includes free treats.

Apple picking charity event

6. Apple-Picking Charity Event

For an apple-picking charity event, collaborate with a local orchard. Arrange a day where attendees can come and pick their own apples. You could set up educational tours around the orchard explaining the apple-growing process, varieties of apples, and their uses.

For added fun, arrange apple-related games like an apple-bobbing contest or a fastest apple peeler competition. Consider setting up a farmers market where local vendors can sell apple products such as ciders, pies, and jellies. Funds can be raised by charging an entrance fee, selling goods, and vendor stall fees.

7. Chili Cook-Off

A Chili cook-off is a fantastic way to bring your community together for a fun and delicious competition. Encourage local chefs, both amateur and professional, to whip up their best chili recipe. Attendees can sample each chili and vote for their favorites.

Alongside the cook-off, host a fall festival with live music, pumpkin carving, and other family-friendly activities. Funds can be raised from the entry fee for chili contestants, tasting tickets for attendees, and sales from any additional events or stalls. Make sure to arrange a panel of judges and have a prize for the cook-off winner, which can be anything from a trophy, a certificate, to a gift card from a local business.

Each of these fundraisers can create a memorable experience while effectively raising funds for your organization. Be sure to choose an event that resonates best with your community and your organization’s mission.

Corporate Fundraising Ideas for October

Corporate fundraisers can be a key source of funds for non-profits, especially in October. As businesses plan for the last quarter of the year, they may be looking to meet their annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals or take advantage of tax benefits associated with charitable giving. Here are some ideas to tap into corporate generosity.

8. Corporate Sponsorship for Thematic Events

Incorporating corporate sponsorship into your October-themed events can add another level of fundraising. For instance, businesses can sponsor different aspects of your Halloween-themed fundraiser or Fall Harvest Festival. Sponsorship could be in the form of financial support, donating goods or services, or providing a venue.

In return, offer the sponsors brand visibility at your event through banners, mentions in your programs, and promotional materials. Always tailor the benefits package to the business’s needs, whether it’s publicity, an engaging experience for their employees, or aligning with a cause that resonates with their brand values.

Employee engagement as part of October fundraising efforts by non-profits

9. Employee Engagement Activities

Many corporations encourage their employees to participate in CSR activities. Collaborate with local businesses to create employee engagement activities that support your cause. This could be a volunteer day at your Fall Harvest Festival or hosting a Halloween costume competition at the company where employees donate to participate.

Consider facilitating workplace giving programs where employees can donate directly from their paychecks. You could even suggest a corporate matching scheme, where the company matches the employees’ contributions, doubling the impact.

10. Corporate Donations and Grants

Many corporations have philanthropic foundations that provide grants to non-profits. Research and apply for these grants well in advance of October to secure funds for your autumn activities. In addition, reach out to businesses to ask for end-of-year donations. They might be willing to make significant donations to meet their annual CSR targets, reap tax benefits, and boost their public image. Don’t forget to acknowledge these contributions publicly and show the impact of their donations on your cause.

Remember, building strong relationships with corporations can provide a steady stream of funds and resources, making them an essential part of your October fundraising strategy. It’s all about finding the intersection between the corporation’s CSR objectives and your organization’s mission.

Community-based fundraisers for October

Community fundraisers serve a dual purpose – they not only raise much-needed funds but also bring the community together and strengthen bonds. Engaging the community in a fundraiser can generate significant support for your cause, raise awareness, and inspire continued involvement. Let’s dive into some ideas that are particularly suited to October.

11. Community Haunted House

Create a haunted house in a local community center, school, or even someone’s large backyard. Enlist volunteers to set up and act in the haunted house, dressing up as ghouls, ghosts, and other spooky creatures. Sell tickets at the entrance, and consider selling refreshments or themed merchandise as an extra source of income.

Building a haunted house can be a fun and engaging project for the community. It also provides an opportunity for people with different skills to contribute, such as set design, costume making, acting, or selling tickets. It’s a great way to bring people together while raising funds for your organization.

12. October Charity Run

An October charity run is a healthy and inclusive way to raise funds. As the weather cools, it’s an ideal time for outdoor activities like running. The charity run could be themed, such as a “Zombie Run” where participants dress up as zombies, or a “Pumpkin Run” where participants carry pumpkins.

Charge an entry fee and provide each participant with a number bib and a finisher’s medal. Encourage participants to raise pledges from their friends and family for every kilometer they run. The Charity Run not only raises funds but also encourages healthy living and community spirit.

For November, you could turn this into a ‘Fall Colour Fun Run’ fundraiser. Read more about it in our article on the best November fundraisers.

Fall cleaning service for charity in October

13. Fall Cleanup Service

In many regions, October is the time when leaves start to fall, and many homeowners need help cleaning their yards. Organize a community service day where volunteers offer their services to clean yards, with all proceeds going to your organization.

You can promote the service to the community and ask people to book a slot for their yard cleanup. This is an excellent opportunity for younger volunteers to get involved and a valuable service for elderly or busy homeowners. It brings the community together while keeping the neighborhood clean.

14. Community Art Fair

Organize an art fair where local artists can showcase their work. Artists could donate a portion of their sales to your organization, or they could pay a fee to secure a booth at the fair.

To attract a larger crowd, incorporate live music, food stalls, and art workshops into the event. This not only supports local artists but also provides an enjoyable event for the community, all while raising funds for your cause.

Remember, the success of community fundraisers relies heavily on promoting the event within the community and rallying their support. So, use local channels like community notice boards, social media groups, and word of mouth to spread the news about your event.

Virtual Fundraiser Ideas for October

In the ever-evolving digital age, virtual fundraisers have become increasingly popular and vital for non-profits. They have the advantage of reaching a global audience and are not bound by geographical or weather constraints, making them a great option for October fundraising.

15. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

A virtual scavenger hunt can be an exciting and engaging way to raise funds. Participants can sign up as individuals or teams and are then given a list of items or challenges to complete within a certain time frame. This can include things like taking a selfie with a pet, finding a certain item in their home, or completing a specific task.

This type of event encourages creativity and can be a lot of fun for participants. Tickets can be sold for entry, and you could offer prizes for the fastest team or the most creative solutions.

16. Online Bake-Off

An online bake-off brings the joy of baking to the digital world. Participants can be asked to bake a specific recipe or create their own masterpiece around a chosen theme – think pumpkins or autumn flavors for October.

Participants then submit photos or videos of their creations, and winners can be chosen by a panel of judges or through audience votes. To raise funds, you can charge an entry fee, ask for donations, or even hold an online auction for the baked goods.

17. Virtual Fitness Challenge

Host a fitness challenge online, where participants commit to a certain fitness goal throughout October and ask their network to support them with donations. This could be running a certain distance, doing a set number of workouts, or achieving a specific fitness target.

A fitness challenge encourages participants to stay healthy while supporting your cause. Participants would set up their individual fundraising pages and share updates about their progress, keeping their network engaged and encouraging donations.

18. Online Auction

An online auction can be a significant fundraising event. Auction items could be donated by local businesses or supporters and could range from products, services, unique experiences, or even celebrity meet-and-greets.

Using an online auction platform, participants can bid on items over a set period. This type of event can raise substantial funds, depending on the items auctioned, and can also generate buzz and excitement as bidders compete to win their desired item.

Remember, successful virtual fundraising requires thorough planning and promotion. Utilize social media and email newsletters to reach as many potential participants as possible, and make sure your online platforms are user-friendly and easy to navigate.

October Fundraising Ideas: Challenges to Overcome

Now that we have gone through the various October fundraising ideas, let’s identify the unique challenges of October fundraising and discuss solutions to ensure the success of your events.

Competition with Halloween Events

October fundraising can face stiff competition from a host of Halloween-related activities and events. Parents and families may be preoccupied with Halloween costume shopping, house decoration, parties, and trick-or-treating.

To tackle this challenge, consider incorporating the Halloween theme into your fundraising event. An appropriately themed event can attract more participants and leverage the festive mood. Alternatively, schedule your event early in the month to avoid clashing with Halloween activities.

Budget Constraints due to Upcoming Holiday Season

October marks the start of the end-of-year holiday season. Many people start saving or spending on holiday shopping, which might result in tighter budgets and less money allocated for donations.

To overcome this, offer a variety of giving levels to accommodate different budgets. Additionally, consider events or fundraisers that offer a tangible return for the donation, such as a product or an experience. This gives your supporters value for their contribution, making them more likely to participate despite budget constraints.

Donor Fatigue

By October, donors might be experiencing fundraising fatigue, especially if they’ve been solicited by various causes throughout the year.

To counteract this, make sure your communication strategy is strong and engaging. Highlight the impact of their donations, tell compelling stories about the individuals or communities your organization helps, and demonstrate how their contribution will make a difference. Offering engaging, interactive events can also help combat donor fatigue by providing a fun and rewarding experience, not just a solicitation.

Changing Priorities

As the end of the year approaches, many people start reflecting on the year past and planning for the upcoming one. This can lead to a shift in priorities, with less focus on charitable giving.

Address this challenge by demonstrating how supporting your cause fits into bigger picture goals of making a difference. Show how their donation this year will have a tangible impact in the next. You can also take this opportunity to introduce planned giving, where donors can include your organization in their year-end or estate planning.

In essence, overcoming October fundraising challenges largely revolves around strategic planning, effective communication, and creativity. Recognizing the unique challenges this month presents and implementing solutions to address them can help ensure a successful fundraising campaign.

Closing Thoughts

As the leaves change color and the air turns crisp, October brings a season full of opportunity for unique and effective fundraising. The ideas and strategies presented in this article are designed to help you navigate potential challenges and capitalize on the month’s festive spirit. Remember, the key to a successful fundraiser is engaging your audience, making it fun, and clearly communicating your cause’s impact. Your October fundraising efforts can be a resounding success, bringing you one step closer to achieving your organization’s goals. Embrace the season, leverage these October fundraising ideas, and watch as your community comes together to support your cause.

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