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By Lara Robertson
22 April 2024

Here at UNICEF Australia, we encourage you to get creative with your fundraising event. Whether your fundraiser is big, small, or somewhere in between, every dollar raised for UNICEF Australia will help us continue our lifesaving work to support children and families before, during and after emergencies, no matter what.

Stuck for fundraising ideas? From the beloved bake sale and charity ball to kid-friendly zombie races and glow-in-the-dark discos, we’ve rounded up 27 fundraising ideas to get you started on your fundraising journey.  

School Fundraising Ideas

1. Dress-up day 

Dress-up day is one of the easiest fundraisers you can organise. From pyjama day to a UNICEF-themed blue mufti day, there are so many different options you can choose from. Get people to donate to participate, and you can even turn it into a competition to encourage everyone to go all out with the theme.   

2. Bake sale 

Everyone loves a bake sale, especially when the treats are homemade and fresh out of the oven. Whether flying solo or getting others to help bake, the best-selling items are cupcakes, cookies, brownies, muffins or banana bread. You can also take your UNICEF fundraiser to the next level with a theme. For example, if you’re raising funds for an emergency, like the conflict in Ukraine, you can make Ukraine-inspired treats, such as honey babka, Yabluchnyk (apple cake), or Pampushky (doughnuts).   

Cupcake stand© UNICEF Australia supplied/Forgacs

3. Trivia night 

Whether through your workplace, school or community group, trivia nights are a fun way to bring everyone together to raise money for a cause. You can charge an entry fee or request donations on the night; many successful trivia nights include prizes (which can be donated by local businesses), a silent auction, table themes and a MC with a fun and vibrant personality. 

4. School or community fete or market 

Fetes are a fundraising idea that requires planning and a few hands-on deck, but it’s a great way to bring the community together while raising much-needed funds for a good cause. You can keep it simple with a few stalls or go big with live music, games and face painting. 

5. Second-hand book sale 

Lovers of books delight in second-hand book sales—whether they're finding hidden gems or books that have long been on must-read lists. It's also a hit among kids of all ages. Advertise your event in the weeks leading up to the sale via social media, posters, and word of mouth. You can ask people you know to give their unwanted books directly to you or place collection bins around your community for people to drop their books off.   

A girl reading a children's book© UNICEF Australia supplied/Applegate

6. Disco party 

Discos are a fun, kid-friendly fundraiser where everyone can show off their best dance moves! Themes such as the 90s, glow-in-the-dark, and outer space are always a hit. All you need is a DJ, refreshments and decorations, but you can also up the fun with face painting, hair braiding and food stalls. Charge an entry fee or ask people to make a donation at the door. 

7. Raffle tickets 

Raffle tickets may be an oldie, but they're also a goodie. Ask local businesses or larger organisations to donate prizes. These prizes can be anything, from foodie delights to weekend getaways, toys, sporting equipment, and so much more. The main aim is to sell as many tickets as possible. When priced right, selling raffle tickets can be a breeze.  

Remember that raffles in Australia are classified as 'gaming' and regulated to protect consumers. So first, check your state or territory's raffle rules to ensure you're not accidentally breaking any laws.   

Easy Fundraising Ideas

8. Cutest pet contest 

Everyone thinks their pet is the cutest thing ever, so get the competitive juices flowing with a cutest pet fundraising contest. Get people in your local school, workplace, or community to send in an adorable photo of their pet for the competition, and then charge a fee or donation to submit a vote. It’s a low-cost fundraising idea, and you can even boost your fundraising earnings by turning the photos into a cute calendar that you can sell for a profit.   

A little dog sitting on his mat.© UNICEF Australia supplied/2024

9. Cadbury chocolate boxes 

One of the easiest ways to raise money for a good cause is selling a fundraising box of Cadbury chocolates including everyone’s favourite Freddo Frogs and Caramello Koalas. They are always a hit in schools and workplaces. They require minimal preparation - all you need to do is purchase a box online and bring it along to your school or office to sell to your fellow students or coworkers. They won't take long to sell out!

You can find out more about the Cadbury fundraising boxes here

10. Lemonade (or juice) stand 

An enduring favourite, the lemonade stand is popular with kids as they can easily set up a stall in the front yard or at the local shops with a pitcher of homemade lemonade and baked cookies. You don’t have to limit yourself to lemonade, either – add fresh watermelon slices or ice blocks to the mix, especially on those extra-warm days. 

11. Create a fundraising page 

If you need a fundraising idea quickly, set up a UNICEF Australia fundraising page – you can fundraise for a specific emergency or for children all over the world. Whether it is for a birthday instead of a present or in memory of loved ones in lieu of flowers, our fundraising pages are a great way to reach a lot of people. 

12. Movie night 

One of the more entertaining ways to fundraise, a movie night can be family-friendly or an adult-only affair. An indoor event will always be weather-proof and your local cinema will be very happy to support! If an outdoor movie night is more your thing, why not host it in your backyard, at your local school, or park is a winner on a balmy summer's evening. You can charge an entry fee or request a donation in exchange for a ticket. Embrace the movie night theme and sell popcorn, lollies, choc tops and drinks.   

People watching a movie together© UNICEF Australia supplied

13. Host a meal at home 

Food is a fantastic way to bring people together, and what better way to fundraise than by inviting your family and friends around for a meal? Whether it’s a morning or afternoon tea, lunch, potluck or three-course sit-down dinner, you can ask your guests to donate the cost of a café or restaurant meal to your chosen cause.  

#CookForKids is an annual fundraising campaign run by UNICEF Australia. By hosting a lunch, dinner, morning tea or bake sale, you can help raise urgent funds to support children in emergencies around the world. You can find more information about #CookForKids here.

14. Sausage sizzle or BBQ fundraiser 

A fundraising activity that your community is guaranteed to get behind is the humble sausage sizzle. It's hard to beat the classic combo of beef sausage with onions on white bread topped with tomato sauce. Mix things up with a few extra crowd-pleasers; bacon and egg rolls, halal, kosher or veggie sausages and steak sandwiches. Cold beverages, including water and soft drinks, are also a great addition to a BBQ fundraiser, especially on a hot day! 

 

Quirky Fundraising Ideas 

 15. Zombie run 

The zombie run is a fun run that kids of all ages can get behind. It's one of the most unique fundraising ideas you can try! Instead of running, participants dress up and put on their best zombie impressions as they stagger slowly to the finish line. To make it even more exciting, you can split the kids up into zombies and non-zombies and make it a challenge for the non-zombies to finish the race without getting 'attacked' by a zombie. Like a regular fun run or fitness challenge, participants can find donors to sponsor them in the lead-up to the event.   

Another kid-friendly fun run idea is the colour run – where non-toxic coloured powder is thrown on participants as they sprint to the finish line. Alternatively, splash and dash, where kids are doused in coloured water and slime during the run. 

16. Pet costume party  

A pet costume party and competition are another great fundraising idea involving our four-legged friends. Once you have secured a location to hold the event (a local park is always a good option!), promote it around your community and register some contestants. You can ask local businesses to donate a prize or factor the cost into the admission fee. On the day, you can sell food, refreshments, dog treats and anything else you can think of to help boost your revenue.   

A dog dressed up in a cape© UNICEF Australia supplied/2024

17. Arts and crafts market 

An arts and crafts market is a fundraising idea, especially around the holiday period, that showcases people's creativity within your local community while raising funds for charities like UNICEF Australia. Think art, prints, candles, pot plants, woodwork, knitted accessories, jewellery, or any other handmade item. Stallholders might like to donate a portion (or 100 per cent) of their profits to the charity you're fundraising for. 

18. Billy cart derby 

The Billy Cart Derby is a unique and exciting fundraising event that the kids will love. Get teams of two together to build a billy cart. They will also need to decide who will be the driver and who will be the runner who pushes the cart. Put together a course for participants to race around, be it the local park, oval, or outdoor courts. You can charge people a fee to participate, have participants get sponsorships and collect donations from those watching on the sidelines. 

19. Unleash your creativity 

Invite your friends over for a fun and creative fundraising night where everyone gets to take home a masterpiece. All you need are some canvasses, paintbrushes and paint. If creativity isn’t your strong point, you might want to get an arty person to help you with the event and give attendees tips and tricks. 

People doing a pottery class as a fundraiser.© UNICEF Australia supplied/Williams

20. Garage or car boot sales 

Is your home full of clothes, toys, knickknacks, and other good-quality items you desperately want to get rid of? You can host a garage sale or gather your community for a car boot sale. It is a great way to fundraise while doing a much-needed spring clean. Advertise your event by putting up posters around your neighbourhood, sharing the details in your local social media groups, and, of course, taking advantage of good old-fashioned word of mouth. 

21. Art exhibition 

Art exhibitions are another great fundraising idea that communities love to get behind. Speak to artists about donating a piece of their work to your art exhibition, and you can also encourage local art galleries to get behind your fundraiser by donating their space for your exhibition or committing a portion of their sales for a set period. 

Workplace Fundraising Ideas 

22. Black-tie event or charity ball 

Black tie events are the perfect fundraiser as you blend sophistication with a commitment to positive change. The black-tie event sets the stage for attracting passionate individuals who want to make a difference. The exclusivity of the event adds an element of prestige, making attendees feel part of an influential community dedicated to causes such as children's rights. 

An upscale environment provides the perfect backdrop for fundraising efforts, as guests are more inclined to contribute generously, with the added benefit of cultivating a sense of unity. Add to the event by creating a theme, having a special guest speaker or incorporating a silent auction. 

23. Fitness challenge  

Fitness challenges are a great way to get in shape or stay healthy while raising much-needed funds for UNICEF Australia. From fun runs to ocean swims and triathlons, you can challenge yourself and raise money in plenty of adventurous ways.  

Here in Australia, there are endless fitness challenges you can get involved in every year, such as Sydney's most popular fun run, City2Surf. A 14km race from Sydney's CBD to Bondi Beach, many participants sign up to #TeamUNICEF to help fundraise for children in need all over the world.   

A team of work colleagues hiking the Blue Mountains© UNICEF Australia/2023/Andres

 24. Create a cookbook 

A cookbook is a fantastic way to share different cuisines and cultures while fundraising for charity. Select a theme or keep it broad and ask people in your community to submit a favourite family recipe. Collect them all into a cookbook. Send a digital version, or if you want to print the cookbook, get people to commit to buying a copy and incorporate the production costs into the pricing. 

25. A live concert   

Live music is always a crowd-pleaser so what better way to fundraise for a charity than hosting musicians at a community hall or local pub. You can pay the musicians part of the proceeds, or they might be happy to play for free in to support an important cause. And if you have a lot of local bands in your community, you could raise the stakes and make the event a battle of the band's competition! 

26. Host a workshop or class 

If you're a yoga or fitness instructor or have a skill to share, a workshop or class is a great way to get people to donate to charity while also enjoying the benefits of exercising, learning a new skill, and meeting new people. From crocheting to beginner's language classes, cooking classes or anything in between, there's no limit to the variety of workshops or classes you can hold to fundraise for charities like UNICEF Australia. 

Four girls doing a fitness workout on the beach© UNICEF Australia supplied/Garrett

27. A silent auction 

Silent auctions are another popular way to fundraise, and it's a great way to get the whole community involved. It requires some preparation, especially when lining up items to auction - ask community members, local businesses and larger organisations to donate various prizes to appeal to all interests. Silent auctions are great as a standalone event or incorporated into another fundraising event, such as a charity ball or trivia night. 

Hikers participating in a fundraising event for UNICEF Australia.© UNICEF Australia/2023/Andres

Start fundraising for UNICEF Australia

This round-up of fundraising ideas is just a handful of ideas to spark your imagination when it comes to your next fundraising event. And if you're fundraising for UNICEF Australia, you will be helping to create a world in which every child is healthy, educated, and safe so that they can grow to reach their full potential.