Cool Fundraising Ideas to Beat the Summer Heat

You've looked forward to the fun of summer all year long, no matter what part of the world you're in. Summer means holidays, and long weekends, and the warm weather means endless fun outdoors. It also means great fundraising opportunities.

Here are our favorite summer fundraising ideas that are sure to draw a crowd:


What's better than getting outside to feel the cool wind in your hair? A bike-a-thon gets your group outside and enjoying the summer weather with a piece of equipment they probably already have access to since most people own or could borrow a bike.

Fundraise with a bike-a-thon by charging participants a nominal entrance fee, and ask them to collect sponsorships for miles biked.

Pool Party Fundraiser

If you have access to a pool at your school or community center, approach them to see if they'd be willing to allocate a certain number of hours to fundraising. The pool donates the space and time, plus the proper supervision – you'll need lifeguards, especially if children are allowed at the event – and your charity charges each swimmer an entrance fee.

In addition, you can offer snacks, raffle off prizes, and set up carnival-type games around the pool for when swimmers get tired of splish-splashing around.

Water Balloon Fight Fundraiser

This fundraiser is a total soaker, which makes it a success if you're trying to stay cool! Designate a large open space in your community, like a park or school field, your splash zone. Then put out an open call to organize the biggest water balloon fight your community has ever seen!

The fundraising happens when you charge per filled water balloon, or make the fight a team sport where teams pay a registration fee to enter, sort of like paintball.

Concert in the Park Charity Event

A concert takes a lot of planning, but if you have the resources – a school or church band, a choir, or a popular teen band – it can draw a huge crowd and lots of money. Put out the call for a battle of the bands in your community. And welcome local bands to play for free at your event as a great opportunity for marketing their band. Charge spectators a ticket fee to enjoy the show.

Ice Cream Fundraisers

Nothing beats the heat better than an ice cream fundraiser! Approach a local cone shop or grocer, and ask if they would provide the ice cream and cones in exchange for free marketing, or agree to donate a portion of each sale to your charity if you get the crowd out.

Many cone shops will host a charity ice cream cone day where with each cone sold, a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.

Car Wash Fundraiser

Car washes are a tried-and-true fundraiser for summer. All you need is a willing group of volunteers, and some car washing supplies such as sponges, soap, chamois, buckets, and hoses. Set up your car wash at a busy intersection, and watch the customers roll in.

Be sure to choose a location with access to a spigot. For your car wash fundraiser, offer to wash cars per set price, or let customers pay what they can.

Barbecue Fundraiser

A summer barbecue with grilled burgers, steaks, hot dogs, and even veggie dogs for the animal lovers, is one of the most successful fundraising choices. Approach a local grocer or butcher to ask if they will donate all or some of the supplies for the perfect summer barbecue fundraiser. Offer to advertise them as the sponsor in exchange for the grilling goods.

Community Block Party Fundraiser

Summer block parties combine all the summer goodness in one event – a barbecue, slip and slide, sprinkler, fireworks, live music, and community! Of course, a block party takes a little bit of extra planning, but it's the perfect fundraiser for a community to organize. Do your best to get all the local residents on board to avoid noise complaints, and recruit a team of volunteers to help out.

Frozen Lollipop Fundraising

Nothing sells faster than the sweet stuff, especially when it's frozen and it's hot outside. Ask to set up your frozen popsicle stand at a sporting event, community gathering, or at a fun summer kids' activity. Frozen lollies are inexpensive, easy to carry, and easier to sell.

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