Your donors are constantly on the run. Here are some ways you can meet them where they’re at in their daily lives, and raise money from it!

22 Activity-Based Fundraising Ideas

By: Seth Braddock, CEO & Founder at Kilter

Whether you’re a small or large nonprofit, serve youth, animals, or are funding the latest medical research, your constituents are no longer all in one place. The people who support you, or who haven’t yet heard about the work you do, are quite literally all over the world today. Your supporters are leading lives in the world of digital transformation that make getting and keeping their attention increasingly difficult.


If you’re looking for some ideas in 2022 that can help you retain donor attention in a way that simply feels like an extension of their daily lives, maybe it’s time to try building out events around activity-based engagement.


Here are 22 ideas to get your wheels turning. While you’re reading through our list, here are a few questions for you to think about: Who are your donors and what do they enjoy doing in their personal lives? What is the target audience you’re trying to reach today? Do you have any corporate partners looking for new opportunities to make their dollars go further for you? 


1. Set A Global Activity Minutes Goal

A time-based event is an inclusive way to meet your supporters where they are. You can foster deep community around your mission while giving your participants a way to help contribute towards your goal for anything they do. Maybe they do it by running or walking, logging yoga workouts, meditation time, reading, or even playing pickleball. Everyone has a preference of activity and they all add up towards achieving your collective activity and fundraising goals.


2. Self-Care Challenge

Build your event around the things that reduce stress and improve well-being in today’s world. Focus on activities like sleep, exercise, mental health, healthy eating, getting that booster shot, and even going to get that massage you’ve been putting off for months. 


3. Pet Fitness Event

Challenge your supporters to get out and walk their dogs, cats, iguanas, and fly their birds. Whatever fits their furry or feathery fancy! This type of event will make for a fun gallery of photos for your end of year impact report.


4. Hourly Hustle / Daily Dash / Month of Miles

Try leveraging this idea for a restricted time based challenge combined with a pledge from some corporate sponsors or larger donors. We’ve seen a lot of success with events where your supporters have a certain amount of time to unlock donations based on the miles they log. For example, launch a 48 hour challenge with an opportunity for supporters to unlock up to $10,000 from a sponsor, where every mile they log unlocks $5 in real-time and fills up your community leaderboard and fundraising goal. 



Here's how one of our corporate partners challenged their employees, who logged more than 1,000 miles in one day and hit their $10,000 donation goal in less than 12 hours.


Curiosity or ideas starting to creep into your brain, and want to schedule a brainstorming session? Click here to book a brainstorm time with our team.



5. Hand Crank, Roll, Push Assist

Inclusivity is key to success. If you serve or have supporters who are wheelchair bound, there are great ways to ensure their participation through a Roll tile (wheelchair accessibility), as well as a Hand Crank and Push Assist option for those who are also endurance athletes!


6. Step Challenges

The next-level version. Step challenges can now be used as a way to cultivate a large engaged audience who are all working together to achieve a collective goal for your organization. Set these up with a big number in mind like 50 million steps. Then, go get a corporate sponsor to pledge a donation to your organization when your community hits that goal. This will provide incredibly high value for your sponsors by giving their brand direct visibility to your audience on a daily basis until your goal is met.


7. Group Distance Challenge 

Think of this as the same concept as the step challenge idea above but can be sliced and diced however you want. Set this event up with a distance goal in mind and foster a community of your supporters by challenging them to reach that goal in whatever way they go (run, walk, bike, swim, hike, roll, etc.). Or, target a very specific audience, like your Peloton crew, and center your event around cycling miles alone!


8. Meditation & Mental Health Month

Stay calm and fundraise on. Craft an event that focuses on your supporters mental health and engage them in activities like Meditation, Mindfulness, and Restorative Yoga. How about a challenge around the number of mental health minutes over the course of the month? Can you challenge your community to do 100,000 mental health minutes and tie it to your fundraising goal?


9. Read-a-thon

Everyone loves a good bedtime story. This is another time-based opportunity to engage your community of bookworms. Set a goal for the number of minutes you want your community to spend in between the pages learning new words. Every word could be worth pennies for your cause. All those pennies add up!


10. Volunteer-a-thon

A double impact whammy! You need volunteers to carry out important work to support your goals. There’s no reason why these hours shouldn’t also drive revenue and be a fun community experience for everyone involved. How many volunteer hours do you think your community can log in a month, quarter, or even a year-long campaign? Do you have a sponsor that wants their name associated with those hours in exchange for a matching dollar amount per hour?


11. Motorcycle Minutes

If you’re an organization with a cohort of riders, this is a natural opportunity to cultivate community around their mutual love of the open road. A couple ideas could surround the beginning of riding season in the spring or during a holiday week like July 4 to capture their attention and challenge them to achieve a collective goal to ride a certain amount of time and unlock donations for your cause. 




Have ideas around an activity you can challenge your community to engage in around a time based goal like minutes? Let’s put our heads together. Schedule time for a brainstorm with our team.




12. The 365 Evergreen Event

Pick any activity or set of activities you want to engage your supporters in throughout the year. Note that this type of event can be challenging to grow and retain the attention of the participants, but there are a few ways to do it well, including monthly mini-challenges with new exciting prizes, activating a sponsor who will match activities with donations throughout the year, and utilizing content delivery to constantly be sharing important and impactful information directly with your supporters.


13. Healthy Meal Prep Month

Are you a hunger-based nonprofit, teach youth skills like cooking or healthy eating habits, or have an audience who might respond well to an event around healthy meals? This event type could be a great option to set a collective goal for the community to prepare a certain number of healthy meals. Get social with this one and include a mini-challenge for the most delicious looking meal post with your hashtag on social media.


14. Advocacy 

You know how important it is for your supporters to demonstrate their passion for your cause. Create and center the goals of your event around the number of activities logged for volunteering, attending an in-person or hybrid event, signing a petition, calling on legislation, or however you need your supporters to advocate on your behalf.


15. Yoga

Peloton, Youtube, in-person yoga studios, or even goat yoga (that one is still on my to-do list). This event can really drive some upward (dog) movement for your organization by rallying your community of yogi’s around a collective goal. Try offering up a free yoga membership to the platform or studio of choice to the supporter that logs the most workout and/or who raises the most money during your event!


16. Marathons

If you’re an organization who already has marathon fundraisers or if you’re looking to do this in the future, it’s a fantastic time to incorporate new ways to build community and engage your fundraisers leading up to race day. Try doing this in one of a few ways, like an event that’s open to the larger community where your fundraisers can invite their friends and family to join them in their training and fundraising efforts (i.e., Grandma can support Alexandra’s training goals with her daily walks with the dog). Or, create a team-based event where each team is a different marathoner and put an incentive up for the individual that raises the most money or logs the most miles leading up to the event weekend. As always, this will open up new opportunities to further engage your corporate sponsors.



Recommendation: With every event, we always recommend utilizing incentives and prizes as a strong engagement tool. Check out these Prize Ideas for inspiration.




17. Snow Sports

Seasonal event types are great to capture the attention of your supporters when they’re most likely to participate in certain activities. During the winter, try out an all-inclusive event focused on winter sports, like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, curling, and more! Have a local sporting goods store you can call to ask for some product giveaways as incentives?


18. Water Sports

Another seasonal event type to think about. In warmer months, center your event around activities that encourage your supporters to grab their suits, like swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, or even a date-night on a duck shaped pedal boat. Take advantage of the activities your community has been itching for all winter and turn it into dollars to drive your mission forward. Don’t forget to advocate for sunscreen #sunsafesummer. 


19. Hit The Trails

Hiking based events are amazing. They’re season-agnostic and encourage people to explore new places in nature. People tend to feel really good about themselves when they finish their trail based adventure, which is a great time to hit them with a gentle ask to donate or ask for a contribution from a friend. Utilize the power of your matching donation sponsors too in order to reach new donors and keep driving people out to the open air.



These ideas got you thinking of something that your community can get behind? Let us help you nail down your idea and curate the best possible event opportunities. Schedule some brainstorm time with us!



20. Anniversary Celebration

Have a special anniversary this year? Leverage it to increase the power of your events for your community. For example, if it’s your 25th anniversary, try hosting a 25-day event, charge your donors $25 to join, challenge them to log 25 activities each or achieve 2,500 total points, and go grab a $25,000 corporate sponsorship that’s available to unlock based on your communities’ efforts!


21. The Corporate Challenge

Do you have engaged corporate partners, or are you looking for opportunities to engage corporate partners and their employees? Try hosting a corporate challenge where within one event, each company has a team and create a fun yet competitive event where you have prizes for the companies that log the most activities (use any of the above activity-based event ideas!) and/or achieve the highest fundraising total.


22. The “All-Inclusive” Event

Last but certainly not least, this event type truly opens the activity doors for all. From logging miles to activity minutes, steps to swimming, gym visits to home workouts, to all sorts of sports like Pickleball, baseball, pickup basketball, snowboarding, kayaking, or taking your weekly martial arts classes, foster the most inclusive community you’ve ever had in one unified event.



If you made it this far, I hope we’ve helped spark some creative thoughts as you look at your calendar of fundraising event opportunities. 



Kilter is the most inclusive activity-based engagement platform for good. If we can help you curate an exciting event to help you foster community through the activities your supporters are doing in their daily lives, we’d love to be a part of your journey to take your relationships and fundraising opportunities to the next level.  



Learn more at kilterapp.com/nonprofits or set up that brainstorming session with our team!