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Creative Fundraising Ideas for the Autumn Equinox

Sunset in a beautiful fall wood

August 9, 2023

Evenings will soon turn crisp, and we’ll be reaching for something warm to wear to walk the dog. With its vibrant colors and cozy ambiance, the fall season offers a unique opportunity for nonprofits to connect with their communities.

The autumnal equinox, a time of balance and transition, is the perfect occasion to host a fall fundraising event that’s both meaningful and creative.

Why a fall equinox fundraiser?

An equinox occurs when the Earth’s axis is not tilted toward or away from the sun. On that day, we get nearly equal amounts of daylight and darkness. This year, the autumn equinox is on September 23, 2023. It’s a time of balance, change, and preparation for the winter months. It’s also a lovely, symbolic inspiration for a fundraiser emphasizing unity, harmony, and community support.

a lovely field of pampas grass

Autumn Equinox Fall Fundraising Ideas

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Harvest Dinner: a farm-to-table fall fundraising experience

The bounty of autumn provides a rich palette of flavors and a unique opportunity to celebrate community, sustainability, and giving. Hosting a harvest dinner as a fundraiser can be a delightful way to bring people together in support of your cause and community. Here’s how you can make it happen:

 

  1. Source locally: Partner with local farmers and a local culinary school or chef to produce a wonderful meal—this supports the local economy and adds authenticity to your event.
  2. Ticket sales: Sell tickets to the dinner online and ensure those that can’t attend can still donate toward your cause. Offer different pricing tiers, including family packages or VIP experiences with local chefs or farms. You could also offer discounts or free tickets to those who bring goods such as jackets, blankets, or food for donation.
  3. Food bank collaboration: Encourage guests to bring non-perishable food items for donation. You could even collaborate with your area’s food bank to create awareness, reach a wider audience, and ensure you collect the most-needed items.
  4. Themed auction or raffle: Include a silent auction or raffle with autumn-themed items, experiences, or products from local businesses. This can add excitement to the event and generate additional funds.
  5. Share the story and express thanks: During the dinner, show gratitude to your guests for their time and donations. Share the impact of the money raised and the items donated, and mention specific examples!
  6. Sustainability focus: Emphasize sustainability by minimizing waste, using reusable or compostable dinnerware, and considering plant-based menu options.
a lovely fall outdoor dinner party
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Nature Walks: be present and take in the season's change

Organizing guided nature walks can be a delightful way to engage families, nature enthusiasts, and community members. Here’s how to create a memorable and educational experience:

 

  1. Choose the path: Select a trail that showcases the beauty of autumn and is accessible to various age groups and fitness levels. All Trails is a great resource, as are local parks or nature reserves. There are often rangers or park docents who would be happy to collaborate to create an engaging event!
  2. Collaborate with experts: This is where partnering with a local park or preserve is super helpful—the expert is built in! You can also connect with local naturalists, botanists, or wildlife experts (such as birdwatching clubs) to lead the walks.
  3. Ticket sales: Offer tickets for guided walks with different options for individuals, families, or groups. Sell tickets at a set price or with a choose-your-own-donation option.
  4. Themed walks: Create themed walks that focus on specific aspects of nature to attract different groups. Some ideas include bird watching, tree identification, reading the signs of wildlife, or foraging for edible plants. You could get extra creative and invite a foraging chef to show participants how to create a meal from foods they find!
  5. Themed raffle: This could be a hybrid raffle so that people can participate IRL and online. Gather nature-related prizes such as camping gear, bird feeders, gardening tools, gourmet s’mores kits, or a fun experience such as a hot air balloon ride. Sell raffle tickets before and during the event, with the drawing held at the end of the walk.
  6. Share the experience: Engage your online community by sharing the experience live on your social media platforms. Encourage in-the-moment donations through a crowdfunding page.
  7. Promote conservation: Use the event to promote environmental stewardship and conservation. Share information about local conservation efforts and encourage participants to get involved. If your nonprofit isn’t involved in conservation, partner with one that is. In doing so, you’ll reach more people and do even more good!
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Equinox Ceremony: mindfulness and giving

This time of year often inspires people to reflect and reconnect. Here’s how to craft an experience that nourishes the soul and supports your cause:

 

  1. Meditation session: Invite a local meditation instructor to guide a session that aligns with the themes of the equinox. Participants can join in person or virtually via a livestream and contribute a donation of their choice.
  2. Yoga class: Host a special yoga class focusing on poses that embody balance and harmony. Charge a registration fee using your fundraising page.
  3. Sound bath experience: Collaborate with sound therapists to create a sound bath experience using singing bowls, gongs, or other instruments. Offer tickets for the event, and consider providing recordings for those who cannot attend in person.
  4. Gratitude lists: Inspire supporters on social media to write a gratitude list and tag your organization. Be sure to publish your own and thank all your volunteers, supporters, and event participants.
a lovely fall outdoor dinner party
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Peer-to-Peer Fall Equinox Fundraisers

Leverage the power of individual supporters to raise funds on behalf of your organization with peer-to-peer fundraising! It’s a super way to involve your community and drive awareness, and you don’t even need to organize an in-person walk or event. Set up an online peer-to-peer challenge that can be done at home and inspire supporters to participate. For more, read Peer-To-Peer Fundraising: Everything You Need To Know.

 

  1. Equinox run/walk/roll: Organize a virtual or in-person run/walk event around the time of the equinox. Participants can register as individuals and teams, set personal fundraising goals, and engage their networks to support their efforts.
  2. Harvest recipe share: Ask supporters to share their favorite autumn recipes and then create a virtual cookbook. Once completed, you can ask for donations in exchange for access to the cookbook. Invite everyone to tag your organization and use a special hashtag when they share pictures of the food they made using the cookbook. You can then reshare their posts to continue to promote the cookbook.
  3. Fall read-a-thon: Participants could commit to read a certain number of books with nature, change, or balance themes to tie into the equinox. They can seek pledges for each book or page read.

Fall Fundraiser Tips for Success

  • Engage the community: Reach out to local farmers, artists, and businesses to participate. Their involvement can add authenticity and local flavor to your event.
  • Tell your story: Share the mission and vision of your nonprofit. Let people know how their support will make a difference.
  • Thank your supporters: Show gratitude to participants, whether through a heartfelt thank-you note, social media post, or a small token of gratitude.

The autumn equinox is more than just a change in the weather; it’s a time to reflect and connect. Get ahead of Halloween, GivingTuesday, and Thanksgiving by creating a fall fundraiser for your nonprofit that connects with and celebrates your community!

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