Creative Fundraising Ideas for the Autumn Equinox

beautiful golden light in a 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.
an autumnal field of pampas grass

Why a fall equinox fundraiser?

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

Autumn Equinox Fundraising Ideas

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

The bounty of autumn provides a rich palette of flavours 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 towards 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 online 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: Emphasise sustainability by minimising waste, using reusable or compostable dinnerware, and considering plant-based menu options.
a lovely outdoor fall dinner party

Nature Walks: be present and take in the season's change

Organising 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. Local parks or nature reserves are a great resource. 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 reserve 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 charity isn’t involved in conservation, partner with one that is. In doing so, you’ll reach more people and do even more good!

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 cozy fall scene with a book, hot drink, and pumpkin

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.  
  • 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 and GivingTuesday by creating a fall fundraiser for your nonprofit that connects with and celebrates your community!

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