25 Fun Community Event Ideas for Nonprofits to Make a Positive Impact

Astley Cervania

Astley Cervania

Content Contributor, HeySummit

Published on 3rd July 2023Updated 4th March 2024

With a thorough planning process, there are more pros than cons when it comes to bringing the community together through meaningful events. You might want to raise awareness, raise funds, or make new connections… 

There’s only so much you can do alone. But it’s a different story when you have the support of others. 

Whatever your goals are, this article will explore 25 fun community event ideas that you can use to help you reach them. 

What Are Community Events? 

A community event is where a group of people with common interests and goals come together. The aim is to build a strong community by fostering a sense of belonging, nurturing relationships, and addressing the concerns of individuals to make a positive change. 

Community events take various forms such as festivals, fairs, street parties, workshops, and more. Here’s a few examples of fun activities that they can also involve:

  • Scavenger hunt

  • Treasure hunt

  • Trivia night

  • Mic nights

They’re typically public events where anyone can join for free or for a nominal fee.

25 Community Event Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

We’ve listed 25 community event ideas for nonprofit organizations. A lot of these are virtual event ideas but some can also be hosted as hybrid events. Moreover, we’ve categorized these event ideas based on 5 different goals:

  • Fundraising

  • Attendee engagement 

  • Volunteer recruitment and retention

  • Driving a positive change

  • Seasonal events

All of which align with the core objectives of most nonprofit organizations.

Side note: it’s also important to promote your events as community leaders to take engagement to the next level!

Category 1: Community Event Ideas for Fundraising

Here are some fundraising event ideas designed to raise money for a specific cause. The events listed below will help you inspire people to contribute and make donations by creating a meaningful attendee experience.

1. Galas and Auctions

Galas are social events held with the main purpose of raising funds. However, auctions are events that focus on selling products or services to raise funds. A standard and silent auction can be hosted as a standalone event or as part of a gala. 

Although there’s a slight difference between the two, both types of events can be hosted online and are effective ways to raise money. 

2. Online Crowdfunding 

An online crowdfunding campaign is where you use social media to spread awareness to raise funds for a specific cause. This is often to make a positive impact or address a social concern. However, you could set up a website page and host an online event to share your cause. Plus, you can use this opportunity to directly encourage individuals to contribute through storytelling, visuals, and incentives. 

3. Virtual Runs

Let participants choose the location where they run. Create a registration page and set a distance and timeline for the run. Track attendees using a fitness app or some form of reporting system where people can share their progress. And because it’s a virtual event, people from anywhere in the world can join. 

4. Talent Showcase

Create an online or in-person charity event that brings together performers for a talent showcase or concert. If this isn’t going to be hosted in person, either live-stream the performances or use pre-recorded video content. Performers will likely have an audience of their own that you can get in front of. Generate revenue through ticket sales, tips, sponsorships, and partnerships with local businesses or organizations. 

5. Educational Webinars

Host an online event where attendees can learn from industry experts. People would be keen to join an event where they can gain valuable insights on a subject they care about as well as develop new or existing skills. Participants will register and pay a fee for a ticket. All proceeds will be used to support the cause you’re contributing to.

Category 2: Community Event Ideas for Attendee Engagement 

Want attendees and speakers alike to interact with one another? Then the event ideas listed below are for you. 

Events that prioritize attendee engagement usually involve networking and collaboration opportunities. Both factors help in delivering a satisfying attendee experience. They also help with attracting and retaining supporters, volunteers, as well as donors. 

6. Community Discussion Panels and Town Halls

Have regular community discussion panels or town hall events. Let community members discuss and exchange ideas with community leaders. Attendees will feel engaged and motivated to contribute since their voices are being heard. 

These events are great for fostering trust and a stronger sense of belonging thanks to their inclusive nature. 

7. Volunteer Appreciation

Give your volunteers the spotlight. Make them feel special and appreciated by celebrating their efforts. Include virtual awards, heartfelt speeches, and interactive activities to make the event memorable. Showing your appreciation like this strengthens your relationship with each volunteer and increases brand loyalty. This also forms a positive impression of your organization.

Plus, you can get video testimonials out of this and create event highlights to help you recruit more new volunteers.

8. Online Workshops

Help attendees learn new skills. Encourage those in a specific field or industry to develop their expertise. Unlike educational webinars, online workshops are more interactive. That’s because they involve more practical activities. 

9. Virtual Reading

Invite attendees to read through a selected book or literary work together. Engage in conversations about the themes and messages portrayed, and encourage people to share their book recommendations. 

An alternative is to find a common hobby or interest among community members and host an event based on that. 

10. Cultural Celebrations

Celebrate different cultures. Show appreciation for the diversity and cultural backgrounds of those in your community. Give community members a chance to express their culture and showcase their talents. This strengthens relationships and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment.

Category 3: Community Event Ideas to Recruit and Retain Volunteers

The events listed below will help you recruit and retain volunteers. How? By highlighting the benefits of your mission and the impact that people could make. Moreover, you can highlight benefits such as skills development and work experience opportunities.

11. Volunteer Fair

A volunteer fair is a gathering that brings nonprofit organizations and communities together. All have the opportunity to share their mission. It’s almost similar to a networking event or expo as each organization will have their own virtual booth or table. People can also make new connections and converse with one another. 

12. Skills-Based Matchmaking

A skills-based matchmaking event connects nonprofits with potential volunteers. Think of it as a dating app like Tinder – nonprofits present their needs while volunteers present their skills. Those that match can connect and discuss further. 

Aside from recruiting volunteers, this helps you grow your network and tap into a diverse pool of talented individuals. 

13. Volunteer Training and Orientation

Share free or paid training sessions for carrying out specific tasks. 

Besides getting the interest of potential volunteers, it also helps you appeal to a younger audience. You can promote the idea that they can gain career-related experience and soft skills. 

14. Community Service Projects

Here’s a few examples of community service projects: 

  • Cleanups

  • Food drives

  • Tree planting

These projects encourage people to make a positive impact on the community as well as improve bonds with locals. You can also host community service projects virtually with nonprofit event software tools

15. Volunteer Success Stories

Let volunteers share their stories and accomplishments with the community. An example of an accomplishment could be that they’ve managed to build a positive habit or that they’ve been volunteering for a significant amount of time. 

Volunteer success stories will inspire and motivate others to get involved.

Category 4: Community Event Ideas to Drive a Positive Change

Raise awareness on important issues. Inspire others to join the cause you’re fighting for. The goal here is to promote sustainable practices, encourage the community to take action, and bring awareness to arising issues or concerns. 

16. Speaker Series

Create a talk series by giving a stage to influencers, industry experts, and thought leaders in your niche. Let them share their knowledge and speak at your event to raise awareness on a particular subject. Since speakers will have an audience of their own, this is a great way to get in front of a wider audience. 

17. Social Impact Pitch Competition

Make your own version of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank. Have a panel of judges assess the pitches of participants. Set a prize for those that share the most creative ideas to address social issues. Aside from developing new ideas, it’s a fun way to bring the community together. 

18. Hackathons

Hackathons are where participants interested in software development and technology come together to work on a project. Nonprofits can host a hackathon to appeal to skilled individuals to not only have fun but to also give them an opportunity to address a social challenge in a unique way. For example, give them a brief where the goal is to build something that helps raise awareness on a topic. 

19. Sustainable Living Expo

This type of event is all about promoting sustainability in your community. It includes virtual booths, presentations, video content, and interactive sessions to educate attendees on the best eco-friendly practices. 

20. Youth Empowerment Conference

Host a conference for the youth. Encourage them to discuss how they can make a positive impact on the community. Give the young people a chance to showcase their leadership skills and knowledge to empower one another.

Tip: Prepare virtual keynote speeches and networking opportunities to deliver a more satisfying attendee experience! 

Category 5: Community Event Ideas for Different Seasons 

The last category is for hosting events for different seasons such as Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. 

Maybe you just want to have a bit of fun in your community and improve relationships with different people. Or, it could be for one of the other reasons mentioned above such as raising funds. Either way, one of these event ideas below will help you do just that! 

21. Halloween Costume Contest 

Organize an online costume contest where people can submit and showcase their costumes. Have participants use a specific event hashtag to maximize audience reach. Invite community members to vote for their favorites. Present to attendees the best costumes and then announce the winner live at your event. You can include fun activities too such as quizzes and Q&As with a community leader. 

Aside from fostering community engagement, you could also raise funds through entry fees and sponsorships. 

22. Seasonal Marketplace

Why not try hosting a seasonal marketplace? Partner up with small businesses and showcase their holiday-themed products to your community. This is one way to nurture relationships in your community and support local organizations at the same time. 

23. Virtual Toy Drive 

Virtual toy drives are where attendees donate gifts to children in need during the holiday season. Partner up with local charities and organizations to encourage more people to join the cause. 

24. Seasonal Worship Events

Bring the community together by hosting seasonal worship events such as Christmas mass and Easter services. You could also offer refreshments after mass. However, this only applies to religious nonprofit organizations. 

25. Holiday Giving Tree 

Choose a physical or virtual location where community members can add a tag. Each tag represents a gift or item for a charity or a person that’s in need. Participants can then select a tag and purchase the specified items. 

Rather than donating gifts yourself, this is one fun way to do it whilst bringing the community together for a charitable cause.

5 Features That Will Help You Host a Successful Community Event

Here’s what we believe are the top event features to take into account: 

  • Event landing pages

  • Marketing and viral tools

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Speaker management dashboard

  • Ticketing systems

Each of these will help you host community events that lead to attendee engagement, awareness, fundraising, as well as volunteer recruitment and retention. We’ll go through each feature below. 

Event Landing Page

All virtual events need a landing page to drive website traffic. It’s an effective way to capture registrations. To be specific, here’s how they can help:

  • Provide key event details to anyone interested online and help potential attendees understand the event’s value, therefore increasing conversion rates

  • Maximize conversion opportunities by prompting website visitors to take specific actions with strategic call-to-action buttons that are easily accessible, e.g. to register, donate, or volunteer

  • Build trust and credibility by highlighting social proof, testimonials, and positive feedback 

  • Collect the email addresses of attendees for follow-up communication when sending event updates and reminders

Our landing page builder at HeySummit is one example that allows you to do all of the above. We make it easy by using a drag-and-drop editor, so no coding skills are required. 

Marketing and Viral Tools

Marketing and viral tools will help you grow, foster, and engage your community. They’ll also help you automate the workflow and improve reach so that you’re able to reach a wider audience. 

Here’s how:

  • Email marketing: send automated email sequences to segmented audiences in your contact list 

  • Affiliate programs: leverage the networks and promotional efforts of affiliates to increase event awareness and drive registrations

  • Giveaways: generate buzz ahead of your event by doing giveaways that encourage participants to engage and increase awareness of the event via social shares and specific hashtags

  • Pre-registration pages: gauge attendee interest and gather information in advance to effectively plan and allocate resources such as food stations based on anticipated attendance

  • Swipe copy: pre-written content templates that can easily be adapted or shared so it’s easier and more convenient for attendees, speakers, and sponsors to promote your event

  • Sponsorship management: get access to tools to organize your list of sponsors, e.g. showcase event sponsors on your website with promo graphics

Our marketing and viral tools provide you with each of the above. It’s easy to set up with HeySummit because it’s part of the step-by-step event management process. 

Reporting and Analytics 

Use event analytics to make data-driven decisions. Tailor your efforts and optimize your event marketing strategy. 

Additionally, sharing event reports with partners as well as sponsors gives you a reason to follow up and nurture your relationship with them. This opens doors for future collaboration and can help you attract more new valuable partnerships. 

Our reporting and analytics feature gives you access to impact reports for all stages of the event management process: pre-event, live-event, and post-event. 

Speaker Management Dashboard

Streamline the speaker selection and management process. Enhance communication and improve the overall attendee experience. Simplify communication between speakers and event organizers. 

Here’s a few more ways how a speaker management dashboard helps:

  • Give speakers the ability to update their event content whenever necessary

  • Create speaker profiles and bios to highlight professional backgrounds, technical expertise, and links to social media or websites 

  • Encourage speakers to promote your event with email templates, automated reminders, and scheduling tools

  • Establish an event schedule by assigning speakers to specific time slots and managing talk session durations

Want to put your speakers in the driving seat? Try checking out our speaker dashboard feature

Ticketing Systems 

Ticketing systems are essential for hosting paid events, collecting donations, and generating revenue. Here’s a few more notable points:

  • Create ticketing tiers to make the event more accessible to people with different budgets

  • Offer discounted event tickets and early access to incentivize registrations

  • Improve the attendee experience by providing an online payment option for tickets rather than manual registrations on the day of the event

  • Streamline the registration process and track the number of attendees so you know what to expect in terms of capacity and resources

Our ticketing and revenue tools offer all the flexibility you need to manage payments at your events. 

Events Are Nice to Have Every Once in a While

Use one of these community event ideas to bring people together and build stronger connections. The types of events you host and how often you host them should be based on your audience’s best interests. 

And lastly, all successful events depend on the planning process. Plan thoroughly and take into account any tools or resources that you could use to your advantage. 

If you’re unsure where to start, try HeySummit. You can host all sorts of events without having to be a technical expert. 

Get started here for a free 14-day trial.

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