Now that we’ve all caught our breath post-Pride Month, it’s time to recognize the LGBTQ+ community again. October is LGBTQ+ History Month—the perfect time to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.
If you’re a regular Funraiser (Funraisite?), you may have guessed that the general ethos here at Funraise is that the best way to celebrate is to fundraise. That’s because doing good isn’t cheap, and supporting the causes near and dear to us is one of the best ways to make change and make a statement. LGBTQ+ nonprofits are fighting day in and day out to advance equity, change policies, improve services, and better lives. So this October, we’re coming together to celebrate the history and culture of LGBTQ+ people by sharing our best LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas, examples, and tips.
A Brief History of LGBTQ+ History Month 🌈
What better way to kick things off than with the history of LGBTQ+ History Month?
Nearly 30 years since its inception, LGBTQ+ History Month recognizes and honors the legacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and intersex pioneers who have led the historic (and ongoing) fight for civil rights. Founded in 1994, LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in conjunction with National Coming Out Day (October 11) and International Pronouns Day (October 19).
While many of the world’s leading LGBTQ+ nonprofits work year-round to advance acceptance and promote LGBTQ+ equity, October is an excellent opportunity to fundraise for LGBTQ+ causes and campaigns. LGBTQ+ nonprofits can leverage history to accelerate the path forward toward inclusion and belonging.
Keep in mind that funding the future relies on honoring the past—and LGBTQ+ History Month is the perfect time to uplift the history of the queer and trans communities while moving the needle forward.
5 inspiring LGBTQ+ fundraising examples
A successful LGBTQ+ fundraising initiative is about much more than making a profit. It’s about forging necessary change, celebrating diverse communities, and cultivating LGBTQ+ joy. To get us started, here are some inspirational and impactful LGBTQ+ fundraising examples.
Amplifying Inclusion Through Strategic Storytelling
Expanding Inclusive Healthcare Services
Building a Better World, One Hug at a Time
Bridging the Gap for LGBTQ+ Youth
Advancing Access to Affirming Legal Aid
Are you inspired by the meaningful work of these LGBTQ+ nonprofits? Get started amplifying your LGBTQ+ nonprofit's mission with a free Funraise account to make raising more ...more effortless!
23 excellent LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas for 2022
From thought-provoking panels to galas awash in glitter, there’s something for everyone when it comes to LGBTQ+ fundraising events. Below, you’ll find a rainbow of creative fundraising ideas.
1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch singalong
Singalongs are always a great way to raise money, but a singalong to the cult film “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is way more than an inch above the rest. Trust us: everyone will be on their feet and singing “Wig in a Box.” Ugh, now we have it stuck in our heads.
2. Rainbow garden party
Plant an edible garden in your neighborhood with vegetables and fruits of every stripe and every color. If you really want to up the excitement, you can plant purple carrots AND purple cauliflower! It beautifies the block, gets everyone outdoors, and provides healthy food for neighbors in need.
3. Documentary viewing and panel
One great way to educate and build empathy? Invite people to sit down and listen. There are lots of fantastic LGBTQ+ documentaries out there; choose a relevant one depending on your nonprofit’s focus, then host a Q&A with the expert members of your organization afterwards.
4. Art auction
When it comes to decorating, we’re maximalists, and that means covering every surface in color and art. An art auction is the perfect opportunity for your supporters to cover up those naked walls with pieces that are personal and beautiful. Solicit art from members of your community and provide an artist bio and explanation with each piece.
Listen: we know you’re all about spreading the love. But everyone has moments of frustration or people that drive us beyond our usually-sunny attitudes (for us, they’re mostly politicians and exes.) How about a place where you can scream and stomp and maybe cry, either in private or with similarly-frustrated friends? Provide a soundproof room that donors can book for a small donation (or provide it free for recurring donors!) ...just make sure to offer post-scream tissues, and tea and honey or ice cream for sore throats and hearts.
6. Landmark tour
If you’re located in a city with a rich LGBTQ+ history, you can organize a guided tour of noteworthy sites and landmarks. Whether you’re wandering the Castro in San Francisco or touring Walt Whitman’s house in Camden, make sure everything’s accessible to everyone.
7. Kids’ rainbow craft night
If we want the future to be more inclusive, we need to teach kids that love is love from day one. Rent a space at a park on a sunny summer day and entertain the wee ones with hours of rainbow-centric crafts. You can do fingerpaint rainbows, playdough rainbows, pom-pom rainbows, and macrame rainbows (okay, those are for the prodigy kiddos). You’ll educate the next generation and give their lovely parents a well-deserved break.
8. Snatch Game
It’s a Drag Race classic for a reason. Everyone impersonates their fav celebrity and buzzes in their answers to your moderator’s questions—all while staying in character. Guests are welcome to watch, and vote on a winner, for a donation.
9. Snatch Game: Queens Only Edition
Same as the above, but everyone dresses as their favorite drag queen. Maybe you can find a local queen to be your celebrity moderator!
10. Bite-size brunch
Fight brunch decision-making fatigue with a bite-size brunch fundraiser! Guests can have one (or five) of everything with tiny pancakes, mini quiches, espresso shots, and sunnyside-up quail eggs.
11. Wig-making workshop
Gather the supplies to DIY some outrageously whimsical and fabulously stylish wigs. Too much? Try some elaborate headpieces with lots of fake flowers and glitter. And if that still sounds too complicated, get back to basics: extensions and faerie hair. (And yes, we did want another excuse to encourage everyone to listen to “Wig in a Box,” so thanks for humoring us.)
12. Wig runway show
Oh, you definitely need to showcase all those amazing wigs with a runway show. Make sure you have a solid playlist at the ready.
13. Trivia night
It’s LGBTQ+ History Month, but do you know your facts? Partner with your local bar or brew pub to host a themed trivia night. Be sure to raise your profile along with funds by devoting one category to your organization.
14. Wedding gifts for all
Not so long ago, gay marriage wasn’t legal in the US, and it’s still illegal in the vast majority of countries. Run a marriage equality fundraising campaign in which engaged participants ask guests to donate to your organization in lieu of buying them fine china. Set up a wedding-themed campaign microsite and provide branded thank-you cards to all your fundraisers.
15. Face painting
It’s a fact: everyone loves makeup. Little kids love looking like lions or unicorns, teens love looking like they have the poutiest lips, and we all love looking like we have cheekbones. That’s why an all-purpose face painting/makeover/contouring fundraiser is a win-win-win.
16. Mocktail mixology class
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to eschew that glass of vino, whether it’s over-indulgence, sobriety, or a craving for ginger ale. But everyone still deserves a delicious drink. Hold a non-alcoholic mixology class to make and enjoy a variety of zero-proof drinks.
17. Anti-bullying class
Host a series of workshops for the younger generation to teach them all about empathy and kindness. You can read stories for the littlest participants and invite guest speakers for the older ones. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of allyship, too!
18. PJ party waffle party
Schools are always hosting PJ-party fundraisers, but what about the adults?! Everyone deserves to wear flannel pants into the afternoon. And because we like how waffles have little crevices that fill with the perfect amount of (real) maple syrup, we’re suggesting them over pancakes. Let everyone choose their own toppings as a celebration of choice and diversity. Ranch dressing and pickles? YOLO.
19. Tutu-making class
In a better world, everyone would wear tutus. Move us all a little bit closer by hosting a tutu-making class for all ages. Be sure to include dog tutus, because that’s just the cutest.
20. Friendship vows
For a lot of LGBTQ+ community members, family is a choice, not a bloodline. Host friendship ceremonies for your supporters, including writing vows and making friendship bracelets. After, give them a certificate of BFF-ness.
21. Drag king show
Drag kings don’t get nearly enough attention, but you can change that. Host a drag king fundraiser, with guests enjoying an evening of dance, stand-up, artistry, and a side of education. Everyone should know about drag king culture!
22. Queer-ish movie night
We’ll always ship Frodo/Sam (and Legolas/Aragorn, but that’s neither here nor there), and we have a feeling we’re not alone. Screen some movies that aren’t technically LGBTQ+ but could easily be read as such. Encourage everyone to cheer loudly throughout and discuss the subtleties after.
23. Self-care spectacular
It’s an entire afternoon devoted to loving yourself exactly as you are. Activities might include journaling, free hugs, infused water, yoga, art supplies, super-affirming movies, and cookies.
Beautiful benefits of LGBTQ+ fundraising events
We’ve established that LGBTQ+ fundraising events fund vital services, educate communities, and combat injustice in all forms. Those are some pretty convincing reasons to get fundraising, but if you need a few more, here you go!
Connect with like-minded people.
At its core, the LGBTQ+ community is about embracing diversity and individuality. What better way to strengthen that bond than to host events that bring everyone together in one place?
Increase awareness and acceptance.
Some folks are still under the impression that they don’t know any LGBTQ+ people. The more loud and proud events we hold, the more we increase awareness and, in turn, acceptance.
Create more safe spaces.
LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and violence every day, but every single fundraising event is another safe space in which people can be who they are without fear.
Build confidence in LGBTQ+ youth.
By hosting fundraising events, LGBTQ+ youth can connect with a like-minded community and build the confidence to thrive. Even seeing posters for an LGBTQ+ event can help by increasing visibility and banishing secrecy.
Say no to performative allyship.
Let’s be honest: a lot of people and companies say a lot of things during Pride Month—and then never mention LGBTQ+ issues for another 11 months. Fundraising events keep things real, asking allies to be allies all year round.
Appreciate how far we’ve come.
LGBTQ+ History Month and all LGBTQ+ fundraising events remind us of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the LGBTQ+ rights movement as we know it. Remembering everything the community has gone through and accomplished is both humbling and empowering.
Top tips for LGBTQ+ fundraising
Events take a lot of effort, so naturally, you want yours to be as successful as possible. Here are a few ways to up your fundraising potential—and make your event a safe space for everyone.
Bring in the whole community.
The “+” is there for a reason, so plan events that showcase and support the diversity of people that rely on your services.
Check for gender-neutral restrooms.
If you’re creating an LGBTQ+-friendly event, you want everyone to feel comfortable. That means ensuring the restrooms, like the event, are for everyone.
Keep it safe.
While LGBTQ+ nonprofit fundraising events can be a lot of fun, it’s an unfortunate fact that they can also bring out the worst in humanity. Make sure anyone involved in the event is welcoming and supportive so that you have a space that’s truly safe for everyone.
Peer-to-peer goes far.
As an LGBTQ+-focused nonprofit, your community is your superpower. You can spread the word—and the love—with peer-to-peer fundraising.
Support the community.
You can up your impact by keeping those fundraising dollars in the community. Hosting a brunch? Book an LGBTQ+-owned restaurant. Printing invites? Find an LGBTQ vendor.
Recognize the wins.
There’s a lot of not-so-great stuff happening out there politically right now. Rights are being taken away—rights to our choices, our bodies, and more. But it’s still important to celebrate how far we’ve come. It raises morale and encourages everyone to keep fighting.
Don’t forget other LGBTQ+ days of awareness.
These are also prime opportunities for fundraising and building awareness:
- March: Bisexual+ Health Awareness Month
- March 31: International Trans Day of Visibility
- April 18: Nonbinary Parents Day
- April 26: Lesbian Visibility Day
- May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
- May 24: Pansexual and Panromantic Visibility Day
- June: LGBTQ+ Pride Month
- June 28: Stonewall Riots Anniversary
- July 14: International Non-Binary People’s Day
- Starting the Sunday before September 23: Bisexual+ Awareness Week
- October: LGBTQ+ History Month
- October 11: National Coming Out Day
- October 19: International Pronouns Day
- Last full week in October: Asexual Awareness Week
- First two full weeks in November: Transgender Awareness Week
- December 6: Gender Expansive Parents' Day
We look forward to the day when everyone is embraced and celebrated for exactly who they are. Until then, we have LGBTQ+-focused organizations to help everyone in our community live a healthy, safe life—and Funraise is here to help, too, however we can.
LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas: FAQs
What are some good LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas?
For LGBTQ+ causes, good fundraisers bring in the whole community and feel celebratory in nature. They balance education with a memorable experience. Think big!
What can my company do to support Pride and LGBTQ+ rights?
We’re so glad you asked! To be true allies, companies should be vocal about their support, educate employees about LGBTQ+ history, evaluate their policies and standards in light of being as inclusive as possible, and, of course, fundraise for LGBTQ+ nonprofits.
What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and more. You might also see “2S” a the end of the acronym, which is an Indigenous term that stands for “Two-Spirit”.