We associate spring with many things: flowers bloom, birds chirp, and the sun peaks through the clouds. But most of all, it’s about the rainbows, which is fitting, given that June brings Pride Month. That’s right, folks, it’s that most wonderful time of the year when we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community 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 spring, we’re coming together to celebrate LGBTQIA2S+ people by sharing our best LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas, examples, and tips.
A brief history of Pride Month
What better way to kick things off than with a quick rundown of how Pride Month came to be? On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City. That led to the Stonewall riots, six days of protests as patrons and other community members fought to protect one of their few safe spaces. One year after Stonewall, thousands marched from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park in the first gay pride parade in the US. We celebrate Pride Month every June in honor of Stonewall, and today, the Stonewall Inn is a national monument.
If you’re interested in some official dates, in 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June Gay & Lesbian Pride Month; in 2009, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month; and in June 2021, President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ Pride Month.
And a slightly-less-brief history of LGBTQ+ History Month 🌈
We’re all used to partying loud and proud for Pride Month, but in a few months, we’ll have yet another reason to celebrate. If you hadn’t heard, October is 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 Funraise to make raising more ...more effortless!
Trans-focused orgs, activists, and campaigns
In 2023, state legislatures have (so far) introduced a record-breaking 482 bills attacking LGBTQ+ people, and many of those focus on the trans community (ACLU). In this often-hostile world, trans people still have the courage to be their true selves and pursue the life they want–determinedly and relentlessly. In recognition of this diverse community’s strength, here are organizations, activists, and campaigns that are educating others, changing policies, improving access to care, and uplifting and empowering trans people.
5 transformative trans-focused organizations
South Carolina often tops the list of states that are anti-LGBTQ+, which makes supporting organizations like Pride Link all the more essential. They know exactly what LGBTQ+ people in the Upstate region of South Carolina are facing, and they offer financial assistance to make the journey a little bit smoother. For trans and nonbinary folks, their services include hormone therapy assistance.
Gender-affirming care is life-saving care, but that doesn’t mean post-surgery recovery is easy. T4T Caregiving provides trans caregivers and doulas to create personalized care plans for trans patients post-surgery. While the organization isn’t a nonprofit, their operating costs are funded by sponsors, along with a grant program.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Trans Health Project
Everyone knows that healthcare isn’t cheap, and transgender and nonbinary people often can’t afford the care they need. TLDEF’s Trans Health Project aims to improve access to trans healthcare by connecting people to services covered under insurance.
Transgender Education Network of Texas
Texas isn’t a great state to be trans, but Trans Texas is fighting the good fight down south. They provide toolkits to help trans students thrive, education and advocacy resources for parents, and cultural competency workshops and seminars. We’re most enamored of their Love Letters to Trans People campaign, which encourages anyone to “Write a love letter to trans people! Declare your love and commitment to action to support and fight for trans people. Together we will bring to the foreground the admiration, care, and love that supporters, families and friends radiate out to our transgender & gender-expansive community members.”
Missed the cutoff to send love notes to trans folks in Texas? You can still get those postcards of positivity to trans people through Point of Pride.
DeSantis has rapidly transformed Florida into a bastion of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, and, unsurprisingly, trans people are bearing the brunt of this unprecedented attack on civil rights. As we sat and typed this article, four anti-LGBTQ+ were signed into law, banning gender-affirming care and restricting access to bathrooms. That means organizations like Transinclusive Group, a transgender-led nonprofit that provides services and support for the transgender community, need our support more than ever.
5 terrific trans-focused campaigns
Mercury Stardust's 2nd Annual TikTok-a-Thon for Trans Healthcare
With over 2.2 million followers on TikTok (#goals), Mercury Stardust uses her powers of persuasion for good as an advocate for trans healthcare. In March 2023, she signed on to TikTok for 30 hours straight, rallying her supporters to raise over $2 million for Point of Pride. Those funds will provide gender-affirming surgery, gender-affirming garments, and hair removal to the most vulnerable trans folks including youth, those with disabilities, and those living in rural areas.
Sim Kern’s Trans Rights Readathon
At a time when so many trans stories are being dismissed or silenced, centering trans authors and narratives is more important than ever. From March 20-27, 2023, nonbinary author and activist Sim Kern held a Trans Rights Readathon to raise visibility and raise funds for local and national trans rights organizations. By the end of the week, participants read over 7,800 books and raised over $230,000 for over 250 organizations. The Google Form to sign up is still active, so if you need some new reading material, go for it!
Rainbow Railroad’s Solidarity in Pride P2P fundraiser
The freedom to live life safely, without fear… it’s something that many of us take for granted. Rainbow Railroad assists trans people across the globe achieve a life free from persecution. And their Solidarity in Pride peer-to-peer fundraiser during Pride month means that the 2700+ people who have requested Rainbow Railroad’s help already in 2023 have that greater of a chance to live the life they’ve always dreamed of.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Annual Nunway event
Beginning in 1979, the Sisters grew out of a need to respond to the AIDS crisis and support gay men whose families had abandoned them due to their orientation. Today, in orders across the world, the Sisters raise and distribute money to organizations supporting marginalized communities, and minister to the sick, dying, and mourning.
Their annual Project Nunway event is filled with entertainment, fashion, art, and auctions to create a space where everyone can feel safe, celebrated, and empowered.
Transformations’ Liberation Camp for Trans People of Color
For all of the magical trans people of color out there looking for a way to learn about themselves in a safe, affirming space, in community, with mentors who know what the heck they’re going through, look into Transformation’s Liberation Camp. The weeklong event for trans-BIPOC leaders is largely sponsor-funded and covers a full week of development, in some cases including airfare.
12 amazing trans-focused influencers and activists on social media
Aaron Rose Philip
In 2023 America, it’s hard to be trans, hard to be Black, and hard to be disabled. Aaron Rose Philips is all three. Yet over the past two years, she’s landed a Vogue cover, rolled down the runway for Moschino, and received a 2023 Vision Award from the Stonewall Foundation. Her Instagram is a mix of potent activism and swoon-worthy fashion.
Finally! Jessie (Earl) Gender is a nerd, being nerdy, talking about how nerd-dom and fandoms affect or tell the story of marginalized communities. With pizazz, naturally.
Addison Rose Vincent
Addison Rose Vincent is an LA-based transgender and nonbinary advocate, educator, and influencer. They aim to “break the binary” by challenging our either-or culture and creating inclusive spaces. On their Insta account, Addison answers frequently asked questions about gender and encourages their followers to explore their identities without limits. They also post photos of their adorable pupper, Xena.
Erin Reed and Zooey Zephyr
Known widely as Erin in the Morning, Erin Reed is a trans woman who brings us breaking news on trans legislation, which means she’s been really busy lately. Erin provides context on legislation across the U.S. and breaks down its potential effects on the trans community.
And if you love love (like we love love), you’ll lovvvve the video of Erin’s fiancée—Montana's first openly transgender state representative—Zooey Zephyr, proposing to Erin.
Luke Wesley Pearson
Based in Portland, Oregon, Luke Wesley Pearson’s Instagram chronicles his life as a transgender man, fashion devotee, sober vegan, and world traveler. Warning: You’ll probably feel some FOMO scrolling through.
Your "cool, fun millennial auntie"; what could be better?! Khadija Mbowe is a Gambian-Canadian YouTuber who talks through issues of the day in their video essays. Dig in; it’s about to get good.
Geo Soctomah Neptune
Geo Neptune, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in what is now referred to as Maine, has engaged (successfully) in many walks of life. An artist, they are an expert basketmaker and poke tattooist. A performer, they are a drag queen and runway and cover model. A politician, they were Maine’s first Two-Spirit elected official.
Jonathan Van Ness
If you’ve spent any time on Netflix, you probably already know and fiercely love JVN, Queer Eye’s resident hair expert. JVN is nonbinary and HIV-positive, and they’re also an animal lover, gymnast, comedian, and environmentalist. Their social accounts are all about celebrating self-love and embracing joy.
Author, comedian, and poet Alok Vaid-Menon aims to degender fashion, and that means their social channels feature some incredible looks. Beyond the fashion, their work explores what it means to belong and be human with wit and nuance.
Alicia Roth Weigel
Until she was 27, Alicia Roth Weigel thought she was alone in her experience as a woman with androgen insensitivity. Finding out she was intersex meant that she was part of a community, and that there were other intersex people out there who needed an advocate. Alicia speaks up on their behalf, dotting the “i” in LGBTQIA+.
Danny Wakefield’s social accounts chronicle their incredible journey as a single trans/nonbinary dad. They explore trans and nonbinary parenthood as well as addiction, gender transitioning, depression, and birth.
27 excellent LGBTQ+ fundraising ideas for 2023
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!
If your locality doesn’t allow for this, or if it’s legal-but-dangerous, options are to take it virtual, make it into a PJ’s-n-Punch Drag Race viewing party, or…
10. Lean into the negative
Not the negativity surrounding us, per se, but the negative space, the opposite of the expected. If you’re in an area where a drag show, brunch, or story hour would put anyone in danger, hold a dinner theater or variety show instead.
For, indeed, while many of us feel like our best selves when we’re dressed to impress and made up to the heavens, life goes on whether we’re in hoodies or full glam. Have the delightful drag royalty who would normally sparkle in the spotlight do their best performances in street clothes. And clap it up, because these are the same people, the same humans, the same minds and hearts that you know and love, regardless of whether they’re wearing feathers or fleece.
11. Re-define Divine
There is no one—NO ONE—like the late, great Divine. Over the years, many have tried to follow in his footsteps, but those are some big pumps to fill! Whether you choose Divine, RuPaul, Dolly, or any other larger-than-life figure, lay some respect on their names—and their individual styles—by dressing up as these magnificent muses.
12. You’ve come a long, way, baby!
Ok, we know you’ve played this game at a baby shower, but how about playing it at a fundraiser? Or making it a stand-alone fundraiser? With consent, and only if it’s safe, post baby pictures and have supporters vote with their dollars to match chubby-cheeked cherubs with their adult counterparts.
13. 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.
14. 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.)
15. 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.
16. Wig runaway show
Make matching wigs for pets! Then try to get those adorable animals to do their own runway show. We’re picturing people chasing a bewigged pig down the street.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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!
If you know this topic isn’t in your wheelhouse, gather a group to book a private anti-bullying training or join a free training with Right to Be.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. Drag king show
Drag kings and other drag royalty don’t get nearly enough attention, but you can change that. Host a drag kween fundraiser, with guests enjoying an evening of dance, stand-up, artistry, and a side of education. Everyone should know about drag royalty culture!
26. 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.
27. 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.
We only get one life, and Funraise supports the freedom to pursue happiness through an existence that is singularly fulfilling and unabashedly authentic. We respect the bravery and courage it takes to commit to living openly in the face of discrimination and harassment, as many people do every day. Every person should be seen as they wish to be seen and embraced as the truest version of themselves.
We urge you to join us in supporting activists and organizations that are working for equity through advocating for legal protections, fighting stigma and violence, and increasing access to healthcare. When we can all speak out loud and live in color, the world will be better for it.
LGBTQ+ fundraising 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”.