,Warmer weather and more free time lend themselves swimmingly to hosting fundraisers for your theatre. Utilizing the great outdoors and peoples’ positive moods, you’re sure to secure more financial security for the upcoming season. On The Stage presents a few creative fundraising ideas for the summer. 

Car Washes

Why yes, it may be manual labor, but with the right attitude and supplies, a good old-fashioned car wash can be a lucrative and entertaining idea for everyone involved. 

Make sure to advertise your event ahead of time on social media, and pair up with business partners to spread the word of your event far and wide. Make your hours, location, and rates crystal clear. If you’re not comfortable asking for money, present donation suggestions at different tiers depending on the level of service – just a wash, wash/dry, wax, interior clean, etc. 

The beauty of a car wash is that it requires very little spending – you’ll just need access to water, soap, signage, and a few supplies – your clients will bring the rest! 

If you want to get some good marketing in during the car wash, hand each customer some educational information about your theatre and how they can get involved or become a patron. 

Talent Shows

Whether it’s a benefit concert, performance, or variety show, these displays of talent keep morale high and allow your cast, crew, and leadership to flex their performance skills. 

The perk of a talent show is that you can get involved with community partners to save money on permits, food, drink, and location. At the same time, all of these avenues allow you to take in multiple forms of revenue – alongside ticket sales, merch sales and more. 

Make sure ticketing for your talent show is seamless. (We can help!)

Ice Cream Socials

Ice cream during the summer? Not a hard sell, right? Right! 

This family-friendly fundraising idea requires just a bit of prep work and a few supplies, like ice cream, toppings, paper products, and seating/furniture. At the end of the ice cream set-up, have educational information and visual aids letting community members know what, exactly, you’re raising money for. Donation suggestions or a small ticket fee to enter are great ways to pad your bottom line. 

Community Yard Sales

Yard sales are a win-win-win: You and your castmates/crew/leadership get to rid themselves of items they no longer want, at virtually no cost; community members get to search through a treasure trove of goodies; and a big chunk of your profits can head straight to your theatre with no overhead costs. 

Make sure your yard sale is highly publicized – on social media, within local publications, on TV stations, and with your community partners. Choose a convenient and centralized location for your yard sale – preferably with lots of fans or in an indoor venue. (You don’t want the heat scaring people away!) 

Fun Runs, Bike-A-Thons, or Swim-A-Thons

Running, biking, and swimming for a cause – people have loved to do this for decades. 

Consider offering different route options to engage multiple skill levels – you don’t want to scare off people who don’t think they can run a 5K or swim several miles. Additionally, encourage all your participants to fundraise before the event. You can even incentivize fundraising by offering freebies/gifts if certain fundraising numbers are hit. (Think, T-shirts and other merchandise for a certain fundraising number; season tickets for a higher number, etc.) 

For even more fun, consider adding a theme to these activities. After all, nothing’s funnier than seeing a group of people decked out in 80s garb running through the city streets! (You’ll likely get more engagement on social media this way, too!) 

Sports Tournaments

Attune yourself to the community’s competitive nature with a few sports tournaments to raise money. Much like the runs, swims, and biking events, consider different brackets for different skill levels, alongside fundraising incentives.

Fun, low-cost sports to try include volleyball, basketball, golf, or cornhole. Just make sure to advertise your event early to get the highest possible registration. To extra pad that bottom line, charge a small registration fee. 


Another way to channel competitive energy is through a cook-off. You can work with community partners to gather cooking equipment and food, then host your BBQ or another cooking event in a public parking lot or the lot of your theatre. 

You can sell tickets for meals, and charge a fee to register for the competition itself. If you live within a tight-knit community, consider turning to the experts and challenging several area chefs or restaurants to compete against each other. Guests can vote for their favorites. 

Make sure to take time during this community event to speak about your theatre and its programming. People need to remember why they’re there! 

Summer Programming

Why not raise money for future programming by hosting programming now

Summer is a great time to host camps, workshops, summer stock shows, and more. All of these avenues allow you to charge registration or ticketing fees, as well as find local sponsors for certain elements. 

Even more, summer programming means your theatre and brand are remaining relevant in what many people consider the ‘off-season.’ 

Scavenger Hunts

Perhaps the fundraising idea that will require the most planning, a scavenger hunt will be wildly rewarding if done correctly. 

Work with local business and community partners to set up a quest across your city or neighborhood, leaving clues and challenges for contestants to hunt down. Ask registrants to sign up in teams and raise a minimum amount to enter. This will also be an excellent opportunity for social media and news coverage. 

Remember – summer fundraising doesn’t need to be overwhelming. With the right tools and partners, it will be an excellent opportunity to bond with your community and raise money simultaneously.  


On The Stage

If you’re running on a short time frame to get these fundraising ideas off the ground, fear not – it’s never too late to fundraise! Even last-minute efforts are better than no efforts at all, and On The Stage has just the thing to help: the Guide to Last-Minute Fundraising. Download it today to get started! 

And if you’d like even more help, partner up with On The Stage to enjoy our Fundraising Suite; this all-in-one solution for your theatre won’t disappoint.