You’ve probably noticed the sun’s rays have been lighting up the sky later and later each evening. Soon, the longest day and shortest night of the year—also known as the summer solstice—will be here! This year, it occurs on June 21, 2024, and, for many, it marks the official beginning of summer.

The fact that the sun reaches the highest point in the sky during this time has influenced cultures all over the world for centuries.

Constructed around 2500 BC in England, Stonehenge is aligned to frame sunrise on the summer solstice. In Mexico, the Sun Dagger petroglyph receives wedge-shaped beams of sunlight during both the summer and winter solstices. If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you’ll remember the 3rd-century BC city of Petra in Jordan, and the tomb (Al-Khazneh) where Indy had to complete tasks to save his dad. The Nabatean civilization built Al-Khazneh so that on the morning of the summer solstice, the rising sun illuminates its façade.

The Summer Solstice and Nonprofits

Steeped in history and tradition, the summer solstice symbolizes renewal, abundance, and the triumph of light over darkness.

For nonprofits and fundraiser organizers, the summer solstice presents a golden opportunity. It’s a time when engaging supporters and raising funds in creative, authentic ways can truly shine, inspiring and motivating all involved.

Summer Solstice Fundraising Ideas

Slide into summer and heat up your organization’s fundraising efforts! These seasonal fundraising ideas riff on summer solstice themes. Though the longest day is in late June, you can execute these fundraisers all summer long.

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Sunrise Yoga Sessions

Start the year’s longest day with a rejuvenating sunrise yoga, sound bath, or meditation session in a tranquil setting. Participants could donate to attend, or you could create a series of events that will add a peer-to-peer aspect. Class participants could then gather pledges for each class they attend, increasing the money raised for your cause.

To incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising, invite your participants to create personal fundraising pages. They can then use them to share their yoga journey and seek pledges from friends and family. Offer a virtual option via live stream for those who can’t attend in person, allowing them to join from anywhere and contribute to the cause.

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Summer Solstice Picnic and Auction

It’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Consider hosting a community picnic featuring locally sourced foods, live music, and an auction or raffle. Choose an outdoor venue such as a park or greenspace and invite attendees to enjoy a day of sun, games, and community bonding.

Incorporate a tricky-tray style raffle, in which you have several prizes on offer. Attendees can buy packets of tickets and then bid on several different items. Maintain excitement and engagement throughout the day by spacing out the drawing winners for each basket. You can also add a hybrid element by selling raffle tickets online. Add another opportunity for people who can’t attend via your donation page—just be sure to distribute printed postcards and flyers with a QR code so anyone who wants to donate can do so!

A woman meditating on the beach at sunrise
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Solstice Sun Run

Plan a charity walk or run-a-thon fundraiser that starts at sunrise or sunset to highlight the extended daylight hours. Offer different distance options to cater to all fitness levels and encourage participants to dress in bright, sun-themed attire.

Participants can create individual or team fundraising pages, set personal goals, and share progress. Use a fundraising platform that supports peer-to-peer fundraising and offer incentives like exclusive race-day gear to reach fundraising milestones. Host virtual meetups or training sessions to keep participants engaged and excited.

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Community Garden Day

Embrace the solstice’s theme of growth and renewal by organizing a community garden day. Participants can plant flowers, vegetables, and herbs while learning about sustainable and/or container gardening practices. Charge a participation fee and sell plants or produce as an additional fundraiser. Another option would be to host a ‘Bring the Sun Indoors’ gardening day and focus on houseplants. Participants can learn all about propagation, potting, and other skills

Enhance your efforts by encouraging participants to set up fundraising pages where they share their gardening progress and invite friends and family to support their goals. Offer donors the option to sponsor specific plants or garden sections, with their names displayed in the garden. Provide tools for participants to document and share their gardening progress, creating a virtual tour for online supporters to see their impact.

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Doggy Sun-Day Fun-Day

If you’ve ever watched dog agility or dog diving, you know everyone has a great time watching! Celebrate the solstice with a dog-friendly event featuring an agility course, a doggy fashion show, and pet-friendly vendors. You could create a tournament with local dog agility, relay, or diving groups. Charge an entry-donation fee and offer activities like pet photoshoots and paw-print art. Encourage participants to share photos of their pets on social media using an event-specific hashtag. Invite your virtual supporters to peruse the hashtags and then vote (with a donation) for their favorites!

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Sunflower Planting Party and Sponsorship

Sunflowers are associated with sunlight, warmth, and positivity. Create a sunflower-themed fundraising event that lasts all summer and host a sunflower planting party in a community garden or designated area. Participants can plant their sunflowers, and supporters who can’t attend can sponsor sunflowers to be planted in their name.

Offer different sponsorship levels, such as individual sunflower sponsorships, garden bed sponsorships, or premium packages that include a commemorative plaque. Keep participants and sponsors updated on the progress of the sunflowers through regular social media posts and email newsletters. Host a follow-up event or open garden day where sponsors and participants can see the blooming sunflowers and celebrate the project’s success.

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Summer Solstice Social Media Challenge

Engage your virtual supporters while raising awareness and funds for your cause. Design a series of solstice-themed activities for participants, such as taking a photo of the sunrise or sunset, completing a solstice run or walk, spending time in nature, creating solstice-inspired art, or performing acts of kindness. Participants can engage in whatever activity that resonates with them and share their experiences on social media using a dedicated hashtag.

You could incorporate a peer-to-peer element by inviting participants to create individual fundraising pages they can share on social media to gather support for their efforts. Offer prizes for the most creative entries or highest fundraisers.

The summer solstice is a time of celebration and community, making it an ideal occasion for fundraising. By tapping into the season’s themes and leveraging the extended daylight hours, your nonprofit can create memorable events that not only raise funds but also foster a sense of togetherness and shared purpose.

As you start planning your summer fundraiser, consider tools that can streamline your event planning. Eventgroove offers a comprehensive fundraising platform that has everything you need, from auction fundraising event types and peer-to-peer capabilities to effortless printing services. So, whether you’re hosting a sunflower planting party or a solstice sun run, explore our fundraising platform’s features and launch your next successful fundraiser!