Fun, Extraordinary and Memorable Fundraising Event Ideas for Non-Profits
Do you want to host larger scale fundraising events for your nonprofit without spending too much money? Check out the ideas below by Lilian Sue.
When you’ve mastered online fundraising and created memorable fundraising experiences such as pie-throwing (or pie-eating, if that’s more your speed) contests, it’s only natural to move onto larger scale events.
With larger scale events, it can often be daunting to come up with a budget that will make the event memorable, but not break the bank. But, great events don’t have to be extremely expensive to be memorable and you don’t have to sacrifice what you want to keep to the budget.
In this installment, I’ll be putting the focus on some exciting and memorable fundraising ideas that are guaranteed to become the signature events for your non-profit. For unique, outside-the-box fundraising ideas and ideas for online fundraising, please read my previous two posts in this fundraising series.
Organize a Joint Games/Trivia Night
As a huge fan of interactive board games, I think a games night is a great way to get the local community excited competing against each other. You can split the venue in half, with one side concentrating on playing the collection of great board games and the other side competing to answer a pre-determined themed list of trivia questions. The questions can be on geography, music, movies, food or a combination of everything, it’s up to you!
You can charge a small admission fee to the monthly event and sell a selection of refreshments and snacks to raise even more funds. Winners of the trivia portion of the night can be rewarded unique prizes that can help give back to the community, increasing the likelihood of the games/trivia night becoming one of your non-profit’s signature events that everyone looks forward to.
Host a Cook-Off
This event is the perfect idea for the community to come together with your non-profit and enjoy a great meal, but you can use it to raise funds as well.
First, decide on what you’re looking to serve for the cook-off (chili, clam chowder, paella, bouillabaisse etc.) and then contact a few local chefs to participate. Once that’s settled, pick a date/time, location and get the word out via email & social media that you’re selling tickets for the public to taste each recipe! Set up donation boxes in front of each chef’s entry so tasters vote with their dollars on which recipe they enjoyed the most. At the end of the event, the winning chef takes home a prize and you get to raise a lot of funds for your cause at the same time!
Put Together a Holiday/Themed Mystery Party
Try hosting a holiday or themed fundraising party. The party could be centered on a particular popular holiday or theme (ie. Victorian London, steampunk, horror, film noir etc.) and it could be held at a unique location such as a heritage house. Promote the party via social media, email and other means throughout the city and let attendees know that they’ll be expected to work together to solve a mystery during the party. You can charge entry fees online and at the door with one price for those in costume and a slightly higher price for those in regular street clothes. Sell concessions during the event as well to raise extra funds and at the end of the night, the attendees who solve the mystery are given a small prize. It’s a great way to get people involved in a fun activity that gets their brains working while gaining more support for your cause.
Hold a Music Bingo Night
Regular bingo nights can certainly be a lot of fun, but why not spice things up with music bingo? As a long-time lover of many music genres, I always enjoy the challenge of testing myself to name that one artist or song. It works just like regular bingo, except instead of cards with numbers of them, each square features a song or artist. Players participate by listening for the songs that are played over the sound system.
You can sell admission tickets to the event as well as refreshments and branded merchandise (if your non-profit has any in stock). Remind attendees about any donation boxes you have set out in the venue. Like the games/trivia nights, this is another event that has the potential to become a signature bi-monthly event for your non-profit.
Lilian Sue is a marketing communications professional with over 10 years of experience developing integrated multi-channel marketing campaigns (copywriting, social media & PR/media relations) for lifestyle brands, indie film & television projects, B2B companies, tourism/hospitality & food/beverage brands. Learn more about her work at In Retrospect Writing Services.
Over to you
Share your thoughts about fundraising for your nonprofit in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.