18 Types of Fundraising Events You Can Organize

October 11, 20120 Comments

So you want to plan a fundraising event that will benefit elephants and save them from being misused, abused or killed for their tusks? The first order of business is to decide what kind of event you want to plan and promote. There are lots of ideas to choose from, but the following is a list of 18 very successful events.

1. Fortune cookie sale
This one is a little unique and possibly one you never thought about, but it’s also very profitable. Everyone likes to read the wisdom message inside a fortune cookie. Sometimes they’re funny or they hold a kernel of truth or the next numbers you want to get with your next lottery ticket. It’s easy to charge 50 cents or a dollar for a fortune cookie and there are places where you can order a box of 350 to 400 fortune cookies for as little as 6 or 7 cents per cookie. You can also order them in a rainbow of colors or custom-made with special flavoring. The profit per cookie is big.

2. Pie-in-the-face event
Everyone wants to someone get a pie-in-the-face. This is very popular for students at schools and churches. If you can get a teacher, counselor or principal to agree to have students put a pie-in-his-face, you can charge 50 cents or a dollar for the privilege of doing something you could never do otherwise. Whipped cream costs a little more than shaving cream, but the victims will appreciate the taste much better.

3. A haunted house
Everyone loves to walk through a haunted house and they don’t mind paying to be frightened. This event calls for a little more effort and you need a lot of help. It is also best to have a haunted house just before Halloween, but actually a haunted house can be held any time of the year if it is well promoted. Get businesses to donate material you can use to construct props for your haunted house. I know of one enterprising haunted event that was able to procure a lightweight, portable coffin from a mortuary to scare people when a mummy sprang from the casket.

4. Charity basketball
Basketball games are always fun and when the proceeds go for a good cause (like elephants) people like to be silly and participate. Teachers from a certain grade or subject (like English, math, etc.) can be pitted against teachers of other grades or subjects. If you can get a celebrity to donate a little time and appear at your event, it will attract a larger audience.

5. A white elephant rummage sale
Although this event takes some time and effort to collect all the items for sale, the proceeds will be all profit. You may need to limit the size of the items donated or the quality of donated items so you won’t end up with a lot of articles not purchased. Be sure to make arrangements ahead of time so that leftovers are donated to a thrift store or other charity.

6. Popcorn sale
Whether it’s butter-flavored, caramel, cheese, chocolate or kettle corn, popcorn is a best seller at any event. If you can rent or borrow a commercial popcorn machine, it will make your popcorn sale go smoother. If you’d rather not be burdened with moving, setting up, operating, and tearing down a commercial popper, buy pre-packaged popcorn in a variety of flavors fro a local vendor or order it online.

7. Car/truck wash sale
Car wash sales are always popular, but did you know you can make $20 or more on every truck you wash? We’re talking about semi trucks, so you need lots of space. Arrange in advance with the owner of a vacant parking lot (or one not used on the weekends). You’ll also need to bring special sponges with long handles to reach high on the back, sides and fronts of trucks. As a rule, truckers and trucking companies are generous in donating time and money to charitable causes.

8. Auctions/silent auctions
Auctions take a lot time and planning, but they also can make a lot of money for your event. If you can solicit the help of a celebrity (even a local celebrity, like a TV news anchor or radio deejay), it will help you get coverage and make people want to attend the auction. If your even is a silent auction, be sure to get businesses to donate good items like weekend getaways or electronic devices.

9. Bowling
There are lots of ways to attract people to your bowling fund raiser. Kids of all ages (from 7 to 77) love to bowl, so you can include children in this fundraiser. Besides charging a flat fee for bowling games, balls and shoes, you can encourage participants to get pledges from non-bowling participants to donate a certain amount for the bowler they support with 25 cents to a dollar or more for every strike or spare they get.

10. Music concert
Everyone loves a concert. Normally, it takes a big name to attract big crowds to concerts, but there are exceptions. Many people will attend a concert featuring musicians or singers with only a local following if the event is to benefit someone with a life-threatening illness. You can attract people to your concert if you publicize the plight of elephants. Try to get as many singers, bands or musicians to donate their talents to your event.

11. Fun run/fun walk
Plan your fun run or walk when extreme heat is not an issue. Try a September or October date (depending on where you live) and get participants to get pledges for every mile or kilometer they complete.

12. Candle sales
Candles are popular any time of the year. Scented candles are becoming more fashionable and holiday candles are best-selling items approaching a festival or celebration.

13. Bingo
Bingo is big with many people. Make sure your event is sponsored or connected with a 503c3 charitable organization to avoid legal issues.

14. Bake sale/cake walk
Lots of people will donate baked goods to your fundraiser. To add a little more fun (and money) to the event, allow a cake walk at certain times during the event. If each person pays $1 to walk, and you allow 15 or 20 people to walk, you will raise $15 to $20 for a single cake.

15. Raffles
Like bingo, make sure your raffle is legal in your community, or link your event to a charitable organization like a church. Solicit large items for your raffle.

16. Recycling event
Everyone likes to “go green” and know they are doing their part to recycle and reuse. Everything from newspapers to aluminum cans can raise money for your event.

17. Lunch/dinner event
A fundraising lunch or dinner can be as simple as a spaghetti and garlic bread meal to a gourmet 4 or 5 course meal. If you know a well-known chef, ask them for assistance in making your event a success. Get them to provide a special dinner at a fair price with the proceeds going to your event. Better yet, combine the dinner with some entertainment from local celebrities and, after the dinner, have them act as the auctioneer and sell large donated items or services

18. Candy Sales
Everyone who has a sweet tooth will like your candy sale. Candy sales can be promoted any time of year, but especially successful near a holiday like Valentine’s, Halloween or Christmas. To save time in planning the promotion, contact a candy manufacturer.

There are tons of ideas besides the 18 listed. The secret is to plan the event and promote it to gain the best exposure. If you want to raise money for an elephant advocacy event, think big.

Copyright 2012

Filed in: Advocacy TrainingAllCurriculumFundraising & Events

About the Author ()

S.R. Morris, an American living in and reporting from the Philippines, where the ivory trade is recently a big topic in the news.

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