Thinking Ahead: Ideas for Fall Fundraisers

Summer is finally here! While fall fundraisers may seem ages away, June, July and August are prime planning months. Start your fundraiser planning now and you’ll set yourself up for success later!

Do Good Events’ clients include a wide variety of nonprofits, large and small. We love working with organizations to create signature events that raise funds and also friends! Being part of developing your brand and growing your community is what we love most about live events.

Below we’ve compiled ideas that have proven useful for many clients. Please share with your organization and give us a call if we can support!

Fundraiser attendees want to support the cause, and providing fun, interactive methods for doing so is key to engage guests and ensure positive financial results! This is a list of games that can be used during a social hour, before guests are seated for a program or meal:

  • Cork Pull / Wall of Spirits / Growler Wall — One client secured a liquor store sponsor, who ran this station for them! Guests pay $20 (or other set amount) and select a random ticket, cork or number that corresponds to a bottle they take home!
  • Golden Ticket for Live Auction — Guests purchase a $50 ticket and the selected ticket winner can select any of the live auction items valued $1000 or higher. Limiting these sales to only 100 tickets increases the hype!
  • Food Wall / Punch Board — Create a display of grocery foods (as did a client raising funds for a food shelf), or a large house-shaped board with window cut outs covered with tissue paper (used by a client raising funds to build a home). Guests pay $20-30 and select a numbered food item or punch out a window of tissue paper, receiving the corresponding numbered gift card, valued $20-500.
  • Raffle Tickets — These can be sold before the event, allowing guests who can’t attend to participate, and volunteers or board members to have a starting point of conversation surrounding the cause! Great for items valued $100-500.
  • Mystery Bags or Boxes  — Guests pay $20 and select one of the many identically wrapped small boxes or bags, which contain gift cards to local restaurants and shops valued $20-300.
  • Heads or Tails — This game works best at galas with a program, and over 100 people. During cocktail hour, people can purchase strings of beads for a set amount. The game is led by a board member or emcee during the program, asking attendees to stand and guess a coin flip several times, losing beads for incorrect guesses, until one lucky winner takes home half of the amount of money raised by selling beads, with the other half going to the nonprofit.
  • Champagne and Diamonds  — One of our clients was able to secure a jewelry store as a sponsor. Guests visited their table to purchase a glass of champagne and a numbered box, containing a cubic zirconia. At the conclusion of the program, one number was selected to win a real diamond and setting!
  • Bean Bag / Ring Toss / “Corn Hole in One” — Just like in the back yard! You make this as challenging as you’d like, charging guests $5-15 for 1-3 throws. If they hit the center target, they take home a bottle of wine, 6-pack of beer, or other great prize!
  • Free Will Donation Opportunities — Attendees may have extra cash at the end of the evening, or will want to write a check or provide credit card information without interacting in a game. Be sure to have spaces for this: a donation station with secure box or jar, envelopes on tables, half-sheets to fill out. Make it simple to give!

If your organization has a silent auction in mind, or wants to gather items, gift cards for any of the above listed activities, requesting items early and being prepared for several rounds of follow-ups is important. Our blog post “Donation Soliciting 101” is a primer on best practices to get you started. The main idea: Ask Early, Ask Often!

Of course, there is much more to think about, including promotions, silent auction strategies, building a powerful program, etc. Watch for next month’s “thinking ahead” blog installment on Event Promotions!

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