How to set up a fundraising event

How to set up a fundraising event

For most fundraising events, the majority of your money should be raised through sponsorships.

Without a strong focus on sponsors, your event will not reach its true potential. If you are setting an ambitious fundraising goal for your event, it will be far easier to reach that goal if you can raise 50%+ of the revenue from large sponsors than if you are trying to raise 100% through individual ticket sales.

The first step to selling sponsorships for you event is to define your sponsorship levels and what benefits are included for each sponsoring company / individual. In defining sponsorship levels, be ambitious but realistic. Look at your donor file and the businesses you are thinking of contacting to understand what levels you can realistically expect to fill.

If, for example, you are holding an event for the first time and your largest annual donor gives you $25,000 per year, don’t set up a title sponsorship for your event at the $500,000 level… you’re not going to get it. On the other hand, many organizations that do have large donors will hold annual galas and price their top sponsorship at $1,000 or $2,500 thus underselling what could be a very lucrative avenue for additional revenue.

Setting Your Sponsorship Levels

When setting sponsorship levels, look at your overall event goal. Assume that you will raise at least 50% of your overall fundraising goal through sponsorships (if not more). Thus, if you want to raise $100,000 from your event, your sponsorship goal should be in the $50,000+ range. Set your sponsor levels accordingly. In this case, you’d want to have a top sponsorship slot of at least $15,000 – $20,000 in order to reach your overall sponsor goal.

Naming Your Sponsorship Levels

Name your sponsorship levels in a way that highlights either your event theme or your organization’s work. For example, if you are holding an event to raise money for a school, you could name your sponsor levels: Scholar, Essayist, Author, Contributor, Friend. If you are holding an event with a garden theme your sponsorship levels could be: Rose, Tulip, Petunia, Daffodil, Daisy. If you can’t come up with anything that ties into your organization or event, you can also use naming conventions like: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Providing Benefits to Sponsors

Each sponsor level should include a distinct group of benefits for the sponsoring company, individual, organization or family. These benefits can include:

Marketing Opportunities – What marketing and advertising opportunities can you offer your sponsors in return for their sponsorship?

  • Event and pre-event naming opportunities
  • Inclusion in press releases and event programs
  • Signage at the event
  • Recognition by event speakers from the podium
  • Press availabilities
  • Recognition on the organization’s website

Event Benefits – What event benefits can you offer your sponsors in return for their sponsorship?

  • Tickets to the event and to any VIP receptions at the event
  • Reserved tables at the event
  • Inclusion of a sponsor representative as an event chair or co-chair

Be creative in planning your sponsor benefits. Not every sponsor will receive all of the benefits outlined above, and obviously the higher a sponsor’s donation is, the more benefits the company or individual will receive.

Sample Fundraising Event Sponsor Flier

Most non-profits that are hosting fundraising events will create a sponsorship flier (or include one with their event invitations) that showcases the sponsor levels and the benefits that sponsors will receive at each level. Here is a sample sponsor flier you can modify for your next fundraising event:

47 th Annual Columbia Family Shelter Black Tie Gala

Title Sponsor: $20,000
– Naming rights for the event and inclusion of logo on all event materials
– 25′ banner at event
– Opportunity for sponsor to speak at event
– 20 tickets to event and VIP auction preview

VIP Auction Preview Sponsor: $10,000
– Naming rights for VIP auction preview reception
– Inside back cover of ad calendar, and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Logo featured on website for one year on event invitations and materials
– 10 tickets to event and VIP auction preview

Presenting Sponsor(s): $5,000
– Full page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Logo featured on website for one year and on invitations and event materials
– 10 tickets to event, 6 tickets to VIP auction preview

Excellence Award Sponsors: $2,500
– Naming rights for one of this year’s Columbia Excellence Awards, presented at the event
– ½ page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper and billboard advertising for event
– Name listed on event invitations and logo featured on website for six months
– 6 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Silver Sponsor: $1,000
– ½ page ad in ad calendar and display advertising at event
– Featured in newspaper advertising for event
– Name listed on event invitations and logo featured on website for six months
– 4 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Bronze Sponsor: $500
– ¼ page ad in ad calendar and logo featured on website for six months
– 2 tickets to event, 2 tickets to VIP auction preview

Partner Sponsor: $300
– Listing in ad calendar and on website for three months
– 2 tickets to event

New and innovative 5k races are popping up every year — and more and more participants are joining in, drawn by the chance to have fun with friends, fundraise for a good cause, and meet their personal fitness goals.

5ks are the most popular type of running event out there — and an effective way to attract people to a race with multiple distances. But while it might look easy to organize a 5k, there’s much more to planning one than simply mapping out the course.

In fact, a 5k requires the dedication to cross countless tasks off your to-do list, from marketing the race to attracting sponsors. Here’s how to organize your next 5k, from start to finish.

Step 1: Research other 5ks in your area

You probably have a rough idea already of where you want your race to take place, so begin by getting to know the competition. Starting as early as possible, research other 5k events in your area, including their website and social media, and attend as many as you can.

Step 2: Pick a theme and a name

Is your event charity-focused? Or is there a unique element, like costumes or an obstacle course, that set it apart? Whatever the focus of your 5k, make sure it’s clear to yourself and your team. Once you’ve established your why, then you can brainstorm names.

Step 3: Pick your location, date, and time

Find out who you need to talk to within your local government to confirm your location’s availability. You’ll need to determine which permits and street closures your race will require. After you’ve completed the necessary paperwork and been approved, you’re ready to solidify your location, date, and race times.

Step 4: Set your goals

How many people do you want to attend your race? If it’s your first time organizing a race, or your 5k is completely new to the area, be realistic about how many people will register. Compare your event with similarly sized ones in the area to estimate how yours will do.

Step 5: Organize your team

Nobody can organize a 5k on their own. A successful race takes a village of enthusiastic and happy volunteers, each one clear about their roles on the team. Determine early who will handle publicity, marketing, registration, check-in, traffic management, and first aid.

Step 7: Make sure your registration process is smooth

Make it as easy as possible for people interested in your event to register for it online, on mobile, and even in person. The right event management solution can help you do that, as well as answer questions you might not know the answers to if you or your team are new to race organizing.

Step 8: Market on social media and in email

If you’re adding another race to a saturated market, you need to get creative with your marketing. Use email to market your race, promote it on an event discovery site, and make the most out of your social media advertising spend with contests and discount codes.

Step 9: Find sponsors

Sponsors are a great way to offer a post-race experience that really helps your event stand out. From food to recovery beverages to even sports massage or yoga classes, finding the right businesses to partner with can help you make those unique, post-event experiences happen.

Step 10: Order bibs and medals

Not all 5ks offer participants who complete the race a finisher’s medal (some only offer them to the top three in each category), but either way you will definitely need to order bibs for the big day. Make sure to do this in advance, so there’s enough time in case there’s a mistake.

Step 11: Be the first one to show up on race day

It’s going to be a hectic day of last-minute hiccups, volunteer coordinating, and hundreds of other little details. Make sure you’re ready to go by being the first one to show up on race day. You’re the race organizer, after all!

Step 12: Plan ahead for a smooth on-site experience

The last thing you want is long lines, grumpy volunteers, or a shortage of bathrooms. Make sure to plan for first aid, outline a race schedule, and organize event security. (Be sure to consider if your route will need any help from the local police.)

Step 13: Clean up

Breaking down a race is never fun. The excitement of setup is gone, the exhaustion of having been up since the crack of dawn is setting in, and you’ve still got three more tents to break down. But it’s worth it to leave city and venue officials happy and ready to welcome you back next year.

Step 14: Say thank you with a post-race survey

The only way you’ll know how to make your race better for next year is by sending out a participant survey. Include it as part of your “thank you for participating” email, which should be sent out within 48 hours of your event’s end.

Step 15: Report back to sponsors

Your sponsors are your partners and just as vital as your participants. Keep them in the loop by letting them know how the race did, with data from your post-race survey and any relevant demographics they’d find useful.

Step 16: Engage participants for next year

Saying thank you to participants, volunteers, and sponsors (in segmented communications, of course) can really help you carry the momentum over to next year’s event. Incentives like coupons are a great way to thank past participants and encourage them to register again.

The race to the finish line begins with you

For more tips on successfully organizing your 5k, download this tip sheet to find out how other race directors encourage participants to come back year after year.

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About author

Ronnie Higgins

Ronnie Higgins works at Eventbrite, helping event creators level-up their game and connect with one another. Born and raised in New Orleans, there’s nothing he enjoys more than helping people get together—whether it’s for a festival, class, or a city-wide party like Mardi Gras.

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From lemonade stands and car washes to golf tournaments and birthdays, people support causes they’re passionate about through their own fundraisers or events. At Animal Humane Society, we’re grateful for these creative spirits and their generosity!

Interested in hosting your own fundraiser or event to benefit Animal Humane Society? Here’s how to get started.

Host a digital fundraiser in lieu of gifts

How to set up a fundraising event

Do you have an upcoming milestone you’re celebrating, like a birthday, wedding, or retirement? AHS makes it easy to ask for donations in lieu of gifts for your upcoming celebration.

There are two simple ways to create a digital fundraiser to benefit AHS:

  1. Create a personal fundraising page. Easily communicate with friends, family, and coworkers through your own digital fundraising page. Personal fundraising pages allow you to take credit card donations directly through your page and email your contacts using customizable email templates.
  2. Start a Facebook fundraiser. To get started, visit Animal Humane Society’s Facebook page and click “Raise Money” under the “Fundraisers” tab. You may choose an existing AHS photo, or upload one of your own.

Host a fundraising event in four easy steps

If you’re looking to create more buzz with an event, follow these four steps:

How to set up a fundraising event

  1. Plan your event. Determine the kind of fundraiser you want to have. See a list of fundraising event ideas below.
  2. Review our event guidelines. Familiarize yourself with our third-party event guidelines and policies before submitting an event application.
  3. Tell us about your event.Complete the online event application form. The information you provide helps us offer tips or suggestions for your event. We’ll respond to your request within one week of your submission to discuss next steps.
  4. Promote your event. The more people that know about your event, the better. Set up a personal fundraising page to easily communicate with your guests and organize their donations, or create a Facebook event and/or fundraiser to spread the word. Find more tips for how to plan and market your fundraiser below.

Note: Unfortunately, we cannot bring shelter animals to your offsite event.

Tips and tricks for your fundraising event

  • Bingo or casino night
  • Art show or a Paint and Sip-style class
  • Car wash
  • Chili cook-off
  • Concert
  • Garage sale
  • Fashion show
  • Denim Day (wear jeans to work)
  • Cookie bake-off or bake sale
  • Ice cream social
  • Movie night
  • Murder mystery dinner
  • Office BBQ
  • Office Olympics
  • Pancake breakfast
  • Pet photo contest
  • Silent auction
  • Talent show
  • Board game challenge or trivia night

Sports related fundraising ideas:

  • Create sports tournaments with friends, co-workers or on community leagues for bowling, golf, basketball, baseball, softball, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, Ping-Pong, or volleyball — the sky’s the limit!
  • Make AHS your charity of choice and raise money while participating in a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, or 5K.
  • Raise money by participating in a mud run, color run, or bike challenge.
  • Host a f itness-tracker challenge with your friends or co-workers to see who can take the most steps in a day or week.
  1. Seek the help of friends and family. Getting help with an event will help you brainstorm creative ideas, divide the work, and have more fun.
  2. Crunch the numbers. In the early stages of planning, you should identify your expenses and potential sources of income and donations. You should also set a fundraising goal for your event.
  3. Keep expenses low. Increase the amount of money you raise by limiting the amount of money you spend. Keep your expenses low by asking people to donate or discount items such as venue rental fees, entertainment, decorations, food and beverages. Ask for donations for auction items and raffle prizes.
  4. Make a list, check it twice. Who will want to be involved in your event? Identify who those people are, how you want to get them involved, how you will ask them, and if they will be available when you need them.
  5. Shout it from the rooftops. Much of your success will depend on how well you spread the word about your event and the number of people you invite. How do you plan to let people know about your event? From yard signs and postcards to social media and email, the more ways you can get the word out, the better.
  6. Incorporate other ways to raise money. Think about creative ways to raise funds — live or silent auctions, raffles, 50-50 drawings, passing the hat, and sales of food or merchandise are just some examples of ways you can raise additional funds at an event.
  7. Don’t forget to say thanks. Send letters or emails to all of the supporters and volunteers that helped make your event a success. You will probably want their help again next year!
  8. Keep lists up-to-date. Having a list of your event contacts makes future planning much easier. Make sure all contact lists always have the most up-to-date information (email, addresses, and phone numbers).
  9. Mark your calendar. If you know the date for next year’s event, be sure to let everyone know as soon as possible so they can plan to attend!

Are you a business interested in becoming an AHS event and program partner? Learn more about sponsorship and partnership opportunities.

How to set up a fundraising event

We know that event changes can be stressful and confusing for all involved, but you can still reach your event goals online by hosting a virtual event or virtual fundraiser. When in-person events are not an option, moving things online can still ensure that your nonprofit is able to accomplish fundraising goals.

What is a virtual event?

A virtual event is an online-only event with attendees that connect remotely from wherever they are, instead of gathering in person. The fundraising event can be live-streamed, or one that people participate and engage with on their own time. These types of events can also take place over the course of a few days, rather than on a single day, which can make them much more convenient for your supporters. Pair your virtual event with a virtual fundraiser where supporters can donate to your cause. There are also many event ideas for fundraising efforts to make your virtual fundraiser engaging.

How virtual events benefit nonprofits

Virtual fundraising events are a great tool for nonprofits, and can be an alternative when events are canceled due to extenuating circumstances, such as loss of venue, public health concerns, weather, etc. But, there are many benefits to virtual fundraising that make it the perfect fundraising option all-year-round, not only as a plan B:

  • Online fundraising events are easy to plan and execute, because they aren’t as logistically complex as physical events.
  • Because there’s very little overhead, virtual fundraising events are incredibly cost-effective compared to live charity events .
  • Since virtual fundraising events don’t have a specific location (or even date/time), you can recruit even more supporters who otherwise may not have been able to attend in person.
  • Technology like video chat and messaging makes it possible for attendees to feel connected, even when they’re not together.
  • Integrated tools like live leaderboards, donor scrolls, campaign updates, and video make it easy for charities to engage with supporters before, during, and after the event through a virtual fundraiser.

How to plan an event that is virtual

Learning how to plan a virtual event does not require extensive research and prepping like in-person events, so no nonprofit should be intimidated by pivoting to one. Keep things simple and choose a platform like GoFundMe Charity that offers a full set of features that allow you to share with your community, connect with your donors and reach your fundraising goals.

How to host an online fundraising event or virtual fundraiser

Hosting a virtual event is easier than you might think. How to host a virtual event with only two things:

  1. A well-branded campaign page that includes information about the event where supporters can fundraise, donate and interact
  2. A great communications strategy that drives traffic to your campaign page and keeps supporters engaged throughout the event

To create a highly-engaging virtual fundraiser campaign page for your event, we recommend you:

  • Customize your campaign story to highlight that the event is virtual.
  • Promote your event as a virtual event so it’s clear to all participants. Also check out this blog for more virtual event ideas: Learn How to Promote a Nonprofit Event for Maximum Profit
  • Add video to your campaign to keep participants engaged and make sure you follow best practices for videos .
  • Add a campaign goal to create fundraising momentum and track progress
  • Leverage live leaderboard functionality to keep fundraisers motivated and engaged
  • Use the campaign update tool to keep participants in the loop, announce milestones (“Goal met!”) and shout-out top fundraisers and donors
  • Add offline donations so all supporters feel included and appreciated
  • Use Report Center data to follow up with your donors.

Of course, these aren’t the only nonprofit event planning tips , you can also check out our blog for more great tips.

Virtual ideas for fundraisers

1. Host a virtual race or endurance event

Create a challenge that participants can accomplish on their own time, whether it’s a 5K walk/run, a 50-mile bike ride, or a push-up contest. Ask them to fundraise as they train, and support them by providing resources and encouragement. As they take on the challenge, participants can post photos on their personal campaign page, connect with supporters using campaign updates, and share across their social media channels (be sure to remind them to tag your organization!)

2. Host a scavenger hunt

Ask people to form teams and go on a scavenger hunt in their area by finding items or completing challenges that can be done anywhere: take a photo with a stranger, find a specific type of car, or locate random objects around their neighborhood. There are lots of resources you can look to for creativity when putting together your own scavenger hunt . This is one of the best virtual fundraiser ideas for raising funds through a group activity.

3. Hold a virtual adoption event

Animal rescues that rely on in-person adoption events can be hit hard by cancellations. Holding an online adoption event is a great (and easy) alternative. Take photos or set up a puppy or kitten camera so people can view the animals up for adoption, then ask them to submit an online application if they’d like to adopt (you can create a form on your fundraising campaign donation page using the Registration and Ticketing feature ). While live-streaming, have volunteers provide bios on each of the pups or kittens up for adoption, and also ask for donations. Make it clear that this is an opportunity to adopt and support your organization.

Virtual fundraiser event examples on GoFundMe Charity

1. Virtual food drive

In order to help provide nutritious meals to their Los Angeles neighbors, Rare Global started a virtual fundraiser called the Rare Global Virtual Food Drive.

2. Virtual run and walk

For 36 years this group has been raising money for Pajaro Valley Shelter Services with an annual race. This year they started a Mother’s Day Run & Walk fundraiser to take the tradition virtual.

3. Virtual bike ride

Jerry decided to launch CF Century Virtual Riders to raise money for cystic fibrosis virtually. The virtual bike ride gives people the flexibility to decide which day and where they want to ride. This is one of the best fundraising ideas to raise funds because busy donors can choose when they want to participate.

Start your virtual fundraising event today

An event cancellation or changes to an event can be stressful, but having a backup plan is key to ensuring your efforts to raise money are not severely impacted. By adding virtual fundraising events into your fundraising strategy, you can ensure your organization is prepared for any crisis that may impact your ability to deliver on your mission. GoFundMe Charity has the tools and resources your nonprofit needs to run successful virtual fundraising events, and more. Getting started is easy and free – get access to these features today.

How to set up a fundraising event

Allison Gauss

The charity walk or run is generally a go-to event for nonprofits of nearly all sizes. But with everyone and their mother’s charity hosting a 5K, you may want to go in a different direction for your next fundraising event. If you want to try something new while still following a long-standing fundraising model, a benefit concert might be just what you’re looking for.

You may have seen some of the big shows on TV. Just in the past few years, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Jack Johnson, and Stevie Wonder have lent their time and their voices to causes ranging from Hurricane Sandy relief to helping family farmers to the fight against AIDS. But benefit concerts aren’t just for the famous and wealthy.

In this post, we’re going to cover how a smaller nonprofit can organize a concert and fundraise by mobilizing artists’ friends, family, and community to help. We’ll first look at planning and performers. Then we’ll cover promotion, fundraising, and other revenue sources.

Step 1: Choosing Your Show

First, ask yourself, “What kind of show do you want to put on?”

Before you start calling every musician you know and selling tickets, you need to have a plan. Start with what size of event you think your organization can host and how many people you want to attract.

If you’re located in a less populous area or have very limited resources, you can simply host a few performers in a local community space. If you operate near a thriving music community or cultural center, you might go a bit bigger. The great thing is that you can make your benefit concert as small or as big as you want.

Once you know the scale of your event, think about whether there will be a specific genre or style of music on display. You can have an entirely acoustic folk concert or loud battle of the bands.

To choose a musical direction, find out what your community is interested in. Does country dominate the airwaves or is hip-hop the biggest crowd pleaser? If there isn’t a prevailing style, you can also host a variety of performers, as long as you have the equipment they need.

An important detail to settle is your venue. Knowing the setting of your event will make it easier to recruit performers and promote the concert. If your venue already hosts musical acts, it can also be a great way to network and contact musicians.

Step 2: Setting the Lineup

Now it’s time to get some rock stars on the bill. Ok, you probably won’t be asking Bono to play, but recruiting your performers isn’t just about putting on a show. The artists you partner with will be a key element of your marketing and fundraising.

Assuming you don’t have Taylor Swift on speed dial, your best bet for performers will be local acts. This isn’t a bad thing. These performers will be more accessible and will likely bring their friends and family to the event.
You can even ask bands to set up team pages and fundraise in the weeks leading up to the show. This way, even supporters from out of town and people who cannot attend will have a way to give.

A word to the wise: even if your acts are just starting out and don’t have much of a following, treat them like professionals. They should know where they need to be, what time to be there, and what amenities you will have on hand (water, snacks etc.). You won’t be able to tap into your local music community if performers hear you’re hard to work with.

Step 3: Promoting the Concert

If you’re holding a benefit concert to tap into new audiences, you will need to market it to them. Of course you should let your existing donors and supporters know about the event, but don’t miss out on all the local music-lovers who might be interested.

In this way, a benefit concert is actually a lot like peer-to-peer fundraising. Just like some people will donate to support a friend’s campaign even if they don’t know about your cause, there may be an audience who will come for your performers, rather than for your organization. And just like those peer-to-peer donors, you will have a great opportunity to introduce your nonprofit and get them involved.

Beyond your usual communication channels, be sure to promote in places like:

  • Record stores and music shops
  • Music schools and local instructors
  • Performance venues

Ask the venue and the performers to promote the show on their social media accounts. Even relatively unknown artists can have thousands of followers.

Step 4: What You Do for the Money, Honey

Another great feature of having a benefit concert is that you can have multiple streams of revenue. Like I mentioned before, you can have musicians or other supporters make campaign pages along with your general campaign page.

Tickets will be a main fundraising source too. Making tickets available online beforehand will make it easier for people to commit to going, but don’t be surprised if you have a lot of people wanting to pay at the door. Make sure you have a cash box and mobile payment processor on hand.

Concessions and t-shirts are another way to raise money during the event. You can design an event t-shirt and have volunteers sell water and other drinks. If your venue will be offering food or drinks, ask if they are willing to designate the proceeds of a signature cocktail or treat to go to your cause.

Finally, you might be able to grab some last minute numbers if performers or an emcee remind the audience they can give through your mobile donation page. Someone is bound to be recording a performance, tell them to go online and donate since they’ve already got their smartphone out.

Ready to Rock

There are lots of details to be ironed out in any fundraising event, but taking care of these four steps will help you handle the unique concerns of hosting a benefit concert. This can be a great way to break out of your usual fundraising routine and bring more members of your local community to engage with your cause. By recruiting performers and each of their personal audiences, you can reach beyond your base of supporters and connect people who may never have encountered your organization otherwise.

From lemonade stands and car washes to golf tournaments and birthdays, people support causes they’re passionate about through their own fundraisers or events. At Animal Humane Society, we’re grateful for these creative spirits and their generosity!

Interested in hosting your own fundraiser or event to benefit Animal Humane Society? Here’s how to get started.

Host a digital fundraiser in lieu of gifts

How to set up a fundraising event

Do you have an upcoming milestone you’re celebrating, like a birthday, wedding, or retirement? AHS makes it easy to ask for donations in lieu of gifts for your upcoming celebration.

There are two simple ways to create a digital fundraiser to benefit AHS:

  1. Create a personal fundraising page. Easily communicate with friends, family, and coworkers through your own digital fundraising page. Personal fundraising pages allow you to take credit card donations directly through your page and email your contacts using customizable email templates.
  2. Start a Facebook fundraiser. To get started, visit Animal Humane Society’s Facebook page and click “Raise Money” under the “Fundraisers” tab. You may choose an existing AHS photo, or upload one of your own.

Host a fundraising event in four easy steps

If you’re looking to create more buzz with an event, follow these four steps:

How to set up a fundraising event

  1. Plan your event. Determine the kind of fundraiser you want to have. See a list of fundraising event ideas below.
  2. Review our event guidelines. Familiarize yourself with our third-party event guidelines and policies before submitting an event application.
  3. Tell us about your event.Complete the online event application form. The information you provide helps us offer tips or suggestions for your event. We’ll respond to your request within one week of your submission to discuss next steps.
  4. Promote your event. The more people that know about your event, the better. Set up a personal fundraising page to easily communicate with your guests and organize their donations, or create a Facebook event and/or fundraiser to spread the word. Find more tips for how to plan and market your fundraiser below.

Note: Unfortunately, we cannot bring shelter animals to your offsite event.

Tips and tricks for your fundraising event

  • Bingo or casino night
  • Art show or a Paint and Sip-style class
  • Car wash
  • Chili cook-off
  • Concert
  • Garage sale
  • Fashion show
  • Denim Day (wear jeans to work)
  • Cookie bake-off or bake sale
  • Ice cream social
  • Movie night
  • Murder mystery dinner
  • Office BBQ
  • Office Olympics
  • Pancake breakfast
  • Pet photo contest
  • Silent auction
  • Talent show
  • Board game challenge or trivia night

Sports related fundraising ideas:

  • Create sports tournaments with friends, co-workers or on community leagues for bowling, golf, basketball, baseball, softball, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, Ping-Pong, or volleyball — the sky’s the limit!
  • Make AHS your charity of choice and raise money while participating in a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, or 5K.
  • Raise money by participating in a mud run, color run, or bike challenge.
  • Host a f itness-tracker challenge with your friends or co-workers to see who can take the most steps in a day or week.
  1. Seek the help of friends and family. Getting help with an event will help you brainstorm creative ideas, divide the work, and have more fun.
  2. Crunch the numbers. In the early stages of planning, you should identify your expenses and potential sources of income and donations. You should also set a fundraising goal for your event.
  3. Keep expenses low. Increase the amount of money you raise by limiting the amount of money you spend. Keep your expenses low by asking people to donate or discount items such as venue rental fees, entertainment, decorations, food and beverages. Ask for donations for auction items and raffle prizes.
  4. Make a list, check it twice. Who will want to be involved in your event? Identify who those people are, how you want to get them involved, how you will ask them, and if they will be available when you need them.
  5. Shout it from the rooftops. Much of your success will depend on how well you spread the word about your event and the number of people you invite. How do you plan to let people know about your event? From yard signs and postcards to social media and email, the more ways you can get the word out, the better.
  6. Incorporate other ways to raise money. Think about creative ways to raise funds — live or silent auctions, raffles, 50-50 drawings, passing the hat, and sales of food or merchandise are just some examples of ways you can raise additional funds at an event.
  7. Don’t forget to say thanks. Send letters or emails to all of the supporters and volunteers that helped make your event a success. You will probably want their help again next year!
  8. Keep lists up-to-date. Having a list of your event contacts makes future planning much easier. Make sure all contact lists always have the most up-to-date information (email, addresses, and phone numbers).
  9. Mark your calendar. If you know the date for next year’s event, be sure to let everyone know as soon as possible so they can plan to attend!

Are you a business interested in becoming an AHS event and program partner? Learn more about sponsorship and partnership opportunities.

How to set up a fundraising event

Ticket Builder

  1. When you’re ready, click “Ticket Builder” in the menu on the left side of the page.
  2. Follow the instructions to enter information about your tickets. Choose what category they fall under (click on “Category settings” to open a dropdown menu with options) and then add name, price, and total quantity. You also have the option to create a free ticket by leaving the price blank.
  3. Click on “Add Another Ticket” to include new ticket price tiers within a category, or click on “Add Another Category” to add a new category of tickets.
  4. Select whether ticket tiers will appear on your event page from “Lowest to Highest” or “Highest to Lowest” price.
  5. Click “Add More Ticket Details” if you would like to:
  • Add a ticket description to appear alongside the ticket tier on your page and set sale dates for each ticket tier
  • Create group and table tickets‍
  • Designate a portion of each ticket as tax deductible‍
  • Set a date range during which the ticket will be on sale (a feature useful for offering discounts and specials like Early Bird sales)

Additional Questions and Thank You Message

  1. To collect additional information from attendees and donors, toggle the “Hide/Show” switch next to the question (Mailing Address, Custom Question etc.) to request that information after payment is made.
  2. Check the “Required Before Payment” box to make it obligatory before payment. To reduce friction during the purchase/donation process, we recommend only requiring questions essential to your event.
  3. Click the “Save” button.
  4. Write a thank you message. This message will be sent automatically to each attendee immediately after a ticket purchase.
  5. To send a test email, click the “Send Test Email” button beneath the Body Paragraph field. A test email will only be sent to the address of the person logged in to the Nonprofit Admin Portal. In the email, merge tags (rather than actual data) will show in the Donation Summary section, but the nonprofit’s name and tailored body text will appear.
  6. Click “Additional message for each ticket” under each Ticket Name to set up additional thank you messages for attendees who buy specific types of tickets.

Note that thank-you messages/receipts are automatically sent to every donor. Nonprofits cannot opt out of this feature. At present, thank-you messages/receipts can only be reissued by Give Lively’s Member Support Team.

How to set up a fundraising event

We know that event changes can be stressful and confusing for all involved, but you can still reach your event goals online by hosting a virtual event or virtual fundraiser. When in-person events are not an option, moving things online can still ensure that your nonprofit is able to accomplish fundraising goals.

What is a virtual event?

A virtual event is an online-only event with attendees that connect remotely from wherever they are, instead of gathering in person. The fundraising event can be live-streamed, or one that people participate and engage with on their own time. These types of events can also take place over the course of a few days, rather than on a single day, which can make them much more convenient for your supporters. Pair your virtual event with a virtual fundraiser where supporters can donate to your cause. There are also many event ideas for fundraising efforts to make your virtual fundraiser engaging.

How virtual events benefit nonprofits

Virtual fundraising events are a great tool for nonprofits, and can be an alternative when events are canceled due to extenuating circumstances, such as loss of venue, public health concerns, weather, etc. But, there are many benefits to virtual fundraising that make it the perfect fundraising option all-year-round, not only as a plan B:

  • Online fundraising events are easy to plan and execute, because they aren’t as logistically complex as physical events.
  • Because there’s very little overhead, virtual fundraising events are incredibly cost-effective compared to live charity events .
  • Since virtual fundraising events don’t have a specific location (or even date/time), you can recruit even more supporters who otherwise may not have been able to attend in person.
  • Technology like video chat and messaging makes it possible for attendees to feel connected, even when they’re not together.
  • Integrated tools like live leaderboards, donor scrolls, campaign updates, and video make it easy for charities to engage with supporters before, during, and after the event through a virtual fundraiser.

How to plan an event that is virtual

Learning how to plan a virtual event does not require extensive research and prepping like in-person events, so no nonprofit should be intimidated by pivoting to one. Keep things simple and choose a platform like GoFundMe Charity that offers a full set of features that allow you to share with your community, connect with your donors and reach your fundraising goals.

How to host an online fundraising event or virtual fundraiser

Hosting a virtual event is easier than you might think. How to host a virtual event with only two things:

  1. A well-branded campaign page that includes information about the event where supporters can fundraise, donate and interact
  2. A great communications strategy that drives traffic to your campaign page and keeps supporters engaged throughout the event

To create a highly-engaging virtual fundraiser campaign page for your event, we recommend you:

  • Customize your campaign story to highlight that the event is virtual.
  • Promote your event as a virtual event so it’s clear to all participants. Also check out this blog for more virtual event ideas: Learn How to Promote a Nonprofit Event for Maximum Profit
  • Add video to your campaign to keep participants engaged and make sure you follow best practices for videos .
  • Add a campaign goal to create fundraising momentum and track progress
  • Leverage live leaderboard functionality to keep fundraisers motivated and engaged
  • Use the campaign update tool to keep participants in the loop, announce milestones (“Goal met!”) and shout-out top fundraisers and donors
  • Add offline donations so all supporters feel included and appreciated
  • Use Report Center data to follow up with your donors.

Of course, these aren’t the only nonprofit event planning tips , you can also check out our blog for more great tips.

Virtual ideas for fundraisers

1. Host a virtual race or endurance event

Create a challenge that participants can accomplish on their own time, whether it’s a 5K walk/run, a 50-mile bike ride, or a push-up contest. Ask them to fundraise as they train, and support them by providing resources and encouragement. As they take on the challenge, participants can post photos on their personal campaign page, connect with supporters using campaign updates, and share across their social media channels (be sure to remind them to tag your organization!)

2. Host a scavenger hunt

Ask people to form teams and go on a scavenger hunt in their area by finding items or completing challenges that can be done anywhere: take a photo with a stranger, find a specific type of car, or locate random objects around their neighborhood. There are lots of resources you can look to for creativity when putting together your own scavenger hunt . This is one of the best virtual fundraiser ideas for raising funds through a group activity.

3. Hold a virtual adoption event

Animal rescues that rely on in-person adoption events can be hit hard by cancellations. Holding an online adoption event is a great (and easy) alternative. Take photos or set up a puppy or kitten camera so people can view the animals up for adoption, then ask them to submit an online application if they’d like to adopt (you can create a form on your fundraising campaign donation page using the Registration and Ticketing feature ). While live-streaming, have volunteers provide bios on each of the pups or kittens up for adoption, and also ask for donations. Make it clear that this is an opportunity to adopt and support your organization.

Virtual fundraiser event examples on GoFundMe Charity

1. Virtual food drive

In order to help provide nutritious meals to their Los Angeles neighbors, Rare Global started a virtual fundraiser called the Rare Global Virtual Food Drive.

2. Virtual run and walk

For 36 years this group has been raising money for Pajaro Valley Shelter Services with an annual race. This year they started a Mother’s Day Run & Walk fundraiser to take the tradition virtual.

3. Virtual bike ride

Jerry decided to launch CF Century Virtual Riders to raise money for cystic fibrosis virtually. The virtual bike ride gives people the flexibility to decide which day and where they want to ride. This is one of the best fundraising ideas to raise funds because busy donors can choose when they want to participate.

Start your virtual fundraising event today

An event cancellation or changes to an event can be stressful, but having a backup plan is key to ensuring your efforts to raise money are not severely impacted. By adding virtual fundraising events into your fundraising strategy, you can ensure your organization is prepared for any crisis that may impact your ability to deliver on your mission. GoFundMe Charity has the tools and resources your nonprofit needs to run successful virtual fundraising events, and more. Getting started is easy and free – get access to these features today.