Planning the Right Type of Fundraising Event

Connexeo - 01/30/2018

The time has arrived for community and other organizations to begin planning their fundraising activities for the year. Whether community education groups, service clubs, arts organizations or sports leagues, fundraising events are crucial to ensuring organizations can fulfill their missions.

Organizations have had an easier time attracting and registering participants with the advent of event registration software, but planning the right type of event can be tricky. You want to have something that can attract a crowd (and their money), but you might want to mix it up sometimes with something offbeat.

The common fundraisers will always be there. The standard golf tournament may be the most lucrative, but also the most expensive, especially if prizes for longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin contests are included. They also must be planned long in advance, as golf-course schedules fill up quickly, and often include a meal for players.

Golf tournaments are staples of large, well-endowed organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce and the larger service clubs and charitable foundations. The good news is that corporations will often fund players or even full teams of four. For some companies, their golf team is a source of pride, as well as community involvement.

Also in the athletic realm – and not as expensive as golf outings – are the 5K run/walks. Instead of procuring a golf course, a city or regional park will do; even a street course is available after contacting the city and ensuring that traffic restrictions are in place.

This is the type of event that is most accessible to the public – even children can participate – and can be an excellent way of promoting the organization’s message to the maximum number of people. A meal isn’t required; just water and sports drinks for the runners, and possibly a concession stand for the runners’ entourage (read: spouse and kids).

Casino nights are another common fundraiser, with participants having the run of a variety of gaming tables along with a meal. Community members like to come and pretend they are Vegas high rollers, and if they go “bust” with their non-fungible chips, they can always buy more and enlarge the hosting organization’s coffers.

But what about some non-traditional types of events? The type that aren’t often heard of as fundraisers?

A live music night, for example. While you won’t be able to afford Justin Timberlake, a local band looking for a wider audience could be a possibility…or host a “Your City Idol” singing competition or battle of the bands to procure local talent for free. You’ll need to rent a hall or civic center, and it wouldn’t hurt to get the licensure needed to provide alcoholic beverages.

Or, as Eventbrite suggested, do a scavenger hunt around your city (if small enough) or neighborhood. Provide a list of riddle-me-this clues concerning well-known and less-well-known sites in the area and let the crowd loose. Participants have to pay to play, but the top three scavengers get some sort of prize. Attract a couple restaurants in different places to offer free snacks to the players, and let the hijinks commence.

Another great option is to hold a “Basic Services Auction.” This event works especially well with youth organizations or school groups. Attendees at the event bid on services such as yard work, house cleaning, car washing etc. Students then complete the service at a specified time.

With a little imagination, all sorts of things can be done to raise funds and spread the message of an organization. And planning and setting up the event can be just as much fun as participating in it – and easy with event management software.

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