Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising: Ideas Proven to Make Your Next Event a Hit




When you’re starting to plan your next big event, what normally comes to mind? Galas, 5Ks, and golf tournaments? Oh my! Let’s think outside of the standard fundraising ideas box and get creative with your next charity event.

We polled our friends, family, and followers on social media to see what some of their favorite fundraisers have been—whether they hosted or attended them—and we’re going to share some of those great ideas with you. The best part is that many of these fundraising ideas are relatively low cost and easy to organize, you just need to do the work of promoting it.

Gong Show Karaoke

This was far and away the most popular response to our request for fun ideas. It starts off as a regular evening of karaoke, but there’s a twist! People can buy “gongs” if they’re not enjoying the song being sung or the singer is not sonically… adequate. As the evening progresses people tend to become bolder with their gongs and still others purposefully select songs guaranteed to get gonged (say, for example, “Macarena” or “Mambo No. 5”). The night typically ends in laughter, memories, and money raised for your nonprofit.

Punk Rock Prom

The antithesis of a formal gala, punk rock prom appeals to constituents who love a great night of music and dancing for a great cause. The music may be louder and the dancing more vigorous than your average formal dance, but it brings in a potentially new demographic of donors (Generation X and Millennials). While we’re on the topic of adult proms as fundraisers, an 80s themed prom also came up as another favorite event as well as a Dance-a-Thon.

It seems safe to say that people really enjoy fundraising ideas that let them dance the night away.

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Doggie Fashion Show

What a great twist on the fashion show as charity event! No one can resist a canine in costume and one can only imagine the “ooooo’s” and “aaaaah’s” coming from the audience as dogs of all shapes and sizes come sauntering down the “dogwalk” dressed up in original costumers made by their owners. This particular suggestion also included the detail that the fashion show was held in a brewery. Talk to your local brewery and see if a portion of their beer sales during the event can be donated to your organization.

Wine/Beer/Distilling Festivals

This suggestion came up so many times that we simply couldn’t ignore it. There are several ways that you can partner with these boozy festivals. Oftentimes existing beer, wine, and liquor festivals partner with a nonprofit sponsor to have a portion of their proceeds go to the nonprofit of their choosing. This is a fairly easy way to partner and raise money with very little upfront costs.

If you’d like to raise more per attendee, you can flip the script and ask your local breweries, wineries, or distilleries if they would donate some of their alcohol for the event. Having beverage donated lets you save money on the event, but still host an event that engages a young, affluent (dare we say, hipster) market.

Rock and Roll Bingo

Forget your parent’s bingo game, this new spin on bingo is played with music on shuffle and bingo cards featuring song title and artist. Pick around 20 song clips that are around 15-20 seconds each and load them up into a playlist for your phone, a CD, or your computer. Create your bingo squares, plug them into a bingo card generator like this one, and then print out the cards they’ve created. The only thing left to do is sell each card for a certain amount and decide on prizes for the winners of each round.

What other exciting and different fundraisers has your organization held that resulted in a rousing success?

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Topics: Fundraising Basics, Event Management, fundraising events

Written by Kelly Yaker

Arreva Blog

At Arreva, we're here to make our customers a success! Our blog provides you with useful organizational documents, "how to" articles, and other resources. 

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