What NOT to forget at your annual fundraiser

One of the really fun parts of fundraising for a nonprofit is making the solicitation phone calls – NOT! There are many other ways to raise funds (even other than annoying junk mail mailings!) and ABC Consulting has put together a list for you, below.  Some other, simple ways to add money to your annual budget is to list your Nonprofit on Facebook so that people can ask for donations for their birthdays or list your organization on Amazon – so that when people shop Amazon Smile, your organization automatically gets a percentage of the sale. Or by adding a check box at the end of each sale (“Would you like to round your sale up?”). But the biggest fundraisers that organizations use, year after year – are simply FUN. In fact, the easiest fundraisers to pull off, create appeal to your sponsor and make them feel like they are getting a memory or are paying for something that they would’ve been happy to pay for, anyway.  Here is a short list of ideas that you can charge money for, collect prizes for and start making money for your non-profit as your annual fundraiser – (By The Way, please don’t forget the one-day alcohol license – apply here)

  • 5K Run or Bike Race – here, in Virginia, this is a year-round favorite and can raise BIG bucks for your organization.
  • Basketball Tournament or Golf Tournament – teams pay one entry fee for prizes donated by area businesses. Typically, golf course or gym collects their fees off the top.
  • BBQs and Oyster Roasts – everyone loves cold beer with these two outside, family-friendly events. Make sure to pair with good, live music and rent a tent in case of inclement weather.
  • Bike-a-thon or Treadmill Relay – whether you are partnering with a gym or mapping a route, this fundraiser asks community members to collect money, per mile completed.
  • Bowling Tournament – this event is sold in teams – each team raises a minimum amount to participate. Consider recruiting donors to sponsor a lane, so they can add their advertising on the screens, that evening.
  • Casino Night – “sell” casino chips to donors as they compete with classic Vegas Casino games: roulette, craps, blackjack, bingo or poker.  Make this a black-tie, dress-up event. Typically, the player with the most chips at the end of the night receives a prize.
  • Chili Cook off or Cake Bake off – all participants have to do is to cook the best – guests donate to ‘taste’ and vote.
  • Concert – calling all live-music enthusiasts – this can be outside lawn concerts, theater tickets or a dinner dance.
  • Dance-off and Dance-a-thon – this event has dancers collect funds to dance for 24-hours, collecting for each hour they last.
  • Dinner Dance – this fundraising event idea can turn into a themed party for a dinner, a dinner dance, a cocktail event or a brunch – the point is to sell tickets and feed your guests, at a profit. Carefully prepare your pitch so that guests understand what your organization does and where their contributions help.
  • Dinner Party – this intimate event can be for your larger donors to hear about what you have accomplished this year at a relaxed venue – and give you the opportunity to ask them for funds for what you have planned for next year.
  • Exercise Lessons – you can charge for self-defense, Karate or Yoga on a paddleboard, as long as participants can donate to receive the lesson.
  • Fashion Show – local retail shops, hairdressers and makeup artists love events like this for the free publicity – and if you add celebrity models, it becomes ‘Hollywood’ for adults.
  • Ice Cream Social – is the perfect family-friendly event and can be made adult by adding alcohol drizzles! This fundraiser is perfect for a summertime, outdoor event and can be very inexpensive to fund, yourself if local businesses don’t donate toppings and tubs of ice cream.
  • Indoor Cycling – sell a “Spinning Class” and get a local gym to donate an instructor to lead the workout.  
  • Movie Screening – sell tickets to a movie marathon or a classic and make sure to speak about your mission at the end of the evening before everyone leaves their seats.
  • Pancake Breakfast – this requires simple ingredients and a few griddles – everyone loves breakfast!
  • Pub Crawl – plan a route with local restaurants, pubs, taverns,  breweries, wineries or meaderies – charge admission and make sure to secure donations at each stop.
  • Silent Auction – you can plan a silent auction as a solo event or add it to a dinner event. Reach out to local businesses to start assembling items and assign a committee to solicit their contacts for gifts to auction off.  Travel-related items and date-night outings, tend to be the most popular.
  • Tea Party – if you’re going to drink tea, do it in a hat and gloves! This is a fundraising event where people can dress up for your classy high-tea fundraiser and pay an entry fee, to do so. Finger sandwiches and cookies are all that are required – besides china!  
  • Volleyball or Surfing Championship – this event draws beach loving and beer drinking crowds – so make sure you have all your ducks in a row!

Ready to plan an epic fundraising event? Fill out the Alcohol License, here.

*Disclaimer: this article and its contents represent the opinions of the author, only. It is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC Consulting is a private consulting firm, and in no way do we represent the Va dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice based upon your situation.

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