Bored of the tired, stereotypical fundraisers? Ready to mix things up for your guests, providing them with an experience they’ll never forget? Time to think outside the box about fundraising events that will surprise and delight your attendees.
Wacky fundraising ideas make the planning process more fun for you, the organizer, by allowing you more freedom to express your personality, that of your organization or that of others involved in your campaign. It will also make your guests’ experiences more interesting and memorable, associating your cause with a unique event.
Six ideas that are anything but ordinary
1. Hold an outdoor Olympics field day
If you have a large backyard or access to a field of some sort in your community, consider holding a field games day. Invite members of your community to contribute to your cause through an entrance fee or suggested donation, submitted online via a contribution to your crowdfunding page. In turn, organize a day of classic outdoor games such as a water balloon toss, a hula hoop contest, a tug-of-war, musical chairs or an obstacle course. Or organize a larger game such as capture the flag for the community to play together. You can encourage whole families to attend your Outdoor Olympics, or charge an extra fee for parents who want to use the event as a babysitting opportunity.
2. Organize a potluck auction
Host a formal dinner as a fundraiser, but in lieu of charging an entrance fee for guests, ask them to bring something they’re willing to auction off. Emphasize that contributions are valued more for creativity than costliness, and offer prizes for guests who bring the funniest or most creative items. Then auction off the contributions to raise money for your cause, with all payments by auction winners running through your online campaign.
3. Set a guinness world record
Get a group together to set a world record on behalf of your cause. Make it a public event and solicit local media to cover your effort. Use the event as a publicity opportunity for your campaign. This works best if you find a record to break that relates to your cause. If you’re fundraising for an environmental group, for example, you could do something similar to the women’s only cycling program British Cycling’s Breeze, which recently set a record for the most mechanical energy produced by pedaling on static bikes in one hour. There are so many random records out there that the options really are endless. A few of the most recent successes include most people wrapped as mummies, most people performing the Charleston dance and world’s biggest ice cream cone. While these many not relate to a charity or cause, they demonstrate the breadth of choices available to you. Check out the many options at Guinness World Records. Have people sponsor your cause by pledging a certain amount in online donations based on how successful you are, and consider including a donation station with a computer to make it easy for them to contribute to your page at the event.
4. Hold an unforgettable party
While a simple benefit event may seem like the furthest thing from “wacky,” you can set your fundraiser apart—even one with a simple premise—by employing a little bit of creativity and humor. Focus your energy on building a fun, laid-back atmosphere in which your guests can socialize, learn more about your cause, and hopefully give back. Instead of a stiff black-tie affair, host a party that will stick in their minds for a long time—a summer rodeo, a karaoke night on the town or a paint party in which guests wear old clothes and have a paint war. Or hold a breakfast for dinner, an Equinox or Solstice party, depending on the season—anything that will ensure your guests are treated to an event that is not easily forgotten. Ask your donors to pay the entrance fee by donating to your online campaign and including the name of the event in the comments section.
5. Host an adult spelling bee
For a zany way to promote your cause, host a spelling competition. The challenge words can even relate to your cause. Charge audience members an entrance fee through your online campaign (ideally one that covers a snack or drink), and encourage guests to “sponsor” contestants, pledging to donate a sum for every round their competitor survives in the competition. Consider charging for extra drink tickets, so a patron who wants more refreshments than allotted by his or her entrance fee can be accommodated while you continue to raise money.
6. Try a ‘reverse raffle’
Instead of the traditional ticket raffle for a prize, get creative by doing the unconventional. Charge guests to attend the event through an online donation. All attendees automatically have one ticket entered into the pot. But unlike a conventional raffle, these guests don’t want their number called, as the owner of the winning ticket has to do something embarrassing or unpleasant, such as sing, dance foolishly or get drenched in water. In order to avoid such a fate, guests can pay to have their ticket removed from the pot, or for the more mischievous of heart, add tickets on behalf of their friends. Ideally, the atmosphere of this event would be lighthearted and playful, with hosts closely attuned to the boundaries and comfort zones of their patrons. Make sure they fully understand the premise of the event before accepting an invitation and keep the party going with music and snacks.
Not only can wacky fundraisers hugely contribute to a cause close to your heart, but they also provide a unique platform for raising awareness of your campaign. Your event can be a truly memorable and fun endeavor for all involved, and most importantly, conjure up warm feelings for guests when they consider donating. Before you plan your own event read Seven Simple Tips for Hosting a Successful Fundraising Event.
Start a free online fundraiser today and complement it with some distinctive offline events.