Fundraising events can be big money-makers, but can small groups cash in on this big opportunity? They sure can! Here are a few fundraising ideas for small group events.
Think fundraising events are just for large organizations? Think again! You can host a fundraising gala with a small group, or even on your own. In a recent post, we discussed ideas for small group and independent fundraising, including hosting a fundraising dinner. Today, we’re going a step further to give you ideas and strategies for planning and hosting a successful fundraising event on your own or with a small group.
There are many different types of events like dinners, raffles, auctions and games nights, and these events can often be combined. Let’s say you and 3 friends are raising money for a walk for charity, and you’ve chosen a dinner and games night for your fundraising event. Here are the steps you would take:
Plan a budget
With a small group, you probably have a small budget, or even none at all. Spaghetti is a fun, easy and cost-efficient choice, as is a hotdog or hamburger barbecue. If you really want to lower your expenses, a potluck is the perfect solution.
Quick Tip – Have a cook-off! Choose a one-dish meal like lasagna or chili and have your attendees bring their best culinary effort. Appoint a panel of judges to judge the results!
Choose your location
If you, or one of your group members has a home large enough to accommodate your event, you’re all set! Another option is to rent out a church hall or community center, but these places often charge a rental fee, and this may not be in your budget.
During the summer months, hold the event in your own backyard! Don’t have enough outdoor seating? No problem! Serve your dinner picnic-style with blankets and tablecloths on the grass.
Plan your games
If you’re hosting your fundraising event outdoors, you can set up ring toss games, races, human tic-tac-toe with teams of X’s and O’s, and all kinds of fun outdoor activities. For indoor fun, card games, board games and old-fashioned parlor games like charades are the way to go.
Determine your ticket price
It may seem strange to sell tickets to friends and family, but remember – this is a fundraiser, and the ticket price is really a donation to your cause. Friends and family will understand the purpose, and be more than happy to help out.
Design tickets on the computer and print them out, or make them by hand. A fun activity with children is to create tickets on plain white paper printed with the necessary information, then let the kids decorate them with fun colors making each one unique and extra special!
Plan your guest list and send invitations
Keep the guest list small. With a group of 3 people, a guest list of 20 or less is ideal. Invite friends, family and coworkers – people close to you who understand and support your cause.
Send invitations with the date, time and location, as well as the cost per ticket. Include your contact information so people can RSVP and order their tickets. If you’re making this a family friendly event, set a ‘family rate’ for bulk ticket orders.
The week before your event, make sure you have everything you need.
– Enough tables and chairs for everyone
– Plenty of food and drinks
– Supplies for your games (pens, paper, playing cards, etc)
– Plates, glasses and cutlery (paper plates, and plastic cups and cutlery are perfectly ok for an outdoor barbecue or picnic)
Also be sure you have a plan for preparing and serving food, and for setting up your games. Plan an itinerary, and schedule plenty of prep time before guests arrive.
The day before your event, have everything set out and ready to go so that the event day goes smoothly, and be sure you and your group members stick to the schedule.
And away you go!
Now you’re all set for the final step – hosting a fun and successful fundraising event!
As your guests arrive, thank them for attending and for their generous donation. Before dinner, have a toast to thank everyone again, and to give an overview of why you’re fundraising. There’s a good chance you’ll get more donations throughout the evening, or in the days following your fabulous fundraising gala! And of course, remember to send thank you cards the week after your event.
There’s no question, fundraising events take careful planning, but it’s more than possible for small groups to host successful events. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Your guests are people close to you, who want you to succeed, so your event is bound to be a huge hit!