Over the past 5 years, Not-for-profits and charitable organisations have experienced a decline in donations, and are having to work twice as hard to raise much needed funds.
However, as a result of this, they are coming up with more weird and wonderful ways to promote their cause, and we are seeing lots of fun and innovative fundraising ideas coming through, from no makeup selfies, to the recent #ALSIceBucketChallenge.
Charity events are also getting much more fun and exciting, though inspiration doesn’t always come easily, particularly if you’re not a professional event organiser, and it can be tempting to stick to the same charity raffle or coffee morning. So, here are a few of our favourite charity event ideas for inspiration.
1. Give it a theme
I am co-chair of Belfast ByteNight, which raises money and awareness for homeless children in the UK. The event is geared towards the theme of homelessness, and each October we sleep out for a night in the bitter cold to experience what some of our youths go through each night.
Guests are given warm food, a cardboard box and plastic sheet to lie on, and they have their sleeping bag and warm clothes, so we are aware that the experience isn’t as true to life, as we don’t want to endanger our sleepers. Despite this, it is by far the hardest challenge I do for charity, and it really hits us why we are doing this, not to mention the good press coverage we get from it.
What is your charity? Is there a way that you can incorporate this into the theme, or some way to give your guests a taster of the cause the charity is supporting? Your guests will be much more invested if you can help them experience what your cause is for.
2. Hold a reverse raffle
Planning to hold a raffle at your next fundraising event? Why not try the reverse raffle as an alternative. Instead of buying tickets, every attendee gets one free raffle ticket when they arrive. Except, instead of winning a prize, the person whose ticket is drawn will win a “gag” prize like having to having to wear a funny wig or sing ( or dance) with the band.
Those who don’t want to participate can simply sell theirs back.
3. Duct tape a VIP
A school did this to their principle for their fundraising day. They charged one dollar per duct tape piece, so that the students could effectively mount their principle to the wall! Does your organisation have a CEO, or do you have a famous charity ambassador? Why not get him or her involved on the day? It’s really fun, and will definitely set the charity event apart from any others!
Work with local artists (or art students) to up-cycle old furniture and clothing, and sell it at your event at an auction, or directly.
Contact a University art department (or school) and see if they can incorporate your charity into their students art projects for the year.
Make sure that you let your guests know that you are doing this in advance, as they may not bring enough money if they weren’t expecting it.
4. Put your guests to work
Get your attendees to work together to complete an activity at the event, such as planting trees, filling backpacks of supplies, or creating an art mural for a children’s hospital. This simple participation is a powerful motivator for attendees, as they feel more involved in the charity.
I participated in an event for the shoe box appeal, where at the start of the event, everyone was asked to bring donations, and we packed the boxes with christmas gifts for children, which was really rewarding.
5. Make it colourful
Colour runs are fast becoming a real trend. There is something about getting messed up with coloured powder that people (including myself) are just drawn to!
Track a run that is easy for participants to get to, and isn’t too far, so you don’t exclude those who are’t athletic (5K is a good goal). Remember to clear it with your local council first, and try not to map it near any private buildings or hotels, as although the powder comes off with water, they may not appreciate the disturbance.
Charge participants to do the run, and encourage them to raise more donations if they can. You can purchase the coloured powder easily online, and charge spectators for a bag so they can throw it at the runners as well! Make sure you have volunteers to help organise, and clean up the event afterwards.
Next time you are organising your charity event, why not consider some of these fun ideas! If you have any of your own ideas then please do share them below!