Let’s be clear, it’s not that we hate golf outings- we don’t. They are a tried-and-true fundraising event that has been used successfully time and time again to bring in important and impactful funding to nonprofits. However, we think that golf outings are not the right event for every organization and can be overused because they are so widely accepted as the “go-to” event.
So, if you do not revere golf outings or this form of fundraising is not the best fit for your organization and/or constituents- it might be time to get a little creative and try something new.
(Note: There have been many articles, such as this one from NPD, reporting that Millennials have a definite lack of interest in learning and/or playing golf. So if you are trying to attract the younger generation, this might be an extra impetus to consider trying a different fundraising event.)
Events to Get Moving:
Hosting your own sporting event can be a great way to get people engaged and raise donations for your organization. Consider having teams represent different constituents- staff, board members, donors, volunteers, program recipients, etc. For example, a friendly staff v. donors baseball would fun for both you and the crowd. If you have local or college athletes in the area, adding them into the sporting event could create even more interest within the community.
Create an event that gets your constituents sweating for your cause! This could be a run (or a walk), relay race, swimming event, or even a mini-triathlon. With this type of event, fundraising efforts can be focused through athletes finding sponsors/donors, opening up an even larger network for your organization and taking some pressure off of your development staff and board.
Events from Anywhere:
Virtual events are a great way to reach people wherever they are- literally. This type of event also typically has far lower costs than a traditional event, so more funds can actually go to your organization. There is also less of a restraint on timing and location- allowing people from all over the country (or world!) to interact and engage with your nonprofit. Consider using social media platforms like a Facebook group or having donors host their own “pop-up” online parties to educate their network and raise funds for your organization.
For more tips on hosting a virtual event, check out Inc.’s article here.
Events with Food and Drink:
Instead of another gala or sit-down dinner, consider hosting a pub crawl. In the past few years pub crawls have started re-gaining popularity- especially themed and nostalgic ones.
Not only is this a unique and a fun outing for your constituents, it can also bring more awareness to your organization within your local area. It is always beneficial to be involved in your community, and hosting a pub crawl through local bars and restaurants could be a mutually beneficial partnership for both you and the businesses.
(Keep in mind that not every mission would allow for this kind of a fundraiser. First and foremost, make sure that your event is in line with your organizational mission and values!)
Eating contests are considered an all-American pastime, so why not use an eating contest to engage your constituents in a wholesome and entertaining fundraising event? From pies to hot dogs, there are tons of options for an eating contest. Competitions involving donors, key leadership, board members, and/or local celebrities can garner more interest within the community and create a fun and special connection with your constituents.
Get creative! Find something specific to your organization to really set yourself apart. (For example, an organization focused on after school programs that has a horseback riding program could host an event with a horseback riding and a picnic). It is all about engaging your donors and showing them what your organization offers, so do not be afraid to get a little wacky with your events. And remember- have fun with it!
Do you have a creative event idea? Share it with us below! And as always, questions and comments are appreciated!