Fundraising events offer great possibilities for raising money and awareness about your fundraising campaign. However, events can be expensive and not worth the hassle if done incorrectly. Following are some guidelines that we believe will help you make your event the best it can be.

Choose The Right Event:

Choosing the right event is important. An event that doesn’t fit your cause or is uninteresting to your supporters won’t encourage people to donate to you. Think of things you or people you know enjoy and make an event out of it. Fundraisers can be anything: a simple trivia night, a wine tasting, a golf tournament, a catered dinner and much more. Google ‘Fundraising Ideas’ if you need inspiration.

Think of how you will raise money at your event. Will you sell tickets or charge admission at the door? Will you collect free will donations? Will you charge for specific activities that will happen at the event? Having laptops or tablets available so people can donate via your webpage is a great option for attendees who don’t carry cash.

Think about additional ways to raise money you can add to your core event. A silent or live auction, a raffle, or selling t-shirts are all easy things to add to an event, but will also take more planning &/or expense so choose carefully.

Remember – people love food. Serving food at any event is always a crowd pleaser.

Recruit Helpers:

Don’t do it all yourself! Recruit friends, family, members of your club or church, neighbors, and anyone else you can think of to help. Keep in mind that people want to help you; they may just be waiting to be asked. Remember can also be used to sign up volunteers!

Get Organized:

Click on the image above to download your ‘Event Planning Checklist’ or make your own to help you make sure you have thought of everything. Separate your event into smaller pieces and assign your helpers to specific jobs. Keep a calendar and to-do lists. Ask a friend to help keep you on track if needed.

Pick a Date:

Avoid holidays and events that may keep people from attending, like sporting events or other fundraising events in your community.

Identify & Reserve an Appropriate Venue:

Make sure it will fit all the activities you have planned and will accommodate the number of attendees you expect. Ask if they have rules regarding decorations, catering, serving alcohol, and clean up. If you have to sign a contract, make sure you read it and note any restrictions. Reserve your venue as soon as possible to get your first choice in location.

Get Stuff Donated:

You will be surprised what businesses in your area are willing to donate in exchange for some free advertising. A caterer might be willing to provide food at cost or free if you allow them to leave flyers or business cards on the table. A venue might provide free space if you recognize them as a sponsor. Businesses are often willing to donate raffle or auction items. The more you spend on your event the less you raise, so don’t be afraid to ask! Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Get People There:

Is your event open to the general public or is it by invitation only? Plan your advertising as far in advance as possible. Don’t forget the power of social media and email – they’re free and allow you to quickly reach a wide audience. Don’t forget to post your event using the Project Update function on your campaign page. Ask your friends to invite their friends. If your community has a message board or community calendar, use it. Send a reminder the week before and the day before. In all advertising & invitations, make sure you include your URL so people can still donate to you even if they don’t attend!

Raise Money:

If you are collecting cash for any reason, make sure you have someone you trust in charge. If possible, collect names and addresses (even email) so you can send a quick thank you. Have laptops or tablets available so people can donate via your fundraising page using a credit card. *Bonus – if they donate through your campaign page, they will automatically get a thank you note AND a tax deduction! Same if they write a check and make it out to Red Basket – just make sure they note your name in the memo field.

Say Thank You:

If you have received any donated goods or services, make sure the donors are recognized at the event. If you (or someone else) will be speaking to the group, donors should be thanked as a part of the remarks. Donors can also be thanked by listing them as a sponsor on a program or readily visible signage.

Greet and thank people for coming. Handwritten thank you’s after the event are also always appreciated, especially for your helpers. It’s also another chance to share your URL and give people another chance to donate. Recruit your helpers to help with this if it is too tiring.


Lauren Fischer
Communications Specialist
Lauren is the Communications Specialist for She writes content for the blog, social media and other materials, as well as secures media coverage for projects!