5 Tips For Running a Fundraiser


So, you’ve decided you’d like to help support a charity, and to do so, you’re going to run an event! Events are a great way to get a lot of people together at the same time, giving you opportunity to sell the idea of helping out your chosen good cause. Events also put people in a great mood, making them more likely to spend, enjoy themselves and contribute to your total fundraising goal.

However, having a ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy when it comes to events is a recipe for disaster. Events require specific, unique and creative draws to entice people in. If you’re running an event, you’re likely to do it on a weekend too, and will need to create something that effectively competes with every other service, event and attraction that’s open on a weekend!

So let’s look at a few quick and easy tips to making your fundraising event totally spectacular and something which is not to be missed!

1. Set a Budget for Advertising

Don’t assume that because you’re running a fundraiser, that every penny taken needs to go directly to the charity. The charity should receive your profits not your entire income. Your income covers a whole range of things, like advertising, décor, admin, hire costs and more. You can use your sales income to cover these costs, and then what’s left goes into the charity donation.

Don’t underestimate how much you’ll need to spend on advertising. Sadly, people won’t just come to an event just because it’s for a good cause, and most advertisers won’t give you free advertising just because you have a charity affiliation. That said, look out for advertising providers that offer discounts for charity events.

2. Look for Sponsors

Local companies will be interested in sponsoring charity events. It’s great for PR and they can get some advertising out of it too. Put together a pack that describes all the potential benefits for a sponsor. You can offer them things like being mentioned on all your advertising, or being able to put their adverts around the event and have a trade stand. If it’s a show, you could let the director of the company say a few words before the show begins. This way you can get a big chunk of your costs covered and benefit from the company likely putting out a press release, and inviting their employees to the event.

3. Sell Things Rather than Asking For Donations

It sounds silly, but you’re much more likely to sell a cup of tea that gives 50p to charity per cup than you are to get a 50p donation just by asking. People are generous, but if they’re getting something and donating to charity just by doing the things they’d usually do, they’re more likely to enjoy the event, spend more, and not feel pressured. Just think about how much people hate ‘Chuggers’ (the charity workers who stop you in the high street!).

4. Get Volunteers

Staffing an event can be one of the single highest costs, so ask for volunteers instead where possible. You can offer an incentive to these volunteers to sweeten the deal too; for example, if you’re running a concert they might get a free show, or if you’re doing a shopping fair maybe they get a 10% discount from all the traders.

Likewise, if you’re looking for caterers, try advertising a pitch rather than hiring a company. If a local food business takes the pitch, they’re likely to provide all the staff themselves and just take the profits they make. You can make your charity fee by asking for a small pitch hire fee.

Remember, food makes or breaks an event so don’t worry about giving cheap or even free pitches to food stalls – they’ll draw in the crowds.

5. Make People Feel Virtuous

If you’re going to persuade people to give up their hard earned cash, make them feel really good for doing it. Have someone on stage to thank everyone sincerely for attending your event, or even better, get someone who directly benefits from the charity to thank them. People will see exactly what they’re benefiting. You might even consider having a stall dedicated to the charity, displaying exactly what the donations help them do. If you’re working with an animal charity, ask them if they might bring along some animals.


Overall, just remember to run your event like you would if you were a business and the event was your income, then you’ll make the most out of your opportunities and raise the best possible total for the charity. Good luck!

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