Soon enough, in many parts of the country the leaves will begin changing colors and those gentle breezes will take on a crisp feel. A great way to celebrate the changing of the seasons is with a fall carnival fundraiser to help support your organization. Continue reading
With the arrival of spring, gardeners’ thoughts and dreams turn to the promise of another growing season. It’s time to plan the lush landscapes of vibrant, colorful flowers and the rows of veggies and herbs, whether grown at home from seed or purchased as a young, healthy plant. Your organization can be part of the action by hosting a lawn and garden show and sale that brings together those who love plants and local growers. Continue reading
With the holidays upon us, there are plenty of creative ways your organization can help the community celebrate … and raise funds at the same time.
For many families, Christmas dinner is a central part of their holiday celebration. You could raffle off a certain number of turkeys and/or hams (or both!), using festively colored raffle tickets with customized artwork. Work with local supermarkets or butchers to put together a package of prizes that could include a meal with all the fixings. Continue reading
With the end of summer comes the end of vacation season, the beginning of another school year – and a whole new season of fundraising opportunities. October is a great month for themed fundraising events, with Columbus Day in the middle of the month and Halloween at the end.
Celebrating the arrival of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus Day is a federal holiday that is observed in most states with parades and Italian-themed events. One such event is bocce. Bocce is a classic Italian lawn game that is easy to learn and fun for people of all ages to play, which makes it a great choice for a low-cost, low-hassle fundraiser. Individuals or teams can register to play in a tournament for a nominal fee, with a prize going to the top player or team.
Food is a well-known element in Italian culture and helps round out your fundraising offerings, especially when presented in the form of a dinner/dance that highlights Italian foods and music. Many Italian foods are familiar and easy enough to prepare or have catered – your organization might consider holding a spaghetti dinner with meatballs, foccacia pizzas with a variety of toppings, grilled sausage sandwiches with sauteed onions slices and strips of bell pepper as main dishes; dessert items might be Italian ice or gelato, ricotta-filled cannoli, biscotti or fresh fruit, with espresso or cappuccino and Italian sodas on hand as refreshments.
The popularity of Halloween has increased in recent years, and your organization is sure to enjoy a successful, “spooktacular” event when it’s held on or near the 31st, especially if you think outside the traditional box and offer fun, new activities along with familiar favorites.
Your group could partner with a local farmer and hold a pumpkin sale a week or two ahead of the big day, or even carve some of the pumpkins for use in the window displays of local businesses. Another possibility is a “Halloween Happening,” with a pumpkin-carving (or, depending on the availability of space and cleanup crews, pumpkin *smashing*) competition in addition to the classic bobbing for apples and costume contest.
A “Hilarity House” offers a creative alternative to the scary/creepy/gross haunted house, with familiar Halloween characters acting out of the ordinary – imagine a Count Dracula who craves chocolate, not blood, or a Dr. Jeckyll who turns into a goofy clown instead of Mr. Hyde. Two teams of witches in pointed hats and black costumes might use their brooms as hockey sticks and play short games of Witch Hockey with a small football.
With both the Italian dinner and the Hilarity House, you can sell admission tickets ahead of the event and have tickets available for purchase at the door as space at your venue allows. Sequentially numbered tickets can be used for a raffle drawing to add another dimension of fun.
Enjoy the holidays of October, and good luck to your fundraisers!
Raffle Ticket enthusiasts Ashley and Frances, from Australia, sent me a nice e-mail with a great idea about making covers for raffle ticket booklets that I wanted to share with you. See the steps outlined below:
In this example let’s assume we’re printing a total of 250 tickets and we’re going to staple them into booklets of 10 each, for a total of 25 booklets.
A) Print your tickets:
1) Design your normal ticket and in the Numbering Specification tab, select “Numbering Style: Stack Order”, “Numbering Order: Descending”. “Starting Number” would then be 250 and “Total Ticket Quantity: 250”. This will print a total of 32 sheets.
2) Now, when you print the tickets, they will be stacked in consecutive order so you can cut them apart, put them together in stacks of 10, and they’ll be in order from lowest to highest number.
B. Make a cover:
1) In the Ticket Design Panel delete any extra information you don’t want on the cover.
2) In Stub Design you can un-check everything under enable, or you can leave in helpful information like “If found, please call 555-555-5555”.
3) In Numbering Specification, delete all from starting number, ticket quantity and no. of digits. This will give you a blank stub and just allow the main words on the cover to appear. This will only show one ticket with the information. You will then have to put in the ticket quantity i.e. the number of covers you want.
4) If you don’t want to number the booklets, you can put zero in the “Number of Digits” area. If you want to number the booklets to make it easier to track who is selling which ones, just change “”Numbering Style: Single Sheet Order”, “Numbering Order: Ascending”. “Starting Number” would then be 1 and “Total Ticket Quantity: 25”, “Number of Digits: 3”. This will print a total of 4 sheets.
5) You can use a different color paper if you want. Card stock makes nice, durable covers for booklets made on bond stock which is lighter and easier to staple through.
The month of March is an exciting time for fans of college basketball. This is when the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, organizes a championship tournament called March Madness that lasts for several weeks as the teams advance through the rounds and compete for the winning title.
This popular sporting event provides a great theme for fundraising, offering plenty of opportunities for creative events that will draw community members together for food and fun.
One fundraising idea is to hold a cookoff. Participants can form teams who compete against each other to see who makes the best chili, chowder, chicken wings – the possibilities are virtually endless. The competition could be organized much the same way as the team brackets, with the cooks serving up appetizers in the first round, moving on to main dishes and ending with desserts. Charge a nominal fee for each team and have prizes ready for the winners.
Your organization could also hold a March Madness party for one or more of the games. Be sure to have access to a large television and enough room and snacks for guests. A good way to ensure that you won’t run short of either is to offer advance-sale tickets that are sequentially numbered to help you keep track of how many have been printed and sold. You can also charge admission at the door and guests will receive food and drink while watching the games.
To raise even more money, you could combine other, related activities with your party. Consider organizing a free-throw contest if your March Madness party will be held in a gym. For a small fee, participants can compete against each other for a chance to win a prize. Of you can ask ticket holders to write in their guess for that game’s winner and enter all of the correct answers into a drawing for a door prize.
Prizes can be gift certificates or other items donated by local businesses that can be placed in a basket to be raffled off in a drawing (another possible use for those sequentially numbered tickets!). As much as possible, continue the March Madness theme in the basket by including basketball-related items, such as a local team-themed T-shirt.
Just remember: The phrase “March Madness” is trademarked and cannot be used in connection with a sports event or to sell something related to college basketball.
These are a few ways your organization can have fun sharing in the excitement of the college basketball season’s final weeks. Have a great time and best of luck with your fundraiser!
Full of colorful costumes, masquerade balls and parades, delicious foods, and spirited music and dancing, the carnival known as Mardi Gras – held on the day before Ash Wednesday every year – offers lots of fun for everyone. A Mardi Gras party is a great way to say goodbye to the winter blahs and at the same time raise funds for your organization.
As you begin to plan your event, decide how elaborate a party your organization wants (or is able) to hold. The time to delegate responsibilities for what can be a complex event is right at the start. You’ll need volunteers to oversee the following areas: decorating; entertainment; food and drink planning/prep, especially if alcohol will be served; donations and sponsorships; publicity; photographer (for next year’s publicity and event); and the event itself – before, during and after – for setup and takedown.
As the best-known Mardi Gras party is held in New Orleans, your menu would certainly be on the mark to include such classic regional foods as po’boys, jambalaya and crawfish in keeping with Big Easy culinary traditions. Keep in mind, however, that communities along the GulfCoast from Texas to Florida hold their own versions of Mardi Gras; so if crawfish aren’t locally available, you can still be true to the spirit of Mardi Gras by serving up surf and turf, shrimp cocktails or other dishes that include seafood. If a culinary school or college is nearby, ask them to volunteer their time in creating a menu.
To help simplify food prep and cleanup (and possibly comply with local codes), you’ll want to secure a venue that includes a kitchen. This would also enable your organization to hold Cajun cooking classes if desired. Potential places include churches, fire halls, restaurants, cafeterias or the meeting house of a civic organization such as the VFW or Lions Club. If you plan to serve alcohol (consider serving mint juleps, bloody marys and hurricanes), be sure that the venue allows it and then secure any necessary permits or licenses.
Decorate the venue with balloons in purple, gold and green, the traditional colors of Mardi Gras. Red light bulbs will add a note of mystery, particularly fun if your hold a masquerade ball or a costume contest during your event. Stock up on beads, which can be found online or in most costume shops, and hang them everywhere possible – including on guests! And don’t forget masks: whether feathered or as simple as the classic Comedy and Tragedy masks, they’ve become widely associated with the carnival.
Entertainment is key to recreating the joyful spirit of Mardi Gras. Look for a local band that plays zydeco or New Orleans-style jazz or, barring that, blues, bluegrass and/or country. If such a band can’t be found in your area, hire a DJ to play these styles of music. Be sure your venue offers enough room for a live band or a DJ booth before making a commitment.
Find a local celebrity emcee – TV and radio personalities and civic leaders are prime candidates -to host the event. An emcee can keep the celebration lively and moving while playfully reminding your guests about the charity.
Admission tickets should not be overlooked. Mardi Gras is a feast for the senses, and your tickets can (and should) reflect the spirit of fun and revelry with whimsical artwork. Use sequentially numbered tickets not only to help you keep track of how many guests attend, but also to help make it simple to hold a silent auction or raffle during your event. Be sure to offer an exciting grand prize – a trip to New Orleans would be perfect, for example, or dinner at a Cajun restaurant. You could even auction off the title of “Mardi Gras King” (have a robe and scepter ready!) and offer him a small prize or give him the honor of announcing the auction or raffle winners.
Sponsorships are an important part of making the magic happen. You may find that local businesses are willing to sponsor a table or help underwrite your expenses and donate items for a raffle drawing, silent auction or costume contest in exchange for recognition of their generosity.
Download the Mardi Gras Dinner Dance template today and have fun and enjoy a successful Mardi Gras fundraiser!
The holiday season is a time for joyful events full of cheer that bring together the entire community. Your group or organization can take part in the fun with a variety of exciting fundraising ideas!
Events such as First Night observations can be a great way to get the word out about your organization. These events are family-friendly celebrations of the new year that commonly include live music performances, fireworks at midnight and much more. The higher the participation among community groups, the more fun for everyone – so if a first night event is planned for your area, it’s worth asking about being a presence there with a basket or other type of raffle.
Some communities hold open houses of private homes and public spaces decked out in their holiday best. The sight of a lovingly tended Victorian home adorned with lights and sprigs of fragrant evergreen brings a warm, nostalgic feel to many. If an open house is being held near you, consider taking part by selling tickets at each home. The more tickets guests purchase, the greater their chance of winning a prize after the event ends – just be sure to remind them to retain their ticket stubs!
What is Christmas without a visit from Santa? Your organization could host a breakfast with Santa at a local mall, VFW post or community hall and sell tickets in advance to help give you an idea of how much will be needed in terms of food and other supplies. Ask the management of a grocery store if the store would be able to donate food and supplies for your event. You could even hold a drawing for a classic Christmas ham dinner with all the trimmings, which would help generate positive publicity for the grocer when the store donates the meal.
While the little ones are visiting with Old St. Nick, mom and dad could enter a Santa sack toy raffle. Ask local businesses, especially shopping centers, to make a donation of different types of toys for girls and boys – the more the better, and the better the publicity for everyone involved. The idea is to raffle off a sack full of toys, and pending on the size of the sack and the toys themselves, this could mean over $1,000 in toys!
Another type of fundraiser your group may want to think about is a festival of trees. Your local mall, museum or community center may have space available for a display of donated artificial trees, or tree farmers in your area may be willing to donate fresh trees and wreaths in exchange for publicity. Decorate the trees and hold a silent auction for a lucky family to take home a tree that’s ready for gifts to be placed underneath!
Have fun and enjoy your holidays!
Looking for a fun way to bring members of your community together while raising money for your organization? Consider holding a Halloween basket social – good for adults as well as little ones.
For a successful basket social (a takeoff on the popular Chinese auction), you’ll want to make up about 2 dozen baskets (more or less, depending on the size of your organization and how many people you expect to come) prior to the date of your event. While you’ll certainly want baskets full of candy and goodies for the kiddos, you might also add items like small puzzles, coloring books and crayons, small stuffed animals or toys, or school supplies. For grownups, add a scary movie DVD or a free rental from a local rental shop, microwave popcorn, pumpkin cake mixes, gift certificates, etc. You might even hold a costume contest! In exchange for publicity, local businesses may be willing to donate the gift certificates and supplies.
Keep a few smaller items to have for door prizes that you can give away during your event. You might also reserve a large item as a lottery prize, or put together a consolation prize or two for those whose tickets didn’t win.
When people arrive on the day of your basket social, be sure to have plenty of raffle tickets on hand to sell at the door. You’ll want different colors of tickets for the door prizes, the baskets and the raffle prize so guests can purchase different types of tickets if they wish.
Place a large can, bowl or bucket in front of each basket for people to put their ticket stubs in, being careful to remind guests to retain their ticket to match numbers with the stub in case they win. During your event, pause every so often to draw a door prize winner. Designate a person from your group to draw for one item at a time from each of the containers of tickets, and then draw for the large lottery prize. After that, hold a consolation prize drawing and/or the costume contest drawing if you are offering them.
With a bit of planning, you can hold a Halloween event that offers fun for everyone while raising money for your group. Good luck and have a great time!
A great idea for a Father’s Day-themed fundraiser can be as close as a local golf course.
If you can imagine a thousand golf balls raining down onto a target placed on a course green, you can imagine a golf ball drop. With a little coordination, your organization can put together a fun, memorable event to help raise money for your cause.
To make a golf ball drop happen, first make arrangements with a golf course owner in your area to temporarily reserve a green for the event. To actually drop the balls, ask your local fire department to provide a bucket truck and driver for the event; or hire a helicopter or hot air balloon (they may offer a reduced fee or even participate for free in exchange for being mentioned in your event publicity).
Sequentially enumerate a set number of golf balls – up to 1,000, if you like – and put them in a bag, bucket or other container ready to be taken up to about 150 feet and dropped onto a target on the designated green.
There are a number of different ways to award prizes in a golf ball drop. Each participant purchases a quantity of raffle tickets and the number on the tickets matches the numbers on the golf balls. Each ball that lands within the target area wins a prize. You can place the winning balls in a jar and randomly draw them to determine which prize to award.
You can also place one raffle ticket in a sealed envelope prior to the drop. If one of the balls that drops within the target area has the same number as the sealed ticket, that ticketholder wins the “grand prize” – perhaps a new car (donated by a local dealership), a $1,000 gift card to a home improvement center, etc.
You could also award smaller prizes to first-, second-, third- and fourth-place ticketholders or, alternately, the ticketholder whose ball ends up farthest from the hole – a 46” LCD television, for instance, or a 4G Apple iPad 2.
A golf ball drop fundraiser is sure to create a buzz in your community. Have fun!