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5 Quirky Fundraising Event Ideas

This is a guest post from Helen Cartwright, a passionate blogger who excels in the Digital marketing, Finance and Fundraising niche.

Sometimes, when you’re hosting a fundraiser, you want to take that extra step and think outside the box. Quirky fundraisers have the potential to increase your earnings and help you reach more interested people–especially important if, for example, you’re looking for long-term sponsors. If you’re looking for a unique fundraiser idea, these ideas will go a long way toward helping you get started.

#1. Hold a Carnival

There’s nothing that screams “fundraiser” like a huge community event that has something for the entire family. You don’t have to have carnival rides in order to make it plenty of fun–just plenty of games and activities that will attract your target audience. If you’re working out of a school, you could turn every classroom or every hallway into a separate event. If you’re hoping to reach the wider community, using a park is a great choice! Some game and event choices include:

  • Inflatables: bounce houses, slides, and more. See what’s available to rent in your local area!
  • Go “fishing” for duckies with prize numbers written on the bottom.
  • Have a baseball or basketball toss
  • Hold races: foot races, potato sack races, hop races, and even wheelbarrow races are a great way to draw out your more active, competitive participants.
  • Smash an old car that was destined for the junk heap: all you need is the car and sledgehammers!
  • Bowling–or even 2-liter bottle bowling, especially if you’re working on a tight budget.
  • Ring toss–again, 2-liter bottles can help make your fundraiser even cheaper. Make the bottles themselves the prizes!
  • Cake walks (or cookie walks, or just dessert walks) are a great way to increase the excitement at your event.
  • Beanbag toss or cornhole
  • Lollipop trees: color the end of the sucker stick to indicate that the person choosing has won a prize!
  • Petting zoo: contact local farms or other locations to see what might be available for your event

Of course, it wouldn’t be a carnival without the right food. Make sure you have popcorn, snow cones, candy bars, and everything else you need to help make your carnival a success. Fundraiser Insight is a great source for many of your fundraiser needs–including plenty of great food options for your carnival.

#2. Host a Fun Run Event

You may be surprised by just how large–and active–the running community in your city really is, especially if you’ve never been part of it. By hosting a fun run–or a fun walk/run–you can draw in plenty of interest that will have your supporters jumping to get involved. Some quirky and fun ideas for your run include:

  • Try a color run filled with plenty of color stations. Everyone will have a blast!
  • Put together a costume run: princesses and superheroes are popular options, but you could also do a space theme, set a specific color for costumes, or tailor your theme to the organization you’re supporting.
  • Create an obstacle course! It doesn’t have to be difficult to be plenty of fun.
  • Go for a glow run or a nighttime run through your city to increase the number of people who are available to come–after all, night runs are after work hours!

As you’re setting up for your run, make sure you have the right equipment. T-shirts and participation medals might not make a huge difference in the people who participate this year, but they will be free advertising if you decide to make it an annual event. You’ll also want to have plenty of water stations available throughout the course. If you want to take your event to the next level, offer snacks and other drinks for sale both before and after the run. Pretzel rods are one great choice, as are fruit, granola bars, and other common running treats.

#3. Host a Read-a-Thon

Or a dance-a-thon. Or anything else that you think is likely to interest your contributors. Gather them together in the same location, then encourage them to keep doing an activity until they drop! This 24-hour long event will give you plenty of opportunities to sell food, drinks, and more, not to mention the donations you’ll get from participants as they sign up for the event. Even better, you’ll find that this type of event has a relatively low startup cost, especially if you don’t intend to sell many items.

#4. Create a Street Art Event

Graffiti art has become an increasingly popular art form, especially among young people. There’s something incredibly appealing about the huge, blank canvases offered by many public spaces–a freedom that artists can’t find anywhere else. For a fee, offer up-and-coming artists in your town the ability to come and create their own graffiti art. Find a big rock, an empty wall, or some other large space that can be dedicated to the project, then get painting! Make a day out of it by providing food, drinks, crafts, and other events or simply offer your contributors the opportunity to come paint. It will be sure to be an opportunity to remember!

#5. Take It Inside for Pampering for Charity

Many of your biggest contributors love being active: getting out in the great outdoors and doing something exciting while simultaneously contributing to a great cause. Others, on the other hand, prefer something quieter–and pampering for charity is right up their alley. Put together a great spa day for this incredible fundraiser. Options include:

  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Facials
  • Aromatherapy
  • Makeovers
  • Haircuts or styles, if you can find qualified volunteers (note: this should not be done by the inexperienced!)

You can also use your spa day as a great opportunity to sell handmade pampering items, from warm, fuzzy blankets to sugar scrubs and more. Once your contributors are feeling incredibly relaxed, it’s a great time to offer them the chance to make a purchase–like, for example, Just Fundraising’s candles.

Creating a quirky, fun fundraiser isn’t just enjoyable for your contributors. It’s also more interesting for you! Don’t get trapped in your old, boring routine. Instead, embrace the opportunity to do something unique with your fundraiser this year.

Helen Cartwright

About Helen Cartwright:

Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger, who excels in the Digital marketing, Finance and Fundraising niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-write for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com. 

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