Fundraising Twist

Don’t you love going to fundraising dinners? Ahem.

A friend of mine, who has been to countless such affairs, affectionately calls them “rubber chicken dinners.” He says the same four meals, all involving chicken, have been served at fundraising dinners in the south for the last twenty years. Joking aside, here are a few ideas to spice up your next fundraising event.

Choose a local, national or international event to coat-tail.

Do you have a local festival that everyone loves to celebrate? Grab on to that theme! Think Watermelon, Shakespeare or Apple Festival. Or a local marathon, Arts and Crafts Fair or Car Show. Set up your event so the time and place complements the large event instead of conflicting with it.

A major national sporting event? Project the game and divide the participants into teams for the evening. Have the team battle in a few fun games, and see which team can raise the most dollars, pledges or volunteer hours.

An international event or celebration? The Olympics, the World Cup, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize… Tailor your food and decorations accordingly. Add a note of celebration and uniqueness to your annual dinner.

Find something that people are interested in, but not already booked for. Unless you can offer some incredible draw, don’t host a Superbowl or Oscar party, people often have traditional parties that they attend every year. You don’t want to be in competition. You want to grab on to something that they are interested in, but don’t have any plans for–yet.

Make it fun! I already mentioned dividing the participants into teams- what else could you do to get people out of their seats and having fun? Adults don’t often have many opportunities for pure fun. You might be surprised how engaged a group of professionals can get when you invite them to play kickball, or compete in a scavenger hunt.

Using local, national and international events as a springboard for your next fundraising dinner can bring a refreshing twist. Wishing you lots of fun and funding for your cause!

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