5 Tips for Hosting Better Fundraisers

Fundraising. Often perceived as more of an obligation than an opportunity. Most people have attended a fundraising event at some point – and most people would agree that many of these events can be a little ::yawn:: less-than-exciting.

WELL THAT ENDS NOW. Okay, so maybe this single post about how to put the FUN in FUNDRAISING (sorry, I had to) won’t necessarily change the course of fundraising history, but hopefully it will inspire future fundraising hosts to harness more creativity in their planning and execution.


Check out these 5 tips for hosting better fundraisers:

1. Embrace technology

From dining out to shopping online, the single most important factor of visitor satisfaction is customer experience. How helpful is the information you provide? How easily is it for someone to get from Point A to Point B? How clear are your options? How efficient is your transaction process?

Online tools and mobile apps can provide a frictionless donation experience for your guests. No keeping track of checks. No passing the figurative collection plate around. Just a click or two on a mobile device and your organization is instantly closer to its financial goals. Here are a few great options for real-time digital fundraising.

Mobile app: @Pay

atpayUsers donate by replying to an email or a text message.

Crowdfunding sites: Indiegogo & CrowdRise

Create your own campaign or fundraiser and take advantage of the sites’ built-in tools and social integration.

2. Create a competition

Sure, an upscale dinner or cocktail party gives hosts the opportunity to mingle and talk about their organization’s goals, philosophies or difficulties acquiring the funds they need, but again …

Mix it up with a little competition. Members of the community can get involved and donate in order to vote, judge or participate. Depending on your organization’s brand and target market, you could:

  • Hold a food tasting event or cooking contest (bonus points for using local vendors!)
  • Have a costume contest (that coincides with your brand or during Halloween events)
  • Create a karaoke contest
  • Put together a physical competition like a pub game tournament (cornhole, darts, etc.) or a field day event (potato sack race, tug-o-war, etc.)

3. Go old school with a twist

so-many-cupcakesImage source: Bunniecake’s Blog

Bake sales, lemonade stands, yard sales – these nostalgic money-raising efforts of yore may now be seen as obsolete, or worse, tacky. But I say embrace tackiness! Own the kitsch! Trends are cyclical and by putting your own twist on a classic, you’re bound to get wheels turning in the right direction. Just make sure each execution has a single focus and that it is on-brand for your organization.

  • Host a “Lemonade Stand” cocktail party and serve a variety of “adult” juice concoctions. Decorate to complement the theme. Get local juice bars and distilleries involved.
  • Hold a bake sale, but specialize in a niche or specialty product. If you go with cupcakes, go crazy with cupcakes and get local vendors involved. Sweet, savory, salty … make their ingredients unique and their flavors varied. You could even create a 3-course cupcake meal!
  • Have a yard sale, but curate the products wisely. Choose items that correspond to your theme and keep your target audience in mind.

If you choose to go this route, incorporate old school promotional techniques (on modern platforms) so it feels like a holistic experience. Think hand-drawn fliers posted on Facebook and Instagram.

4. Market your event wisely

This tip sort of goes without saying, but one would be surprised how many opportunities (and dollars) are missed based on lack of awareness. Meet the members of your target market where they are – don’t force them to find you.

Are you hosting a “Senior Prom” where 65-plus-year-old attendees dance into the night to raise money for Alzheimer’s research? Promoting the event via Twitter or Instagram is probably not your best bet. Try more traditional media like newspapers and radio.

 5. Choose the right location

I’m sure your house is lovely, but it may not be conducive to hosting 800 cocktail guests or equipped with professional lighting and sound (and if it is, please tell me the secret to life).

A big part of your fundraising success is the result of your guests’ general happiness. I’m no psychologist, but one would assume that hot, cramped, hungry people are a lot less likely to pull out their checkbooks than comfortable people who are having a good time.


Make sure you’re not sabotaging your potential fundraising success by scrimping on event space. Quality attracts quality. And when you choose NOVA 535 Unique Event Space, you’re choosing quality. There are many places in St. Petersburg and beyond where you can find adequate amenities, but only one that is the best reviewed event space in Tampa Bay.

The goal of any fundraiser is to raise as much money possible for your organization. And although there’s not one sure-fire tactic to ensure fundraising success, creativity is almost always rewarded.

To learn more about how historic yet modern venue NOVA 535 can help you plan the unique fundraiser you’ve always wanted to host, get started with our event request or call/text 949.873.6682.