What Are the Different Types of Fundraisers You Can Have?

What Are the Different Types of Fundraisers You Can Have? If you’re planning a fundraiser, there are a lot of different formats you can foll...

What Are the Different Types of Fundraisers You Can Have?
What Are the Different Types of Fundraisers You Can Have?

If you’re planning a fundraiser, there are a lot of different formats you can follow. There are pros and cons to each, and some formats work better for a particular audience than others. 

In general, your goal with any fundraiser, no matter the specifics, is to have an engaging event targeted to your audience and, of course, one that helps you raise as much money as possible. 

With those goals in mind, the following are some types of fundraisers you might consider, along with some pros and cons of each. 

Auctions

Within the larger category of auctions are several subcategories. 

One that’s popular right now is an online or virtual auction. Because of COVID, this can be the easiest to facilitate. The big thing to focus on with an online or virtual auction is choosing the right technology as a platform. You also need to make sure you’re identifying auction items that sell, so most of your work will go into soliciting donations. 

When you use auction software, you can organize your process and utilize mobile bidding features that are going to make things easy for you and your team and also your donors. 

The reality is that if you want something streamlined and relatively easy, particularly given the current pandemic environment, an online auction is probably the path you should take. 

The downside of an online auction is that the privacy element may mean people bid less than they would if they were bidding in public. 

The traditional type of auction is a live auction. This can be a lot of fun for people, and it adds energy, excitement, and a sense of competition. Guests can use paddles or mobile bidding tools, and an auctioneer manages the process of getting bids and declaring a winner. 

The downsides of a live auction include the fact that it can be more expensive to host this type of event, so that’s less revenue for the charity, plus people may have COVID concerns that prevent them from participating. 

A silent auction is something you can host on its own or in conjunction with another event. A silent auction requires bidding on paper or perhaps on a mobile device. Silent auctions work well for items that your attendees might want to see up-close before bidding on them. 

The downside compared to a live auction is that it’s lower energy.

In general, regardless of the type you choose, an auction will likely give you a favorable return on your investment. 

Walks/Runs

Hosting a fun run or walk is an excellent way to get people feeling energetic and enthusiastic, as well as a bit competitive. 

A fun run isn’t the same as something like a 5K or a marathon. There’s an important distinction here. When you do a fun run or walk, typically, you don’t need a particular permit or to apply for a road closure. Instead, you can use something like a trail in a local park. That makes a fun run or walk easy to plan, and you get a good return on your investment. 

The downside is that you’re asking people to participate in something active that’s going to take up some of their time, and not everyone is going to prefer that format. Some people might prefer to simply make a donation and leave it at that. 

Sports Events

If you want something engaging for a pretty broad audience, you might use a sports event as a fundraiser. There are different approaches as to how this might work. 

For example, you might take over the snack bar for an event and then get to keep some or all of your proceeds from the day. 

This is very easy to plan and affordable, no matter the size of your organization. 

Raffles

For a raffle, it’s as simple as it comes aside from selling tickets and soliciting donations for the prizes you’re going to give away. With a raffle, you just have to focus on selling tickets and then hold a drawing for whatever the prize or prizes are as far as logistics. 

While that sounds like a breeze, there are some downsides to contend with. 

One is that raffles aren’t legal in every state. You may also have to register in each state where you’re going to solicit funds, and there are a lot of accounting and IRS requirements to figure out. 

Special Events

A special event can cover some of the things talked about above, but there are plenty of other event options too. Banquets, carnivals, festivals, and fairs are all a fun way to raise money. Dinner and galas are too. 

The upside of special events is that they get people excited, and you’re likely to get a lot more community interest. In fact, if you have something like an oyster roast or a carnival, you’re likely to sell tickets and many attendees won’t even know it’s a fundraiser. 

The downsides include the fact that weather can significantly impact an event, as can other factors out of your control. Plus, events take a lot of time and planning. You may not get the return on your investment that you hope for either. 

Individual Solicitation

Finally, depending on your organization and what you’re raising funds for, you may be able to opt for individual solicitation. Individual solicitation means that you’re asking people for money directly. 

It’s effective because you’re going straight to someone to ask for money, often face-to-face. You may get large gifts with this method, and if you have people on your committee or board with certain high-value contacts, what you raise can be substantial. 

Also, once you make that initial contact with someone, they’re likely to continue donating. 

The downside of individual solicitation is that it requires a lot of labour, and not everyone is skilled at asking directly for donations.

Plus, your team will have to research everyone before meeting with them.

It’s difficult to find volunteers or committee members who will be not just good at asking for donations but also unafraid to do so.

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