Creative Fundraising: Events

If you have been following along, you’ll know that I have offered up quite a lot of ideas for creative fundraising. Most of these are designed to be simple to execute so that the planning process doesn’t outweigh the benefits of the actual fundraiser. But for those who are inclined to set their sites a little higher, there are some much bigger events that you can tap into in order to raise money for your art business. Here are a few of the more complex fundraising ideas and some considerations to bear in mind if you decide to try one out.

Benefit concerts are a long-standing way to raise money for all sorts of organizations. They take place on very local or completely international levels. Nonprofits of all kinds have tapped into this musical resource to raise some funds and there is no reason you can’t, too. For starters, you will need to identify some musicians and bands that would make up a good show. Try to find music that sits within a similar genre so that you appeal to your crowd. In other words, know your audience. Reach out to friends or family in the music world and ask them if they’d be willing to perform for free. Be prepared to offer a portion of your proceeds to those bands who would like to participate but may need a little profit from their hard work. Remember, musicians are working artists, too. The other important initial phase is to identify a venue. Decide whether this should be an indoor or outdoor event (bearing in mind that outdoors carries with it a lot more variables) and approach the appropriate authorities to secure permission. Contact local law-force to inquire about security measures for an event like this. Make sure you understand your venue well. Are patrons allowed to consume alcoholic beverages? Can they carry in their own food and drink or will there be items available for purchase on site? Once you have all the details ironed out, begin advertising your event. Take to social media, ask all of the participating bands to utilize theirs to share your event. Make posters and fliers and distribute to area businesses.

The rise of fitness as both a way of maintaining good health and as a hobby has also made road races big business. Many, many nonprofits organize 5K races as a way to raise funds, bring the community together, and have fun staying fit. While organizing one for your own purposes will take some serious planning, it absolutely can be done. Because of the prevalence of road races these days, some towns and cities have begun offering routes for rent. Call your local town or city hall and ask whether this is an option in your area. If not, the very first thing you need to do when organizing a road race is to obtain permission from the town or city. Without a permit, you shouldn’t even start planning. Once your course is set and your permit is secured, you can focus on the details of the race. Inquire with local authorities about having police presence on race day to block off roads where your runners will be. Safety is absolutely the first concern when planning a race. In addition to making sure that your racers are safe from traffic, you’ll want to inquire about the possibility of placing paramedics along the course. Races require a lot of volunteers to help with sign-ups and to hand out water along the course. This is an important detail particularly if your race is during the warmer months. Often area businesses are willing to donate goods to road races–items like small paper cups and bottle water, nourishment for post-race, and maybe even items for racer goody bags. Reach out to local supermarkets, sports stores, and other businesses. You’ll be surprised what can happen when you just ask. There are loads of resources out there for those wishing to plan their own 5K. This is no small endeavor so use them liberally.

Finally, if you live someplace where the temperatures really drop, a Polar Plunge just might be the right fundraiser for you. Like with the road race, there are both logistical and safety issues to consider. Check with your town or city hall about necessary permits and safe, appropriate spaces for your event. Once secured, just like with the others, begin organizing and promoting. This is another event that is well suited to having paramedics on-site because you can never be too careful. Participants can pay a fee to enter or you can set up your event with a pledge structure. In this case, participants reach out to their own social networks to raise funds in support of their chilly endeavor. On the day, be sure to have warm drinks and, if possible, blankets and towels on hand.

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