Local Staff Contacts
Seattle, WA 98107
Event Ideas & Tips
Start with your talents and hobbies! Do you like to cook? Cook up a hot sizzlin' meal for your friends and have them donate at the door. Are you a Martha Stewart? Put together a small "how to" party for your friends and family (how to make holiday decorations, etc). Can you garden? Sew? Make jewelry? Take amazing photos? Fix things around the house? Are you a computer whiz, writer, singer, juggler? Have a night where you teach people these special skills and charge for your service! You get the idea! Whatever your talents, cash in on them and raise funds doing something you like! If you still need some suggestions, take a look at some of the proven fundraising ideas we have listed below!
Wear money pinned to your lapel: When someone asks you what it is there for, you have 15 seconds to tell them what you are doing and get their donation.
Donut/Bagel Day: Buy a box of donuts or bagels on the way to work and sell them at the office for $1 each!
Have Your Co-Workers Guess Your Marathon Time: Have a pool in your office to guess your marathon time! Have each co-worker pay ($1 or $2 or $5...) to enter an estimate for your time! The person whose guess comes closest to your actual time wins a percentage of the pool. The remaining money goes toward your fundraising. Publicizing the pool may even inspire colleagues to donate a check towards the cause!
Bake Sale: Not just cakes and cookies - include preserves, guess-the-weight-of-the-cake competition, and have refreshments.
Car Wash: Offer to wash friends' cars for a small fee. Ask your company if you can hold a car wash in the company car park, or see if a local organization will allow you to use their property.
Dog Wash!: Enough said. (See Car Wash and apply the same principles.)
Pet Goodies: Make doggie or kitty goodies and sell them at local dog parks or pet stores. Once the pets get a whiff, the owners will have no choice but to purchase one.
Coffee Morning: Requires a budget. Invite friends to a "Cakes and Coffee Morning." This can be combined with a book sale, etc. We all know how much it costs to get coffee at a shop so why not brew your own and get some donations for it! This is an easy way to make at least $5.00 a person.
Office Breakfast: Whip up some old-fashioned pancakes for breakfast or make sandwiches for your co-workers and charge them for the meal! If you're a really good cook, you can make some extra-fancy breakfast or lunch items and charge accordingly.
Office Lunch - TNT Meals On Wheels: Bring lunch to your co-workers! Do you work in a company with 20 or more people, or know someone who does? Everybody knows how hard it is to fix a lunch everyday to avoid spending money on cafeteria or restaurant food! On Monday, e-mail or call your co-workers and invite them to join you for lunch on Friday (or whatever day works best for you and your co-workers) in the breakroom for homemade lasagna! Make both vegetarian and meat lasagna and you'll probably catch the vegetarian crowd too. Charge between $7-10 per person, basing the price on your costs. If you get a good turnout, consider making this a weekly event until your fundraising is completed. Your final Friday could be a "thanks for helping me meet my minimum" lunch.
Barbeque: Hold a lunchtime, afternoon or evening barbeque at your house, local park, in a private garden or on hired grounds (the latter requires a budget). Sell tickets in advance.
Book/Video Sale!: Have your co-workers donate their used books and videos to your cause, then sell or "rent" them to other co-workers to make a profit! (You can set up your own Team In Training Lending Library or Video Store!)
Consignment Shops: Take your old business suits, clothes and accessories to a Consignment Shop. Ask the owner or manager if you can put tags on each item indicating that all funds for the item will go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Mention the idea to friends and they might give you their old items still in good shape, rather than donating them to another organization. A real win-win...your friends get rid of their old items and get a tax deduction, and you get the funds.
Spend A Day in The Park: Sit in the park for a day with a table entitled "stop here to sponsor an athlete with a cause." Then when passers-by stop, be ready to tell them about what you're doing and why you're doing it! Have a flyer on-hand or a copy of your fundraising letter. Include facts about blood-related cancers in your letter, or have a separate sheet that gives facts about leukemia and related cancers and about LLS. Be sure to have your donation jar out!
Face Painting: (Requires face paints.) Ask a local store or shopping center if you can set up on a Saturday, or find out about setting up a booth at a local street festival, farmer's market, art show, or carnival. Charge parents for painting children?s faces as clowns, animals, or other characters. (By the way, who says it can only be done on children?)
Duck Races: Buy little rubber duckies and have a competition with heats, 5-10 ducks per race. Ask for permission to race them in a blow-up swimming pool at your office. Have the heats during the day with the final winning race during a company Happy Hour. $1.00 rental per duck for each race. Ask your company to donate a prize that would appeal to everyone for final awards (a chance to park in the President's parking space for a day; an extra hour for lunch; etc.) Obviously, more ducks entered into more races increase the chance of winning.
Virtual Silent Auction: Get a weekend getaway: a nice bottle of wine, a stay at a B&B, concert tickets, museum tickets, play tickets (...anything!) donated; then hold a silent auction for the items. You can either send out email bid forms, or have bidders submit a printed form. The highest bid wins the prize! And all proceeds go toward your fundraising. It's a win-win situation! (Use our In-Kind Donation Letter template at the top of the page when asking for donations)
"Potluck" Wine Tasting/Auction: A wine tasting event can bring in a large amount of money. This is a great solo or group activity. Sell tickets before the event ($15 - $50), so you don't have to worry about conflicts that may keep people away the day of the event. Invite everyone to bring along a bottle of their favorite wine. People like to share their "good taste," and every bottle someone else brings is less money out of your pocket. Set out some easy, inexpensive snacks. Crackers and cheese always goes well with wine. Include a raffle or silent auction as part of the event. While people are tasting wines, they'll have an opportunity to bid on auction items. Try to get the wines, auction, and raffle items donated. (Use our In-Kind Donation Letter template at the top of the page when asking for donations)
Prize Drawing for a Day Off (or a casual day or a donated service or product): Ask your company if they would be willing to donate a paid day off (or casual-dress day) to the winner of a prize drawing. It is a painless way for companies to make a donation without actually giving any cash. Make up some tickets or use our template. Schedule the drawing and publicize the event. Sell the tickets for $5-$10 each to all employees. Many people will buy lots of tickets for the chance of winning a day off. A past participant raised $900 in her company with this great idea! If your company isn't willing to donate a day off or a casual dress day, use our In-Kind Donation letter (template at the top of the page) to ask for donations from companies. We've seen it all - from See's chocolate to an iPad!
Garage Sale: This can be done individually or with a group. Gather all items you want to donate, then ask your teammates and neighbors to donate items as well. Be sure to put an ad in the paper, pass out flyers and put up lots of directional signs. Many local papers will publish free ads for garage sales that benefit non-profits. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if you can post flyers around town. Ask friends and neighbors to help put up flyers in local churches, supermarkets, schools, etc. Many people are willing to pay more for items when you let them know that all proceeds go to the LLS. Also have a donation jar and plenty of copies of your letter - many people who come for the garage sale will sponsor you.
Bingo: See if a local bingo hall will hold a benefit night for your charity. If not, hold your own bingo event, charging entry and supplying prizes for winners. Be sure to check on local laws regarding bingo or other gaming activities where cash is exchanged for a chance to play/win.
Karaoke Night: Sell tickets for an evening of singing at a pub or private venue; you could get people to donate money to stop their friends from singing or invite local companies/pubs to send teams (for an entry fee).
Tupperware Party: Tupperware has a special program set up for people trying to raise money for non-profit organizations. You can raise up to 40% of the retail profits. You can contact your local Tupperware sales person, or go into the Tupperware.com web site, for more info.
Cover Charge Night: Do you have a neighborhood bar that you go to on a regular basis? Do they have a cover charge for getting in? Why not ask your favorite bar if they are willing to donate a portion or all of the cover charge for one night or a portion of the sales from the bar that night? It is a pretty easy route to go.
Benefit Party at a Local Bar or Nightclub: Call the manager and say "I am a volunteer with the LLS and we would like to hold a fundraiser at your club. We will do all the publicity promoting that your club is hosting a benefit for the LLS and the great band that is playing." If there is a cover charge you can say, "It won't cost you a dime, because you can raise your cover charge that night and donate the difference to the LLS for a tax deduction." If there is no cover charge you could say, "That night you can have a cover charge of $XX and donate the door proceeds to the LLS." The bar generally receives the proceeds from the food and drinks.
Wine/Cheese Evening: Requires a budget. If possible, get local suppliers to provide cheese and wine. (Use our In-Kind Donation letter at the top of the page as a template when requesting donations) Sell tickets in advance and donate proceeds to LLS. If you're enthusiastic and knowledgeable, each table could have a theme, e.g., a particular wine-growing or cheese-producing region.
Cocktail Party: Throw a "donate to the cause" cocktail party (checkbooks required).
Restaurant Donations: Contact a local restaurant and ask that a portion of their business be donated to LLS. For example, Armadillo Willy's donated 20% of dinners purchased between certain hours during a specified time period to a participant on the Triathlon team, if diners mentioned LLS.
This event takes LOTS of leg work to make it profitable - be sure to get flyers out as soon as you decide on a date and location - put them up wherever you can publicly, pass them on to friends and acquaintances, put them up in your office, at church, clubs, etc., and email them to your team manager, mentor, and co-participants so they can pass it on to people they know! It will make all the difference in the amount of money you bring in.
Volleyball Tournament (can be almost any sport): One participant was an avid volleyball player who played several times a week with two teams. She set up a round-robin volleyball tournament in order to help her raise funds (in addition to her letter writing campaign). She talked to the recreational department that ran a couple of the leagues she played in to see if they would help her with her charity tournament. The leagues ended up donating the gym space for her tournament, and allowed her to flyer all around town at the gyms that have volleyball leagues. They even allowed her to put something in a mailing they were sending out. She signed up 10 teams and each team paid $200. She got friends to referee the games and a local vendor paid for winner's t-shirts. She also got several other prizes from other community businesses. It was a lot of fun and she was able to raise $2000 towards her minimum.
This you can translate for several other sports: baseball, softball, football, soccer. It's a great fundraiser for participants who participate in organized sports.