Fundraising Ideas

From black tie galas, golf outings, bowl-a-thons, walks or even motorcycle club events, our marketing and events team is available to help brainstorm the perfect event to meet your objectives.

It’s recommended to begin with a goal or objective—whether increasing awareness of the Foundation brand and mission or a fundraising amount. This will help dictate the scope of the plan. The next step is leveraging your strengths, networks and opportunities. For example, you may have connections with area restaurants that may be persuaded to help with catering or entertainment (battle of the chefs?). Or maybe your best friend is a sommelier (hello, wine tasting). Take a look a the list below for some inspiration.

Fashion, Food & Fine Wine

Gala. A formal event that may include a cocktail reception, dinner, program, and dancing. A live or silent auction is a typical, fun side attraction.

Cocktail Party. A semi-formal event that may includes cocktails, strolling hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and possibly a silent auction.

Fashion Show. Local designers and/or retailers are engaged to present a seasonal fashion show, with program and a silent auction. A strolling dinner, sit-down feast or cocktail and appetizer affair is typically included.

Wine Tasting. A wine tasting event, paired with hors d’oeuvres, program and a silent auction is always popular.

Trunk Show. These events feature a designer showcasing their wares, usually at a host home or attractive venue. They often include strolling hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, but no program. The addition of a silent auction is a nice touch.

The Sports Section

Bowl-A-Thon. A casual event where participants form teams to bowl and raise money. Participants secure donations by having friends and family pledge funds per frame or game. Corporate sponsors often match contributions and underwrite associated costs.

Fishing Tournament. An event where teams are formed who will fish together. The winner is determined by the largest total weight of their fish. Money is raised through the entry fee for the tournament.

Bike-A-Thon. Participants seek pledges per mile or overall miles raced. Another approach is rolling the charitable contribution into the race fees.

Tennis or Ping Pong Match. In these tournaments players compete until a champion rises to the top. Funds are raised through sponsorships and entry fees.

Lacrosse Tournament. A tournament where teams compete against each other and the winners of each game compete until a victor is chosen. Funds are raised through sponsorships and entry fees.

Walk-A-Thon. An event where participants have a walk or race. Money is raised through a portion of the entry fee being donated to charity. Walkers can also solicit friends/family/co-workers to make financial donations or pledges in order to raise additional funds.

Golf Outing. An event where teams of four compete against each other for the best score. Funds are raised by an entry fee which usually includes dinner (sometimes lunch and breakfast) and drinks. Many times a silent auction will be held to obtain additional funds. Different areas of the golf course will be “sold” as sponsorships to help cover cost and increase the amount of money raised.

Softball Tournament. Set up a tournament where teams will compete against each other, and then the winners of each game compete until a victor is chosen. Funds are raised through sponsorships and entry fees.

Kids’ FUNdraising Fodder

Lemonade & Cookies. Kids set up a neighborhood lemonade stand and ask mom or dad to help make a few treats. Make sure to put up a sign advertising you will give a glass of lemonade to the customer for a donation. If you don’t specify an amount you will usually raise more funds.

Bake Sale. Kids work with their parents to set up a bake sale, either at school or church, where they can sell baked goods. Have each item individually prepared and marked with a price.

Classrooms for a Cause

Coin Wars. Set up a contest at your school where the grades compete against each other to raise funds through putting money in large jars or containers during an allocated period of time.

Crazy Hat/Jeans Day. Ask the administration to allow students to donate $1-3 (you set the amount) to wear something that normally is not allowed as part of the dress code. For parochial schools, this could be wearing jeans instead of a uniform. Other fun ideas are slippers, hats or pajamas.

Keep it Casual

Backyard BBQ. Invite friends and neighbors for an informal BBQ where you provide the main course and request guests bring a side dish. Announce in advance that you’re raising funds for the Foundation and suggest a per person or per family contribution.

Car Show. Invite car enthusiasts to drive their classic cars to a designated place where attendees can pay to view them. Money is raised by charging an entry fee for each classic car and by charging an admission fee to the event.

Percent of Sales at Restaurant or Shop. Propose a local retailer donate a portion of sales for one day (or more) to the Foundation.

Battle of the Bands or Fundraising Concert. Throw a concert fundraiser at a local venue. Money is raised through ticket sales to attend the event. Note: With this type of fundraiser, costs may exceed profits. To avoid this, secure the venue at a discount or at no cost and request bands play for free.

Name that Theme

Holiday Related. This is an easy fundraiser to plan! Simply, throw a holiday party that would interest your family, friends, and/or co-workers and charge a door fee to be given to charity.

Carnival. Throw a family-friendly event with carnival type games, face painters (who have donated their time), and even a clown or two for fun. Money is raised by charging an entry fee. In order to keep costs down, seek a venue and entertainment that is donated or offered at a discounted rate.

In-Kind (Item) Donation from a Group (book club, school, church, etc.). We accept a variety of in-kind donations that are given to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Child Life Department, the Clothes Closet (also at Children’s Hospital of Michigan), or the Detroit Rescue Mission.

Before committing to a plan, please peruse our in-kind donation gift guidelines issued by the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.