Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Organize a community fundraiser

Running a successful community fundraising event can really add to the bottom line of a cause or organization. The potential contributions (in both dollars and effort) for the cause can be huge, but these events are time consuming and disorganized if they aren’t planned out. Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned veteran, here are six things to remember when organizing a community fundraiser.

Car wash

1Set the purpose & goal.

Are you looking to raise money for a new community playground, an after-school program or trees to green up your community? Everything in the event plan should be geared toward this purpose and raising a specific amount of money. The amount you choose should be what you hope to net after any event expenses are deducted.


Woman with clipboard

Pick your team.

Committee chairpersons are responsible for contributing substantial amounts of time and energy to the success of the event and encouraging others to do the same. Choose people who are enthusiastic about the cause, able to dedicate the amount of time required and have the expertise in the area in which you need them to work.

3Target your audience.

Toward whom is this event geared? Is this a general fundraiser to which everyone is invited? Or is this event aimed at a specific group within your community such as business owners, parents or teachers? Decide on your invitation list so that you can make the most of the marketing channels you choose and therefore maximize the donations or contribution efforts.


This may sound simple, but be sure everyone knows about your event, including the who, what, when, where and how. Distribute flyers at local community centers and supermarkets, post online to free community event calendars, and see if your local paper will donate some print exposure. Have a press release or summary of your event ready to keep your message consistent.

Charlene Li, author of Groundswell and Open Leadership, and a bona fide social media expert, says to divide your event’s social media strategies into three parts: before, during and after. For more information, visit Charlene’s guest blog on


Everyone must know, well ahead of time, what her responsibilities are and where she needs to be during the event, and she should have a general idea of the event flow. If you’re organizing a fun run, have everyone walk the course. Having a community electronics recycling day? Be sure your crew understands which items should be stored where.

6Say “thank you.”

At the conclusion of your event, take the time to say a simple “thank you.” Not only should you thank the contributors, but also the team that made your event a success, including volunteers, staff and vendors.

Well planned, successful community fundraisers are fun, productive and gratifying for the organizers as well as everyone involved.

More event planning ideas

Speading the word: How to plan a well attended event
101 Fundraising ideas
6 Ways to build a sense of community

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.