fundraising event theme

Many organizations are re-inventing themselves and their events after the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the whole world was tilted on its axis in the last year and a half, if there was ever a time to try something new, it’s now. This can be an exciting opportunity, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start or what will work when it comes to your fundraising event theme. 

If you’re struggling to come up with a theme or gimmick for your fundraising event, this blog is for you. Whether you’re looking to host a virtual event or an in-person event, you need a fun hook for it. How much guests enjoy themselves can greatly impact your funds raised and the chances that your event will grow by word of mouth in future years. Making sure you pick a fundraising event theme that sparks their interest and holds their attention is important.

Here’s how you can go about picking your fundraising event theme. 

Step 1: Consider your goals.

When thinking about your goals, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you hoping to raise money? 
  • Are you hoping to raise awareness? 
  • Are you hoping to give the community an opportunity to network? 
  • Are you hoping to give the community an opportunity to volunteer? 

Think about what you’re hoping to accomplish with your event and build upon that for the next step. 

Step 2: Consider your audience.

In order to start to pin down who your target audience is and what may appeal to them, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will guests be bringing coworkers, partners, or families?
  • What’s the age range of the guest list? 
  • What do potential guests like to do for fun? 

Just like every marketing effort, you need to know your audience if you want to successfully appeal to them. Consider your goal and who can help you get there. Knowing your ideal audience will help you know what kind of event would be enjoyable for them and will help you know where to market your event. 

Considering your audience will also help you develop an event that will be in your guest’s price point. A gala may be better “suited” (see what I did there?) for a corporate or well-established crowd while a themed festival or 5K may be more affordable for youth and young couples.

Step 3: Consider the time of year.

What time of year are you hoping to host your event? Check your community calendars to see if there are any other fundraising events happening around that time that might potentially compete with yours. The less competition, the better. 

You could also look to the time of year to draw inspiration for a season-related theme—such as a holiday shopping silent auction, a chili cook-off or fall festival, a summer block party, or a holiday themed 5K.

Step 4: Consider the gimmicks.

What is currently popular in your area for your target audience? Do you want to host an indoor event or an outdoor event? Are there certain trends you’re noticing online or in conversation? 

Keep in mind it is just as important to look at what people don’t like as it is to look at what people do like. Looking at what’s popular or not can give you some inspiration about where to start and what to avoid. Websites like Pinterest can also offer a lot of unique ideas when it comes to inspiration. 

Step 5: Consider your mission.

Are there any trendy taglines, hashtags, or things that relate to your mission and could tie your mission into your fundraising event theme? How can you get creative and tie your mission into your fundraising event theme throughout various points of the event?  

Think about what you can do to keep your goals and purpose at the forefront for your guests as well.

Madison Gonzalez

Madison Gonzalez

Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc.
Madison Gonzalez is a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet. She is also the Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc., and Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound. As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is her mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income. Madison can be reached at madison@toldcoaching.com.