Fundraising Event Ideas for Charity

Over the last three years, we have been privileged to support the work of many charities. We find this type of work extremely rewarding as it gives us the opportunity to become ambassadors and use our creativity to help raise awareness for these wonderful organisations. Charity galas also offer us the opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded industry specialists to truly pull off unique events as part of a group.

War Child Winter Wassail - The Events Mill
War Child Winter Wassail – The Events Mill

We feel it is a good idea to establish a theme for a charity fundraising event, not only because guests’ enjoy being part of the experience, but also as an aid to shape different activities around the specific creative focus. Gone are the days when a simple dinner would suffice. Nowadays your audience is key and it is important to ensure the experience appeals for specific reasons, whether content focused, or for a cause that is particularly related to an individual’s area of expertise or interests. Charity events are held for a reason – to raise awareness and to fundraise, however it is difficult to guarantee engagement without going the extra mile.

Venue Arrangement - The Events Mill
Venue Arrangement – The Events Mill

Here are some tips to guarantee guest engagement at your next charity gala:

Choose the perfect location …

The venue is key and some locations command more attraction. Whilst we have our budget conscious hats on here, it is important to consider how the setting for your gala can help guarantee attendance – after all, you could easily host a fundraiser in your local town hall, but it won’t have the same appeal as a unique venue or blank canvas space – choose within your means but make sure it’s the best option possible.

Your theme is always secondary to the purpose …

Theming your charity gala is key, however, the theme should be used to prop up the main message of the event. The balance between creating a fun environment and creating a culture of generosity is a difficult thing to master, and it is always crucial to keep the message of the charity at the very heart of the experience, rather than it being a razzle-dazzle themed event.

Fundraising Charity Event - The Events Mill
Fundraising Charity Event – The Events Mill

Create personas…

Creating an experience where guests can leave their everyday lives behind and adopt new personas from the night is a really good message to promote. Fancy dress has always been a winner, but some individuals find dressing up quite stressful. The increase in popularity for dress-up photo booths not only allows opportunities to record who attended the event, but they are also a fantastic way of creating a fun environment where people don’t feel embarrassed to be a little silly, thus becoming more relaxed and open-minded.

Create a journey of discovery…

Immersive experiences pay dividends. There has been a surge in the demand for events where guests can really get stuck in and create their own entertainment, discovering new elements of an event by immersing themselves physically in the environment. These can take the form of immersive quiz nights, theatrical performances or blind wine tastings, for example.

Alice in Wonderland - Immersive Events - The Events Mill
Alice in Wonderland – Immersive Events – The Events Mill

Celebrity Culture…

“Tonight Matthew, I’m gonna be …” the famous line from the popular television show in the 1990s will always bring a smile to anyone’s face, especially the older generations. Guests enjoy celebrity culture and any opportunity to be a new personality for an evening. This takes karaoke to a whole new level with glitz, glamour and a whole lot of celebration.

Alumni Events…

For membership organisations, it is always a good idea to host alumni events and to construct your guest list based on specific relationships that will bring unique groups together. There is no better feeling than being amongst friends and reminiscing – it makes people feel good and creates a happy environment, which in itself is a golden opportunity for maximum engagement.

Alumni Events - The Events Mill
Alumni Events – The Events Mill

Pop-up events…

The latest pop-up venture, a cereal bar, has been a huge success even though it is a little niche. The term pop-up has moved on from being a cheap enterprise to being one of the trendiest types of events on the market. The surge in street food has helped, making room for pop-up experiences that are as celebrated as some of the most well attended Michelin starred restaurants. Pop-up means exclusive and for a limited time only – two amazing attributes that will guarantee attendance.

Flash mob event…

Whilst singing waiters are a thing of the past, flash mob dance groups can be extremely effective in creating drama, originality and an excitement at an event. The unexpected creates a true sense of occasion and will leave guests wanting more and spreading the word, post-event, which will lead to increased awareness and future sponsorship opportunities.

Auction for fundraising events…

Silent auctions are a trusted method of raising money at any fundraiser and we are great pioneers of new technologies on the market that can help making the pledging moment fun and engaging. The key to a successful auction lies in the quality of the lots you’re auctioning, the ease of equipment being used to bid, and the compere who is inspiring the crowd to dig deep.

Fundraising Event - The Events Mill
Fundraising Event – The Events Mill

Make use of pledging technology …

There are some fantastic companies available to assist with your pledging needs. Whether you wish to include iPad technology on the dining tables or have a silent auction, it is imperative that all monies raised are professionally handled and transparent. It is always fantastic to see the total figure rising throughout the event and to be able to offer guests the space to donate in their own way.

Keep content relevant and to the point …

Most charities have a serious message to deliver, but this doesn’t necessarily need to mean boring. Use innovative technology, exciting graphics, soundscapes, and video to capture the attention of your guests. Small but frequent chunks of content are going to be digested more successfully than long and drawn out speeches. Remember that guests know why they’ve been invited so don’t be scared to make your point in a clear and concise way.


Provide exciting entertainment …

This is often the element that most corporate event organisers get wrong. If you involve exciting entertainment, unique performances and special guests then not only are you going to increase delegate attendance, but you are going to be able to create a fun environment that will keep people engaged and excited.

An intimate gig whilst being treated to a gourmet meal? Yes, please! If you can budget for a live performance and introduce well-known entertainers to the proceedings then you will be staging an event that is original, classy and down with the kids.

Helena Bonham Carter - Event Celebrities - The Events Mill
Helena Bonham Carter – Event Celebrities – The Events Mill

Don’t forget to feed and water …

Provide a drinks reception, meal, and beverages that are fit for the price of the ticket. You do not want guests to leave feeling cheated – everyone loves a good meal and your fundraiser is no exception even if your main focus is to raise money and to reduce costs.

Some would say that an alcohol-fuelled experience guarantees greater opportunities to make money, however, this isn’t entirely true. Brand exposure at charity events shows credibility and trust and if beverage sponsors have a presence at your fundraiser then this will leave a lasting impression. Serve an elegant cocktail or a signature drink that has been created for one night only.

Berry Martini Glasses - The Events Mill
Berry Martini Glasses – The Events Mill

Don’t forget the goodie bag…

As much as we hate to admit it, many attendees will come just for the goodie bag. This one is simple; reward your guests by creating an exclusive, well-populated and exciting giveaway (they will attend year on year just for this).

Get arty…

Allow guests the opportunity to explore art, installations and design at the same time as attending the event. The most successful examples tend to be combinations of exquisite food and exclusive presentations of unseen collections, such as an exhibition of sublime jewels, or the private collection of a successful fashion designer.

Piece of art made from floppy discs
Piece of art made from floppy discs

Have fun …

Perhaps the most obvious, but the most overlooked. If your guests see you and your team engaging then they will follow suit. The most successful charity fundraising ideas come to life with large teams of dedicated planners, sponsors and partners – respect the seriousness of the event, but always remember to have fun and celebrate every single penny raised.

Event Entertainment - The Events Mill
Event Entertainment – The Events Mill

If you would like to discuss ideas for your next fundraising or corporate event call 0207 207 7698 or email us at info@ and we would love to help.


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