Ideas for a Benefit to Raise Money

by Giselle Mazur

Whether you work for a nonprofit organization, are raising money for a specific cause or have gotten involved with a volunteer group, planning a benefit event with the intentions of raising money is a challenging task. From deciding on the theme of the event to activities you can host, there are a variety of opportunities to raise money at a benefit.

Charge Admission

The first way to raise money at a benefit is to charge admission for a performance. Get a local venue, such as a theater or a concert hall, to donate the use of their space, or negotiate the price of the space and let the venue write off the discount as a donation. Find performers willing to donate their time to the cause or perform on the cheap, such as a theater company willing to do their play, a band willing to perform a concert or a dance company willing to put on a recital. Once you have a venue and entertainment, you can calculate how much those two things will cost and find a ticket price that covers your expenses and leaves enough for a donation. Don’t make the price too high because the goal is to get people to come to the event. If you get the venue and performers free, you can even charge on a sliding scale, giving admission to anyone who makes a minimum donation to the cause.

Charge for Food and Drinks

Once you have the main event planned, you can focus on smaller ways to bring in more money. Charging for food and drinks can be extremely profitable, as most people eat and drink when they go out for an evening. Contact grocery stores, delis and bakeries in your area to get donated or discounted food and drinks. Another way to get food inexpensively is to shop at a wholesale store. The stores allow you to buy a pallet of sodas, for example, that you can then sell for $1 or more a can at a profit.

Host a Raffle or Auction

Silent auctions and raffles are also effective fundraising activities. Set up a table at the side of the room and show items donated from local businesses. These items should be varied enough to appeal to all guests, so consider gift certificates to restaurants and spas, electronics, airline tickets, clothes, books, music and movies. If you are having a raffle, charge per ticket and allow participants to drop their tickets in baskets in front of the items they want. For a silent auction, you can put a sheet of paper in front of each item and allow bidders to write down their name and the price they are willing to pay. The highest bidder gets the item. A live auction can also be a fun activity during a break in a performance.

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