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What Is a Fundraising Event?


July 11, 2022

three people standing outside of a fundraising event tent looking in before entering. The tent is white with colorful triangle garlands around it and is filled with people.

What Is a Fundraising Event? And How You Can Throw One

When you think of the word “fundraiser,” what comes to mind? For some, it’s a call center full of people at various tables reaching out to donors and asking for financial support. For others, it’s a lavish black-tie affair where one can support an organization they love. While the two ideas are very different from each other, both are considered fundraising events. 

These events can look like many different things, which is why so many people have different ideas of what they are. Ultimately, a fundraiser is any event designed to raise money, awareness, and support for an organization’s mission. Whether this be a fun run in your neighborhood, a community barbecue, a silent auction, a concert, a night at the theater, or a black-tie dinner–there are so many ways to gain support from a group of people. Your idea should ultimately attract the audience of people from which you’re trying to gain support. 

Are Fundraising Events Only For Non-Profit Organizations? 

A common misconception is that fundraising events are only for nonprofit organizations. While fundraising is an essential part of running a nonprofit, they are not exclusive to the nonprofit world. 

Raising funds is important for many organizations, whether it be a startup company working to leverage its goods or services, a sports team in need of money to attend a competition, or a school looking to offer more extracurricular activities to its students. There are endless reasons why an organization may need to raise money. 

As far as the nonprofit sector goes, fundraising events for nonprofits are hugely popular because those organizations largely rely on donations from their supporters. Just like any business, nonprofits need money to fund their operations, pay overhead costs, and support their missions. The difference between a for-profit organization and a nonprofit is that the top priority of a nonprofit is to promote a social cause or mission, while a for-profit business utilizes goods and services to generate revenue. 

How To Throw A Fundraising Event

With events taking so many different shapes, you may not know exactly where to begin when planning and throwing your own fundraiser. This is where we come in to help.

Decide What Type Of Event You Want

Choosing the type of event you want to throw will set the course for the rest of the planning process. A specific theme or type of gathering will dictate the type of venue you need to book, the number of people to invite, the time of year to have it, and so much more. 

In order to land on the right type of event for your organization, look at the audience you’d like to attract. What type of people do you want to raise money from? What kind of activities do they typically attend? Which scenarios would that audience most likely be willing to put their money into? 

Sometimes fundraisers only involve donors, but you may also want to consider including the beneficiaries at the event. This could be especially true for a nonprofit organization raising money for social good. For example, San Diego State University throws a Dance Marathon every year to raise money for Rady’s Children’s Hospital. Dance Marathon involves 24 hours of nonstop dancing, which is a lot of fun for their college-aged participants. Additionally, current or past patients from Rady’s Children’s Hospitals and their families are invited to attend the event, cheer on the dancers, and rally additional support and connection from attendees. According to Rady Foundation, “more than 1,600 student participants and hundreds of thousands of dollars raised annually make Dance Marathon at SDSU the largest philanthropic event on SDSU’s campus and the highest-fundraising Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon program on the west coast. Since its inception in fall of 2014, more than $1 million has been raised for the Hospital, starting with $40,000 in its first year and more than $365,000 in 2019-2020.”

Alternatively, if the people you’d like to sway towards supporting your cause are more aligned with a classy and sophisticated black-tie event such as a concert or wine-tasting, then plan the course of your event in that direction. 

Event Planning

Once you’ve decided on the best type of event for your organization, you can move on to the next phase of event planning—planning the event. Given the event you’ve chosen as your fundraiser, you can now narrow in on what type of venue you’ll need, how many people you’d like to attend, booking catering and entertainment, and sourcing decorations and amenities. 

The Centre Escondido is an amazing venue space for San Diego fundraising events. With indoor and outdoor spaces for groups both big and small, our spaces are ready to set the backdrop for your event. Additionally, if you’re looking for event planning assistance, our team of event planners has lots of experience in this space and can help guide you through every step of the planning process. You can reach out to us here to get started. 

Now it’s time for you to put your plans into action and dive into your event! If you have any questions along the way, we are here to help. Ultimately, throwing a successful fundraising event can have a huge impact on the future of your organization. So, planning an event that attracts the right people and that achieves your goals is key.