Winter Fundraisers Series: Bowling Fundraiser

Bowling Fundraiser

Fundraising is often done through outdoor events.  Races and golf tournaments raise money for worthy causes.  However, as the cold months roll in, warm clothes and coats get brought out.  During these chilly times, event fundraisers still need to go on.  What can you do for a fundraising event in the winter?

That’s the focus of our Winter Fundraiser Series — fundraisers that can be done in chillier climates.  One event fundraiser you might not have considered is bowling!

Bowling has Wide Appeal

During the cold, winter months, bowling is a great sport to keep people active, and it is comfortable and fun for all ages. The entire family can participate in a bowling night fundraising activity.

It also appeals to athletes and those with a competitive spirit regardless of their ability level.  Bowling provides the friendly competition that they love with bragging rights for the winner.

Done correctly, a bowling fundraiser becomes a great way for everyone to have fun and feel like a winner while raising the necessary funds for your group!

Preparation for the Bowling Fundraiser Event

Organizing a bowling fundraiser is much easier than it may seem.  It doesn’t matter whether your group is large or small.  You simply plan for the number of bowling lanes that you need.

Prepare the Bowling Alley

Contact your local bowling alley and get the rates and available times for your tournament. Many bowling alleys offer hourly rates as well as per game rates.  If your group is large enough, they may offer group discounts based on the number of lanes needed.

Also, ask the bowling alley if they have a room that you can use for a few minutes for the awards ceremony at the end of the event.

Once you have completed your participant registration (see below), be sure to call and reserve the lanes you need.

Set the Registration Price & Prizes for the Winners

Determine the Prizes Offered

Prizes are important.  They are great motivators.  If participants have fun, they will want to do this again, so be sure to have lots of winners.  That is easily done by having many different categories for the prizes.  For example:

  • Highest individual score & highest team score
  • Lowest individual score & lowest team score
  • Most individual gutter balls & most team gutter balls
  • Funniest bowling style / Best professional bowler style
  • Most individual strikes (or spares) / Most team strikes (or spares)
  • Most encouraging person to others
  • Best non-offensive trash talker

Choose what you will offer as a prize for each category.  You might consider bags of candy, inexpensive trophies, homemade trophies, baked prizes, etc.  Get the idea?  The event is meant to be fun, so have fun prizes.  They don’t have to be costly.  Just make sure they don’t look “cheap.”

Be sure to ask individuals as well as local businesses for donations as prizes.  A free pizza from the local restaurant or a free coffee from the local Starbucks makes a great prize.  You can even ask the bowling alley if they will give coupons for free games to use as prizes.  Be inventive.  The less you have in prize cost, the more potential you have for greater profit.

Bowling Prizes
This is a picture a group took of their bowling prizes and sent to TFN. The person in charge of prizes collected old plaques that people were going to throw away. He designed the front of them on his computer and printed them on cardstock. He then pasted the cardstock to the front of the plaque.

Set the Registration Price

Estimate how many people you expect to sign up.  Figure an approximate cost for the prizes and the bowling lanes.  Determine the amount of money that you want to raise from this event.  Now figure out your registration price.

Number of Registrants * Registration Fee = Total Income

Total Income – Bowling Expenses – Prize Cost = Fundraiser Profit

Example for a Small Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  25 (5 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $200
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 5 lanes needed = $80/hour
Prizes:  $50

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$160 (alley) + $50 (prizes) = $210 total cost

$200 (goal) + $210 (cost) = $410 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$410 / 25 participants = $17 per bowler for registration fee.

$17 * 25 bowlers = $420 revenue

$425 revenue – $210 cost = $215 profit
(or increase your profit by $75 if you charge a $20 registration fee)

Example for a Large Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  75 (15 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $1000
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 15 lanes = $240/hour
Prizes:  $150

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$480 (alley) + $150 (prizes) = $630 total cost

$1000 (goal) + $630 (cost) = $1630 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$1630 / 75 participants = $22 per bowler for registration fee.

$22 * 75 bowlers = $1650 revenue

$1650 revenue – $630 cost = $1020 profit

Start Promoting 4-6 Weeks Before the Event

Set a sign-up deadline and then start promoting.  Whatever you do, make sure that each announcement sounds fun and inviting.

Online Promotions. Send out invitations via email and on social media.  Set up your event on Facebook.  You might also promote it on your web site if you have one.  In each of these cases, include a link to a registration form.

Group Meetings.  If you have group meetings, be sure to announce the bowling fundraiser at each meeting in the 4-6 weeks prior to the event. Have a sign-up sheet at the meeting and let people know where it is.

Register Your Participants & Reserve Your Lanes

Getting your participant count is very important.  Based on the headcount, you will know whether you need to reserve an entire bowling alley or just a few lanes.  You will also know which costs less: reserving the bowling alley per lane or per game.  (The lower the cost, the greater the profits.)

Encourage people to sign up in teams of 5.  (Most lanes will hold 5 bowlers.) Have them choose their own team name.

About 7-14 days before the event, do a final push for sign-ups with a final registration deadline.  Get your final participant count and reserve your lanes at the bowling alley.

Have the Event

 

On the day of the event, everyone shows up at the bowling alley and has lots of fun.  Later, you will need lots of pictures with people having fun.  (See below.)  When you are shooting the pics, include participants bowling, smiling and enjoying themselves.

Here are tips to make coordinating the prizes easier.

– Be sure to have judges (preferably people who are not bowling) who record individual and team scores as the bowling is happening.  Each judge should be able to cover two lanes (since the lanes are side by side).

– If you are bowling by the hour, let everyone know how many games will  count towards prizes.  For example, if you are bowling 2 hours, some teams might be focused and bowl 4 games while others may only bowl 2.  Tell everyone that they can bowl as many games as possible in the 2 hours, but that only the first 2 games (or however many games you choose) will count toward prizes.

– Have a designated “Scoremaster” to whom all the judges turn in the winners in each of the categories for the lanes they were watching.  The judges list should also include the actual scores.

Have the Awards Ceremony

Once the bowling is finished, quickly gather everyone into the side room.  (See “Prepare the Bowling Alley” above.)  The Scoremaster should quickly tally all the results to determine the winners in each category.  In as fun a way as possible, announce each winner and give them their award.

After the Event

Go through your pictures and choose a large number of the best ones.  Post them to your web site or social media.  Be sure to include a list of the winners and say something about how much fun it was.

And remember:  If you do this event well, you might have created an annual fundraising event for your organization. The more fun people have and the more enjoyable memories they create, the better chance they will want to do it again next year!

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweater parties are a fun, hip way to raise money. Today, we’ll tell you how to use an ugly sweater party as your next fundraiser. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Source Some Ugly Sweaters

The first thing you’ll need are some ugly sweaters. Start by clearing out your own closet. Next, ask friends to donate unwanted sweaters to your cause. Finally, take a trip to you local thrift shop. Your goal is to spend as little money as possible.

Yes, some people will have their own sweaters to wear. But you’ll want to provide sweaters to the volunteers helping you with your fundraiser. Also, your ugly sweaters are going to be the first item you use to make money!

At your party, you can invite guests to wear their own ugly sweater, or you can give them one in exchange for a donation. It’s like charging an entry fee to your party, where each guest covers the cost of admission with a donation, and gets an ugly sweater in exchange.

2. Plan the Party

Like every type of party, there are common logistics you need to take into account. Here’s a few to get you started:

Guest List. How many people are you inviting? How many do you expect to attend? How are you inviting them?

Venue. Are you renting a hall or event space for your ugly sweater party? Or can you host the fundraiser at someone’s house?

Food & Drink. What food will you serve? Will this be included in the cost of entry? Will you be serving alcohol?

Making Money At The Party. What other items or services can you monetize at your fundraiser? Will you have a 50/50? Raffle off any prizes? Or are you just taking direct “sweater donations?”

3. Promote Your Ugly Sweater Party Fundraiser

Get the word out! Tell people all about your party and why you’re having it. Don’t just promote the ugly sweaters. Use this opportunity to let everyone know about your fundraiser’s cause.

Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to get people interested in your cause and event. Invite everyone in your personal network. If you’re running a public event, consider using social media to promote the event.

Don’t forget to let people know that when they donate to your fundraiser, you will provide them with an ugly sweater at the party!

4. Have an Awesome Ugly Sweater Party!

Do everything you can to prepare for the party… and then have a great time!

Make sure you have plenty of ugly sweaters to trade for donations. Have some kind of live entertainment for people to enjoy – even if it’s just music and room to dance.

Take lots of pictures and interact with all your guests. If they have a good time, you have a better chance at getting more donations!

5. Thank Everyone Who Came & Share The Memories

After the party is over, reach out to everyone who came. Thank them for attending your party and supporting your fundraiser.

Share the photos you took during the event with guests. Post the pics on your fundraising website or social media. Show everyone how much fun was had at your ugly sweater party!

New Year’s “Game Day” Fundraiser

New Years Game Day Fundraiser

When family and friends get together, there is often a fundraising opportunity that presents itself. Close friends and family are perfect prospects when it comes to raising funds. Everybody likes to help a good cause, especially when they care for the person that is presenting the opportunity. Loved ones are there to support one-another.

New Years is one of those perfect times to present a fundraiser. You may often overlook the men in the family when it comes to fundraising, but this fun way to raise money will have everyone all in — even the men!

The idea is centered around football.

The big game is just as much a part of New Years Day as pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving. Everybody will have fun with this particular game.

The Fundraiser

The idea is that everybody involved picks a team during the game. Whenever the “other” team scores one or more points against “your” team, you put a contribution of a quarter or more (perhaps even a dollar) in your collection jar (details below). Everybody is bound to get into this one, as it makes for friendly competition that contributes to a great cause.

This game not only brings more fun to New Years, but it is easy to perform. The plan-ahead preparation is even easier than most fundraisers. You do not need much to add this to your holiday.

The Set Up

Getting Organized

It is best to start planning and collecting the materials needed as soon as possible. You will need a set of collection jars (or other containers) to hand out and retrieve. Plan your collection method prior to making your announcements. It is best to have everything in order prior to presenting the fundraiser.

Make a list of the participants. Think of as many people as you can. The fundraiser does not need to be limited to your household. Invite neighbors, teachers, friends, family and, if you make it online too, even people you know across the country to participate in this online version that will contribute to your fundraiser.

Set Up Your Donations Method

There are two primary methods used to collect the funds afterward.

Collect the Money in Person

In the past, this has been the most common way to collect the money.  Designate one to two people to collect the funds.  Plan for the collection.  If you are collecting the actual funds, make it as convenient as possible.  Though you could have participants “bring in” the money, you might consider offering to pick the jars up.

Online Collection

With the internet, you literally can make this fundraiser nationwide.  Therefore, you need a way to collect the funds nationwide.  First, you need to set up a donations page.  HelpaFund has been working with all sorts of groups doing just that.  Click here and set up your donations page with them.

Instruct all your participants that once the fundraiser is completed, they should count the money in their donation jar and then use your donations page to send in the money.

HelpaFund keeps a very small percentage, but it’s worth it.  They take the headache out of collecting funds, they allow you to collect funds nationwide, and they provide many other benefits.  Check out our two other articles for more information.

Promoting Your Fundraiser

Promoting the fundraiser will be simple, especially using social media. Create an event on Facebook that has all the details, then get the word out.

  • Schedule one or more Facebook live sessions to present the idea.
  • Tweet a picture about the event with a link to your Facebook event page.
  • Have a group meeting where you present the fundraiser.
  • Present this idea face to face with whomever you think would benefit from that interaction.
  • If you have a place where people frequent (such as a school or church), put up flyers.
  • Send out letters and/or emails. Emails are very good when you are collecting online donations (see above).

Doing Your Fundraiser on New Years Day

If you are Doing the Fundraiser Online

Game watchers who are doing the fundraiser online do not necessarily need  a jar.  As their team is scored against, they can either write IOU’s that they drop in a hat or jar, or they can simply write down their donations on a piece of paper during the game.  At the end of the game, donations are totaled and made online on the donations page.

Build Excitement on Game Day

Use your Facebook event page to get your participants to tell you which games they are watching.  Post the game scores.  Get your participants commenting and posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Get people interacting about the games and the amounts donated.

Collect Your Donations

Think of the  best way to collect the donations after the event for your group or organization.  After the fundraiser is done, either the participants bring all the money collected to the collector(s) or the collector(s) visit each participant and get the jars.

For online donations

As discussed above, if you are using online donations, collections are easy and convenient for everyone.  You should have already instructed people how to make the donations.  After the fundraiser, your designated collector simply needs to be available to answer questions in case any donators need help.

 

Fundraising can be enjoyable. This holiday and sports event will greatly benefit your efforts, while providing family fun. Enjoy your New Years!

 

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Crowdfunding can be a great way to bring together you donor network and surround them around your cause. Today, we’ll show you how to use crowdfunding for your next fundraiser.

Here’s three steps every cause can follow to successfully crowdfund a campaign:

1. Choose The Right Crowdfunding Platform

Before you can launch your campaign, you need a platform to host the fundraiser.

Crowdfunding with Expertise in Fundraising

If you are looking for a platform that has experience in the fundraising industry with both large and small groups, HelpaFund is a great platform.  It was developed by a gentleman with years of working with fundraising groups and individuals.  They provide all sorts of helps to aid you in your crowdfunding fundraiser.

  • Audio tips for your campaign set-up stages
  • Provide music on campaigns if you want it
  • Provide Entertainment discount cards for rewards (see details on their web site)
  • They even let you create your own rewards.
  • They have share tools.  All crowdfunding uses Facebook of course, but not everyone has a Facebook account. You can also share on Instagram (younger people use that over Facebook) and a Text tool that can be done from a smartphone. (About 98% of people read their text messages, so this is an extremely effective tool.)
  • They even help your crowdfunding campaign get found in search engines.

Product Development or Creative Fundraising

If you have a product that you want to get off the ground, then Kickstarter might be right for you.  People can pledge money to your cause through their site. Your project only funds if you meet or exceed your fundraising goal. If your project is successful, Kickstarter takes a 5% fee of the money raised – and there is a 3-5% payment processing fee. Keep in mind, Kickstarter can only be used for “creative projects.” For more information check out the Kickstarter FAQ and their Creator Handbook.

General Crowdfunding Service

If you are just looking for a general crowdfunding service, GoFundMe offers fundraising services for all causes. Set your crowdfunding goal and you get every donation your campaign raises. The type of campaign you run determines the fee GoFundMe.com attaches to your fundraiser.

2. Make Sure to Provide Compelling Information on Your Crowdfunding Page

This is your opportunity to let donors know who you are, how much money you need and what you’ll use it for.  The old saying, “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words,” is true.  Be sure to provide pictures along with compelling information about your fundraiser and how the funds will be used.

If possible, set up a video for your crowdfunding page.  That way, when potential donors visit your crowdfunding page, the first thing they will see and hear is a video about your cause.

If you need to raise a lot of money or explain an in-depth cause, see a professional filmmaker (think local) might donate part or all of their services to make your crowdfunding video. Tell them what you need the video to do and let them actualize your vision. Some crowdfunding campaigns budget their video production into their fundraising expenses.

3. Launch and Monitor An Engaging Campaign

After you’ve created your crowdfunding page and populated it with information, it’s time to launch your campaign!

The first few days are your best chance to gain traction. Get as many eyes on your crowdfunding page as possible. Share your fundraiser across all social media platforms, and get your network to do the same.

Release daily content related to your crowdfunding campaign. This could be photos of the people / project your fundraiser will benefit, or status updates on how much money you’ve raised so far.

Check out how your promotional content is performing. What posts drive the most traffic to your crowdfunding page? What kind of donors are you attracting? Use this information to refine your crowdfunding efforts.

You want to constantly engage your audience with meaningful updates. Keep attracting new donors until your campaign ends!

 

So what you waiting for?  Start your crowdfunding!