Event Ideas

Some fundraising event ideas compiled by Lauren Vincelli (and more) for RRFP!



I had great success with this in years past. $500+! I called on some talented women I knew in the salon biz and asked them to donate time and space to a Cut-a-Thon. Three stylists donated their time and skills on a Sunday (a day the salon was normally closed for business) For $25 supporters could get a shampoo and cut by a professional stylist and the salon/stylist was exposed to a whole new clientele, many of whom became repeat customers. Our team brought pastries and coffee for stylists and waiting customers. As a thank you to the salon a team member who is a professional photographer offered to take professional photos of them and their space for their website and Facebook.


A photo booth is a great way to bump up almost any fundraiser. All you need a digital camera and printer or a polaroid camera and film. Supporters can pay $5 for a photo taken by a professional photographer (do you know any?) This is a great add on to a dance party, Cut-a-Thon (think before and after pics) or other events. Make it extra fun with cute props like fake mustaches, silly hats, crazy glasses, dress up clothes from the thrift store. OR make a stand alone photo booth in a place with high foot traffic like Carytown, Shockoe Bottom or VCU.


For about $10-$25 you can get a one-time booth at one of the many farmers markets to sell baked goods for your cause. You could ask local bakeries and restaurants for donations or DIY. State law requires that baked goods prepared in an un-inspected kitchen be labeled with all ingredients and with the full address of where items were prepared among other things. Check with the manager of the farmer's market and VA state laws to be sure you are up to code: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/fdsafety/pdf/foodlaws.pdf State and Federal Laws regulate what can and cannot be sold. Non-profits conducting one-day food sales must still adhere to these rules. Many of the RVA farmers' markets are on this list: http://richmondgoodlife.com/richmond_farmer_markets.htm

PRO TIP: you eat with your eyes first! make sure your items look AWESOME and taste just as good. Anyone can make a cookie but cute cookies will get you noticed and get them sold! Toll house cookies are not good enough. The extra time will pay off & pay for more abortions!


If you work in food service, consider teaming up with some of your fellow workers and letting patrons know that you plan to donate a percentage of your tips for the night to you cause. Get organized and post on Facebook, Twitter etc. and make it known to you friends and family. Encourage them to dine out for a good cause.


Hold a catered event. Most caterers in RVA charge between $13-$15 a person. Double that and host a private catered event complete with excellent food and adult beverages. If you know a friend with a beautiful back yard, a church or community center with an event space or a business willing to lend the space it is a great idea. Last year Liz, Julie, and I hosted a catered pizza party. We had a banquet license for ABC, great music, a charming space donated by Lamplighter and delicious wood fired pizza from Pizza tonight. We charged about $20-30 per person and made about $700. If you know a food cart or caterer willing to discount or donate even better. There are TONS of great food carts here. Details like decor and thank you notes can make an event really special. Set up a blog or Facebook page to promote, give info and sell tickets!

ABC event licenses are not hard to get but do require a little time: http://www.abc.state.va.us/licensing/banquet.htm

Check out an example BAT event here: http://kontradictions.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/richmond-reproductive-freedom-project-benefit/


Flex your own cooking skills as a team and host a dinner party or brunch at your home, backyard, community center, another organization or church. Call on friends for borrowing extra tables and chairs. Decorate your tables with flowers of fun curios and encourage all team members to participate in cooking and cleaning for an exceptional dinner party. Make it special by choosing a cool theme-- Harry Potter? Golden Girls? Drag? Invite musicians, encourage dancing, and encourage donating. ABC sales may be more casual here but technically a license is still required.

Make an event where families are welcome and are charged a donation entrance fee to join in the fun. Or organize a potluck party along the same lines where everyone brings a dish to pass and gets to socialize with friends and neighbors. The entrance fee to the party becomes your donation.


If you know a great musician or if you are one hit the streets! Carytown, shockoe bottom, vcu, financial district... Get out there and belt it out, donate the money in the hat to the cause!


Alternatively, if you have venue connects, feel free to host a benefit house show! If you know musicians, ask them to perform a benefit concert. It’s a great way to tap into your local music scene. House shows in Richmond that collect donations, have great musicians willing to donate time & are well advertised ahead of time have raised upwards of $1000 in the past!


Throw a fundraising party at a local establishment. Charge your guests an entrance fee (donation). But also make sure to ask that local restaurant or bar to support you with a donation of 10% (or more!) of the night’s sales—don’t be too shy to ask. You can offer to generate a flyer to promote patrons coming to their establishment to help increase their business, and thus your percentage.


Host a fundraising party at your home for friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Share why you’re supporting The RRFP. It’s a great way to ask people in person to support your fundraising efforts. Try party variations such as a movie night featuring classic fun movies or other team theme oriented parties.


Challenge another fundraising team or get some friendly competition amongst your own team by challenging them to a dance off. Hook up with a regularly well-attended dace party or plan your own. BUST ASS to learn some sweet dance moves, clear the floor and bust a move. This idea was a huge success for DC teams in the Wayside Cup, and I heard some teams were stacked with ringers-- professional dancers and dance majors. In any case the donation jar was passed and people voted with their wallets and it was tons of fun!


Ask friends and professionals to donate work to an art auction, organize in a space, and invite everyone! think of some unconventional auction items like tattoo or piercing sessions, hand made jewelry and crafts, cooking lessons, music lessons, private commissions, salon and spa gift certificates and auction them off. This is a great event for a quiet, well lit bar or restaurant with live music.


Ask all of your friends and neighbors to participate by donating items for sale. Make signs that indicate all proceeds are going to The RRFP’s Bowl-a-Thon. Add a bake sale and/or lemonade stand, and have a donation jar visibly displayed.


Get friends and family to donate things for you to sell on an Internet auction site (like eBay). Make sure to let bidders know that the items selling price is going towards your fundraising for the Bowl-a-Thon.


Forget bowling for a minute. Pledge for every $X.00 donated you will spend X:00 minutes in a Richmond neighborhood picking up trash. Invite teammates, friends and community members to join you. just set a date for the clean up. Promote the event and be sure to include a link to your online donation page. Promote it online and go door-to-door and on the neighborhood blogs. This is a good reminder of how we all need to depend on each other for ALL kinds of community improvement. finish the cleanup with a pot-luck or bbq. include a cooler of water, cups and snacks for volunteers. The city can help you with your clean up, removing heavy appliances and clean up materials: http://www.richmondgov.com/CommissionCleanCity/VolunteerCleanUps.aspx

Get Funding Give Volunteer


get updates