Philanthropy Event Ideas

Short Description

A brief overview of several different philanthropy event ideas

Target Audience

Philanthropy Chairman

Borradaile Challenge or Area of Focus


Event Ideas

The Key: The variety of “thons” makes for fun and solid fund-raising, though a bit worn out. However, donors do not mind signing up for a certain portion of a “thon” if they know the money is going to a worthy cause. Each sponsor must feel it is an affordable donation.

The Secret: Getting brothers behind signing up sponsors. If someone signs up for a nickel an hour for a jump-a-thon that goes 100 hours, the target organization gets $5.00. If 50 brothers get ten such people each, the yield is $2500. Collecting must be clean and complete.

Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament
Invite people to participate in a progressive Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament. Charge an entry fee with 50% going to the winner and the other 50% going to the charity. Be wary of state and local guidelines regarding gambling.
Casino Night
Establish a base price for alumni or couples to participate in a Casino Night (ie. $50-$75 per couple). This amount includes dinner, $300 of play gambling money, two raffle tickets for silent auction or door prizes, etc. Ask area businesses, hotels, airlines, etc. to donate prizes for a tax-deduction. Additional raffle tickets may be sold for $5 per ticket. Additional play money can be purchased for $5-$10. Rent casino equipment to play Blackjack, poker, Roulette,etc. Hire a DJ for music. Brothers can serve food and non-alcoholic beverages. Run a thank you advertisement in the newspaper to recognize sponsors and the charity.
5K & 10K Walks or Runs
The Key: With suitable prizes and adequate area publicity, the walk or run can be an easy fund-raiser, provided the police agree to the course and the time.

The Secret: Pay attention to publicity and registration as well as route-planning, security, etc. Some sort of prize for each entrant can attract many people. With donated t-shirts and a $10 entry fee, a race of 50 people yields $500.

The Key: Imagine your chapter combines Homecoming and Parents Weekend and you do extensive pre-publicity, asking alumni and parents to bring useful or unwanted items to auction. The auction is combined with festivities after a game. This is a good way to raise money since all participants are involved with the chapter.

The Secret: Parents and alumni enjoy the opportunity to have something going on other than a buffet/mingling opportunity. The auctioneer, a chapter member, must be tuned in to “upping the ante” all the time. This can be done as an annual philanthropy “event.” The public can be invited. Combine the auction with a Specialty Food Sale!

Poker Walk
Set up a 1-mile walk path with five checkpoints. At each of the five checkpoints along the route, participants receive a sealed envelope with a playing card inside. The walker with the winning hand at the end of the event wins the grand prize. Consider finding local businesses to sponsor prizes: stereo, color TV, trip to someplace, cash gift, etc. Consider smaller prizes like free pizza for the first X number of people to sign up for the event. Encourage Greeks, university faculty, community members, and other students to participate. Ask people to pre-register and pay a fee of $5 to participate (or other amount). This is a really easy event to organize and has low overhead expenses, especially if the awards are donated. Advertise the sponsors along the route, or provide t-shirts for walking participants.
The Key: Sponsor-donated prizes in exchange for advertising on the tickets.

The Secret: Solid chapter participation! Printed raffle tickets are inexpensive. Getting someone to donate prize(s) is the way to go. Combine the raffle drawing with a Specialty Food Sale!

Holiday Collections
The Key: A coat drive, canned food drive or toy drive could really help community members. Many chapters do this, often hooking up with another service organization. The Secret: Make a connection to a local agency and begin early and deep publicity. Include another fraternity or sorority for wider coverage.
  • Fall-Mums, homecoming corsages, perennial plants
  • Christmas-Poinsettias
  • Valentine’s Day-Roses, carnations
  • Easter-Lilies
  • Spring-Annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets

The Secret: In September, find a plant or flower wholesaler through a local garden center or greenhouse. Order early. Publicize widely. Take orders.

Benefit Concert
Attendees pay a $5 cover charge to hear a band. Extra money can be earned through concessions.
Leaf Raking/Snow Removal
Charge a fee to rake leaves in the fall and remove snow in the winter. This can also be a positive service event with any tips going to the .
Haunted House
Chapter house is converted into a haunted house. Local businesses pay for ad space on posters, flyers, newspaper ads, and t-shirts promoting the event. A licensed raffle is held in conjunction with the event for donated prizes (i.e. weekend at a hotel, restaurant gift certificates, etc.). Entrance fee is charged.
The Miracle Mile of Dollar Bills for the Wall
The basic idea: A dollar bill is 6 inches long, so if you laid 10,560 one dollar bills together, end on end, they would reach one mile. You will need access to a busy roadway on or near your university. Be sure to get any local government and/or university approval. Once you have secured the sidewalk space, you can concentrate on the event. You should make two large billboards, one for the start that displays the fundraiser concept, the Hole in the Wall logo and ideally a good picture of a camper. The other billboard should have a chart that shows progress towards your goal and thanks donors for support. To mark the progression of the fundraiser, you could extend some green caution-style tape 50 feet every time you raise an additional $100 bucks. You could also make a smaller billboard with adjustable numbers to mark the actual distance reached so far with the fundraiser. Once you get to the end and are within the last few feet, you could see if there are any camp staff or high-ranking university or community official in the area who would volunteer to carry the sign to the end of the mile. You raise money from the traffic that passes by. Have brothers stand near an intersection in the road during peak travel times and solicit donations from passer-bys. You could also solicit donations from other campus organizations, corporate sponsors or have your members solicit pledges from fellow students in their dorms. You can also do the Miracle Mile event in conjunction with other campus fundraisers. The event could be finished in a week or it might take over a month depending on your area, effort and event promotions.
Haunted Dormitory
Residence hall floor/lobby is decorated as a haunted house. Hold for 2-3 days charging a $3 for admission.
Car Show
Classic cars are on display. Sponsors pay for advertising. Extra money can be earned through free-will donations and/or concession stands.
Car Wash
Members each sell 20 tickets on campus for $1 each. Chapter also washes cars of people stopping by.
Carnival Water Balloon Toss
Chapter hosts a booth during the spring carnival. They recruit faculty and staff to be on the receiving end of the student-thrown water balloon, in a 30-minute increment. Faculty members have the option of providing a donation in lieu of participating. Students can purchase a ticket to throw a water balloon. Advertise what time faculty members will be at the booth.
Comedy Show
Three professional comedians agreed to come to the campus at no charge. Community sponsors donated door prizes. Chapter members sell tickets for the event and advertising is essential to attract a large crowd.
Paint Ball Tournament
Three-man teams pay a $60 entrance fee. Each person receives 50 balls per game. The field and equipment are used free of charge. Prizes are presented to winners. Advertisement is key and members need to know the rules of the game so no disputes arise.
Hold a non-alcoholic costume party with prizes for the best costume. People not wearing a costume pay $2 each. Include a pumpkin carving contest.
Pie a Phi Tau
Put whip cream on a paper plate and sell for $1 for anybody to put a pie in any brothers face. Consider asking an administrator or professor to participate to draw a larger crowd.
Sell tickets on campus for the opportunity to compete in a Survivor philanthropy tournament. Draw 24 tickets and compose two teams. Each team competes in various competitions (tug of war, dizzy bat, etc.). After each competition, the losing team votes one member off until there is only one survivor. The winner receives a monetary prize.
Phi Tau Garage Sale
Hold a garage sale and let buyers set the prices. Knowing it is a fundraiser for a good cause can prompt buyers to offer than they would if you priced items.
"Say What Karaoke"
Participants pay a fee to enter a Karaoke contest.
Food Events
The Key: Publicity and invitations for signups. Suppose you want to sponsor a chili cook-off with nice prizes for first, second and third places. Publicize on the radio and in the newspaper, seeking registrants who are to make a pot of chili for a $5 entry fee.

The Secret: Get noted university, community or Greek leaders to judge; combine the judging with the sale of the chili to the public, donated by the cooks, who know this ahead of time. It’s a combination contest and chili sale. If 40 people enter and you sell 10 bowls/pot @ $2.50/bowl, the cook-off grosses $1200.

Specialty Food Sales
The Key: Brothers can develop: International Food Night , Surf ’n Turf Night, Fried Chicken Dinner, Mexican Night, Pizza Night, Barbecued Ribs Night, All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Night. The Secret: The chapter can sell tickets or sell at the door. The chapter dining room makes an ideal place. Offer music, live or recorded, free drinks, door prizes, drawings, raffles. Make it an annual event or do it once a month.
Cook Out for Kids
Chapter members sell lunch orders in advance and then cook BB-Q sandwiches, pork loin sandwiches, etc. Brothers deliver lunches to community businesses and university offices.
"Double Dip Day"
Attendees pay $5 for an all-you-can-eat ice cream social. Sell Root Beer Floats - Sell floats on campus for $2 each. Keep ice-cream in cooled chests using dry ice. Hold on hot days.
Sell Luau tickets for $8-$10. Event includes pig roast, live bands, DJ, contests with prizes, door prizes from sponsors, etc. Sell T-shirts to earn extra cash and be sure to give sponsors credit in all advertisements.
All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner
Pre-sell tickets for $5 each. Hold at a banquet/dining hall (or in fraternity house if you have a kitchen). Need to factor in expenses for food or catering, drinks, plates and utensils (try to get donations). Use chapter members to prepare and serve food and invite VIP's to serve as guest cooks/servers for added promotion.
Bake Sales
Done with cookies, brownies, or other things. Possibly pair up with a sorority to increase credibility of food.
Candy Sales
Contract with companies that offer opportunity to sell M&M's, Kit Kats, Reese's, etc for group sales.
Pizza Sales
Pair up with a local pizzeria and ask them to donate $1-2 for every pizza they sell on a certain day between certain times. Phi Taus encourage friends, fellow greeks, etc to buy pizzas during that time.
Sub/Hoagie Sales
Pair up with a local sandwich shop and ask them to donate $1 for every sandwich they sell on a certain day between certain times. Phi Taus encourage friends, fellow Greeks, etc to buy during that time.
Parents Breakfast
Members host a Parents Breakfast using a Hole in the Wall Camp theme. They share the HITW video, brochures, and information about the philanthropy and invite parents to make a donation. An alternative to outright donations is a free will donation to benefit the philanthropy. Similar events could be held for alumni Homecoming events.
Sporting Events
The Key: Create an annual sports tournament that can only get better with time. Golf, bowling, frisbee, softball, shooting 3s, 3-on-3 basketball, flag football or volleyball can be turned into annual events which invite promotion and great competition every year.

The Secret: Offer a prize or trophy valuable enough for an adequate entry fee. Wide and deep publicity make it attractive. Send invitations!

Strong Man Competition
Establish the following five events for athletes to compete in: truck pull for 100 ft., "farmers walk" where each man carries a log weighing 160 lbs. and walk/run for 100 ft., tire flip for 100 ft., 405 lb. straight bar hold where athletes hold the bar for as long as possible, "iron cross" where contestants hold 16 lb. mauls out in a cross position for as long as possible. Establish a set entrance fee and allow anyone from university or community to enter the competition.
Golf Tournament
Entry fee is $75/person and includes prizes, food, and beverages. Holes can have sponsors. Hold additional events such as "Closest to the Pin Contest" and longest drive or putt.
Softball Tournament
One day, 16 team double elimination tournament. Teams pay an entry fee.
Midnight Madness Fraternity All Star Game
Charge a registration fee and conduct prior to the beginning of basketball season.
Basketball Marathon
Brothers collect $15 in pledges. Local businesses either donate money for sponsorships or provide something that can be auctioned off. Chapter also holds a 50/50 raffle. The marathon lasts 24 hours and is conducted at a field house. Chapter sends flyers to alumni; advertise in local papers, etc. explaining the money will go towards the HITW program.
Marathon Golf 100 Holes Tournament
Golfers show up for breakfast and hit the course. Each golfer has his own cart and the goal is to golf as many holes as possible until it is too dark to see the ball. Lunch is brought to the golfer so he doesn't have to stop. Each golfer raises $1,500 through pledges and sponsors.
Mud-Tug Tournament
Fraternity vs. fraternity, sorority vs. sorority, include other major campus organizations to compete as well. Conduct a tug-of-war competition over a mud pit.
Phi Tau " Games”
Members of fraternities and sororities pay an entrance fee to participate in an Olympics of various games played in bars such as darts, pool, pinball, etc. Be careful on how this is promoted to ensure that it is an alcohol-free event.
Wal-Mart Wish List Drive
Members stand outside Wal-Mart from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday with copies of the Wish List and informational brochures, asking shoppers to select something off the list for the collection drive or give a donation to benefit the camps. Get permission from the store.
Pumpkin Sales
In October, near Halloween, sell pumpkins outside the chapter house. This can be expanded to a pumpkin carving table, face decorating for children, etc.
T-Shirt Sale
Sell t-shirts promoting a particular campus event, big game, holiday, etc.
Water Cooler Collection
Chapter places an empty water cooler in a prominent location in the chapter house all year. Members drop loose change in whenever they have it. Money is collected throughout the year for distribution.
Concession Stands :Members work concession stands for stadiums/sports arenas.
: Game Ball Relay
Chapter runs the football game ball from one University to another before a home game, homecoming or rival. The game ball is presented to the head coach before the game. Local police along the route should be contacted and a vehicle should go along side the runner. Local businesses provide sponsorships. Local news and radio stations are contacted to provide publicity.
Movie Sales
Pair up with a local movie theater and ask them to donate $1 for every ticket they sell on a certain day between certain times. Phi Taus encourage friends, fellow Greeks, etc to attend a movie during that time. Try to find a time when the movie theater is not usually crowded - this is then a win-win situation for everyone.
Penny Wars
Each fraternity and sorority on campus have a cup and a sponsored member. Each penny is worth one point for that member. Most points wins. Silver coins are worth negative points. Assign another value for dollar bills.
Stadium Clean-up
Some universities and professional stadiums will pay people/community groups to clean after games and major events.
Chapter Fines :If the chapter charges fines for any violations, collect all the money and donate to the HITW. At least Brothers know the fine is going to a good cause.

: Bag Groceries
Bag groceries at a store that does not provide this service and collect tips for the charity.
Gift Exchange
Instead of the traditional gift exchange at the holidays, each member contributes what he would normally spend on a present to a charity "pot" to benefit the HITW. Things to Sell - Plants, Christmas Trees, candy, flowers, pizzas, baked goods, t-shirts, services (i.e. leaf raking, dog walking or snow shoveling services), magazines, etc.
Free Will Donations
Always have a jar to collect free will donations—easy way to increase the money raised for little effort.

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