Your nonprofit’s supporters are more likely to donate a higher dollar amount when attending an event. At least, that’s what nearly one-third of respondents to our Donor Experience Study told us. In addition, 78 percent said they feel more engaged with the nonprofit they support when they attend a fundraising event. That’s powerful stuff! And, no pressure, but these stats also emphasize just how vital your events are to achieving your mission.

But, do you find yourself hosting the same old 5K, or silent auction, or luncheon, or gala? If so, here are some 2019 trends being successfully implemented by innovative Community Brands customers and prospects. You, too, can easily adopt them to put the FUN back in fundraising!

StreetWise Partners Poker Night

StreetWise Partners pairs business professionals with mentees who are unemployed/underemployed to provide them with the skills, resources, and access to networks they need to secure and maintain employment.

The event was hosted in New York City, with the main purpose being both a fundraiser and poker tournament. Guests could buy items that were being sold at various increments between rounds of poker.

It is unique because it:

  • Focuses on guest participation
  • Caters to a group with a specific hobby/interest
  • Includes no formal sit down or program portion
  • Engages and entertains guests

You can replicate this by:

  • Tapping into your community’s interests (such as flag football, skiing, chess, basketball, bowling, corn hole)
  • Hosting a tournament or community event instead of a sit-down dinner

Pittsburgh Steelers Alumni Weekend

UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, and J & G Foundation teamed up with the Pittsburg Steelers for the 2018 Steelers Alumni Weekend Dinner, benefiting the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, a global leader in testing, treating, and researching sports-related concussions.

The event focused on all things Steelers, and the venue was Heinz Field, the team’s home stadium. Players and alumni were present, and auction items included things like signed Steelers memorabilia, VIP ticket packages, and a Super Bowl trip.

It is unique because it:

  • Targeted a specific and loyal fan base
  • Fans were drawn by athletes and alumni
  • Was held at the field, giving guests a one-of-a-kind experience

Make this work for your event by:

  • Appealing to a loyal fan base
  • Hosting your event at a venue that is inaccessible to the general public

Festival of Trees

Each year, holiday magic abounds at the Festival of Trees in Salt Lake City, benefiting the Primary Children’s Hospital, which ensures every child receives the best medical care possible, regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay. In a 24-hour period, an empty exhibit hall transforms into a holiday winter wonderland of uniquely decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, playhouses, centerpieces, quilts, and gingerbread houses. Trees, which are decorated in memory of someone, are auctioned at a semi-formal fundraising event on Opening Night. Trees that don’t go in the auction are on sale for the rest of the four-day event.

It is unique because:

  • Auction items are all Christmas trees
  • Same item, different meanings because they’re each dedicated to someone and decorated differently
  • Other auction items include wreaths and various holiday packages

Replicate this event by:

  • Playing into a theme for all auction items
  • Creating an event that lasts for multiple days
  • Including events for the public, for example, in this case, breakfast with Santa and ornament decorating

But wait! There’s more! Download our free recorded webinar, “2019 Trends to Differentiate Your Next Big Event,” hosted by me and my coworker, Cara Dickerson, Senior Account Manager for GiveSmart. In the webinar, we share more results from our Donor Experience Study, and more unique fundraising event ideas.