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June 18, 2022
by Holley Snaith

Philanthropy Event Ideas: 5 Exciting & Innovative Options

Philanthropy Event Ideas: 5 Exciting & Innovative Options

Hosting some exciting and innovative philanthropy events is crucial to the success of your fundraising efforts. Plus, these are the types of events that donors love! When your organization hosts something fun such as a fine culinary experience, word of mouth spreads quickly. Coming up with event ideas can be tiring and tedious, but we’ve got you covered with five philanthropy event ideas that are sure to make reaching your fundraising goals easier and enjoyable for everyone.


Culinary Experience

When it comes to philanthropy event ideas that will surely attract interest, holding a prime culinary experience is an excellent option. Tickets for these unique culinary experiences typically go fast because it is always hard to turn down good food!

Bake-sales, cake walks, and offering delivery services filled with delicious baked goods are all exceptional ways to fundraise, but if you want to take the experience up a notch, consider holding a culinary tourism experience and selling tickets.

How can you make a culinary tourism experience unique? Organize the culinary event around a specific region (such as New Orleans or even Tuscany) and invite guests to enjoy an evening of fine and exceptional cuisine from that region. For example, if your first culinary tourism event is a New Orleans-themed experience, have chefs prepare popular Cajun foods such as Jambalaya, Gumbo, Shrimp & Grits, and freshly baked Pecan Pie.

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Another popular (and sophisticated) fundraising event is a wine tasting. Ask a local winery to partner with you for this event and feature a few of their top-selling wines for guests, which also helps keep the costs down for your organization. Throughout the event, offer a fine selection of hors d’oeuvres for guests to enjoy while they sample wines and socialize. Wine coupled with delicious food is hard to resist.


Silent Auction

A philanthropy event idea that will get donors excited about contributing to your organization is to hold a silent auction. A silent auction is simply where you display items for sale that attendees will want to place a bid on and buy. Since there is no auctioneer present, attendees silently make a bid on a bid sheet using a bidding number instead of their name.

Before hosting the silent auction, ask for special items to be donated to your organization that can be auctioned off – these items can come from donors and supporters, or even local businesses that want to contribute.

There are also plenty of free (yet valuable) items to auction off, such as a free parking spot, a reserved seat at special events, use of your venue for no charge, naming rights, and a special lunch with your executives. While these free auction ideas will help you be more cost-efficient, they also acknowledge the generosity of your donors.

Something else that makes silent auctions unique and popular is the fact that they can also be held during other special events like conferences, tournaments, galas, and much more. It’s hard to go wrong with a silent auction!

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Golf Tournament 

Golf tournaments are one of the more popular philanthropy event ideas. When it comes to playing golf for a good cause, it doesn’t matter the age or gender, a beautiful day on the golf course is hard to resist! 

It is best to start planning a golf tournament at least six months before when you are planning to host the event because you need plenty of time to get everything scheduled and ready. First and foremost, make sure you choose a date during a month that is usually sunny and has mild weather. 

Selling individual tickets can be a good idea, but an even better idea is to ask local groups or companies to sponsor twosomes or foursomes; this way, you get more bang for the buck. 

To be more cost-efficient, ask local businesses to donate needed items such as golf balls, tees, and drinks, and maybe even some special prizes for first, second, and third place winners. Of course, recruit some eager volunteers to help you out with registration, serving snacks and drinks, and handing out prizes at the end of the tournament.

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Donors love when you go all-out for a glitzy, glamorous, black-tie gala. This is a philanthropy event idea that not only lets donors know how much you appreciate their support, but it encourages them to give more to your campaign. 

Galas are also events that need plenty of time to be planned and forming a committee to help with putting the gala on is the smartest move. Creating a budget for a gala is crucial to the success of the fundraiser because you don’t want the event itself to distract you from your main goal of raising money, which is why we recommend asking for in-kind donations and corporate sponsorships. Consider placing donation kiosks throughout your venue during the gala, and maybe even hold a special charity auction during the night. These are fantastic ways to bring in more money! 

A few venue ideas for your gala include museums, convention centers, and grand ballrooms. Have your committee establish a special theme for your gala and set money aside for decorators to come and ornament the venue with decor to compliment the theme.

Galas also give you a reason to update donors on your campaign and show them where their money is going. Take advantage of your digital donor walls by proudly displaying a campaign thermometer during the event or by doing a live feed of donations throughout the evening.  


Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a philanthropy event idea that is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s fundraising world because of the power of social media. The great thing about peer-to-peer fundraising is that it can be applied to many forms of events and inspires donors to engage with their friends and family.

A form of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising simply means that individuals are permitted to create specific pages that are made to specifically benefit your organization’s cause. The individual will share the page with their network and the revenue generated can come back to your organization or specific campaign. This type of fundraising is a great way to advertise your organization’s mission and recruit new donors that may have never even heard of your organization prior.

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To be successful in peer-to-peer fundraising, the first thing to do is to create a fun and welcoming event that excites donors to share it with their network of friends and family. When first venturing down the path of peer-to-peer fundraising, reach out to your most loyal and ardent donors and ask them to create their pages. This allows them to share with the people in their life why your organization matters and why contributing to this fundraiser is important.

Make sure you provide all the necessary resources your donors need to share with their networks about your fundraiser and maintain communication with them throughout the fundraising effort. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a creative and impactful way to increase your brand awareness and recruit new donors.



Unique culinary experiences, silent auctions, golf tournaments, galas, and peer-to-peer fundraising are just a few of many exciting and innovative philanthropy event ideas. Whatever fundraising event you decide to host next, make sure it’s fun, friendly, and inviting.  And be sure you are thanking your donors for their support, this will go a long way for support of future events.

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These types of events inspire donors to be excited about continuing to contribute to your organization and even spread the word to family and friends. After all, who can turn down having fun while giving to a wonderful cause at the same time?

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