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Valentine's Day Fundraising Ideas

Looking for Valentine's Day Fundraising Ideas? Valentine's Day is a perfect time to host a themed fundraiser to bring in revenue for your school or non-profit organization. Although Valentine's Day is not an official holiday, it is one of the most popular days of the year for celebrating and in-turn spending money on the ones we love. See below for some popular Valentine's Day fundraising ideas that are easy and fun to implement.

Valentine's Day Fundraising Events

Fundraising events work great for Valentine's Day fundraising. A wonderful way to celebrate this day of love and giving is by bringing people together and offering them a chance to give-back to their favorite charity or cause, straight from the heart. People are always looking for a unique and special way to show their love to their special someone - why not make it your fundraising event?

Be sure to come up with a fun theme that does not alienate any of your supporters or donors. Not everyone is a couple or looking for the perfect tall, dark and handsome stranger. You may not want to consider an event that isn't strictly for couples, but an event that attracts both couples and singles alike. Here are some fun Valentine's Day Event Ideas:

  • Wine Tasting Events: Valentine's Day is a perfect opportunity to host a wine tasting fundraiser. In fact, some people see wine tasting as a different kind of love affair. Partner with a licensed wine dealer and host a classy event guaranteed to satisfy your donors. Charge admission for the event and offer a selection of various wines for attendees to taste, along with commentary from a wine expert. Ask a local market to donate some fine cheese and chocolates to compliment the wine selections. Invite a local guitarist or vocalist to play acoustic music and create a festive mood. Following the event, offer wines for sale at exclusive discounted prices. This special pricing, promoted widely on social media and your website, may be enough to draw in a crowd. Pair the event with a silent auction to bring in even more funds for your organization.

  • Chocolate Tasting Fundraisers: Same as above but with fine chocolates as the featured event. Need we say more? Invite press to attend the event and sample the various delicatessens. Everyone loves chocolate!

  • Valentine's Dances: Dances are great fundraisers for the student council or other school groups, but they can also be hosted by other types of organizations. Rent a place within your community such as a church or school gymnasium and sell tickets to the event. Decorate with Valentine's themed decorations. Hire a band to play songs that everyone can dance to (not only couple songs). Invite people to send a "singing Valentine's telegram" from one of the band members throughout the night. Incorporate a dance-contest, where couples or friends can compete to win prizes. Partner with a local restaurant to offer food and beverages for purchase.

  • Bake Sales: Since Valentine's day is often associated with sweets, why not host a fundraising bake sale? Invite members of your organization to prepare their favorite baked goods - desserts, sweets, decorated cookies and candies and host the event the day before Valentine's Day. Invite your local community to stop by the sale; be sure that you host the bake sale at a convenient location with foot traffic. Offer a prize for the best baked good. Sell the goodies for a small fee, nicely wrapped in festive paper and décor for people to give to their loved ones. This is a great youth event that can be held after school or church.

  • Valentine's Alternative Events: Not everyone wants to see hearts and roses for Valentine's Day. Some people actually like to avoid the day altogether. Your organization could host a fun alternative Valentine's event, such as a scavenger hunt or obstacle course fundraiser, if your audience is largely single or alternative. Promote it as an alternative event and have fun!

Be My Valentine Raffle

With any of these Valentine's Day fundraising ideas, you may also want to consider obtaining prizes and offering a fundraising raffle as part of your event. Reach out to a hotel for a romantic weekend getaway complete with room, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Ask a spa to donate a massage so one may spoil him or herself this Valentine's Day, or ask restaurants to provide gift certificates for fine dining. Offer a gift basket for raffle complete with fine wines and cheeses. If you have the right constituency to consider luxurious and one of a kind travel packages, check our our No Risk Travel Packages that can be used for fundraising raffles and silent auctions alike. There are many options for raffle prizes and a Valentine's raffle provides an excellent opportunity for your organization to raise additional funds for your cause. And our Event Management Software allows you to promote the raffle on social media and sell raffle tickets on your website, to extend the reach of your fundraiser.

Valentine's Day Fundraising Donation Drive

Every year people search for the perfect gift to give to their loved ones. This year, encourage supporters to spread their love through helping those in need. For example, instead of spending $100 on a new necklace for your wife, donate $100 towards a cause you and your wife support. When your wife opens up the envelope with a receipt and explanation of your donation, she'll be thrilled to see how big her husband's heart is and how selfless the gift was. It may even become an annual tradition that you and your significant other participate in together.

If you decide to host a donation drive, make donating easy! Set up a free donations website from DoJiggy where members of your organization, previous donors and other supporters can easily go online to make a secure online donation with a credit card. Then create a Valentine's donation certificate that can be printed as a gift receipt. You may want to consider offering a small gift such as a box of chocolates as part of the receipt for those who donate a certain amount. Once their donation is made, you send the chocolates or bouquet of flowers to their home - which can be a small gift to present along with the donations certificate.

Whatever you decide to do for your Valentine's Fundraiser, it will surely be a success with the right planning, promotion and fundraising software tools.

Fundraising Event Budget

A fundraising event budget can help you plan and prepare for your upcoming Fundraising Event by anticipating income and expenses. Whether you are hosting a walk-a-thon, charity golf tournament, gala and charity auction or other fundraising event, financial tracking and planning is one key ingredient to making your fundraising event a success.

DOWNLOAD: Sample Fundraising Event Budget

Projecting Fundraising Income

Setting estimated values for incoming revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, online donations and product sales can help you estimate projected income and establish financial goals for your fundraising event. Once your goals are set, you can continually monitor your progress and identify any shortcomings. This is a critical step, as you cannot measure the success of your fundraising efforts without establishing these goals in advance of your campaign. If you have hosted this event or a similar event in the past, this job will be easier. Look to your previous events and determine how you can raise more, as well as a realistic (but optimistic) idea of how much more you can raise.

If you have earned less than projected in sponsorship dollars, perhaps you can rethink the sponsorship levels you are offering. What about the benefits - are sponsors seeing the value in your offering? Monitoring incoming donations is easily done on your fundraising website. Your organization sets a fundraising goal and then automatically tracks this progress as donations come in with a fundraising thermometer and other macros. If your organization seems to be falling short of reaching your goal, you can you can do last minute appeals via email and Social Media to your constituents informing them of the gap and need for funds, helping to rally last minute donations.

Here are questions to consider in projecting your fundraising income:

  • Are you charging an admission fee for your fundraising event? If so, estimate the number of event attendees and the amount you intend to raise from ticket sales.
  • Do you intend to secure sponsorships from local businesses?
  • Do you plan to host a charity auction or fundraising raffle as part of your event?
  • Will you sell fundraising merchandise (i.e. fundraising t-shirts, hats, golf balls)?
  • Do you have access to volunteers who can help minimize staffing fees?
  • Are you able to receive any in-kind donations or services to help you save money?

Estimating and Recording Expenses

Similarly, estimating expenses can help you during the planning stages to ensure you are staying within your budget, and not spending too much time or money on any specific initiative. But with expenses, surprises always come up! Be sure to update your expenses as your event progresses. This fundraising event budget is pre-populated with examples of items you may want to include such as: venue rental, marketing expenses, food and beverages, entertainers, prizes and event fundraising software.

Below are some questions you'll want to ask when putting together your fundraising budget expenses:

  • Are you hosting your fundraiser at a venue that costs money?
  • Will you be renting tents, tables, chairs, microphones, etc?
  • Will you be paying staff, vendors, caterers, and entertainers?
  • How much will you spend on decorations?
  • Do you intend to spend money on event promotion (ads, posters, etc.)?
  • Do you plan to purchase fundraising event software to help you manage the event and accept online donations?
  • Does your event require permits or event insurance?
  • Will you have other general expenses such as postage, printing fees, or other?

The sample fundraising event budget here also includes a profit/loss summary to help you visually compare income and expenses so your organization can be aware of your breaking point and profitability margin. Whatever size fundraising event you are hosting, this fundraising event budget will serve to help predict and estimate costs and income. After all, the point of hosting a fundraiser is to raise money for your cause.

DOWNLOAD: Sample Fundraising Event Budget

Remember the items included in this sample fundraising event budget are only an example of a typical fundraising event, with sample values that may be quite different from your actual fundraiser. Please edit this so it reflects the income and expenses associated with your specific event, and be sure to pay attention to formulas embedded in the worksheet to ensure your values are totaling correctly. You may also want to review your fundraising budget with a committee or consultant, to assist with product ordering, fundraising and profitability goals.

Utilizing DoJiggy's Fundraising Software Makes Your Special Events More Profitable and More Successful

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Fundraising Resources

Silent Auction Forms

Are you looking for guidelines and ideas to help to answer the question, "How to run a silent auction"?

If so, you've come to the right place! Silent auctions and online charity auctions are a great way for nonprofit and community organizations to raise money for their cause. Not only do charity auctions have tremendous fundraising potential, but they are relatively easy to plan, especially with the help of charity auction software.

Planning Your Silent Auction

Step 1: Planning

The first step in organizing a silent auction is planning. Here are a few things you'll want to consider:

  • Determine how you will host your silent auction. Will it be an online charity auction? Will it be part of another fundraising event where people physically bid on items displayed? Will it be a combination of the two?
  • What are your fundraising goals? How much money do you hope to raise? Do you intend to secure sponsorships? What resources do you have? What is your budget?
  • Does your auction have a theme? If so, this may influence the type of donations you wish to acquire. i.e. perhaps you are a sports team raising money for a new stadium. Autographed sports memorabilia and season tickets to your local professional sports team may be appropriate prizes.
  • You'll also want to be aware of percent of transactions received by the vendor and additional fees for technical support (Note: DoJiggy does not take a percentage of your fundraising dollars or charge for support)

Step 2: Collecting Donated Items

Once you've identified the theme and type of auction you will host, you'll now want to reach out to the community, businesses, local celebrities and any networks you have to receive donated items, talents or treasures to auction off. This is a very important step as the donations you secure for the auction are the items people are purchasing and thus bringing in the money for your cause! Examples of auction items include autographed CDs, movies, pictures from famous people, sports-team memorabilia, antiques, dinner donations from local restaurants or time or talent from local community members such as free piano lessons, knitting or other crafts lessons, handyman for a day, baked goods, etc. The more unique and valuable the auction items are, the more money they will bring in. You will also want to be sure the items you choose to auction off work with the vision of your organization and theme of your event. (i.e. it would not make sense for an animal activist group to auction off fur jackets) Consider including some high-ticket items such as vacation getaways. Don't worry, you often don't have to pay for these items up front and they can add a lot of value to your charity auction. Check out our no risk auction items to find out how you can include high-ticket items that bring in large donations without taking on any risks!

Step 3: Setting Up your Auction Website

Once you've collected items to auction off, and selected your online fundraising software provider, you'll want to set up your auction website. Your auction website is the place where all the action happens. Here you will host information about your organization and the purpose of the fundraiser, as well as detailed information about the items up for bid. The auction website serves as an online catalog that potential visitors can easily browse through items available for purchase and safely place their bid online using a secure payment processor. Your auction website includes detailed information about each item up for bid including: product images, starting bids, item values, reserve amounts, bid increments, links to the donor's web page, optional "Buy Now" pricing and more. In addition, it gives people who are unable to attend the actual event a chance to bid on items.


Step 4: Promoting your Silent Auction

Make sure to spread the word about your online charity auction or silent auction event. Distribute a press release to local media announcing the event and listing the URL of your fundraising website where online bids can be made. Make sure to highlight any special "one-of-a-kind" items such as antiques, rare artwork or celebrity autographed merchandise. Post announcements on your organization's web site, send email invitations, and create event flyers to post on community bulletins. Encourage employees, sponsors and supporters to share information with their network of family, friends and associates. They can easily post announcements on their social networking pages with a link to your online auction helping to drive traffic to your auction website.

If your silent auction is part of another fundraising event, you'll want to promote the silent auction at the actual event as well. Consider printing a silent auction program that lists all items up for bid including photos, descriptions and starting bids. Distribute this at the start of your event as a quick preview of what items are available to spark interest of attendees. This will likely send them over to the display table to get a first-hand look at the items and place their bids.

Step 5: Managing the Details

DoJiggy provides a number of silent auction forms you can print for your event, such as a sample bid sheet which includes a picture, item description, and current high bid info if bids have been taken online. There are also numerous reports your organization may use to evaluate overall success at the end of the fundraiser for future planning.

Silent Auction Forms

Silent auction forms are an important part of the planning process for your charity auction event. Even if you've decided to host an online charity auction, there's still a chance that you will need silent auction forms, especially if you choose to display auction items and close bidding at your fundraising event.

What kind of silent auction forms do you need?

Silent auction forms include: silent auction bid sheets, donation request letters, item donation forms, sponsor solicitation forms and thank you letters. We've outlined a brief description explaining the purpose each of these, along with sample document templates for you to download and use for your charity auction event.

Charity Auction Budget

Financial planning and tracking is one key ingredient to a successful fundraising auction. The DoJiggy Charity Auction Budget is an Excel Spreadsheet budget that has been pre-populated with major charity auction income and expense categories, and includes a profit/loss summary for both estimated and actual income and expenses. The budget can be reviewed with your staff, Board of Directors or consultant, to help your organization with product and services ordering, fundraising and profitability goals. The DoJiggy Charity Auction Budget is fully customizable to meet your fundraising auction needs.

DOWNLOAD: Auction Budget - Excel Spreadsheet

Silent Auction Bid Sheets

Silent auction bid sheets inform bidders about auction items and allow for people to place a bid for an item they are interested in purchasing. Silent auction bid sheets should include all the information a consumer would want to know in order to make a purchasing decision, helping bidders buy with confidence. This information includes: Auction Name, Item Title, Item Tracking Number, Item Descriptions (and any restrictions), Bid Amounts and Minimum Raise, and Contact Information for hosting organization.

DOWNLOAD: Sample Silent Auction Bid Sheet

Item Donation Form

An item donation form is a simple informational page that businesses or other donors return to your organization along with the item/s they choose to donate for your silent auction event. These item donation forms are very important because they include all the relevant information that event planners will refer to when creating online item descriptions, auction brochures and bid sheets. The item donation form should include the following information: Name of Silent Auction, Mailing Address, Contact Information, and Delivery Deadlines. There should be a number of blank lines for donors to complete including: Donor Name, Business, Item Name, Description of Item, Approximate Value (include wholesale & retail price for business donating items), and any other relevant details for the item donated including celebrity autographs, previous owners, or vintage year (for antiques or wines).

DOWNLOAD: Sample Item Donation Form

Donation Request Letter

A donation request letter is what event planners will send to organizations or individuals whom you are requesting donated items for your charity auction. The letter you send can be kept on file in order for donors to claim donations at the end of the year with their taxes. This letter should explain the purpose of your fundraising event, how the items will be auctioned off, and how their specific donations would appeal to your audience. Be sure to explain how the funds generated from the auction will be used as this typically generates more interest from potential donors. And don't forget to show appreciation by thanking possible donors for their consideration. (Refer to our sponsor thank you letter as this can be re-purposed for Donor Thank You's)

DOWNLOAD: Donation Request Letter

Sponsor Solicitation & "Thank You" Letters

Reaching out to local businesses by asking them to sponsor your charity auction event is another great way to bring in revenue. Not only will businesses help you by providing financial donations and resources to help produce the event, but they will also help you expand your reach by promoting the event to their employees, customers, and partners. Be sure to explain the purpose of your fundraising event and how their sponsorship donation will help you achieve your goals. In exchange for their sponsorship, they should also receive a number of benefits such as: enhanced exposure to the local community, recognition in promotional materials, signage on-site at the event, and online presence through mention in social networking posts, blog articles, logos on fundraising website, etc. Make sure to follow up with sponsors following the event by including actual metrics such as: event attendance, dollars raised for the cause, traffic to your charity auction website, media coverage, etc. If sponsors are pleased with the success of the charity auction, they are likely to support your fundraising initiative in future years.

DOWNLOAD: Sponsor Solicitation Letter

DOWNLOAD: Sponsor Thank You Letter

Additional Resources: Auction Software & More

Auction software can help you plan and manage your charity auction event from start to finish. The easy-to-use web-based software recommended here provides tools to help you: manage participant registrations, list items for bid online, accept and process bids with secure payment processing, offer "buy now" options, manage sponsorship sales and promotion, and generate numerous financial reports. Visit how to run a silent auction for step-by-step planning guidelines.