The Complete Guide to Planning a Charity Event

planning a charity event

Need a guide to planning a charity event? You’ve come to the right place. Charity events are the perfect way to boost your brand recognition, customer loyalty, and brand perception, all while giving back to those in need. Read below to learn how to start planning a charity event for your upcoming experiential marketing strategy.

What Is Your Intent Behind Planning a Charity Event?

planning a charity event

Typically, businesses will host a charity event in hopes of getting something in return—branding. Although the event is focused on giving, developing a secondary goal can be beneficial, too.

Beyond giving to charity, define an incidental goal for your charity event. How can hosting this event benefit your business? How will you accomplish your goal? However, never shift the focus from the charity to your brand. By supporting the charity, you will naturally draw positive attention to your brand.

Choose Your Charity

This step is a no-brainer. If you already have a charity in mind, feel free to skip this section. Your selected charity should relate to your niche in some way. If you choose an unrelated charity, people will confuse your brand message.

You can do a Google search to match your ideal charity. For example, if you run a landscaping company, you may want to focus your charity toward environmental causes, such as Earthjustice.

Types of Charity Events

planning a charity event

The type of event you choose should also align with your brand. For instance, a 5K run might be more appropriate for an active, outdoorsy company, while a cultural festival may be better for a global business. The following ideas for planning a charity event should give you some inspiration.

1. Run

Fun runs, walks, dog struts, and marathons are possibly the most common types of charity events. When planning for a charity event, getting your audience hyped and active is a great branding opportunity. As the weather permits, people may also be more apt to donate if the event itself is fun and energizing.

2. Music

You can choose from a variety of musical events: concert, dance, performance, ball, music festival, and so on. Music always brings people together. When planning for a big charity event, a musical function can be a great way to accommodate every guest’s needs. Make sure your music choice is appropriate for the audience and for your business.

3. Art

Particularly if you are targeting a higher class audience, art events can raise funds for your upcoming charity. You can enlist local artists to feature their work at your charity event, or you can see if you can rent a nearby gallery for your event. Ideas include an art exhibit, gallery, or auction. You can find the right venue to host an art event at:

How to Choose a Venue to Crown Your Event

4. Festival

Planning a charity fundraising event can be easy with a festival or gala. Either of these event types allows you to create a naturally captivating event and offer a variety of ways for guests to donate. With a themed festival, your brand can stand out in your local community and raise funds through games, contest, auctions, drawings, and more.

5. Food

Everyone loves food. A food festival, cook-off, or bake sale are just a few ideas for a food-related charity event. Obtaining volunteers and food donations for these types of events is typically a breeze. You can pitch to local startups in the food industry to establish a sponsorship for your event in return for donated food.

Obtaining Permission

Before promoting any upcoming event, you must obtain permission to host it. If you are renting a venue, this process is simplified. However, for fun runs and other outdoor activities, you will need to obtain permission from the proper authorities to host the event.

Who are the proper authorities? Research your city’s event laws, and call your local government office if you have any questions. Typically, you will need to apply for a permit for temporary use of a public area. ACTIVE Endurance’s PDF guide goes into more detail about obtaining permission for your upcoming run event.

How to Recruit Volunteers

Volunteers are crucial for a successful fundraising event. Charity events should not be extravagant. The goal is to not lose any money from the event. Instead of hiring a staff, look into promoting your volunteer opportunities.

Index your upcoming event on volunteer websites like VolunteerMatch. You can also post your volunteer openings on Craigslist. Be sure to offer something in return for volunteers, such as a free lunch or merchandise. Enlist your employees to volunteer at the upcoming event.

Fundraising Techniques

planning a charity event

Knowing what to consider when planning a charity event is essential. For any successful charity event, you must plan your method for raising donations. Not every event is the same, and some tactics may work better for your audience than others. You should guarantee that 100% of their donations will go toward the chosen charity.

1. Admission

One of the most common fundraising techniques is to require a donation at admission to the event. Promote your admission fee to your followers before the event so guests know what to expect.

2. Technology

You can sell tech experience to your attendees. This technique is especially effective for a tech-oriented audience. For instance, you can allow guests to participate in VR, AR, and drone activities for a $5 donation. You could also sell RFID wristbands at your event:

RFID Wristbands for Events: How to Integrate the Latest Tech

3. Contests

Generous guests can purchase tickets to enter a competition or participate in a drawing. Be sure to offer a prize to the winner—such as a free product or service of yours. You can also sell donated goods at an auction, where people may spend exorbitantly to donate.

4. Merchandise

Event guests love great merchandise. Go beyond tacky T-shirts and create an experience worth remembering. By selling your merchandise—tech, gear, fashion, and more—you can earn a profit to add to your donations.

Post-Event Marketing

Review your checklist for planning a charity event. Look over the tips and steps above and consider how your charity event went. Did you meet your goals? What could you have planned better next time? Event planning and marketing is all about reevaluation:

How to Define and Achieve Your Event Marketing Goals

Keep your followers in the loop of the impact your charity event made. How much money did you raise? If possible, you may also want to share what this number indicates (e.g., “We rescued 1,000 homeless animals.” or “We built 150 homes.”).

Plan for your next event. If your event went well, consider planning a charity event for next time. Or, you can plan another type of event to improve your brand recognition and even sales. Check out the following event ideas for your company:

10 Most Popular Types of Events for 2018


The above steps to planning a charity event should take your experiential marketing to the next level. With any charity event, you can expect to make an impact in the world and to receive a little in return for your brand, too.

Need help with planning and marketing your event? Valoso is your go-to partner. Our team of professionals is ready to tackle your next event project. Simply visit our homepage and fill out the contact form to get in touch!