Event Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising makes a hard job of paying for a festival, easier. Learn to manage quality sponsorship programs, donations, sales, and raffles among other ideas by seeking support form partners, stakeholders, volunteers and community groups in your area. Consider the assets of your community before deciding on one or possibly two fundraising programs.

Banks are natural event sponsors

Meet & keep sponsors engaged in events

1. If you have many businesses, including those who support the idea of branding and creating an identity of your business district, a sponsorship program will be successful. Sponsor programs are briefly outlined in the BAM Blog: Sponsor Talk Meet and Keep Event Sponsors. Similarly, large anchor businesses, those speciality stores whose customers cross town, even in traffic, to come to their store, are excellent event sponsor because they want the marketing exposure.


2. If you have a strong online web presence, try crowd funding to pay for a popular band that will be a great draw to your event. Online crowd-source fundraising may also be effective for equipment and materials purchases.


Shared street fair ads

Team up for advertising discounts

3. If you have a popular community newspaper, either print or online, try cooperative advertising. Schedule full page print ads, divide them and sell spaces to sponsors, vendors and area businesses. Not only can your efforts be rewarded with a small profit, the additional marketing helps promote the Fair.

4. If you have a lot of volunteers, plan to sell promotional items during the Fair. Print festival logos or quirky sayings on T-shirts, visors, umbrellas, cups, or whatever your district might be known for. To create something that everyone will want, be creative, yet cautious. Don’t just print “Street Fair” on a T-shirt – punch it up! Determine if your location allows for entry points where volunteers could collect donations.

Passing out free popsicles ensures a steal stream of customers on Parade Day.

Businesses in Littleton, CO participate alongside the large – and loooong – Western Week parade

5. If you have a large area, rely on street vendor fees to cover half of your expenses. Along with sponsor programs, vendor fees are the most common way to raise money for a Street Fair. The vendor mix and maximum number are among the important considerations for vendors. Attendance will dictate how many vendors end up happy with their sales. Be conservative at first, starting with a small area. Add more later. The main thing to remember about setting fees is to look back at your mission and goals when making decisions about charging for something. Be consistent with all vendors and sales. Count on community members talking to each other and stay consistent with policies.

Beer and wine garden fundraisers

Beer gardens raise funds

6. If you have fenced areas, consider charging entrance fees to special activities. These areas can be easily turned into attractive VIP areas, offering another incentive for potential sponsors to consider being part of your event. Determine if any activities could charge fees and draft policies for them.

Beer or wine gardens are lucrative fundraisers on Fair day. Not every event requires a fenced area for adult beverage consumption. Learn about license requirements and follow carefully. Place beverage gardens near music or performance stages or bring distinctive games into them to keep patrons longer. Set up your grade to maximize sales, read BAM Blog: Free Beer Fundraisers.


7. If you have government agencies that support economic development, ask for grant funding to pay for professional organizers or management. City agencies can provide street closure infrastructure, permits, safety and sanitation equipment, tents, tables and marketing support.


Read the comprehensive event planning guidebook by seasoned neighborhood business consultant, Bridget Bayer. Street Fairs for Community and Profit: How To Plan, Organize and Stage a Sensational Street Fair While Building Community is a nuts-and-bolts book that will especially help new groups in planning—and actually executing—a street fair. For experienced organizers, it will help them PROFIT from their event. WWW.STREETFAIRGUIDE.COM

About Bridget Bayer

Bridget Bayer is an author and community organizer working to create vibrant main street business districts that support local economies. Bridget believes shared activities are a catalyst for positive change. Her professional work fosters community involvement by creating shared events that enhance communication, develop shared interests and support existing and start-up non-profit organizations. At home, Bridget focuses on innovative ecological practices, hates waste and dependably finds ways to eliminate it. After 25 years in the restaurant industry, she still loves to cook especially with locally sourced veggies including those homegrown from her garden. Bridget, the first mate on Ama Natura, lives on a floating home on the Columbia River in Portland with Peter Wilcox, instigator of the Inside Passage Decarbonization Project, and the lovely Luna, her favorite cat.