Fundraiser Ideas

Thank you for considering hosting a fundraising event to benefit the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and/or Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital (BMSCH). Find an idea from among those on the list below, or use our suggested activities to help you start thinking of your own event. Be sure to review the Fundraiser Guidelines and complete and submit an Event Proposal Form before launching any kind of fundraising event.

House Party-Host a fundraising party at your home for friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. If you or someone you know has been a patient at RWJUH or the BMSCH, share your experiences and ask them to support a cause that has made such an impact on you, your family and the community.

Benefit Night– Throw a fundraising party at a local establishment. Charge your guests an entrance fee (donation). But also make sure to ask that local restaurant, ice cream parlor or pet supply store, to support you with a donation of 10% (or more!) of the night’s sales –don’t be too shy to ask. Also, check with your local restaurant if they are willing to support you with a donation of 10% (or more!) on an evening even without a fundraising party – again, don’t be too shy to ask. You can offer to generate a flyer to promote patrons coming to their establishment to help increase their business, and thus your percentage.

Spaghetti Dinner-Encourage your place of worship, work, school or other organization to host a spaghetti dinner to benefit RWJUH or the BMSCH. Have all of your friends help with the cooking to make an event where families are welcome and are charged a donation entrance fee to join in the fun. Or organize a potluck party along the same lines where everyone brings a dish to pass and gets to socialize with friends and neighbors. The entrance fee to the party becomes your donation. Make sure to have plenty of donation forms on hand at any and all of these types of events for the donors that want to give more.

Theme Dinner-Hold a theme dinner party for at least 10 of your friends; donation $50 a person. Spend just $20 per person on food and you’ve raised $300 in donations. Better yet, have all of the food donated and see your profits increase!

Gala Night-Host an elegant or formal party. Have food and beverages donated.

Wine-Tasting Party Have a wine-tasting and cheese-tasting party. If you know anyone (who knows anyone!) who owns, manages, or works in a winery – ask if they will host it!

Sweets Party– Have a dessert auction at work! Ask local restaurants, bakeries and groceries to donate yummy desserts. Post signs at work well in advance, and then bring all of the desserts in to work on Friday. Hold a silent or live auction – who doesn’t need dessert for the weekend? Add on even more by getting coffee donated – and sell the coffee to go with that cookie!

Tea Party– Host a traditional High Tea, or ask a local hotel to do so on your behalf.

Scrapbooking Party– Host a scrapbooking party at your house, or at the local store. Ask a pro to lead an inspirational idea exchange and have some great samples on display, some special supplies and/or discounts for attendees. Serve donated food and drinks and charge at the door.

TV Show Party– Host a party in celebration of the premiere or finale of a favorite TV show. Serve donated hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

Movie/TV Marathon-Host a movie or TV series marathon. Choose a theme (Hitchcock, Glee, Gilligan’s Island, Seinfeld) and start the popcorn! Enhance the theme with a suggested $1 donation every time a specific word or phrase is spoken, every time Hitchcock himself appears, every time Jerry has an “aside” with Elaine.

Themed Music/Dance Party-Host a music/dance night – 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s style. Play all of the old favorites. Ask people to come dressed in costume and dance the night away. Serve donated drinks and food. You can even ask a DJ if they’d donate an evening for you, so you can have a complete selection of tunes!

Golf Outing/Tournament-Work with a local golf course to plan a charity golf outing. Charge a fee to participate and see if you can get prizes donated for the winner of each hole, or the whole course.

Play Tickets-Ask your local playhouse to donate tickets and then auction them off. Better yet, ask them to donate season passes!

Rock On!If you know musicians, ask them to perform a benefit concert at a backyard BBQ, block party or local club. The admission ticket is a check made payable to RWJ University Hospital Foundation.

Special Screening-Ask your local movie theatre to donate a special screening of a new
release. Invite everyone you know and post flyers. Ask if the theatre will also donate a percentage of the concession sales for your event!

Oscar Party-Host a party to watch the Academy Awards and charge an entrance fee. Ask a local bar that has a big-screen television to allow you to have the party there and donate a portion of the food and beverage sales.

Garage Sale-Ask all of your friends and neighbors to participate by donating items for sale. Make signs that indicate all proceeds are going to RWJUH or the BMSCH. Ask your local paper to run an ad as their contribution. Add a bake sale and/or lemonade stand, and have a straight donation jar visibly displayed.

Web-based auction-Get friends and family to donate things for you to sell on an internet auction site. Make sure to let bidders know that the items selling price is going towards the BMSCH.

Car Wash-Hold a car wash – either in your neighborhood, at your place of worship, or at your place of business. Ask local businesses to donate the supplies you will need and ask your friends to help wash. Add a bake sale; sell chilled bottles of water (that have been donated). If you have enough help, consider adding a dog wash!

Car Wash-Take 2– Go to your local car wash and talk with the owner/manager about doing a fundraising event there. Many people go to the same car wash every week. Post flyers a week in advance, and then spend a few hours talking with people about what you are doing at the cashier stand. Hand people a flyer, accept donations!

Silent Auction-Ask some local businesses to donate items or gift certificates and hold a silent auction at your fundraising event, or on a payday at work. Things like a book of car wash certificates, $10 off dry-cleaning, movie passes, play tickets, restaurant gift certificates, pet grooming, a week of free coffee; the list is endless! Set minimum donation limits and allow people to bid them up.

Live Auction-Same as above, but with an energetic auctioneer. Good for a large crowd and some big-ticket items; a trip for two, a special bottle of wine, landscape, pool or housecleaning service.

Used Book Sale-A more focused and versatile version of a garage sale. Ask everyone you know (co-workers, neighbors, family and friends) to donate any books they have read and are finished with. Choose a time and place to have a used book sale – maybe your local farmer’s market, school carnival or community fair.

Karaoke-Ask your local karaoke bar to host a benefit night. Invite all of your friends; charge at the door.

Game NightHost a game night; Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Texas Hold ‘Em, Cranium, Bingo. Serve donated food and drinks. Charge at the door.

Host a Kid’s Game Day-Invite your kid’s friends, nieces and nephews, the neighborhood kids, the soccer team, to a game day at a local park. Like a drop-off party, you coordinate a couple of hours of fun activities and ask the parents for a donation in exchange. Tetherball, Four Square, Jump Rope, Potato Sack races, Yo-Yo contests, you name it! Have donated snack food and juice boxes available to round out the fun.

Children’s Birthday Party-Post signs at local schools and child care centers offering your party planning services for a sizeable donation. Plan a theme party and get supplies, favors, food and beverages donated. If you are crafty you could even make costumes. Some ideas are a Princess Party or a Harry Potter Party.

Mow-a-thonHold a neighborhood mow-a-thon weekend where you and your family will mow everyone’s lawn for a minimum donation. For an added twist, you could shovel everyone’s walk/drive way for a minimum donation.

Bowl-a-thonAsk your local bowling alley to donate some lanes for a fundraising party. Invite your office-mates as a team-building experience, your neighbors, your family, or a group of old friends. Charge at the door or have people pledge a certain amount per pin.

Corporate MatchingTake advantage of corporate matching gifts programs. You may work for a company that has a program like this – your personal donation could double simply by filling out a form from your Human Resources department. Share this information with family and friends – spread the word!

Super Change Jar-Ask all of your friends and family to put aside their spare change to be added to the super change jar. Every month or so, empty it out and let everyone know how much “a little at a time” adds up! This is a great idea to put into action at work, too. Decorate the jar with inspirational quotes.

Loose Change Day-Ask your child’s school to have a “Loose Change Day”. Make a flyer encouraging each child to bring in loose change from their house to be donated. Encourage the math classes to assist with counting, predicting and rolling the change. This is a great way to involve the entire school. You can hold this event multiple times; every week, every month.

Fountain Coins-Go to your local mall or shopping center and ask what they do with the coins in the fountain. See if they’ll donate the coins for a period of time to RWJUH or the BMSCH.
Voicemail-Change your voicemail and answering machine messages to announce the fact that you are raising money for RWJUH or the BMSCH. This will be news to some and a reminder for all!

Waiters-Ask the waiter/waitress or bartender at your favorite hangout to donate a day’s tips. If you have a friend who waits or bartends, ask them, too.

Birthday/Retirement/Wedding-In lieu of a gift for your special day, ask your friends and family to make a donation to BMSCH.

Delegate-Give 10 friends 10 donation forms and ask them to get donations for you.

Creative Friends-Ask a local artist or creative friend to donate a piece or art or jewelry that you can auction off. If you aren’t creative yourself, ask a friend to design a thank you card or blank note card that you can package, tie up with a ribbon and sell.

Hair Stylist-Ask your hairstylist for a donation; if not in the form of a check, then perhaps in the form of haircuts! See if he/she will host a hair-cut-a-thon, in the salon (or in your garage!) You can probably raise more donations in two hours of haircutting than you imagine – be sure to get the word out!

Hair Salon-Ask your hair salon if they will donate $2 from each haircut over the course of a weekend/week/month to RWJUH or the BMSCH.

Texas Hold ‘Em-Invite your friends and family over for a poker tournament with an entrance fee. Provide snacks and sodas. All entrance fees go to the RWJUH or the BMSCH.

Spinning Class-Hit up your spinning class instructor and classmates. Set a goal at the
beginning of the class, and if it’s met, everyone donates $1 per mile – or $1 per minute.

Errand Runner-Offer to be a friend’s errand runner or personal assistant for a day, in
exchange for a substantial donation.

Dog Walker-Offer to walk your loved ones favorite pets for a donation. Even include your

Talent-Utilize and sell any talent or skill that you have; graphic design, computer skills, sewing, typing, baking, cake decorating, etc.

Meet the Press-Contact the editor of your local paper, or your company newsletter – or both! Ask them to interview you about your experiences at RWJUH or the BMSCH and include a request for support. Be sure they include instructions in the story for how readers can make donations.

Baseball Game-Or other local sporting event. Buy a section of tickets at a group rate and charge your family and friends twice the price. Get food donated and host a tailgate party.

Dress Down Friday-Ask your boss if you can host a “Dress Down Friday”. Employees buy a button or pay $2 and get to dress down on an assigned day.