NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, which means we rely heavily on supporters in communities throughout the country. We are excited and honored that you’ve chosen to use your talents and areas of interest to help raise funds for and awareness of mental health by hosting a fundraising event in your community with your family, friends and coworkers. Download our NAMI DIY Toolkits: Getting Started and Optimizing Your Fundraising Page for more information.
Many different activities can be fundraisers. Some events are large-scale and require lots of planning and support, while others could be carried out individually or with a small team.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Benefit concert
- Fashion show
- Bake sale/bake off
- Garage sale
- Talent show
- Spa day
- Battle of the bands
- Car wash
- Date auction
- Community sporting event (basketball, football, baseball, etc.)
- Sports tournament (dodgeball, ping pong, volleyball, bocce ball)
- Up all night
- Bingo night
- Charity dinner
NAMI offers its own online fundraising platform. Users can create a fundraising page and circulate it to friends and family. Learn more here.
Establishing Goals and Objectives
What is your fundraising goal? Setting one will help to motivate you. Think about how your event will raise awareness of mental health and how you can motivate people to participate.
Create a Timeline
Give yourself enough time to plan a successful event. Reserving a location, getting sponsors and doing publicity takes time. Set deadlines and cross items off a to-do list.
Setting a Budget
Consider your expenses. Reserving space and securing a DJ or a caterer can be a significant cost.
Get an estimate of attendance so that you can get an appropriate amount of food, decorations, promotional materials, giveaways, etc. The number of people will need to be enough to cover the cost of the event plus provide you with profit for donation. Be sure to keep track of your donations.
Connect with local businesses and individuals who can donate goods and services to help reduce costs.
Picking a Location
Find a suitable venue in the community for the size and type of event. Venues such as a JCC, YMCA, town hall, schools or religious buildings might be willing to rent space at little or no cost. Reserve the venue as far in advance as possible.
Consider aspects such as lighting, speakers, tarps, food, security and accessibility and make a back-up plan for bad weather.
Promoting the Event
Create a guest list that includes networks of people such as family, friends, classmates, coworkers and neighbors.
Making a Facebook Event can be an easy to way to let people know about the event, but not everyone is on Facebook, so think of other options to let people know such as flyers and promotional materials. Email and digital invitations like Evite are also helpful.
When publicizing the event, be clear about what cause guests will be contributing to and how important the issue is.
Build a team of responsible people who are passionate about your cause. Their help can make putting on an event much easier.
Consider making committees or assigning tasks to people based on their interests or talents. Work with people with skill sets such as graphic design or food service experience.
Create a sponsorship package that will entice local businesses to contribute. Many businesses have budgets for charitable donations and see the benefits of participating in community events.
Have a short speech or “pitch” prepared for potential sponsors. Follow up in person or over the phone with reminders once people agree to participate.
On the Day of the Event
The event is here, so now what? To make sure everything goes smoothly, create a checklist for the day.
Arrive early and supervise set-up to keep everything on track with your timeline and checklist. Staff and volunteers should know exactly what their tasks are for the day.
After the event, thank attendees, volunteers and sponsors (in addition to thanking them in-person at the event) with emails and personal notes. Track attendees to invite them to future events, and send the money you raised to NAMI.
Please send the proceeds from your event to NAMI within 30 days of the event.
You can mail them to:
Office of Development
National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203
You may also make gifts with a credit card by visiting www.nami.org/donate.
The last step is to celebrate! You did a great job organizing an event to show others just how important NAMI is. We can’t thank you enough for all your hard work.