How to Plan an Effective Fundraiser

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Contact the UW Carbone Cancer Center to get started with your upcoming event. Plan an Event for the UW Carbone Cancer Center


Printable Version of Guide

Planning Your Fundraiser (pdf)

Events are a unique way that you can help advance cancer rearch at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Through these events, you can make a significant difference for cancer patients and survivors.


What type of event do you want to hold? There are many different types of fundraising opportunities. Before you settle on an idea, you may want to consider the following things.


The Four P's for Success


The most successful events are built upon 4 important P’s:




Extremely successful fundraisers involve turning something you are passionate about into a fundraising opportunity.


Examples include bicycle rides, competitive marathons, motorcycle rides, cooking/baking, run-walks, wine or beer tasting, jewelry, sporting events, women’s fashion, golf, live music concerts, community festivals, etc.


Think about what you (and your friends or family) enjoy doing the most, and plan a fundraising event around that idea.




How much time in advance do you need to plan?


Typically, a good fundraising event usually takes about 3-6 months to plan and execute.


How many people you need to involve in the planning process to accomplish all the tasks of your fundraising event will depend on the type of fundraiser. Holding a wine tasting event is very different than a motorcycle ride. Ideally, you’ll need to pull together a group of friends and family who are willing to plan with you. It’s more fun to have reliable people willing to do the work with you than trying to do it all by yourself.




The famous line from a certain baseball movie is: "If you build it, they will come." This is true to a certain point, but if you really want to get a lot of people to attend you must be a self-promoter. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Do you need to contact local media outlets (newspaper/radio/TV)?
  • Do you need help writing a press release and distributing flyers/posters?
  • Do you know a tech-savvy individual who can set up a Facebook page, Twitter account or other fundraising website to sign up participants and get donations?

Communication of your event is paramount to your success.




Just as in real estate sales, your event location matters! Will the event be indoors or outdoors?


If you’re outdoors, and bad weather is on the horizon, do you have a "rain date" should Mother Nature interfere? Also, you need to think about ease of access to your location, especially parking.


If you are indoors, and you're thinking of using a conference room, church, hotel, restaurant, or bar as your hosting location, you need to get in contact with any venue you wish to use ASAP, as popular locations get booked months in advance.