Special Events Ideas

Boss the Boss

CEO Car Wash
Ask employees to donate $5 to have their cars washed by management. Charge extra for special services like cleaning the interior or polishing the rims. Charge for Polaroid or digital photos of the event.

A-Dollar-An-Inch Contest

Male executives participate in an all-day competition to end the day with the shortest tie. Employees who donate a dollar to the campaign cut an inch off their favorite guy's tie. Prizes are awarded for the shortest tie, the ugliest tie, etc.

Executive Prison
Transform an office into a jail cell. "Arrest" managers and executives and allow them to make telephone calls to their staff members to "bail" them out. All bail proceeds go to your United Way campaign.

Departmental Team-Up

Coin Wars

Have each department find a large empty water bottle (or other container). Invite employees to drop in spare quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. For a fun twist, designate quarters as "sabotage" and encourage competing departments to drop quarters into each other's bottles. At the end of the campaign, count coins and subtract quarters. The department with the most money wins a prize and all proceeds go to United Way.

Scavenger Hunts

Invite employees to participate in a scavenger hunt requiring them to find unusual items from around the neighborhood or office buildings. For a fun twist you can "plant" items with selected employees for others to "discover." Organize in teams of four and charge an entrance fee. Award different points for various items. Teams have one hour to find items and accumulate as many points as possible. The entire team must be present at the end of one hour. If a team arrives late, assess a penalty of two points per minute (or fraction thereof). Award the team with the most points a special incentive or prize.

Dress-up / Dress-Down

Casual Day
Set a price and sell Casual Day tickets to employees for designated dress down days. Designate certain casual days as "Crazy Days" and encourage your employees to show their wild side. For instance: Tuesday -- Stupid Hat Day, Wednesday -- Outrageous Socks Day, Thursday -- Sports Team Day.

Pajama Day Fundraising
Employees pay a fee and get to wear their pajamas to work. It's a very easy fundraising idea. All you need is someone to collect the money. Everyone likes it so much that even the managers participate! Consider having a contest for the ugliest, weirdest, etc. pajamas.

Crazy Hat Day Fundraising (or Hair, Shoes, Etc.)
This is a simple fundraiser that is easy to do and works with all age groups. Select a day that staff can wear their craziest hat. Each person pays a fee and gets their hand stamped or wears a sticker to prove they paid. Winners are selected according to originality, creativity, and the hat that was most favored by co-workers. You can have a panel of judges or let everyone vote. Regardless, it's lots of fun! You can do the same with hair, shoes, etc.

Good Eats
Chili Cook-Off Contest

Ask employees to cook a favorite chili recipe and enter it into a cook-off contest. Invite employees to pay $5 for lunch (a sample of each chili dish). Each participant casts one vote for their favorite and the chili with the most votes wins a prize.


Craft and Bake Sale
Invite employees to participate by shopping at a craft and bake sale! Ask employees to donate baked goods and handmade items. This popular activity gives everyone a chance to share hobbies.

Employee Cookbook
Collect employee recipes and helpful household hints into a customized cookbook. Ask children of employees to create illustrations for the cookbook, including the cover. Print or copy and bind books and charge $5 for each copy. This event has been so popular that some organizations have not been able to fill all requests. Plan for an enthusiastic response!

Bakeless Bake Sale Fundraising
Send this letter to your members: You are invited to NOT bake a cake, pie, cookies, or brownies. You do NOT have to find the recipe. You do NOT have to shop for the ingredients. You do NOT have to mix. You do NOT have to cook. You do NOT have to cut. You do NOT have to wrap. You do NOT have to wash dishes. You do NOT have to clean up your kitchen. You do NOT have to deliver the baked product. You do NOT have to stand in the heat/cold/rain to sell the baked product. You can write a check for $10 to United Way and stay home and enjoy doing something yourself or with your family!

Games To Play
Goldfish Race Fundraising Activity

A fun fundraising activity is a goldfish race. Two 10-foot long rain gutters are placed side by side. Caps are glued to each end so that they will hold water. A goldfish is placed in each gutter and is held at the end by a removable gutter-shaped gate. Employees pay an entrance fee to buy a fish and participate. Participants are given 1 straw each and are instructed to blow behind the fish and into the water to encourage the fish to swim to the other end of the gutter. The winner gets to keep his/her fish.

Road Rally Poker Hand

Attracts classic car owners and others. Charge $60 or more registration. Registrants are given clues along the route as to where they’ll pick up one card from a deck of cards. You may want to use our partner agencies as stopping points. Box lunches are provided at the end when all cars return. The best poker hand wins grand prize, which might be a set of donated tires. Other trophies and prizes are also awarded. It's lots of fun. Be creative with the clues.

Baby Picture Match Game
Invite employees to try their luck matching baby and/or pet pictures with pictures of employees. Charge employees $2 per ballot. Award the winning entry with a prize or fun incentive.

Miniature Golf
Build a 9-hole course featuring slinkys, ramps, water, and sand traps around the office to test the golf skills of your employees. Charge participants an entrance fee and ask them to bring a putter the day of the event. Award prizes for the lowest score.

Guessing Game Fundraising
A guessing game is so simple than many groups never think of it. It’s an appropriate fundraiser for school groups, sports teams, civic clubs, adult work places -- just about anywhere. There are many versions but the principle is the same for each. Participants are given the opportunity to guess something and they pay for each guess.

The simplest version is a large jar filled with virtually any item as long as it takes a lot of them to fill the jar. If you use candy, you could vary it by the season - red hots for Valentine’s Day, candy corn at Thanksgiving, multi-colored Hershey kisses at Christmas. You could also use pennies, dried beans, screws, soft drink tabs, paper clips, etc.

Now that your jar is filled, you need to place it in a conspicuous place such as a display case or break area so everyone can see it. Place a sign next to the jar (and in all other areas you can think of) challenging participants to guess the number of "whatevers" in the jar. Your specific organization and participants will dictate how much to charge per guess and how to collect for the guesses. Make sure your signage explains that the proceeds will benefit United Way.

Y.C.J.C.Y.1.D. Fundraising
Place signs around your building that are printed with “Y.C.J.C.Y.1.D.” People will ask what the sign means. Tell them that for $1.00 they can find out. After they pay the dollar give them a card, and tell them they cannot tell anyone else. The card reads, "Your Curiosity Just Cost You One Dollar." All the money goes to United Way.

Stuff For Sale
Balloon Pop
Ask employees to donate prizes (items or services). Put names of prizes inside balloons filled with helium. Charge employees $5 to buy a balloon and pop it to find out what prize they've won.

Book/Video Sale
Ask employees to donate old books, videos, CDs and cassette tapes for an employee book sale. Sell paperbacks for $2, hardbacks for $4 and cassettes, CDs and videos for up to $5.

Auction Hotline
Ask employees to donate items or services to be auctioned off for your United Way campaign. Outline items and prices in a flyer. Set up a broadcast voicemail or e-mail with messages announcing auction items. Employees call the hotline to record their bids. Update the recorded hotline message daily, announcing the highest bids received to date. Each Friday, announce auction results for the week and introduce next week's items.

50-50 Raffle Fundraising
50-50 raffle fundraising simply involves the sale of raffle tickets with the proceeds being split evenly between the winner and United Way. Your only fundraising expense is the raffle tickets (a double ticket roll, a single ticket roll that you tear in half or a board with the numbers for sale). Winners are always happy with a cash prize. All you need is one or more ticket sellers. Raffle tickets normally sell for $1 apiece, with an incentive for multiple purchases such as 3 tickets for $2, or 5 tickets for $4, etc. Using a price incentive for multiple tickets can often increase your total sales and builds a larger 'prize' to split with the lucky winner. All ticket stubs (or duplicate tickets or numbers, depending on your style of raffle tickets) are placed in a hat or other container from which one lucky number is drawn. The 'take' is tallied and one-half awarded to the holder of the lucky number.