How to Host a Carnival Fundraiser

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Carnivals are a fun way to raise money.
Carnivals are a fun way to raise money. (Image: carnival image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com)

The key to a successful fundraiser is soliciting materials and time from local businesses and community residents in order to keep overhead costs low. Ask for volunteers to help in the planning stages, during the event and with clean-up. Send flyers to area businesses asking for items to use at the carnival or to auction or raffle off. Connect with an organization of local activists or civic-minded individuals to ask for help, resources and ideas.

Things You'll Need

  • Volunteers
  • Donated materials and goods

Seek Donations: Time, Materials and the Location

Ask a local school, church or library. They may donate a space or charge a minimal fee.

Ask volunteers to build a small stage for performers, game booths or back-drops for photo shoots.
Ask volunteers to build a small stage for performers, game booths or back-drops for photo shoots. (Image: carpenter image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Advertise locally for volunteers.

Ask businesses for leftover materials for craft projects or to donate the cost of renting a “bouncy house” or to sponsor another activity.

Solicit items for pot luck food or contact a local restaurant to provide a spaghetti dinner.

Work closely with members of the organization raising funds

Arts and Crafts Station

Set up an arts and crafts station with projects for kids and adults of all ages.

Arts and crafts are an entertaining way for carnival-goers to create their own souvenirs of the event.
Arts and crafts are an entertaining way for carnival-goers to create their own souvenirs of the event. (Image: craft a card! image by Shirley Hirst from Fotolia.com)

Ask for volunteers from a local high school arts class to guide carnival-goers through different projects and solicit materials from local businesses and neighborhood residents.

Look for materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill and lower the carbon footprint of the event.

Cake Walk and Bake Sale

Sell baked goods, snacks and beverages.

Ask members of your organization to donate baked goods to be sold at the carnival.
Ask members of your organization to donate baked goods to be sold at the carnival. (Image: cake image by Andrzej Wlodarczyk from Fotolia.com)

Organize a cake or cupcake walk.

Charge for each entry.

Games

Arrange a carnival boardwalk complete with carnival games like ring toss, balloon darts, beanbag toss, bowling and three-legged races,.

Carnival games are easy to set up and fun to play.
Carnival games are easy to set up and fun to play. (Image: carnival game booth image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com)

Sell tickets for the games at a reasonable price and offer inexpensive prizes bought in bulk or donated.

Consider other games like bobbing for apples, croquet or mini-golf

Self-Expression & Entertainment

Ask for volunteers from a local beauty school or art school to facilitate this activity.

Allow guests to express themselves through body art.
Allow guests to express themselves through body art. (Image: face painting model image by Scott Slattery from Fotolia.com)

Set up a tent wherein guests can adorn their cheeks, bedazzle their nails or temporarily ink their limbs.

Ask local clowns, jugglers, musicians, poets, comedians, theatre troupes, dancers, mimes, balloon artists and other talented performers to donate their time for a good cause.

Tap into the social consciousness of local performers.
Tap into the social consciousness of local performers. (Image: jonglage en groupe 3 image by Nathalie P from Fotolia.com)

Raise Funds

Solicit businesses and artisans for items.

Conduct a raffle, silent auction or task a volunteer with hosting a live auction.
Conduct a raffle, silent auction or task a volunteer with hosting a live auction. (Image: gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com)

Raffle off a donated prize.

Conduct a silent auction or host a live auction.

Fun Photo Back Drops & Costumes

Set-up a photo shoot and charge a small fee for the finished product.

Capture the memories on film.
Capture the memories on film. (Image: film-camera on camera-bag image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com)

Create painted cardboard cut-outs for guests to pose with.

Alternatively, set-up a background and add costumes for carnival-goers to wear.

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