Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Fundraiser Guidelines

Thank you for considering hosting a fundraiser to benefit NAMI Minnesota!

NAMI Minnesota is the state’s largest grassroots mental health advocacy organization which means we rely heavily on our supporters in the community. You can use your talents and areas of interest to help raise funds for and awareness about mental health by hosting a fundraising event in your community with your family, friends and co-workers.

Getting Started

There are many different activities that can be turned into fundraisers. Some events are large scale and require lots of planning and support while others are small scale that you can carry out individually or with a small team. Please run your idea by us! We may be able to help you think through the details.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Benefit Concert
  • Bake Sale / Bake off
  • Garage Sale
  • Talent show
  • Spa Day
  • Battle of the Bands
  • Car Wash
  • Sporting challenge (5K, marathon, triathlon)
  • Sports Tournament (Dodgeball, ping pong, volleyball, bocce ball)
  • Up All Night
  • Bingo Night
  • House Party
  • Progressive Dinner

Establishing Goals and Objectives

What is your fundraising goal? Make sure to set one to keep yourself motivated. Identify how what you are going to do will bring awareness to mental health and how you going to motivate people to come and participate in your event.

Creating a Timeline

Make sure to give yourself enough time to plan a successful event. Reserving a location, acquiring sponsors and doing PR takes time. Set dates that you want specific things finished by and cross them 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 a solid estimate of attendance so that you can get an appropriate amount of food, decorations, promotional materials, giveaways, etc. Make sure the cost of the event will still leave you with profit for donation!

Picking a Location

Find a venue in your community that will suit all of your needs for size and event type. Consider community venues such as a JCC, YMCA, library, nonprofit, park rec center, school or religious building who may be willing to rent space at little or no cost. Secure your venue as far in advance as possible.

Consider additional things necessary at the venue such as lighting, speakers, tarps, food, etc. and accessibility for people attending the event. Be mindful of complications like weather (have a rain plan if necessary,) ticketing, and/or security.

Getting Support

Building a team of responsible people who are just as passionate about your cause to assist you in planning the event can make putting on an event much easier.

Consider making committees or assigning specific tasks to different people based on their interests or talents. Work with people with specific skill sets such as graphic designs or food experience.

Create a sponsorship package that will entice local businesses to contribute—many businesses have room in their budgets for charitable donations and see the benefits of participating in community events.

Please run your list of businesses you plan to solicit by NAMI Minnesota’s fundraising staff before you begin fundraising. This will avoid duplicating efforts or jeopardizing current corporate partnerships.

Spreading the Word

Create a guest list that includes multiple 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 remember that not everyone may be on Facebook so you may need to come with other options to let people know such as creating flyers and other promotional materials that can hang up in your community. Email works as well as digital invitation options like Evite.

Make it very clear what exactly your guests will be contributing to and how important of an issue it is.

On the Day of the Event

The event is here, so now what? To make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible create a checklist of everything you need that day and check things off as they happen.

Arrive early and supervise set up to make sure that everything and everyone is on track with your event timeline. Don’t forget about your staff and volunteers to make sure they know exactly what their tasks are for the day.

Take pictures! We may be able to share them in our newsletter or social media!

After the event don’t forget to thank attendees, volunteers and sponsors (in addition to thanking them in person at the event) with emails and personal notes. Keep track of who attended in order 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 your event.

You can mail them to:

NAMI Minnesota
Development Department
1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400
St. Paul, MN 55104

And lastly: Celebrate! You did a great job organizing an event to show others just how important NAMI is.