How Give-Back Fundraising Events Can Change Lives and Raise Big Money

Posted by Don Carmichael on 8/14/17 5:30 AM

What would be a better fundraising option for you – a product sale fundraiser where your participants sell candy bars or a give-back event where your participants take a half a day helping less-fortunate people who are in great need?

Product sales, bake sales and car washes are fine, but they don’t change lives.  They don’t create a life-impacting experience for your participants or life-long memories that actually increase your participants’ stakeholder relationship with your organization and, to be honest, their financial impact isn’t nearly as significant.

If you’re looking for truly extraordinary fundraising options, few things can compare with the heart-impacting experiences of a “give-back” event.

How Give-Back Events Work

The foundation of “give-back” events is serving others who are less fortunate.  Those who serve can benefit more than those they are actually serving.  It is truly more blessed to give than receive.

Give-back events can involve drilling clean water wells, building Habitat for Humanity houses, Feed The Need meal packing events plus a variety of other types of projects.  Perhaps the easiest type of give-back event that can be done anywhere and without requiring special skill sets is a servathon.  Servathons involve identifying a variety of local needs in your community then bringing your participant volunteers to help.

Examples of Local Community Servathon Projects

Some of the best ways to identify local community service needs is to make a few phone calls.  Call your mayor’s office to see if you can do simple civic projects.  Call local churches to see if they have elderly shut-ins who need help.  Call local nonprofits to see how your volunteers can help them.  

Here’s a short list of some of the more common and attractive servathon projects:

  • Paint curbs and fire hydrants
  • Pick up trash in city parks and roadways (wear safety visibility attire)
  • Deliver cookies and thank you cards to local police and fire stations
  • Hand out food in local food pantries or rescue missions
  • Go to nursing homes to talk to elderly residents – read books, sing songs, do manicures
  • Do outdoor and indoor cleaning/maintenance projects for elderly shut-ins

How Give-Back Events Raise Money

In a “give-back” event, your participants individually raise money through personal sponsors and corporate sponsors before the day of event.  People give because of a personal relationship – but how much they give is influenced by what your participants are doing.  

Give-back events not only touch the hearts of your participants and those they serve, but also the hearts of your donors and local businesses.  Because of this, most donors and local businesses give more in sponsorship to this type of fundraiser than to a walkathon or similar personal-sponsor based event.

Other Benefits of Give-Back Events

In addition to deepening your stakeholder relationships with your organization’s supporters and raising more money than most traditional fundraisers, give-back events also have these benefits:

  • Very low cost to conduct
  • Highly attractive to millennials (they want to have hands-on experiences in helping others)
  • Highly attractive to local media (strong human-interest feel-good stories)


If your school or nonprofit organization is looking for a major fundraising event that can not only raise significant money and out-perform traditional product sales – but also is fun, out-of-the-box and has huge heart-impacting factor on your participants and their donors, consider conducting a give-back event like a Servathon or a Feed The Need meal packing event.

Give-back events are easy to organize, only take two to three months to plan and cost very little money.  Because virtually nobody LIKES to fundraise, creating a unique and mission-focused event that centers on helping other people is a great way to involve your participants in the fundraising process to ultimately drive significant funding to your mission.

Call 1-800-490-1959 for a free consultation on how to succesfully conduct your own “give-back” event.

Topics: donors, event fundraising