Score Big With a Bowling Night Fundraiser

A bowling fundraiser mixes fun and raising funds in one action-packed evening! Bowling fundraisers are easy to organize, and you don't need a lot of money to host them.

In fact, if you're a smaller non-profit organization with a small operating budget, you'll probably want to take heed of this and other types of fundraisers that are easy to put on with no overhead costs or selling of products involved.

The top advantages of bowling fundraisers are:

  • There is little planning or set-up involved with a bowling charity event. You simply sell tickets and the bowling alley takes care of the rest.
  • A bowling fundraiser is not a goods-oriented charity event. This means that there won't be any selling or dealing with leftover products or delivery at the end of the fundraiser.
  • Bowling fundraisers are held in already operating bowling alleys, so there is virtually no clean-up involved.
  • Bowling fundraisers are untouchable by weather. Because they are held indoors, your event won't be snowed or rained out like a marathon, picnic, or charity walk-a-thon could be.

Remember, just because there is little planning involved with a bowling fundraiser doesn't mean there is none at all. The key to any successful fundraiser is organization. And that pre-planning almost always involves publicizing your event to your community so that your fundraiser is a success.

Helpful Tips for Bowling Fundraisers

Settle on a flat fee. This means making arrangements with the bowling alley ahead of time so that your guests' shoe rental, ball use, and maybe even lunch is included in a flat price. This way the bowling alley still receives their regular service fees and the remaining money goes to your charity.

For example, charge $20 per person. This would include their bowling costs, shoe rental, and a snack (pop and chips or a slice of pizza) for each bowler. If the bowling alley fee is 50% of that profit, your organization still takes in $10 per person towards your funds raised.

Plan ahead to ensure you don't leave the details to the day of. For instance, have a plan for the following:

  • Who will collect donations for bowling from the various groups?
  • How will snacks or lunches be dispersed?
  • Who will welcome bowlers and make sure they are directed to the right lanes?

All of these details, when planned ahead of time, will ensure your bowling fundraiser goes smoothly.

Advertise, advertise, advertise. Your marketing venues are important, and depending on how much money you have to spend, the majority should go towards advertising your event. You can do this in a variety of ways—through flyer distribution, e-mail, your charity website, community radio, or television.

Also, ask your volunteers to use their own means to market your event to the community. This could be through their Facebook profiles, personal blogs, hanging flyers and notices at their workplaces, and sending e-mail invites to their personal contacts.

Seek sponsors or pledges. This type of sponsorship can bring in added funds from those who can't be involved in the actual bowling charity day. They can still pledge to support a certain bowler, and it can add some healthy competition to your day.

Pledges are typically sought out by individual players a few weeks before the bowling fundraiser. Players can circulate pledge forms at their workplaces and through their personal networks asking for flat donations (for example, $2-$10), or they can seek pledges per pin knocked down (for example, 50 cents per pin).

It may be preferable to collect flat pledges upfront if you don't have a lot of volunteers, as folks will have to follow up after the bowling night to collect pledges paid per pin after your event.

Sponsorship can also be sought from larger businesses and groups for a flat fee pledge (with a tax deductible receipt), or you can offer corporations the opportunity to rent a bowling lane for the night and supply their own team.

Remember you can use a combination of these methods to ensure your bowling fundraiser is a success. After all, every charity is different, so use the combination that's right for your group.

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