Find Treasure With a Scavenger Hunt Fundraiser

Everyone remembers the fun of childhood scavenger hunts. Even Easter egg hunts presented a fun challenge, and an immediate reward. Recapture that spirit of fun and adventure with a scavenger hunt fundraiser.

A scavenger hunt should be challenging, but not so difficult that it takes away from the fun. You want participants to have to work for the items they're required to find, but anything that is expensive or impossible to acquire is only going to ruin the hunt. The main thing is to keep it fun for everyone, especially if you want to make it a regular fundraising event.

It doesn't require a lot of preparation – you don't have to actively hide anything like you do with an egg hunt. But it does require some thought. Here are the main things to consider.

Select a Theme

If you're holding a scavenger hunt fundraiser close to a holiday, use that as your theme and make everything on the list applicable to the holiday. For example, if your scavenger hunt takes place in December, the list of items to be found can include things like candy canes, snowmen, or specific types of ornaments.

But increase the difficulty by specifying, say, a blue-striped candy cane instead of the usual red or green. You can also go with a non-holiday theme like pirate booty, and everything on the list is something that would be found on a pirate ship like a wooden plank or a treasure chest.

Of course, we don't mean an actual, full-sized treasure chest. Use your imagination. What about those little ones made for fish tanks? Be a little outrageous and let your participants get creative.

Decide on Participation

We've found that scavenger hunts are best performed, and the most fun, with groups. A group of people can pool ideas, and even split up to find items on a long list. It can take one person a long time, and a lot of legwork to amass everything they need to complete the list, and then it becomes work instead of fun.

Of course, if someone wants to do the hunt on their own, there's no reason to exclude them. But asking for groups of four to five people also allows you to raise a little more money in participation fees if you charge a per person fee.

If you decide to charge a flat group fee, you can have tiered costs that go up incrementally depending on the number of people participating. After all, the hunt is easier with more people, so it stands to reason a larger group would pay a bit more for facility.

Set a Time Limit

This will be determined, in part, by how many things you include on your list. If it's a long list, you may want to give participants an entire day to find everything. The downside to this is, everyone would have to set aside an entire day for the event, and with people's busy schedules, that's not always easy or feasible.

It's best to keep the list under control with maybe 25 to 50 items, depending on how difficult they'll be to find, and give participants a few hours to come back with everything on the list. A shorter time period also makes it more exciting because then it's not just about finding everything, but finding it before the deadline.

Provide Prizes

There has to be a point to finding everything on the scavenger hunt list other than just the thrill of the chase. Approach local businesses and ask them to donate gift certificates or small items to serve as prizes for the winning teams. Hunters will be more motivated to find everything on the list if they know there's a prize waiting for them at the end.

Provide Refreshments

After a long day of scavenging for items, your participants are going to be hungry! Have a pizza and punch party for everyone afterward. It's inexpensive and rewards everyone without cutting to deeply into your organization's funds. It's also just a nice way to thank everyone for getting involved and donating money to your cause.

Keep Safety in Mind

This is especially important if kids get involved in your scavenger hunt. Make sure that kids will be supervised by their parents or other adults in the group at all times. Don't send anyone to any area that presents danger, such as a construction site.

There are thousands of things you can include on your list that are easily and safely accessible. Keep it safe and fun for everyone.


  1. irene masson says:

    could you please email me phone number to talk to someone on how to get started i do want to do this not to sure on how to do thanks

    • Anne Harris says:

      Did you get an answer and have your hunt ?

  2. tautvydas says:

    could you contact me via email. i would like to discuss about fundraising

  3. Sheila O'Brien says:

    could you provide me more in detail in how I would attempt to go about this for my college. Thank you

  4. Kris Olson says:

    Could you tell me how to raise money doing this — is there a fee to get the app?

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