Treasure of a Fundraiser
By Joe Dean
the 15+ years of designing themed treasure hunts professionally,
some of the most successful and exciting events planned were for
fundraising efforts. With low overhead costs and the ability to
generate a lot of excitement for a fresh, new type of event, themed
adventures are proving to be more and more successful in raising
money for private and public organizations, large and small.
a number of different creative and exciting ways to raise money
by planning a themed treasure hunt. This article will attempt
to 'whet your appetite' as to the numerous ways funds can be raised
and excitement generated for your next fundraising event.
itself can vary greatly in both size and budget. Some hunts I've
produced have been for crowds in the hundreds paying small entrant
fees - all attempting to be the first to complete the hunt for
a prize donated by a local merchant. Others have been considerably
more sophisticated, as in the case of a California Department
of Mental Health function held a few years ago. Bids were sold
to a more affluent crowd and a Quest for the Holy Grail adventure
was held on the grounds of a very large and wealthy estate. (For
more information on the Quest for the Holy Grail adventure) The
flexibility exists to ensure that every group fundraiser can be
successful, no matter the size, age or affluence of the
is a collection of ideas to show the various and numerous ways
to raise money easily and creatively by planning a fantastic themed
treasure hunt adventure &
Begin by planning on selling tickets to participate in the event.
The adventure itself will be worth the price of the ticket, by
following the step-by-step instructions of planning this kind
of themed adventure. Ticket prices can vary depending on the demographics
of your participants. For example, if your are planning an event
involving high school aged students, you'd probably fair better
at selling hundreds of tickets at a cheaper price. However, if
you were planning an event for a more mature and sophisticated
crowd, you might want sell tickets at a much higher price, making
available only a set number of tickets for purchase to ensure
higher odds at winning the grand prize for the participants (especially
if a prize is given for the winning team.)
Great prizes can be offered. Many groups have been very successful
at arranging for prizes to be donated by local merchants. Sometimes
a large prize was donated, such as a television set. At other
times, a small basket of several smaller gifts has been offered
from donating merchants ($15 gift certificates, etc.) Prizes can
also come in the form of services provided by the organization
planning the adventure. For example, a prom committee raising
funds for their dance could give out free Prom bids to the first
five finishing teams. Another idea for a prize is to have the
top placing teams being refunded their entry fee - or even getting
a percentage of the total proceeds taken in by the event.
Here are a few tricks to get prizes donated
o Offer the vendor's location as one of the stop's (free advertising)
o Offer to photocopy a small advertisement on the back of a map
o Allow the vendor (depending on the type of business they are
in) to set up a booth or something thereof at the final destination.
o Put the sponsor's advertisement on the ticket the participants
As a way to enhance your theme, find out if a local costume shop
will donate one or some of the needed costumes
Curtailing the above, if there are any other props or set pieces
that would enhance your theme, find out if there are any vendors
who would donate them in exchange for a form of advertising
Capitalize on your theme. Is your theme based on Pirates of the
Caribbean? Why not have a small pirate port themed area at the
beginning/end of the hunt and sell spaces to vendors where themed
items and food can be sold? The same would work for a mini Renaissance
Faire or an Egyptian marketplace. Depending on your theme, you
could really plan a spectacular bazaar that could rival the hunt
itself for excitement!
Print up a mini story or background piece about the theme and
storyline of your adventure treasure hunt and distribute them
to the participants before they begin. It will generate a lot
of enthusiasm when your participants get consumed with the story.
Once the event is proven as a success, it could easily be turned
into an annual event, as it did with several of my clients. Teams
from the year before often reassembled in later hunts to try once
more to win the prize. A continuing plaque or trophy could be
displayed with the current and all past year's winners.
greatest part about planning a themed treasure hunt adventure
for your next fundraiser, besides all the excitement it will generate,
is the fact that it has a potentially very high chance of having
very little overhead costs. Aside from some photocopies and footwork,
few other expenses need to be expended - now that is music to
a fundraiser's ears!
new and exciting that everyone will remember in future years!
Plan a treasure of a fundraiser!
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