Virtual fundraising is becoming more popular and commonplace today.  It offers a number of advantages over traditional fundraising approaches.   It can either complement traditional strategies or in some instances substitute them.   We will propose several different virtual fundraising techniques within this series. For starters, let’s focus on non-event fundraising!


A non-event fundraiser is a great way to raise money by promoting an event you’re NOT having, and by being very clear you’re NOT having an event. Affiliates may choose develop digital presentations in order to showcase pictures from the program, highlight students, honor any awardees (e.g, mentor of the year, etc.).

Other ideas may include the creation of short videos of board chair statements and/or  talks by featured speakers.

This is an unconventional way to raise money, but it can be very effective, if done right!


Start by having fun… Come up with some creative names! Think of fancy events as well as more casual affairs:

  • The Stay-at-Home Non-Gala
  • The No Gala Gala
  • The Hula-at-Home Non-Luau
  • The Have-a-Cocktail-Whenever-You-Want Non-Event
  • The “No, I wasn’t there, because no one was there” Event of The Year!

There are several ways to make money off a non-event fundraiser, all easy.

You can ask for non-event sponsors and highlight them on the non-event invitations and web page.  Sponsorship levels can vary.


Another way is to sell tickets to the event you’re asking potential donors not to attend. The ticket gives them permission to not go anywhere.

We know you love The ACE Mentor Program of America and value the work we do. We also know you’re busy and might  like a night at home once in a while. Please join us on________ for our non-event, where you celebrate ACE by NOT coming.

Tickets for this event are $50 (or whatever amount you set depending on the cost of an actual event).

You can also ask for donations equal to the amount an attendee would expect to spend coming to such an event. Make the suggestions match the “type” of non-event you’re throwing (i.e. breakfast vs. an after-work cocktail hour).

In attending this non-event, you’ll save:

  • The price of the tux or dress you’d have bought or rented
  • Babysitter money and all the pizza you would have paid for
  • Cab rides or parking fees
  • The cost of the ticket itself
  • The hassle of convincing someone to go with you

Or make it simple:

This year, instead of hosting a large formal fundraising event with high-priced tickets, we’re hoping to funnel as much money as possible into our mission. This year we plan to [describe your project or goal]. Please consider making a donation at this time, as all money will go to supporting the mission, rather than planning and running the event.

Your entire donation is tax deductible since virtual fundraisers do not have the expenses of an actual event. 

Some samples messages to your donors and regular event attendees:

  • ONE MONTH Out: Don’t forget to RSVP to this event we’re not throwing!
  • THREE WEEKS Out: I better not see you trying to sneak into our non-event!
  • TWO WEEKS Out: Are you still trying to decide if you’re not going to the thing we’re not throwing?
  • FIVE DAYS Out: Only 5 days out to get your anti-RSVP in! Anti-RSVP?? What about just RSVP?
  • DAY OF: Don’t forget to pick up the popcorn and beer for your night on the couch!

The emails link to a landing page with more information about the event. Describe what you’re using the donations for, and add a “Donate Now” button disguised as an RSVP.

Looking for additional information? Watch this webinar: