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Fundraising Idea of the Month:
Don't Come Event

by Doug Nash

Do you ever feel that at times you would rather not go to that function? You feel that you would rather stay at home, grab a quiet night and help out a really good cause by doing so? Then the Don't Come Event is something that you should seriously consider using as a fundraising event.

Imagine how good people will feel towards you for saving them the effort or inconvenience of attending `another' time consuming function with `boring' speeches and people that they might not want to see again quite so soon or at all.

Here is the perfect fundraising activity for the very busy who appreciate a good idea when they see one and like to support good causes.

What you do is send a humorous invitation to an event that will never take place. This is a novel way of asking for a donation. The invitation must be clear in explaining that the dinner will never take place and why it is to your invitee's benefit not to come to a dinner they have paid for.

The invitation must be appealing and very presentable so some invitees might consider having it framed and put on display. Furthermore it is a low cost method of getting your message out there in a very friendly manner. If constructed properly the invitation should be able to be used as a conversation piece. Be original and use your imagination, as the dinner will never take place you can have it anywhere, anytime and it won't cost any extra.

To reduce the cost of the invitations approach a printer to donate the cost of the printing by allowing them to have their name somewhere on the invitation.

Who do you invite? The major advantage of this type of event is that you are freed from the restraint of only appealing to your membership! You can invite anyone! From the Prime Minister down, every one is a potential invitee. Invite politicians, media personalities (you might even get a free plug), anyone who you think will or is liable to support your cause.

Depending on the funds at your disposal, you can send out as many invitations as you deem appropriate. Just keep in mind that you will not get a response from every invitee.

Work on the expectation that only a percentage will respond and from there send out enough invitations that will probably secure enough positive responses to make the activity worthwhile.

After the invitee has paid for his ticket/s, issue a certificate of thank you for their non-attendance. Again re-affirm all the benefits the invitee has enjoyed by their non-attendance mentioned in the original invitation.

Where possible include a speech by the guest speaker who also did not attend. If the guest speaker is fictional, a cartoon or movie character, you have the choice of having a long print out of meaningless gibberish as a speech or include a genuine speech on a topic related to your fundraising organization.

If the guest is a celebrity who is lending their name to your event then you have a choice of asking them to prepare a genuine speech or have an approved speech ghost written on their behalf. A genuine celebrity lending their name to a speech supplied in writing on request is another good reason that invitees can use to support your activity. This can also be extended to casino-type events where the invitees can plan their losses and include a `loss' donation. Highlight the fact the invitee is in a small and elite group invited to such an exclusive event.

Model for Dinner Invitation


Number 01 of 100

We have reserved a place for


at our


on January 1st 2000 at the South Pole

Promptly at 6:00 AM


Please show this card to the non-existent

usher to be seated promptly

Guest of Honour, J.F. KENNEDY, Speaking on

`Why Don't Come Events Can Save Your Life'

$  per plate

Dress Code: Black Tie

Donation inclosed Y/N


Please send me a copy of the main speech Y/N


    About the Author: Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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