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Could your organization help nonprofits host an escape room fundraiser? Consider sponsoring this fundraising idea to expand your network!

How to Set Up An Escape Room

Learn how your nonprofit can unlock the full potential of escape room fundraisers by following the steps below.

1. Find an escape room venue.

Any room in your facility will do, especially if you have access to the right decorations! If you’re not sure where to host your escape room, think about how extensive you want the challenge to be. Will participants need to scavenge multiple rooms for clues? Is a certain room shape or size needed? If so, you might want to dedicate extra time to your venue search.

2. Plan the room’s theme.

Once you’ve selected your venue, determine the theme of your challenge. Many escape room challenges follow a storyline. For example, participants may find that they’ve been locked in the room by a mad scientist who wants to end the world! Your supporters must escape to save the world.

To choose a theme that will truly engage your participants, consider the following tips:

  • Make it relevant to your mission. Your supporters are likely passionate about your cause, so they’ll enjoy a challenge that relates to your work! For example, an animal shelter might host a veterinarian-themed escape room where all the clues were written by dogs. Especially when you keep the theme lighthearted, it can reinforce the actual purpose of the escape room.
  • Ask for supporters’ opinions: If you’re still unsure of what theme would be the most fun, ask your supporters in a social media poll or email survey! You can take ideas from their suggestions or use a survey response in its entirety.

Remember that the theme will be intertwined with each aspect of the escape room planning process. Before settling on a concept for the challenge, make sure you’ll have access to the appropriate decorations and be able to plan relevant clues that tie in with the theme.

3. Create escape clues.

After you’ve planned the room’s concept, it’s time to plan how your participants will actually escape the room! Work backward from their escape, first planning what they must do to unlock the room’s door and then planning each clue that will lead them to the key.

4. Sell tickets and start fundraising!

Finally, promote your event and start selling tickets! Your supporters will likely want to team up with family members and friends, so provide plenty of possible reservation times to allow as many groups as possible to participate.

You’ll likely also need volunteers to act as game masters and supervise the event. They may offer additional clues to the group (and will also be there to help out in case the participants don’t make it out before the timer goes off!) Recruit several volunteers to manage the fundraiser and ensure they know all the clues so they can provide assistance as needed.

Escape Room Fundraiser Theme Inspiration

If you can’t think of a theme for your escape room, consider the following settings:

  • Casino: Fill a room with games and fake money. Clues might be hidden underneath poker chips or in a specific combination of dice.
  • Museum: Create a museum-like experience with fake artifacts. You can even include real information, like trivia facts, as clues to help participants escape.
  • Haunted house: Use all your spookiest decorations to implement this theme—participants will be anxious to get out!

Don’t forget to ask your supporters for ideas to find out what they’d be most interested in! You might also create a pre-event challenge where supporters submit their ideas and the supporter with the winning idea gets to participate for free.