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Does your organization have the supplies, space, or expertise to make a paint and sip fundraiser possible?

How to Host a Paint and Sip Fundraiser: 5 Steps

Ready to plan a paint and sip fundraiser? Get started off on the right foot with these five planning steps. 

1. Secure a venue. 

Getting the right venue will be key to the success of your paint and sip fundraiser. You’ll need a space with a large open room where every participant can be set up with their own stool and easel. But you’ll also need space for servers to circulate throughout the night, passing out beverages and treats.  You might consider the following for your event: 

  • School or rec center gymnasiums
  • Open-concept event centers
  • Covered outdoor spaces 

As you work to find the right venue for your event, be sure to find one that will be easy to clean up. After all, between the refreshments and any rogue paint splatters, you may need to do some tidying up at the end of the event. Consider laying down some protective tarps to make this easier. 

2. Purchase art supplies and refreshments.  

You won’t get very far with a paint and sip fundraiser without anything to paint with or sip on! Here are the materials you’ll need for a successful event: 

  • Painting Materials
    • Easels and stools 
    • Canvases 
    • Paintbrushes 
    • Paints 
    • Palettes
    • Rags or paper towels 
    • Jars of cups of water for rinsing brushes
  • Refreshments 
    • Wine or other alcoholic beverages (Note that you’ll need to ensure participants who select an alcoholic beverage for the event are 21 or older.) 
    • Sodas
    • Fresh juices or lemonades 
    • Water 
    • Sweet treats (cake, pie, tarts, fruit, sorbet, etc.) 
    • Savory snacks (mini charcuterie boards, spring rolls, shrimp)

3. Recruit an art instructor. 

Recruiting some sort of art instructor, whether that be a well-known local muralist or a university or high school art teacher, will be key to the success of your event. After all, most of your supporters likely aren’t experienced painters, so part of the pull of the event will be getting some expert painting instruction. 

When you recruit your art instructor, make it clear that you want them to provide general instruction throughout the event and either guide all your participants through painting the same painting or letting their individual creativity show. Encourage them to circulate throughout the night, providing encouragement and tips as needed. 

If your event is especially large, consider filming the instruction and projecting it onto screens around the room. 

4. Have participants pay to register. 

To make money with this fundraiser, have your supporters pay to register. Charge a modest ticket amount that will cover the cost of art supplies for one person and one beverage and snack. This way, you can make more money when supporters purchase additional supplies or refreshments!

The best way to have your participants register is to set up a dedicated events page on your nonprofit website. This will be a central place where participants can not only register, but stay updated on the who, what, and where of your event. 

5. Decorate the space to set the tone for the event. 

When your supporters attend your paint and sip event, you want to make sure that they feel like the artists they’re going to become throughout the night. Consider decorating your venue with famous paintings and inspirational signs. Classical music or upbeat, instrumental pop covers can also set the tone for a fun, creativity-filled night!


3 Fun Paint and Sip Fundraiser Variations

Looking for an extra-fun spin on the classic paint and sip fundraiser? Here are three variations on the idea that your supporters will love: 

1. Virtual Paint and Sip 

If you know that a majority of your supporters would prefer a night of painting at home or if it would be difficult to get everyone together, consider hosting your paint and sip virtually. You can either livestream or pre-record your period of instruction with your art expert, and supporters can participate with refreshments and art supplies sent to their homes beforehand. 

Encourage extra engagement by asking supporters to post pictures of their creations on social media using a dedicated event hashtag, or, if you’re livestreaming, make sure to encourage participation in the virtual chat throughout the night!

2. Bob Ross Paint-Along

Bob Ross is well known for encouraging artists of all skill levels to paint “happy trees” and embrace “happy little accidents.” So, why not lead a paint-along using one of his many landscape painting videos

Whether you want to paint a cozy winter cabin or a mountain standing tall in the green wilderness, Bob Ross can provide the instruction (and endearing motivation) for your paint and sip! 

Simply play one of Ross’s videos and enjoy the relaxing experience. 

3. Suit Up ‘N’ Splatter 

Want a more high-octane sip and paint experience? Try a Suit Up ‘N’ Splatter event! 

For this paint and sip variation, you’ll need a place to get messy. Provide plastic ponchos for each participant and encourage them to fling, splatter, and splash paint on their canvases. Make it clear that participants should wear clothes that can get dirty!

Organizations That Host Paint and Sip Fundraisers

You may be wondering if a paint and sip fundraiser is right for your specific organization. Here is a list of organizations that typically enjoy paint and sip fundraisers: 

  • Nonprofits and NGOs
  • Churches 
  • Clubs and community groups 
  • Companies 
  • Schools 

Note that if minors (or young adults under 21) will be in attendance, you’ll need to ensure you have beverage options that cater to their needs!