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How to Plan a Pub Crawl

Strategic planning is crucial to the success of your pub crawl. That’s because you want to give your supporters and participating business sponsors the best experience possible.

With this in mind, follow these steps to plan a successful pub crawl: 

  1. Reach out to potential business partners. Local businesses are often happy to support community organizations through fundraising because it boosts their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Reach out to the local businesses in your area, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries, to ask if they’d like to participate in your event as one of your pub crawl locations. Highlight the benefits that the businesses will receive, such as increased sales on event day and a positive PR boost. 
  2. Determine your fundraising mechanism. Decide whether you’ll collect funds by asking business partners to contribute a portion of the sales made during the event, by selling event tickets, or both. If you decide to sell tickets, choose your ticket fee by considering your fundraising goal and expected attendance rate. 
  3. Plan your route. Create a map that attendees can use to find your participating business locations. Print out these maps and offer a digital version. Make sure to design the maps with your organization’s name, colors, and logo to promote brand awareness. 
  4. Choose a fun theme. A fun theme gives participants an excuse to dress up and be creative. For example, if your crawl is 80s-themed, you can encourage participants to dress up in their best throwback looks and your participating restaurants to play 80s music. 
  5. Market your event. Promote your event using social media, your email newsletter, your website, and flyers posted around town. Use your marketing materials to not only describe all of the fun activities attendees will get to participate in but also the positive impact they’ll make on your cause. 
  6. Track fundraising progress. Keep track of metrics such as total ticket sales and your fundraising total. Compare your end results with your projections to see whether your event met your expectations. 

5 Tips for Making Your Pub Crawl Fundraiser a Success

How can you go above and beyond to make your pub crawl fundraiser an unforgettable event? Use these ideas to create an engaging, memorable opportunity that encourages attendees to donate and get more involved in your cause: 

  1. Host the crawl at the right time of the year. Your event won’t be very well-attended if you host it on a chilly night in January. Plan to host your crawl during the warmer summer months. You might also align your event with other major holidays or events, such as Halloween or Oktoberfest, for an easy theme idea. 
  2. Create a signature drink or dish. Work with a restaurant or bar in your crawl lineup to create a signature dish or drink based on your nonprofit’s cause. For example, you might work with a local coffee shop to create a signature tea or coffee beverage that crawl participants can purchase during the event. Give your menu item a fun name based on your nonprofit’s cause. For instance, if your organization works to promote local honeybee populations, your special drink might be a honey oat milk latte called the Buzzing Bee. 
  3. Design event t-shirts. Design a stylish, comfortable t-shirt using your organization’s branding and your event’s theme. Make sure your logo or organization name is prominently displayed. To provide extra publicity for your business partners, include a list of all participating business locations on the back of the t-shirts. 
  4. Hire a photographer. Contact a local photographer to take photos throughout the crawl. Post your photos on social media and send participants the link to an online album via email so they can find photos of themselves from the event. This can give attendees a special memento from the night while giving other supporters a glimpse at the fun events your organization hosts, encouraging them to consider attending next time. 


11 Pub Crawl Theme Ideas to Wow Participants

Need some help coming up with a fun pub crawl theme? Start with this list of ideas to help get your creativity flowing: 

  1. Zombie Run/Haunted bar crawl
  2. St. Patrick’s Day 
  3. Red, white, and blue (for the Fourth of July)
  4. Decades (the 60s, 70s, 80, or 90s are always fun ideas)
  5. Silent Disco
  6. Christmas/Santa
  7. Pirate-themed
  8. Pajama party
  9. Turkey day (for Thanksgiving) 
  10. Superheroes
  11. Mardi Gras