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How a Scavenger Hunt Fundraiser Works

Hosting a scavenger hunt fundraiser is simple! Your organization charges teams and individuals an entrance fee to take part in the fun. Then, each team is given a list of items to take pictures with or a list of clues that lead to physical objects.

Participants search the area for items, keeping in mind that they have to return to the starting location by a set time. The winner will be the person or team that returns with the most items in the least amount of time.

  • Fun for the whole family. When done correctly, scavenger hunts are the epitome of family-friendly activities. All you have to do is tailor your event to be inclusive of children. For instance, a parent can be the team leader of each kids team. Clues can be simple and prizes can include sweet treats or toys. Families will appreciate this effort and think highly of your organization.
  • Natural team-building exercises. When planning any fundraising event, your staff will be able to develop their problem-solving, creativity, and leadership skills. Participants will also learn how to use teamwork and healthy competition to achieve a common goal.
  • Low cost, high reward. Scavenger hunts can still be successful on a tight budget. Choose items that already exist in your area, such as public art or landmarks, and post the clues online to eliminate the need for paper. Then, all you need to purchase is the winning prize. Participants also don’t need to reach too far into their wallets, since the event primarily consists of walking, talking, and solving riddles.
  • Forming longterm connections. Scavenger hunts help your staff and supporters release their inner child, share some laughs, and get to know each other better. You’ll be able to bond over a mutual interest and form a sense of community.

From churches to social advocacy groups, any nonprofit can benefit from hosting a scavenger hunt fundraiser.

Getting Started With Scavenger Hunt Fundraisers

Here are a few steps that your nonprofit should to take when hosting the perfect scavenger hunt:

  1. Pick a location. Scavenger hunts usually require a large, relatively open space. Ideal places for scavenger hunt fundraisers include parks, neighborhoods, and quiet city streets. Make sure your fundraiser is located in a safe enough area for people to run around.
  2. Select your theme. Once you have a set location, work alongside your team to brainstorm themes. Get creative! This will help you come up with the right clues and prizes.
  3. Set participation price. Teams are required to raise a certain amount of money or pay an entry fee to participate in the scavenger hunt fundraiser. You can increase the price of a ticket by encouraging sponsorships, only accepting groups larger than 3 people, and offering other incentives like food and beverages.
  4. Choose prizes. Prizes don’t have to be costly. It can be a gift card to a local restaurant or a nice bottle of wine. You may even want to give everyone a prize, such as trophies or goodie bags. If you really want to peak people’s interest and solicit larger donations, offer something like concert tickets or discounted gym memberships.
  5. Market your event. Spread the word out about your event, so participants have time to sign up, form teams, and ask their family and friends to pledge donations. Use your email newsletter, flyers, and social media to promote your upcoming event.
  6. Follow up with your supporters. Show your appreciation with personalized thank you cards, a social media shoutout, or other forms of donor appreciation. Include the results of your event, so your participants understand the impact of their contributions.

Although a scavenger hunt fundraiser requires some planning on your part, it’s not a huge investment and will ultimately be a positive experience for everyone involved.

Creative Scavenger Hunt Ideas

If you want to host an event that’s challenging, interactive, and customizable, consider scavenger hunts! Here are some creative themes that are bound to gain interest and donations:

  • Nature scavenger hunt. Nature scavenger hunts are great for people who love the outdoors and are environmentally conscious. You can plan the hunt in a nature preserve, hiking trail, or park. Participants can take pictures of wildlife, identify different kinds of trees, and collect wildflowers. As a prize, you can plant 100 trees in honor of the winning team.
  • Photo scavenger hunt. Put your photography skills to the test with a photo hunt. All you need is a smartphone and a list of items to photograph. Determine the winner based on creativity or the number of images captured. Prizes can include a scrapbook or polaroid camera.
  • Community scavenger hunt. Show appreciation for your community by sending your participants on a goose chase around the area. Tell them to find a specific book at the library or snap a photo at the fire station. The winner can then take home a handicraft made by a local artisan.
  • Bar crawl scavenger hunt. For made especially for adults, host a bar crawl scavenger hunt. Winners can be determined by whichever team collects the most bottle caps or visits the most bars. Just be sure to check IDs if you’re sponsoring an alcohol-filled event!

With all these ideas, you’re ready to host an amazing scavenger hunt fundraiser!

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