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Speed Dating Fundraisers: The Basics

What is a speed dating fundraiser?

Speed dating events are organized gatherings that give local, single adults the chance to meet others in their community and make connections. These events typically work like this:

  1. Organizers promote the event and recruit single people to participate.
  2. Guests line up or get stationed at a specific table with another person.
  3. For 5 or 10 minutes, each pair has a conversation, asks each other questions, and finds out if they’re interested in talking again.
  4. A bell rings and everyone switches partners.
  5. The cycle repeats until the end of the event.
  6. Guests have time to mingle and ask for the contact information of anyone they made a connection with.

To make a speed dating event into a fundraiser, all you have to do is charge a registration or entrance fee and collect donations. You can also make announcements throughout the event about your cause, and consider selling refreshments or branded merchandise to earn more donations.

Who can host a speed dating fundraiser?

Anyone! Speed dating fundraisers can work well for any organization, church, or school, as long as they have an audience that includes plenty of single and interested participants!

If you’re not sure if your supporters would be interested in this kind of event, send out a survey or post a poll on social media to get their opinions.

What do you need to host a speed dating fundraiser?

To host an engaging speed dating event, you’ll need:

  • A venue with plenty of space: Fun venues for speed dating might include a lounge or bar, but any large space can work! All you really need is tables, chairs, and space for guests to easily move from one table to another. Even an outdoor space could work if the weather’s nice!
  • Volunteers: Ideally, you’ll have a lot of guests excited to participate in the speed dating. To keep guests happy and ensure the event runs smoothly, recruit volunteers who can make announcements, tell guests when to switch partners, and answer any questions. 
  • Nametags: Giving each guest a nametag will make conversations easier and make it more likely guests will remember the names of those they really connect with. Provide more nametags than registered guests to cover any mishaps, and don’t forget pens or markers!
  • Conversation starters: While this isn’t a necessity, giving your guests a list of topics or questions to use in conversation can provide the spark they need to get conversations going. Especially after talking to 10 or 20 different people, it can be a challenge to think of what to say to the next person.

If you have room in your budget, it also helps to provide light refreshments. Small snacks and fun drinks can keep guests happy and even start conversations. 

Creative Ideas for Speed Dating Fundraisers

Speed dating fundraisers are highly flexible and leave plenty of room to get creative. Try out our ideas for taking your speed dating event to the next level:

  • Give it a theme. Choose a fun theme for your event that aligns with the season or location. For example, if you’re hosting your speed dating fundraiser outside in the spring, the theme could be “Love is in the Air.” Highlight the theme in marketing materials, set up decorations, and write some conversation starter questions that match the theme.
  • Auction off date nightsAdding an auction to your speed dating fundraiser provides extra fundraising revenue and makes the event more fun for guests. Create baskets of date night supplies, or auction off items like dinner reservations and theme park tickets. 
  • Have live music. Know any loyal supporters who are musicians? Recruit volunteers to play live music throughout the event to set the mood.
  • Sell homemade treats. Combine fundraising ideas by including a small bake sale at the speed dating event. Ask volunteers to bring in homemade brownies, cookies, and other baked goods to sell for a good cause.