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How to plan a fundraiser

Planning a fundraiser for your favorite cause is exciting!  It also comes with a lot of moving parts. We’re breaking down how to plan a fundraiser into nine simple steps. 

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Patient CJ sits and hugs her friend Addy

St. Jude patient CJ with her friend Addy


How to plan a fundraising event

Want your fundraising plan to go off without a hitch? Follow these steps for a fun and successful fundraiser. 

Patient Alanna stands with her arms out wide wearing a colorful dress and a smile

St. Jude patient Alanna


1. Choose a fundraising goal

Your first step in planning a fundraiser is to set a fundraising goal. Knowing how much money you’d like to raise for your cause can help shape the event and its attendees, and can help you define success. Be sure the amount you choose feels attainable. 


2. Set a realistic budget

Once you’ve chosen your fundraising goal, the next step is to determine how much you’d like to spend on your event. Consider everything that will go into your fundraiser — staffing, entertainment, food and drinks, decorations and venue fees — and calculate how much you’ll need to spend.

Measure these costs against your fundraising goal. This can help keep your spending in check and ensure you’ll get as much for your money as possible, so you can focus on your fundraising goals. 

St. Jude patient Brayden stands with his dad as they both smile.

St. Jude patient Brayden with his dad

Patient Geraldine smiles in her wheelchair while wearing a St. Jude sweatshirt.

St. Jude patient Geraldine


3. Pick a theme

Having a theme for your fundraising event can help draw in more people and ensure they have a great time raising money for your cause.

Choose a theme that resonates with your target audience. For example, a dance marathon might work best if you’re targeting high school or college students, while a fundraising run might be a better idea for a fitness community. 

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4. Find a great location

One of the most important parts of a successful fundraiser is the location. When finding your ideal event venue, consider your budget, your audience, the theme and accessibility. You’ll want to find a space that’s large enough for and appealing to your audience, goes with your fundraising theme and is accessible to all guests.

St. Jude patient Keegan smiles in a pastel dress and a crown of flowers.

St. Jude patient Keegan

Patient Lizbeth holds her hand up for her mom as they both smile and wear This Shirt Saves Lives T-shirts.

St. Jude patient Lizbeth with her mom


5. Gather sponsors and volunteers

Sponsors and volunteers are an important part of any successful charity event. Meet with local businesses and organizations that may be interested in contributing to your fundraiser. Sponsors can help cover the costs of the event, provide food and drinks, offer prizes and more.

You may also need volunteers to help run your fundraiser. Use the resources at your disposal, like email and social media, to reach out to friends and family. 

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6. Determine how you’ll accept donations

Before taking in donations, you’ll need to determine the methods you’ll use to accept them. And let your participants know what to expect so they can donate easily, whether it be through cash, checks, online or through payment apps, like PayPal or Venmo.

St. Jude patient Kiki sits with her service dog.

St. Jude patient Kiki with her service dog, Asher Lux

Patient Quincy holds up a photo of himself when he was younger and in treatment at St. Jude.

St. Jude patient Quincy


7. Make a schedule for event day

The next step is to create a schedule for the day. Map out when the event will happen and how the day will unfold. Building and sticking to a schedule can help ensure your event feels organized and the day runs as smoothly as possible. Be sure to plan for the unexpected as well, including the weather. Build in some buffer time to account for any hiccups or surprises. 


8. Market your event

Once you’ve ironed out all the details, it’s time to market your event. Getting the word out is key, so use all of the resources you have available.

Social media is particularly helpful for marketing. Post about your fundraiser and encourage others to share the information. Using email and more traditional marketing materials, like flyers and word-of-mouth, are also effective tools to get people excited to come to your event. 

Find St. Jude Fundraising Resources

St. Jude patient Oaklee stands in a bright dress with a smile and her hands on her hips.

St. Jude patient Oaklee

Patient Rinoa stands in a colorful outfit and grins as she makes a heart with her hands.

St. Jude patient Rinoa


9. Get fundraising!

Now it's time for the fun part! You’ve done all of the hard work to plan your fundraiser and make your event as successful as it can be. Let the fundraising begin!

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Find a fundraiser

Interested in fundraising for St. Jude, but don’t have the time to organize an event? Join or donate to one of our current fundraisers. From walk-a-thons to scavenger hunts, find a fundraiser that works for you.

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What can fundraising money do?

When you fundraise for St. Jude, you're helping us work toward our mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®

  1. $350 could help provide 30 platelet count tests*

    Donate $350

    Patient Adalyn sits on her mom's lap and touches her hands in a hospital room.

    St. Jude patient Adalyn and her mom

  2. $500 could help cover the cost of 25 sets of IV tubing for chemotherapy*

    Donate $500

    Patient's Ava playing with a stethoscope in a colorful hospital room with her mom.

    St. Jude patient Ava with her mom

  3. $750 could help cover the cost of a spinal tap*

    Donate $750

    Patient Lucas sits in a colorful hospital room wearing a mask and a serious expression.

    St. Jude patient Lucas

  4. $1,000 could help cover the cost of three chest X-rays*

    Donate $1,000

    Patient Janelle holds her dad's hand as she guides him into a hospital room.

    St. Jude patient Janelle with her dad

  5. $2,500 could help cover the cost of two days of outpatient visits*

    Donate $2,500

    Patient Mila is wheeled through the hospital in a stroller by her mom.

    St. Jude patient Mila and her mom

  6. $5,000 could help provide three days of chemotherapy administered intravenously to leukemia or solid tumor patients*

    Donate $5,000

    Patient Alanna sits on her mom's lap in a hospital setting.

    St. Jude patient Alanna with her mom


* When you make a donation using this information, your donation will be used to provide breakthrough research, treatment and cures. Items listed here are representative of services and supplies that are part of the treatment and care of children at St. Jude. The cost of each item or service is an approximation, and will vary based on actual costs incurred and individual patient needs. Your donation will be used for the general operating needs of St. Jude, where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.


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