Creating a successful third-party fundraising event


Third-party or community fundraising events are primarily organized, driven, and executed by volunteers, donors, and affiliates with proceeds benefitting Johns Hopkins. They are a fantastic way to promote the work of Johns Hopkins to your personal networks while also garnering support for important causes. You can use these events to honor or remember a loved one, share your story, or raise awareness for a certain cause — anything that is most meaningful to you.


When organizing a third-party fundraising event, take advantage of these best practices to ensure its success:

  • Speak with Johns Hopkins Development prior to the planning process. To ensure your event aligns with institutional policies, reach out to your divisional office to receive approval before proceeding with the planning process. They will provide valuable resources, guidelines, and permissions for events, such as proper use of Johns Hopkins branding, tax ID and deductibility information, and ways to give. They can also identify an appropriate fund for contributions to be allocated, develop talking points for how the money will be used, and provide event collateral materials and advice. Additional support varies by division.
  • Choose a meaningful activity. What types of activities do you enjoy? What types of activities will your audience respond to? Add a fundraising component and make it fun – put the FUN in fundraising! Some examples may include a bake sale, car wash, walk-a-thons, fun-runs, sport tournament, auctions, etc.
  • Plan and set goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your event? Do you plan to personally match funds or identify a donor or company who may match funds? Work with Development to establish a reasonable monetary goal considering your activity and target audience. What will be your volunteer staffing needs? What supplies do you need? You should consider these important elements in order to set expectations for yourself and donors.
  • Promote your event. Give your event a name. Set the date, time, and site details. Make it clear that your event is not a Johns Hopkins-sponsored event, but emphasize that all proceeds will be used to benefit Johns Hopkins. Use social media, flyers, or personally solicit sponsors or potential donors and volunteers. Your development office can help to create appropriate and effective language and may also be able to assist in additional promotional efforts.
  • Capture impact. Track the number of donors, dollars raised, and impact the proceeds will have. What if you don’t reach your fundraising goal? That’s ok – every dollar contributes to the meaningful work supported by your event.
  • Thank. After successful completion of a fundraising event, thank your donors and supporters for their contributions. Ask your Development representative about how they can help in the acknowledgment process.


If you are interested in holding your own third-party fundraising event, check out coverage from these successful campaigns:


For more examples on third-party fundraising, see these sample guidelines from across Johns Hopkins: