Guidelines for Great Fundraising Events

Hosting an event puts the "Fun" in Fundraising! To get started, be sure to choose the right event for you. If this is your first event, make sure that you choose an event that you are familiar with.  For example, if you’re a golfer, consider a golf outing. If you’re a natural hostess, consider a dinner party.

Make it easy, keep it simple. That way you can focus on what matters most, rather than details and logistics.

Big or small, it all helps. Anyone who takes the time to raise money for AFSP is appreciated. You decide the size of event that makes sense for you.

Stretch yourself creatively, and be sure to have fun. We want this to be enjoyable for you!

Here are some ideas to get you started…

“Taste of” Events

Bake Sale



Concession Stands

Craft Auction

Dinner Party

Fashion Show

Fitness Challenges

Golf Outing

Holiday Wrapping

Office “Jeans” Day

Pennies for Prevention


Restaurant Openings

Softball Tournaments 

Used Book Sale

Wine Tasting











Once you have chosen your event, consider these steps. Not all will apply depending on the event you’re creating.

Plan a timeline. When will your event be? How much time do you need to plan the details, and get the word out?

Make a simple budget. Include both income and expenses. Make sure that you have an understanding of the cash flow, so you can cover your expenses with the income from the event. 

Check your local and state guidelines to see if your event requires liability insurance. You can get simple, cost-effective, one-time event insurance.  Below are some options:

Doing a raffle? Make sure you seek appropriate state gaming licenses for your state.

Get the Word Out. Make sure that your publicity materials are completed early and you start to get the word out about your event as soon as possible. Consider beginning to publicize your event 2-3 months in advance.

Fundraise Online. Use your DonorDrive fundraising page to make it easier for you to reach donors, and for them to donate. 

Have fun! If the experience is enjoyable for you, your co-hosts, and the guests, it is more likely that it will become an annual endeavor, allowing you to raise more funds for a cause that is close to your heart!

Planning Details:

Promotional materials must clearly state that your event is raising funds for AFSP—that AFSP is a beneficiary, and not conducting or sponsoring the event. For example, “proceeds from the XYZ Golf Tournament will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”

Promotional materials should be clear about the approximate percentage of proceeds that will be donated.

If you must buy goods or services for the event and expenses will be incurred, please consider the following:

  • Expenses incurred for conducting the event are the responsibility of the hosting volunteers and the organizer of the event.
  • Best practices is to keep event expenses to less than twenty five percent (25%) of the total amount raised.
  • AFSP will not reimburse organizer for the purchase of goods for a third-party event. No goods may be charged to AFSP for any reason.
  • AFSP will not be liable for any costs or expenses.

To reduce event expenses, we suggest seeking donated goods and services, and negotiating for discounts and reduced costs.

The event organizers are responsible for maintaining the accounting for the event.

  • All donation checks must be payable directly to AFSP.
  • The Offline Donation Form is located in Walker Central when you're logged in to DonorDrive, and also in the Fundraising Tools section of the Fundraising Tips & Tools Page.
  • Only checks payable to AFSP, and cash donations clearly labeled with the donor’s information, will be provided with a tax deductible acknowledgement letter in accordance with IRS and state tax regulations.
  • If you are deducting expenses before sending net proceeds to AFSP, you should not state or imply to your donors that any funds given to you are tax deductible, and you should not use the word donation because it implies that they are tax deductible.
  • AFSP cannot solicit sponsors for your fundraising event and does not provide any donor or volunteer contact information.
  • AFSP must receive all net proceeds within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the event.  Please send a check made payable to AFSP, along with a copy of your offline donation form, to:

    Attn: Data Entry Coordinator
    120 Wall Street, 29th Floor
    New York, NY 10005

The event organizers are responsible for obtaining any necessary permits and clearances required by local and state government and complying with all applicable laws, and also obtain appropriate insurance coverage as necessary. Additionally:

  • AFSP cannot be held liable for details associated director or indirectly with the event, including, but not limited to: expenses, purchases, insurance or liability coverage.
  • If alcohol is to be served, a B.A.S.S.E.T.T. certified server must be present at all times.
  • AFSP reserves the right to decline association with any person or organization and revoke use of AFSP name at any time when it believes that such association may have a negative effect on the image of AFSP.

AFSP Involvement:

AFSP is extremely appreciative of our participants who host fundraising events to benefit our Out of the Darkness Walks, but we are limited in the amount of assistance we can provide a third-party event.

AFSP will do it’s best to provide the following, as time and resources allow:

  • Advice and suggestions on event planning
  • Limited existing promotional AFSP resource materials such as brochures and flyers (pending availability)
  • Acknowledge and provide tax receipts for contributions made payable to and submitted to AFSP. 
  • Use of the official tag line “Proceeds of this event benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”

AFSP is unable to provide:

  • Responsibility of any nature or kind associated directly or indirectly with the event, including, but not limited to, expenses, purchases, insurance or liability coverage.
  • AFSP’s tax exemption number for making any purchases related to your event.
  • Guaranteed volunteer, Board Member, or staff attendance at the event.
  • Assistance in soliciting donations, handling mailings, attending committee meetings, recruiting attendees, and collecting monies.
  • Access to donor lists or contacts.

Thanks for your support, and good luck with your event!