Special Events & FUNdraising Ideas


Appreciation/Compliment Grams
Design notes of thanks and congratulations for co-workers to buy and send to each other.

Balloon Grams
Sell balloons with notes of recognition inside and deliver to co-workers.

Change Bandit
A co-worker dresses as a bandit. Have them visit employees to procure spare change.

Spare Change Jars
Place empty jars near vending machines or gathering places. Ask employees to deposit spare change throughout the year for United Way. This can be a competition between departments to see who collects the most change in a time frame.

White Elephant Sale
Employees donate odd items for sale. Co-workers should have the opportunity to buy items and stipulate in whose workplace these items should be displayed. Set a time frame for which objects must stay in that location.

Spelling Bee
Hold a spelling bee, charge an entry fee. Have galley observers place bets on their favorite participants.

Entertainment Drive
Employees donate new or slightly used books, videos, DVDs, board games, puzzles, etc. and hold a sale to benefit United Way.

Dress Down Day
Employees pay to not wear “normal” work attire.  Get as casual as needed: jeans, tennis shoes, sports apparel, hats, slippers, etc.

Guess the Number
Fill a clear jar with candy and have employees pay for a chance to guess the number of pieces in the jar.  The most accurate guess wins the candy or another prize.

Penny Wars
Divide the office by department and have a money jar assigned to each. Members of each department deposit pennies, nickels and dimes into their own jar and place quarters or “green” into the jars of other departments. Pennies count as positive while quarters and “green” are negative. The department with the highest positive number (or often the case, the least negative number) wins a lunch provided by the area/college/unit.


Bake Sale
Employees buy employee-donated baked goods with donations benefitting the United Way.

Build Your Own Ice Cream Sundaes
Have a wide variety of sundae toppings (nuts, fruit, cookies, gummy bears, crushed candy bars, whipped cream, cherries, etc.) available for employees to build their own sundaes.

Ethnic Food Festival
Ask employees to bring dishes symbolic of their heritage or recipes “handed down” from family members along with interesting facts about their heritage. Another option is to have various departments sponsor a lunch representing a specific ethnicity.

Peanuts, Get Your Peanuts!
Decorate a push cart with a sports theme (Purdue Boilermakers!). Stock the cart with individual bags of salted peanuts, chips, hot dogs, soda and all the necessary condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, onion). Visit cubicles and sell items. This is a great way to kick off any sports season!

Post a sign-up sheet for employees to bring entrees, salads and desserts to ensure a variety of food. Decorate the room with a theme (Purdue’s campaign theme: Windows of Opportunity or another theme of your choice). Adjust entry fees for those who bring an item.

Chili Cook-Off
Participants pay to enter their chili into the contest. Choose judges and determine prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. After judging, employees can pay to sample each chili. Remember to supply cheese, sour cream, crackers, TUMS, etc.

Donut Eating Contest
Employees raise money for United Way by sponsoring contenders on a per-donut-eaten basis. The winner is determined by either eating the most donuts in a time frame or the first to finish a set number of donuts.


Informative Meeting Incentives
Hold a workplace meeting and have a United Way Advocate and/or an agency speaker give a presentation. Offer donuts, coffee or raffle tickets to attendees.

Silent Auction
Employees donate in-kind auction items such as event tickets, sports memorabilia, apparel, etc. Employees can also donate services. All proceeds go to United Way.

Executive Chef
Auction off dinner for two or more at the home of an executive (Dean, Associate Dean, department head, etc.).

Front Row Parking
Raffle front row parking spots for one year, or during winter months.

Lunch with Leadership
Auction or raffle off lunch with your area/college/unit’s leadership – their treat!