Fall Events Raise Funds for Your COTA Community Campaign

Cooler temperatures and falling leaves signal autumn’s arrival, which is the perfect season for an abundance of COTA fundraising events. Here are a few ideas to consider as you plan upcoming fundraising activities for your COTA community campaign:

Turkey Trot. Put a gobbling twist on your everyday 5K with this festive fundraising event. Many families run a 5K as part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition and would love to do it for a good cause. Consider including a Virtual COTA Fun Run component so supporters can participate from around the country on their own time.

Orchard/Pumpkin Patch Walk. Partner with a local orchard and sell tickets for an apple or pumpkin picking walk. You can also increase event proceeds by selling apple-themed food items like apple cider or pumpkin cookies.

Chili Cook-Off. Cooler temperatures make fall a perfect time for hot food items like chili. Host a chili cooking contest competition and award prizes. Consider asking chefs from local restaurants to participate. Register cook-off competitors and sell tickets to attendees who simply want to sample the chili and vote for their favorite.

Crafts Booth. Investigate local carnivals, fairs or concerts for opportunities to have a booth for crafts. Ask creative volunteers to sew, paint, crochet, mod-podge, wood-burn – whatever their talent is! – crafts to sell, benefiting the COTA community campaign. This is a great time of year to make holiday-themed items available. Be sure to share information about COTA and remind supporters their purchases benefit a good cause.

Harvest Dinner. Hold a benefit dinner fit for pilgrims. Serve a Thanksgiving meal and decorate the location with pumpkins, cornstalks and other fall-themed items. Consider merging the dinner with other fundraising tactics, like using COTA Coin Canisters as table centerpieces and hosting a silent auction.

Bonfire Event. Bonfire nights are a great way to spend time with friends and family while enjoying s’mores and gazing at the stars. Section off an area for your COTA bonfire event and sell tickets to attendees. Ask local businesses for snack and drink contributions, recruit a local band to play music and encourage your volunteers to bring outdoor yard games. Be sure to partner with your local fire department for safety regulations.

Football for Life. Excited for the big game? Whether you hold an event in a local restaurant or sports bar that draws sports fans from throughout the community … or gather friends in your own backyard or family room … activities like spirit and trivia contests, tailgating, bake sales and more can help you capitalize on fall football frenzy while raising funds for transplant-related expenses.

Rake-A-Thon. The season is not referred to as ‘fall’ without a reason. Soon orange, red and yellow-colored leaves will cover the ground. Offer the community your volunteers’ raking services in exchange for a contribution to your COTA community campaign. Asking people to register ahead of time would allow you to collect contributions in advance, anticipate the number of volunteers needed and map out the list of lawns to rake. This fundraiser is a great way to involve youth in your activities!

Cooking Class. Host a cooking class, either in-person or via a video call platform like Zoom. For an in-person event, ask for donations of cooking supplies from local grocery stores to supply registrants. For a virtual event, send participants a list of supplies to purchase (you should charge less for tickets as a result) and information about what video call platform they may need to download with a link to join the call on event day.

Fall Hike. National Take a Hike Day falls on November 17th. Organize an afternoon hike in one of your state or local parks and ask participants to register ahead of time. Provide goodie bags, enlist guides to lead, and provide COTA community campaign t-shirts for a contribution. Or consider moving the hike to a virtual event and allow supporters to hike in their favorite park wherever they live.

For more fundraising ideas, visit the Volunteers area of COTA.org. Contact CampaignInfo@cota.org with any questions. Remember to send us photos from your fall-themed COTA community campaign events!

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Fundraising for Transplant-Related Expenses

COTA can help remove the financial barriers to a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support.