Five Favorite Fundraisers

Kiwanis clubs around the world are getting creative with their fundraising. These successful moneymakers could offer inspiration for your club.

It’s an age-old problem: You’ve got to make money to spend money. Your club is no different than the next when it comes to money. Everyone needs some. The more, the better.

Over the years here at Kiwanis magazine, we’ve seen our share of great fundraising events. We’ve had our taste buds tantalized with incredible food festivals and we’ve been wowed by one sporting activity after another, from one side of the world to the other. It seems Kiwanians have some unique and fun ideas when it comes to bringing in the cash, and we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites.

Happy crew 3

Some of the best fundraisers out there are annual events with decades under their belts. Others are quite new and still knock our socks off. 

What are you doing in your community to not only make people aware of your Kiwanis club, but also to make some money to help provide service to children and families?

We hope you’ll get some inspiration from a few of our favorites. Go raise some money. And have fun!


Dinner In White

Kiwanis Club of Nürnberg-Franken, Germany

Elegant white-themed meals raise money for a hospice service for terminally ill children. The event raises awareness for Kiwanis as well.

Estimated amount raised: 4,000 euros

Estimated attendance: More than 100

Tips for your club: Create enthusiasm through word-of-mouth advertising, fliers with information about the event and your club. Stage the event in an area that has heavy foot traffic so others are intrigued.



Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Annual event that rids the town of doom and gloom. Residents and visitors write down their worries and stresses. Then their notes are placed inside a 50-foot marionette known as Old Man Gloom. And then set afire. 

Estimated amount raised: US$100,000

Estimated attendance: 60,000

Tips for your club: While we know Zozobra is a one-of-a-kind event, we encourage you to take a hard look at the community in which you live and determine what makes it unique. Then build an event around that. The fundraiser could focus on food, music, agriculture, a historic landmark, a waterway. Oh, the possibilities!

credit Sharpshooter

Biltmore Classic

Kiwanis Club of Asheville, North Carolina

An annual 5K/15K race on the grounds of the historic Biltmore Estate.

Estimated amount raised: US$20,000

Estimated attendance: 1,000

Tips for your club: Road races are a huge success for many clubs and could be for yours as well. Runners take their races seriously. Consider hiring a professional fundraising group to help.


Rock Shrimp Festival

Kiwanis Club of St. Marys, Georgia

This annual festival celebrates the area’s sweet delicacy from the sea and offers a parade, vendors, road races and more.

Estimated amount raised: US$14,000

Estimated attendance: 5,000-10,000

Tips for your club: Street fairs are great fun and can draw big crowds, so plan for food, music, merchandise and fun activities. Center your fair around a local food favorite!



Kiwanis Club of Orleans, Ontario

Ottawa’s scariest haunted attraction offers two haunted barns, zombie paintball, scary wagon rides and more.

Years in existence: 14

Dollars raised: CAD$30,000

Number of attendees: 6,000- 10,000 annually 

Tips for your club: Start small and grow as public response increases. Scavenge in your community to find inexpensive props. The club produces a manual of rules and trains its 250 student volunteers how to make visitors sKream.

This story originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

9 thoughts on “Five Favorite Fundraisers

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  1. Just wanted to share a fundraiser the Mt. Sterling, Kentucky Kiwanis Club has that tops your list. It is a formal Gala. This year was our 5th annual event. We have 300 attendees and raise a gross amount of $57,000 with a net of $44,000. We are a town of 7,000 and club size of 60.
    As an aside, our only other fundraiser is a pancake breakfast. Have about 800 guests and grossed $16,000 this year while netting $12,000.

    Not bad for small town folks.

    Darrell Mandrell (Just became past president of our club)

    1. Darrell, Can you tell me some of the specifics about your Pancake Fundraiser? Do you sell tickets beforehand? Is there a charge or just free-will offering? Where do you hold your event – church or non-church? Do you have multiple meal shifts or do all attendees fit in one setting? Do you use gas or electric griddles? When do you hold it and how many years have you had this event. Thanks in advance for your response. Michael Bonello, Sparta, WI.

    2. We are hosting our 2nd annual Art Gala our young artist in our area. Can you tell me more about the Gala you organize?

    3. I would also be interested in learning more about your pancake breakfast (as well as your gala). I’m part of a Kiwanis club in Ripon, WI, and we’ve been doing a doing pancake breakfast the last several years. We’ve slowly been improving it, but always liked to hear ideas that might make it better.
      The gala sounds fun too.

  2. The Kiwanis Club of Wood River Township is a club of 49 members and we have had a fundraiser for over 30 years and has become a Hometown Tradition to a great deal of people. We have 4 BBQ’s each year we cook over 3000# of pork each cook and serve a total of 1200 hot dogs, in three days we take in over $20,000 each cook. Our next cook is October 11-12-13.

    We do have another cook on Saturday before Super Bowl, it is called a “Bulk Sale” which we cook about 1500# of pork and we sell the chopped pork in pounds and roasts. We average over $6000 for one day. We also sell our Homemade BBQ Sauce

  3. The Kiwanis Club of Palm Beach Aruba does a ‘Carnaval Masquerade Party’ (1 night, 1,500 guests) for the past 22 years during the Carnaval season in Aruba; club membership is 56, funds raised US$120,000 … we also had an ‘Auction Night’, raising another US$ 40,000 and a ‘Nostalgia Party’ for yet another US$ 30,000 …(so total funds raised: approximately US$ 190,000) looking forward to share best practices with other clubs in order to raise as much as we can as an organization and keep serving!

    We LOVE what we do for our communities …

  4. For 62 years the Kiwanis Club of Mendon, Michigan, (a village of 900, and a club membership of 20) has produced the Mendon Kiwanis Showboat. It’s a variety show of local talent featuring music and comedy. It started out as a Minstrel Show, and has evolved into programs featuring a theme. This year’s show will mimic the Muppet Show. Three nights of shows grossed over $10,000.00 last year in ticket and advertising sales, which provided us with $8,500.00 in project money.

    1. I would sure like to hear more about your “Showboat” event. Sounds like something we might be able to do here in our small town and with 23 member club.

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