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A public event produced by Make it Happen Events in Harrisburg, PA

About Our Non-Profit Event Planning Services

Make It Happen Events has been planning fundraisers and seminars for local non-profits for over 20 years and has gain the trust of the Central PA community. We guarantee that your non-profit is in good hands when you let us plan your next event.

Our professional team of event coordinators has the talent and creativity to put on events for all types of organizations and charities. From the very beginning, we meet with you to create a very detailed plan for us and our clients to follow to make sure your event is one to remember. 

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What is a Charity or Nonprofit Organization?

A charity or nonprofit organization is a chartered public corporation that supports a cause, a group of people, a cultural program, or other activities beneficial to community members.

Nonprofit organizations typically partner with governments and for profit companies as an operational, mission and fundraising strategy.

We have partnered with many nonprofit organizations to produce a wide variety of nonprofit events, not just fundraising success.

What is a Charity or Nonprofit Event?

A nonprofit event is an in-person event or online event designed for supporters, local businesses, and community members to raise money, raise awareness of the nonprofit organization or its mission, or recruit volunteers for a nonprofit organization or cause.

These events may run for a week, a month or a few hours. A successful nonprofit event may be in person events, virtual events or in a hybrid events setting. Each event has a fundraising potential.

Nonprofit events are often fundraising events for a charity or nonprofit organization, but are also an effective tool for community interaction.

Are all Nonprofit Events Fundraisers?

Nonprofit events don’t need to always raise money for a charity, they can also be used to advance the mission of nonprofit organizations. Successful nonprofit events will allow people from diverse groups and local businesses to work together in a meaningful way. Nonprofit events can have a fundraising potential aspect to them, or be completely focused on the nonprofit’s mission.

These type of events are sometimes called Fundraisers -vs- Friendraisers.

An orchestra can provide a free concert to the community members, especially during the holiday season, and sell tickets to their next fundraising event. A healthcare organization can provide free vaccinations and distribute promotional materials at an event. A recreation venue could hold a free special event with no entrance fee like a talent show or sporting event to encourage participants to check out their other programs with a registration fee.

An environmental advocacy group could host a park or neighborhood clean up, encouraging supporters to act local on event day while thinking global. We have decades of nonprofit fundraising event ideas and other type of nonprofit event.

Benefits of Event Planning for Nonprofit Organizations

A fundraising event allows a nonprofit to bring a group of people together who share a common purpose. Organizing an effective in person nonprofit event will have an impact on all who attend and will result in more support for non-profit organizations over time. How can you help your nonprofit event make your mission a success?

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How to Host a Successful Nonprofit Event

1. Define your goals for your nonprofit event: Fundraising? Advocacy? Publicity?

2. Create the concept for your nonprofit event to raise money or raise awareness.

3. Create A budget for your nonprofit event.

4. Create a plan for your nonprofit event.

5. Solicit donations from sponsors or sell tickets to your nonprofit event.

6. Execute your plan for your Live nonprofit event or Virtual event.

We can help with nonprofit event details! Contact us to guide you through the event planning process for a successful nonprofit event.

What Are the Various Types of Nonprofit Events?

From a golf tournament, community potluck, casino night or peer to peer fundraising, in-person event, or virtual program, a successful nonprofit event comes in all shapes and sizes.

Movie Night Fundraising Event

Family-friendly or sophisticated and entertaining. Cinema night can adapt to meet the varying needs and goals of nonprofits. Start with choosing movies – classical or a recent release generally works well. A documentary may work, depending on the target audience. Work with a licensing company to select available films (you can’t just download and show a film). We can help you begin planning.


Choose an appropriate location to screen the film. Whether the meeting takes place at the cinema or locates the screen and speakers in another place (like a classroom, park, or a parking lot) ensure you prepare it correctly. Plan the start time based on darkness. There is a big difference between sunset and nautical twilight! Charge admission as a fundraiser and increase your donations through bake sales, the sales of popcorn and candy, or serving drinks before the main event.


While attendees bring their own chairs, you can rent VIP seating like couches and lounge chairs. Host a live performance, discussion, or learning activities prior to showtime. Movies can be a great community activity, but be careful of the legal and logistical restrictions. We can help with your movie night nonprofit event planning!

Cooking Competitions Event

Traditionally a fundraising event for non-profits – cooking competitions can be fun! They have good value for money and they are enjoyable as a fun family activity. Carefully select the cooking category for your fundraising event (soup, chili, noodles, cookies, bread, etc.).

Food events generate plenty of interested participants and excitement with the winning team. Bonus points for topics that have a direct relation to your goal or mission! Charge an entry fee and sell tickets to raise money. Provide free tickets in exchange for in-kind donations to raise funds.


To bring additional visitors to the event, you could also engage local chefs or dietary enthusiasts from a local restaurant. A local chef can organize a cooking class or demonstration on the event day. After the lessons, there can be an intimate group meal.


Use various social media platforms, website event page, and fundraising pages to engage donors in a hybrid virtual event to raise funds in the weeks leading to your event. Don’t forget additional revenue opportunities like a silent auction. Ask board members to solicit the most donations. Place promotional materials at local businesses and participating local chefs’ restaurants prior to event day.

Guided Tours Fundraising Event

For those with an interest in the subject, give a tour of the historic sites in the area. Utilize a knowledgeable local historian to help plan your tour. Organizing your tour in spring/summer can make for an ideal nonprofit tour in an outdoor setting with stops to see sights and experience local places.

Arrange a trip to museums or galleries. Organize an introductory guided walk through nature or a walk through town showing street art, diverse subcultures or other attractions. Sell tickets and raffle tickets for a fundraiser.

Live Artist Event Fundraising Event

For extra fun on your fundraising, bring in live music. Create an advisory board with artists, performers, sculptors and body artists. Combine live artists’ events with gala dining or auctions. The live artistry entertains guests and encourages fun and attendee interaction.

Serve cocktails and appetizers and consider employing a DJ for the mood of the evening. Raise money by selling or providing art services or letting visitors make contributions in person or online through an event page.

Alumni Networking Breakfast Event

This could be an effective and beneficial meal event for your organization. Invite alumni to a networking breakfast. These events could provide a nice change from typical happy hour social gatherings. Pick the weekend or an early time to ensure everyone is not late for work.


Invite experts to give an insightful presentation at the event. Review the status of your programs. Sell tickets and request donations to join your breakfast networking event.

5K Run Walk Fundraising Event

5K Run Walk Fundraising events are an outdoor long-distance race to raise funds. Because of its relatively shorter length compared to a marathon, a 5K is an ideal choice for non-profits. The distances of the trails or on the streets are also easily accessible enough to encourage additional participants.

Key is partnering with an existing running club or walking group to solicit participants to collect the registration fee. Our nonprofit organizations event planning staff has a lot of experience with 5ks.

Run or Walk Fundraising Event

Start from the basics. Walkathons, run-offs, and bike races can be among the more lucrative and high-profile fundraising events. Nonprofit organizations sponsored run walks have been extremely successful at leveraging large support networks for the fundraising campaign.


Typically participants raise money by asking their network for some amount based on the number of miles they completed. You can ask your participants to set up their own event fundraising page on fundraising sites, collect donations, or get funding by contacting their networks (peer-to-peer fundraising).


You can also request that the public contribute directly via the nonprofit event website. Solicit businesses in your area towards your fundraising goal to give money for donating or sponsoring events.

Barbecue Fundraising Event

The barbecue is an excellent opportunity for gathering people. This family-friendly fundraiser is a good opportunity to collect donations, sell t-shirts, barbecue dishes, barbecue sauce, and drinks, organize a silent auction, and other in-person fundraising event ideas.

Use the fundraiser potential of barbecues by organizing fun activities for young people and adults like BBQ themed obstacle courses, throwing balls and buckets into ponds, and a floating duck pond race.


Reach out to butchers, stores, restaurants, and farmers to ask them about food, condiments, and buns for you to advertise for your barbecue. Ensure everyone is provided with the right tools with their entrance fee. Recognize the lucky winner in a closing ceremony.

Trivia Night Fundraising Event

Trivia events can usually be arranged fairly quickly. It only requires a venue, an entertaining host, and good questions. Use a trivia category in your tournament for your cause, this helps make it educational and will raise awareness.


Use pre recorded video questions. To enhance this event, arrange for seating at a local restaurant, dinners, or a raffle to raise funds. Charge for entry (charge per individual and per team) and add money on the sale of goods and drinks. You can also fund this meal by using local eateries. Don’t forget the prizes!

Break the World Record Party Event

It is an extraordinary fundraising opportunity to team build, make new friends, earn publicity and your organization can get funds in the form of donations.

Research ‘world record’ online and select a record that your participants can try. Depending on what record is breaking, make sure you find the right venue for the event. Provide good music and food, and get the local media involved in coverage. Don’t forget the prizes and t-shirts! We helped with a world record pie fight and we’re ready to do more!

Obstacle Course Fundraising Event

For an unusual event, organize obstacle courses. Obstacle courses provide opportunities for leadership development and team building and offer more fun and rewards and they tend to increase participation and increase donations to charity.


Design and race involve obstacles such as climbing ropes and walls, walking on a beam, bag races in sprinkled water, and climbing the stairs. You can use themed obstacle courses in different ways. The participants may have a minimum raise or charge individually. Do not forget the prizes.

Scavenger Hunt Fundraising Event

A scavenging expedition can help your mission. Event planning can be a challenge especially when you’re thinking about what’s the most appropriate for your nonprofit event. The results can be satisfying both for event sponsors and attendees. Those who wish can join the scavenger hunt. You may request admission fees or sponsors for specific teams.

To encourage people to join a competition, announce prizes for winning and participation. Once all participants have registered, give them an overview of what they should find. We have helped with a downtown hunt that involved local history and historical reenactors.

Additional Fundraising Event Ideas with Technology

A wide variety of nonprofit events can be created by nonprofit organizations to raise money. Whenever you have a new technology, consider the best strategy to use for your next fundraising event.

In-Person Nonprofit Event Additional Elements

Raffles are great for a standalone program and can also supplement most non-profit events your organization hosts. Sell raffle tickets to interested sponsors, the public, and on your website event page. Silent auctions are highly effective and new software and apps can be used for online or in-person events. Collect items and experiences for your silent auction lots

We have experience and can help you find the best fit for your event. To keep your budget in check, auction lots are collected from supporters. Pledges are another easy way to raise additional funds and can be collected digitally. These are only a few examples of how we can help you apply technology to your event.

Virtual Nonprofit Event Elements

The task of designing a virtual event can be a challenge. You need a solid concept and some creativity. A virtual event is an online gathering usually involving videos from a video conferencing platform such as WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.

Virtual events can replace or supplement in-person events. They are most often live video calls to engage attendees, but can also have pre-recorded content in a video format.

Charities have hosted virtual bowlathons! The only requirement is a virtual bowling simulator which can be found on a computer, game system, or phone app. Ask everyone to play on their preferred device. Supporters can donate to your organization through their own website. It can also be used as a great inexpensive alternative that does not require a participant to leave their couch.

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Tips for Better Nonprofit Event Planning

Nonprofit event planning involves many different aspects. Some you can learn, and some require professional guidance. We can help you organize and execute your event plan.

Let’s talk about a few basics of nonprofit event planning.

Create a Volunteer and Professional Team for your Nonprofit Event

Volunteers can be used to staff nonprofit events, but they have many things that need taking into account if you want your volunteers to succeed. Recruit a high-quality team of volunteers for your event. Plan their event activities and train them well.

Set them up for success by asking them to do only what they are able to handle as event volunteers. Our professional nonprofit event staff integrates with and supports the activities of volunteers. We can create a plan, help recruit volunteers, and train them for your nonprofit event.

Ask your Donors and past Participants what they want in an Event

If you’ve previously run nonprofit events, this is a great source for information.

You may use contact details to ask your customers what experiences they’d like to see or what options they prefer for a nonprofit event.

Ask your friends about what they want for your next event. This will make you future events stronger and help build a sense of ownership in for a successful nonprofit event.

Learn From Your Previous Events

There is always room for improvement, so think about previous events.

Examining the responses by participants, volunteers, and vendors at past events allows you to determine what works well and what can be improved. Think about these lessons and include them in your next nonprofit event plan.

We often do sponsor, participant and volunteer surveys to evaluate our events.

Non-Profit Events We Produce

A public event produced by Make it Happen Events in Harrisburg, PA

Political Fundraisers & Meetings

Create awareness and funding for your political campaign with a public fundraiser. Leave a lasting impression on voters and advocates with professionally organized political events and meetings by our team. 

A public event produced by Make it Happen Events in Harrisburg, PA

Association Annual Dinners

We can source the perfect caterers and venues for your organization’s annual dinner or celebration. Our technical team also has the know-how to set up your presenters with audio-visual multi media, live broadcasting, and graphic design. 

A public event produced by Make it Happen Events in Harrisburg, PA

Educational Events & Seminars

Spread awareness for your non-profit or charity organization with educational events. We can provide you with ideas on how to spread the word and create an overall plan that fits your budget and works for your organization. 

Our Service Areas

Located in Harrisburg, PA, we proudly serve the local community in Central PA and the surrounding areas. Over the years, we’ve built the trust of our community, so you can rest assured your event will go off seamlessly.

  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Palmyra, PA
  • Lancaster, PA
  • State College, PA
  • Reading, PA
  • Strasburg, PA
  • Camp Hill, PA
  • York, PA
  • Carlisle, PA
  • Hanover, PA
  • Gettysburg, PA
  • Selinsgrove, PA
  • Linglestown, PA
  • Elizabethtown, PA
  • Chambersburg, PA


It was a memorable occasion for all present!

“Thanks for making the Induction a memorable occasion for all present. Everything went smoothly as a consequence of your efforts and attention to detail.”

Chief Justice of the PA Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Thomas Saylor

Detailed planning and solid execution!

“Our complicated agenda flowed easily because of your detailed planning and solid execution. The speakers had their moment to shine, and the online balloting functioned smoothly.”

Dave Feidt, Chairman / DCRC

John and his team supply memorable celebrations!

“John and his team consistently supply the creative ideas, administrative and organizational structure, and passion to create memorial celebrations. Make It Happen Events is our go-to event producing partner.”

Representative Ron Marsico (ret) / Dauphin County Heroes Grove

Each sponsor received recognition and everyone felt supported!

“The content was well organized. The recorded segments gave each of our sponsors recognition and the presenters knew what was expected and felt supported.”

Wayde Marsico / Executive Director