Catchy Names for Fundraisers

The debate for using catchy names for fundraisers can be heard around any board meeting for an animal rescue. Should you name your next event with something catchy, or just label it what it is… a fundraiser? I prefer names with flair and pizzaz that help the event stand out from the crowd. Here, I’ve listed a few of my reasons in support of using catchy names.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
–From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
or– What’s in a fundraiser’s name? That which we call a fundraiser by any other name would still be a fundraiser.
So, why give a catchy name for a fundraiser? Here are a few of my top reasons, in no particular order…
1) It lays down a theme for the event. If you have a Bagels and Biscuits Breakfast Bonanza, then you can center the theme around a country western motif, play up some local ties to cowboys, “get a long little doggy” or just have bandanas on people and pets. It gives you a theme to create your event around. People won’t expect to see a circus act (since you’re not doing a circus), but bandanas and a chuck wagon feel to the event can make it more fun and inviting!
2) Have you ever been to a boring fundraiser? I hate reading newspaper articles about an upcoming fundraiser that state “the Hospitals’ Fall Fundraiser will be held next Thursday night”. How drab does that sound? Fall Fundraiser does NOT sound enticing. They have NOT caught my attention, and I may miss a good time. (I only have so much money to spend on babysitters anyway… so why would I attend a Fall Fundraiser at a hotel for a hospital I’ve never heard of or been to?) By giving the event a themed name, it sounds more exciting and enticing than just a fundraiser. I’ve been to several formal events (including annual ones) that blended together b/c there was nothing new or interesting. The decorations were the same (or there were none because it was in a hotel ballroom), the food menu was bland and average (stuffed chicken, or bacon wrapped medallions again, with green beans, salad and roll), the speech by some dignitary was the same pomp and boring as all other speeches. And, the crowd was pretty much the same from year to year. The only way I know the difference from one year to the next is by which gown I wore.
3) You only have a few seconds to GRAB someone’s attention. “If it ain’t bold, it ain’t told!” If you don’t do it with the graphics on your poster or with your title, then many people may not read further. By having a catchy name, you cause people to stop and look, or stop and listen to the details. My new town just held a Woofstock dog walk and festival event for the humane society. “Woofstock” is a catchy name that lets you know it’s an animal event, but it is also gives you a smile on your face and an image in your head of a peace sign with a pawprint. Lasting impressions, in my mind. The radio blurb even made my husband listen to the details while talking on his cell phone with the radio barely audible in the background. Believe me, that is tough to do!
4) Could you limit participation by labeling your fundraiser with an animal themed name? You might. But, the Terre Haute Humane Society can tell you that by hosting a car show, car enthusiasts from around the state showed up and had a fantastic time bringing in lots of money for their Humane Society, regardless of the name. The same thing can be said for their Mayor’s Ride motorcycle ride. The Dragon Foundation also hosted the “Running of the Beasts” car show and event. With flames and dragons on all the publicity materials, it would be HARD to miss their banners and fliers! (They were lovely!) People who enjoy a certain type of event are going to attend it anyway. By giving it your animal theme, you are now bringing in both the event lovers AND the animals lovers, thereby expanding your field of participation. If I saw an advertising for a wine tasting in my town next week, I certainly wouldn’t attend. I don’t drink, and the name “wine tasting” doesn’t sound exciting to me. But, if it were a Wine and Ap-PAW-tisers fundraising party, then I know it’s a charity event for an animal rescue of some sort, and it instantly sounds more interesting to me as an animal lover. The name would get me to look for further details on other parts of the event, such as a wine pairing class, cookbook signing by a local vineyard and its chef, demo on cooking with wines, a silent auction with original artwork by local artists, live chorale music…. Now for THAT event I would spend the money for a babysitter.
5) Could a catchy name cause confusion? Doubtful. But, you can always add more details or a subtitle to your flyer to clarify your event. For instance, use the catchy name of “Running of the Beasts” and then have a sub-name/ sub-title under it to further explain it, such as “Car Show to Benefit Dragon Foundation” — then list the activities (car show, food booths), the date, the website info (, the event sponsors (Dragon Foundation and an Orange County car club), and whatever else you feel you need to list in order make a clean and clear statement about your event. And, a Bagels and Biscuits Breakfast Bonanza pretty much sums up the event type better than “breakfast fundraiser” would.
6) Catchy names stick in your head. Anyone ever hear of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure? If I wrote her name as Mrs. Susan Komen, doesn’t it sound weird? You always hear it as Susan G. Komen… kind of like the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Catchy names stick in your head. Which name would you remember better… the Lee County Spay/ Neuter Event or the Fix Felix Event? Even pirates knew that catchy names were easy to remember… which name is easier to remember, Edward Teach or Blackbeard the Pirate? Businesses know the same principal. When I was little, my family visited another town and we ate at a chinese restaurant called Wok N Roll. I was only about 6, but 20+ years later, I remember the name. I’ve eaten at dozens of restaurants around the world since then, but only one Wok N Roll.
7) Catchy names drive you to action. As for the “drive you to action” part, there is a well-known fundraising point for direct mail responses. You want people to read the story/ letter and ACT by sending their dollars. Make it easy for them by including a business reply envelope, or the website where they can make an instant online donation! In terms of catchy names, you want them to hear the name, listen for the details, and commit in their minds to attend your event! That’s your drive to action. You want them to hear Woofstock, listen for the details about activities there (family fun event, carnival, moonbouncers, Q&A tables, crafts, silent auction, puppy kissing booth, food booths, pets invited…) and picture themselves AT your event. Repeat the date and event together at the end of the spiel so they mentally mark you on their calendars. List your EASY website address so they can find out more info, and always include your upcoming events prominently on your front page, not just buried back in the Calendar or Events page.
I’m sure there are other reasons why having a catchy name could be useful, and perhaps a few that could be not as useful, that I have not written down here. But, my point is that a catchy name for a fundraiser does not have to be a bad thing at all. I believe it gives a sense of fun and frivolity to an event, a sense of a theme, some excitement, and a good way to remember the event. Should you spend weeks and months agonizing and debating over the name? Probably not. After all, the consultant firm for the Arlington, TX ballpark spent over a million dollars surveying people in the area on ideas for the name of the ballpark… and the name they eventually settled on was “The Ballpark at Arlington”…. talk about a waste of a million dollars. Of course, you could sell the naming rights to your event (like a golf fundraiser!) and make money from a corporate sponsor! Sports competitions do this all the time!

6 thoughts on “Catchy Names for Fundraisers”

  1. The best ways to come up with a catchy name is to focus around the theme of your fancy dress party. Either that or focus it around the cause (if its a fundraiser).

    It gives the attendee’s a way of knowing what the event is for or is about.

    Great post. Very informative. I know i’ll be thinking carefully about the name of my parties in future.


  2. I need a catchy name for my fundraiser. My foundation will be to raise Money for homeless and abused animals… Im Having this fundraiser in a bar so what could i come up with?

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