10 Creative Fundraising Ideas in Columbia, SC by Fred Layman.

6 Min Read
Fundraising Ideas-Fred Layman

Columbia, South Carolina, a city brimming with vibrant culture and community spirit, provides an excellent backdrop for fundraising events. Whether you’re raising money for a local charity, school, or community project, there are countless creative ways to engage donors and supporters in Columbia. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten innovative fundraising ideas tailored to the unique charm of Columbia, SC.

1. BBQ Cook-Off for a Cause

Harness the South Carolina love for barbecue by organizing a BBQ cook-off fundraiser. Invite local restaurants, chefs, and amateur grill masters to compete for the title of best BBQ in Columbia. Sell tickets to the event and offer tastings of the delicious dishes. Partner with local businesses to donate prizes and sponsor the event, with proceeds going to your chosen cause.

2. Art Auction Gala

Columbia boasts a thriving arts community, making it the perfect setting for an art auction gala. Reach out to local artists and galleries to donate pieces for auction. Host the event in a stylish venue, complete with live music, wine, and hors d’oeuvres. Encourage attendees to bid generously on the artwork, with all proceeds benefiting your organization.

3. River Cleanup Challenge

Take advantage of Columbia’s scenic rivers and waterways by organizing a river cleanup challenge. Partner with environmental organizations and community groups to gather volunteers for a day of cleaning up litter and debris along the riverbanks. Raise funds by soliciting donations from participants and local businesses, with proceeds supporting ongoing conservation efforts.

4. Food Truck Festival Fundraiser

Food trucks have become a staple of Columbia’s culinary scene, drawing crowds with their diverse offerings. Organize a food truck festival fundraiser, bringing together a variety of vendors offering everything from gourmet burgers to artisanal ice cream. Charge an admission fee and encourage attendees to sample the different cuisines while enjoying live music and entertainment.

5. Charity Golf Tournament

With its abundance of golf courses and mild climate, Columbia is an ideal location for a charity golf tournament. Partner with local golf clubs to host the event, inviting golfers of all skill levels to participate. Offer sponsorship opportunities for businesses, with proceeds going towards your fundraising goal. Prizes can be awarded for longest drive, closest to the pin, and best overall score.

6. Concert in the Park

Celebrate Columbia’s love for music and outdoor gatherings by hosting a concert in the park fundraiser. Work with local musicians and bands to put together a lineup of live performances spanning various genres. Sell tickets to the event and encourage attendees to bring picnic blankets and chairs for a relaxing evening of music under the stars.

7. Charity Run/Walk

Organize a charity run/walk event to promote fitness and raise funds for a good cause. Choose a scenic route through Columbia’s parks or downtown area, and enlist volunteers to help with registration and course marshaling. Offer incentives for participants to fundraise, such as branded merchandise or entry into prize drawings. Don’t forget to promote the event through social media and local news outlets to attract a large turnout.

8. Trivia Night Fundraiser

Tap into Columbia’s intellectual side by hosting a trivia night fundraiser at a local bar or restaurant. Create teams and prepare a variety of trivia questions spanning different categories, from pop culture to history to local landmarks. Charge an entry fee for teams to participate, and offer prizes for the top-scoring teams. Consider partnering with businesses to donate gift cards or merchandise for the prize pool.

9. Volunteer Service Auction

Encourage community involvement while raising funds by organizing a volunteer service auction. Reach out to individuals and businesses willing to donate their time and skills for various tasks, such as gardening, home repairs, or professional services. Hold a live or silent auction where attendees can bid on these volunteer services, with all proceeds going towards your fundraising efforts.

10. DIY Fundraising Kits

For those who prefer to support your cause from the comfort of their own homes, offer DIY fundraising kits for sale. These kits could include everything needed to host a themed fundraising event, such as a wine tasting night, movie marathon, or crafting workshop. Provide instructions and materials, and encourage supporters to get creative while raising money for your organization.


In Columbia, SC, the opportunities for creative Fundraising are as diverse as the community itself. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue cook-off, organizing a charity golf tournament, or selling DIY fundraising kits, there’s no shortage of ways to engage donors and supporters in support of your cause. By tapping into the unique charm and resources of Columbia, you can create memorable events that make a meaningful impact on your fundraising goals.

Fred Layman – Founder and Chief Operations Officer

FundMeSmart, LLC

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