Hello, my name is Jenna. In this blog, I am going to bring you BIG ideas for every little detail of your event. Need inspiration? Check out my current post. Want a tip on a topic? Browse the categories. There are thousands of people just like you planning fundraising events across the country...we may be apart, but when we share ideas, we will do great things together!

Please Note: Jenna has retired from blogging, but we keep her posts on the site because the ideas are timeless and have been very well received in the non-profit community!

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JennaBW resized 182 Mom, step-mom, wife, daughter, singer, volunteer, writer, marketer, gluten-free baker, MBA, and...
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Help Others by Sharing Your Ideas! (And, maybe win a hot air balloon ride!)

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Every month from November through June, I will pick a winner of a hot air balloon ride for two! And, if you submit a photo or video from your event, you will be entered twice! Any event topic is welcome! Things like..

Creative Place Settings
Fundraising Games
Checkout Best Practices
Agenda Ideas
No idea is too small!


Don't Forget to Order Your FREE FundraisingRides Auction Materials!

AuctionTableTopDisplay8.23 resized 182FundraisingRides donates a hot air balloon ride to every non-profit that participates in our program. Order your FREE Auction Packet with our simple online form.

Why the Details Bring Us Bliss

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I have a love of details because managing them gives me three wonderful gifts. To find out what they are and learn a little more about me, click here.

Is There an Event Detail You Would Like to Read About?

Themes that Rock
Transforming Your Venue
Event Timeline/Flow
What Makes a Good Emcee
Staging the Auction Table
Balloon Arch Design
What's on YOUR mind?

If you are thinking about it, most likely other people are too! Send me an email and let me know what event details you have the biggest questions about!

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Today’s Conversation Piece: The Table Centerpiece


Fundraising event centerpieces can be made from small potted plantsHere in Connecticut, it has been an uncommonly mild winter. Sixty degrees, yesterday!  And, yet, in my core, it still feels we are in the midst of our hibernation season. The days are short, sunshine is scarce, the produce in the grocery store is lackluster, and our small downtown has been robbed of its rhythm and buzz with so many families on vacation.

So, I was thinking it is a perfect time for a blog post that features vibrant colors and a festive feel. Today, we will cover a bit of the basics with centerpiece design.

Now, I know, this is not a complicated topic. But, so many of you are [rightly] focused on the more challenging details of fundraising events such as driving ticket sales, attracting sponsors, acquiring auction items, and settling on entertainment. I thought that perhaps a no-brainer list of best practices and a couple ideas for inspiration could be helpful.

Back to Basics

  • A low design will create an atmosphere where table guests can all see each other and help spark conversation.
    • This is especially important if businesses or groups are buying entire tables!
  • Always test your design before acquiring all your supplies.
    • Create a prototype to share with committee members.
    • Make your design easy to replicate.
    • If you can prep the centerpiece prior to the event and delegate assembly to team members, all the better!

Make Your Centerpiece a Sponsorship Opportunity

fundraising event casino night centerpiece

The Centerpiece offers an advertising opportunity with a captive audience for the duration of the entire meal!

Bring your prototype design to local businesses and offer signage on the table or better yet, integrated into the design! Be sure to keep in mind the cost of the goods it will take to create all the centerpieces and add on a premium for the value of the advertising.

(It also may be a good idea to add in the cost of two large pizzas so that you can offer your creative team a pizza party for the centerpiece assembly night!)

Bring your theme tableside

Think outside the box! Are there small colorful items that tie to your theme that can be used to create a centerpiece? Nothing like overhearing your guests say as they sit down, “Oh look, that’s so clever!”

I took a stab at this idea with the centerpiece above for a casino night. I used some mini playing cards, floral picks, a little floral foam, curling ribbon, poker chips and some handy dandy scotch tape.

The Impact of A Color Theme

fundraising event blue and purple centerpieceMany of you have written to me about how you have elaborately incorporated color themes to transform mundane event rooms (i.e. a high school gym) into lively celebration spaces.

Water pearls (sometimes called jelly balls or jelly beads) are all the rave for showcasing color themes in the centerpiece. They are reasonably priced and work great with submersible accent lights (if they are in your budget).

For the design to the left, I used very inexpensive felt sheets along with a small amount of glittery accent tulle with floral picks for the flowers. Coordinating water pearls with a table mirror and accent ribbon tied the look together.

The “Favor”ite Centerpiece

Fundraising event favor and centerpieceThis idea came to me from Linda who raises money for a prep school. Her event was in the Spring and she was able to get a flats of violets at very reasonable prices. She wrapped the individual plants in aluminum foil and set them on risers in the center of the table. In addition to adding fresh color to the table, each plant was the favor for the guests.

Being February in Connecticut, I didn’t have the benefit of Spring plantings to choose from! But, thanks to a local ShopRite, I got 4-inch prim rose pots on sale for $1.49! A little pink ribbon fastened to floral picks, some brown paper lunch bags, and glittery tulle brought this breast cancer-themed centerpiece and party favor together!

Fresh flowers are gorgeous, But…

cut flowers for fundraising centerpiecesIf you can get a florist, local supplier, or grocery store to donate flowers for your event, more power to you! But, before you check off the box done, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • When will the flowers arrive? Will you have the (talented) manpower available to create the arrangements?
  • Figure out how long it takes to make one arrangement…then estimate the time for make as many as you need.
      • Are you arranging the flowers the day before? Do you have the means to transport the arrangements to the venue without damaging them?
  • What will you be arranging them in?
    • Do you need floral foam (and is that in your budget)?
    • Can you borrow the containers and some table mirrors from a local florist?
    • Do you need ribbon or pebbles or gems to bring the design together?
  • Most importantly, keep in mind that with a fresh flower arrangement, you will be adding responsibilities to the oh-so-valuable last-minute prep time for the event!

fundraisingridesThis is a topic that so many of you have expertise on! Please, write comment below, or send me emails with photos of your designs. Your peers want to see what you can do (and so do I)!

Don't worry, I didn't forget! I have our last two balloon ride winners to announce!

  • Among our contest entrants that didn't win in a category, Sharon who raises money for Cancer, MS and Cruedtzfelt-Jakob Disease was picked from a fish bowl.
  • Also, one of our email subscribers was selected from a fish bowl, but I haven't heard back from her via email. So, will announce her first name and the type of organization she raises money for when I hear back from her, next week.

Thanks everyone...and remember, the bliss is in the details!


This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.



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