March Madness fundraiser
March Madness is copyrighted by the NCAA, so make sure your tickets and promotional material don’t use that phrase. I like March Mayhem, for instance.

The month of March is an exciting time for fans of college basketball. This is when the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, organizes a championship tournament called March Madness that lasts for several weeks as the teams advance through the rounds and compete for the winning title.

This popular sporting event provides a great theme for fundraising, offering plenty of opportunities for creative events that will draw community members together for food and fun.

March-MayhemOne fundraising idea is to hold a cookoff. Participants can form teams who compete against each other to see who makes the best chili, chowder, chicken wings – the possibilities are virtually endless. The competition could be organized much the same way as the team brackets, with the cooks serving up appetizers in the first round, moving on to main dishes and ending with desserts. Charge a nominal fee for each team and have prizes ready for the winners.

Your organization could also hold a March Madness party for one or more of the games. Be sure to have access to a large television and enough room and snacks for guests. A good way to ensure that you won’t run short of either is to offer advance-sale tickets that are sequentially numbered to help you keep track of how many have been printed and sold. You can also charge admission at the door and guests will receive food and drink while watching the games.

To raise even more money, you could combine other, related activities with your party. Consider organizing a free-throw contest if your March Madness party will be held in a gym. For a small fee, participants can compete against each other for a chance to win a prize. Of you can ask ticket holders to write in their guess for that game’s winner and enter all of the correct answers into a drawing for a door prize.

college basketball viewing party
The college basketball finals are a great excuse to gather friends and coworkers and host a fundraiser party for your favorite charity or organization.

Prizes can be gift certificates or other items donated by local businesses that can be placed in a basket to be raffled off in a drawing (another possible use for those sequentially numbered tickets!). As much as possible, continue the March Madness theme in the basket by including basketball-related items, such as a local team-themed T-shirt.

Just remember: The phrase “March Madness” is trademarked and cannot be used in connection with a sports event or to sell something related to college basketball.

These are a few ways your organization can have fun sharing in the excitement of the college basketball season’s final weeks. Have a great time and best of luck with your fundraiser!

Lucinda Rowlands
Lucinda Rowlands

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