How to Increase Your Nonprofit Event Revenue with a Graffiti Wall Fundraiser

We all know what graffiti is, so quite simply, you are going to create a space where guests can write or draw a picture or message to add to a larger piece of artwork unique to your event and your organization.

It also serves to engage your guests in a direct activity that benefits your organization or your programs in some way, which helps to boost their support for you in general!

How Does the Graffiti Wall Work?

The graffiti wall is a revenue enhancer that can be on the low end of the price scale, but provides an easy way for every guest to participate in fundraising, and it doubles as an organization-centric activity during your reception or after-party.

The way it works is that you create a space for your graffiti art, either a blank slate or a template, provide a table with the appropriate art supplies, and then, for a fee (anywhere from $5-$50 depending on the scale of your event), guests can purchase an opportunity to add their personal touch to the wall.
Graffiti Wall - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer
Depending on the size of your finished graffiti wall, you will need to make sure you have ample space available. If you also have auction tables, bars, food stations, and other activities in your event, you want to be mindful of the traffic flow. Your graffiti wall should be placed somewhere with good visibility, but not where it will compete for space. Your graffiti wall should be large enough to be clearly visible from several feet away and yet small enough that you can manage the installation and break down.

How to Personalize a Graffiti Wall Fundraiser to Your Nonprofit

The concept is simple, but there is so much room to personalize this event in a particular way to engage your guests that the possibilities are endless!

Some examples could include:

  1. If your gala or fundraising dinner is for a disease or health concern, invite guests to honor a friend or family member touched by disease with their tribute wall contribution.
  2. If you have an honoree, use the wall as a space for guests to leave messages for that person and create a framed photo of the finished piece.
  3. Provide prompts and let guests describe why your organization is important to them or why they support you or how you’ve inspired their lives. This variation is great for an anniversary year!
  4. If you work with a school, a shelter, or another “offsite” space, you can donate the finished artwork to them. This can make it more creative! Create theater sets for a local school, or even cage backdrops for your local animal shelter.
  5. If you just completed a capital campaign or are in the process of beginning one, make guests a part of “stamping” a new wall on your building with the artwork.
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Beth’s Advice

Note: Many states have specific rules that govern auction games. Make sure to check your state’s raffle licensing laws as well as your organization’s bylaws. Also, check on alcohol sales rules and permits, as well as firearms, if those will be available at your event or in the auction.
  • For most events, this should be done by creating a mural backdrop using canvas or wooden flats that are free-standing and can be set up in your event space and then transported back to your office following the event. You can work with a local theater or mural artist to create a backdrop or go as simple as a large blank canvas on an easel.
  • Create prompt questions to further engage and inspire guests. Let guests fill in the blanks to sentences describing why your organization is important to them or why they support you or how you’ve inspired their lives. This is also great for an anniversary year.
  • If you work with a school or a shelter, consider working with an artist to create a starter backdrop, let guests add their own touches, and then donate the finished mural as a piece of artwork to be displayed in a building or a park.
  • Check with local art supplies stores and see if they want to be part of your creation as well by donating supplies to the project.
  • Make sure you provide wet towelettes to “rinse” afterward and get right back to the party!
  • Station a photographer as well to snap photos of your guests and their contributions to the masterpiece for your Facebook or Instagram.

Some Personal Insight from Beth

I’ve worked with clients to create this revenue enhancer on multiple occasions. My favorite was in a theater in Texas where we were producing a play that had a lot of graffiti in the set design. Because we owned the building, we could dedicate a wall in the theater lobby to our graffiti wall. We gave it a fresh coat of white paint and staffed the wall with a volunteer and some markers. It was hugely popular and became the go-to selfie spot, so our social media mentions also saw an uptick.

This article is part of our 26 Proven Revenue Enhancers for Your Fundraiser eBook available as a free download. If you looking for new revenue enhancing ideas and how to incorporate them into your event—this easy-to-use lookbook is for you.

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