3 Games to Teach Your Board About Fundraising

imagesEAN1FISXRead this if:

• Your board, staff or volunteers don’t like, understand or believe in fundraising.

• They get it, but they’re a bit afraid or maybe even nauseated by it.

• They get it, but don’t think anyone else gets it.

• They like games.



This game is great for de-bunking misconceptions in a non-confrontational way and will get your team talking, guaranteed!

1. Read them a list of questions on the fundraising and non-profit sector one by one and make them write down their answers (see below for my top picks). Tell them that no-one will know all the answers, but in the spirit of this game they MUST make a guess for every question.

2. Once you’ve gone through all the questions, read them again and ask participants to shout out their answers. Using numeric answers keeps this quick and easy. Note the range of numbers, then move on to the next question.

3. Wait until you’ve got a good bunch of guesses written down for each question before you reveal the Real Answers.


This game will get your team to understand the importance of talking about philanthropy and will de-bunk the myth that only rich people are generous donors.

1. Make them write down (anonymously) the most they’ve ever given to charity in a single year. It needs to be cash, not things or services. It can include giving money to homeless people and other unreceiptable gifts. Don’t worry about absolute accuracy, just get them to make their best guess about their most generous year of giving. If it’s $0, then write $0.

2. Make sure there are no names on the papers and pass them to someone to add up the total. Don’t let them reveal the number yet.

3. Ask the room to think about what everyone else’s number might be. Then ask them to guess at what the total for the whole group would add up to. You’ll get a wide range of numbers for this, so best to write them all on a whiteboard like in the previous game.

4. Do the reveal and wait for the reaction! I have done this game dozens of times and there were only two occasions where the group over-estimated their total giving.

I love the reaction and conversation that this game inspires. Typically, the team ends up with a much better appreciation of how generous we really are. It’s fun to talk about WHY we think we aren’t as generous as we are. Is it cultural? Politeness? Shyness? Discuss!


A classic game show adds fun to sobering statistics about the challenges of fundraising. They need to know what we’re up against and why we need their buy-in and help.

1. Cut your group into two teams and give them a “buzzer” to use, Jeopardy style.

2. Create a slide deck with one question per slide, alternating with the answers. Questions could include the number of competing charities in your area, percentage of donor churn, number of appeals the average person sees – get them thinking!

3. Play Jeopardy!

My favourite questions for Game #1

1. What’s the value of the charitable sector in your country?

2. What’s the percentage of the population who volunteer annually?

3. The percentage who make a donation?

4. How many people are employed by the charitable sector?

5. How many charities do you think there are in the country?

In Canada, you can find these kinds of statistics here: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-649-x/2011001/tbl-eng.htm

Thanks for reading and I hope you have fun with some of these! Siobhan

P.S. If you’d like the Canadian answers to game 1, just email me at siobhanaspinall@gmail.com


About Siobhan Aspinall

About Siobhan Aspinall: I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), passionate about the environment, social causes and surfing. I have been fundraising in Vancouver, Canada for over 20 years and love working with people who have a fear of fundraising. Call me for help developing a first-time fundraising plan, starting up a major gifts program, writing a case for support, or anything else that's keeping you awake at night! Please find me on linkedin and tell me what you'd like to see in future posts! : ) Photo Credit (sanddollar header): Minette Layne via Compfight cc
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