Best Practices

5 Fundraising ideas for your Virtual Homecoming

5 Fundraising ideas for your Virtual Homecoming




September 18, 2020

Last modified: 

February 9, 2022

It’s that special time of the year again - Homecoming! For schools, colleges, and universities across the country, the Homecoming weekend is a grand, festive celebration where students, alumni, and faculty come together to show their school pride. For alumni, homecoming is a truly memorable experience as they look forward to meeting their old friends, teachers, mentors, current students and making new memories. The nostalgia associated with homecoming also encourages alumni to give back to their alma mater and learn more about the philanthropic possibilities. 

While the pandemic has definitely made it difficult to host a traditional Homecoming this year, it is incredible to see how institutions are coping up to deliver the best experience to their communities via a virtual or a hybrid format. As raising funds become all the more crucial amidst a pandemic, schools, and universities are leveraging creative opportunities to maximize fundraising profit potential at their Virtual Homecoming this fall. 

How FAIS raised over $360,000 amidst COVID-19

Here are the top 5 fundraising ideas to boost alumni donations at your Homecoming this year. 

Virtual Talent Show Fundraiser

A virtual talent show is a great, fun-filled way to encourage your alumni to showcase their talents and are perfect for making small fundraising appeals. Inspire alumni to flaunt their artistic side, be it singing, dancing, music, or even magic. Set a theme that your alumni would be excited to perform to and collect registrations well in advance. You could also use an event management tool to create a branded event page with details about the theme, attendees, timings, and urge alumni to make a donation on the page. 

Make the event more interesting by conducting a live poll amongst your alumni to decide the winner. You can also live stream the event on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram to boost engagement during the event and appeal to those engaged online to make a gift. In addition to making fundraising appeals a part of your event registration process and promotions during the online event, you can also add a payment link to your communications (emails and social media) after the event. 

Online Retail Store

As the pandemic has forced everyone to stay confined to their homes for a majority of the year, health, and wellbeing has become a priority across the globe. So, this homecoming is a wonderful opportunity to help your alumni take actionable steps towards their health and well-being with a virtual race/walk-a-thon/marathon. 

Post inspiring posts on your event page, garner support from alumni volunteers, and create awareness via social media. Also, remind your alumni that your institution too needs the support of their loyal donors to be able to power through this economic crisis. You can charge just a nominal fee per ticket for participants and also encourage alumni during the course of the event to support your cause.

See how Manchester University in Indiana hosted a 30-day Virtual 5K race at their Homecoming 2020, encouraging alumni to embrace the community spirit by joining the event along with their family and friends. 

College of Idaho's virtual 5K Race success story

Watch Party Fundraiser

Since the onset of the pandemic, people have missed going out to movies with their friends. Bring the movie watching experience home to your alumni this homecoming by organizing a watch party. Take a poll to select the movie and set a designated time for the watch party. Connect your alumni over a Zoom call, so they can watch the movie together while being able to chat with each other real-time. You can also have all your alumni assemble on the call and then assign breakout rooms for different class years to have their own watch parties while they get to talk to their friends. 

You can create a ticketed virtual event and encourage alumni to make a contribution to support your cause. Choosing a compelling theme and making a personalized appeal for donations can go a long way in boosting your fundraising this Homecoming. 

Check out how Antioch College hosted an Adventure Watch Party 2020 to celebrate the entering class of 2024 and to raise funds for their needs. 

Drive-through Dinner Fundraiser

Good food and conversations are a usual part of homecoming, but this year calls for a different approach. As your alumni cannot come together for a dinner party, you could organize a drive-through dinner to comply with the social distancing guidelines in your state. 

Set up your registration page early and inform your alumni about what they should be expecting. From tacos to hot dogs, take your pick and promote the drive-through via social media, emails, and your alumni website. To spice it up, you can even create a themed-dinner and your volunteers can go live on Facebook or YouTube right before the event starts to boost engagement. It is also integral to let your alumni know how you plan on using the proceeds from their purchases. 

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Related Blog Posts


#GivingTuesday Infographic: Campaign Planning Tips

This #GivingTuesday, try out these proven strategies to help drive awareness and attract new donors to your nonprofit organizations.


7 Proven School Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising is a necessity for any school to support its educational activities. It seems you can never fundraiser too much or accept too many donations, but you don’t want to bore your supporters with the same fundraisers year after year. Is your school tired of the same old fundraisers and looking for new ideas that are guaranteed to work?

Best Practices

8 creative ideas to boost alumni engagement & fundraising amidst COVID-19

Here's a look at the 8 unique and creative ideas that we've seen advancement teams implement to engage their alumni digitally during the COVID-19 crisis.

Liberal Arts Colleges: 5 Fundraising Tips for Your Fall Giving Day

As Liberal Arts Colleges across the United States start preparing for their Fall Giving Day 2020 and Giving Tuesday campaigns, here are 5 innovative strategies to help them engage donors and boost fundraising this year.