5 Hybrid Event Ideas for Youth Organizations

Fundraising Events

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Youth organizations like yours don’t just help kids live happier, healthier childhoods—you prepare them for the future! The work you do is invaluable to generations of people. That’s why the longevity of youth development organizations is so important! 

A hybrid fundraising event can go a long way to ensure your nonprofit’s financial stability now and in the future. Read on for hybrid event ideas your youth organization can use to grow your fundraising. 

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid fundraising event is a format that combines the best of in-person and virtual events. Hybrid events encourage some in-person participation, but they’re also open to people participating online. Online participants can take part in activities via livestream or through apps. 

Why are hybrid events important to youth organizations? In our Navigating the Unknown report, we compared in-person events with virtual fundraising events and found that in-person fundraising earned a larger number of gifts, but virtual attendees gave in higher dollar amounts. A hybrid fundraiser combines both types of participants, which can seriously boost your revenue. 

As a youth organization, a hybrid format can be excellent for including family members who can’t normally participate due to living outside of your service area. For instance, if you host a walkathon fundraiser with the kids and their families, that child’s grandparent can participate (and give) from states away!  

Feeling inspired to host your own hybrid event fundraiser? Looking for ideas your youth organization can implement? We’ve included five of our favorite hybrid event ideas for youth organizations below. 

1. 5K/10K or Walkathon events 

One thing most kids have in abundance is energy! As a fundraiser for a youth development organization, you’re likely aware of how hard it is for kids to contain their energy. This first fundraising idea puts all that energy to good use!  

It’s based on the idea that, when people donate, they aren’t really giving to your organization. They’re giving to people in order to make a difference. And one group of people that inspires others to give is children.  

A hybrid 5K/10K race or a walkathon event is a fantastic fundraising idea. The kids can participate with their families and fundraise on behalf of your organization by getting other family members to sponsor them. You can host an in-person event that practices safe social distancing while opening participation to attendees who are uncomfortable with—or can’t attend—an in-person event. 

The best part about making this kind of event a hybrid format is the ability to make it accessible to others. Some people may be reluctant to take part in a race but would be happy to participate by going the distance via a leisurely walk. Others may prefer to swim, bike, zipline, or hang glide their way to 5K. No matter how your supporters choose to participate, a hybrid event format makes it possible! 

Virtual participants can track their times and routes and share it on their personal fundraising pages. This way, they can be assured their participation is seen and appreciated. 

Nonprofit in action:

This type of event can be incredibly profitable for your youth organization. But we don’t want you to just take our word for it. Instead, consider this: 

Northern Illinois Food Bank's Fight Hunger 5K/10K hybrid event banner.

Northern Illinois Food Bank’s hybrid 5K/10K fundraiser raised more than $189,000! 

2. Video game fundraising events

Another hybrid fundraising idea designed with kids in mind is a hybrid video game event. This can take the form of gaming marathons or video game tournaments. Many kids love playing games, so an event like this is perfect for family-friendly fun that also raises funds for your youth development organization. 

For older kids and teens that benefit from your youth organization, a video game tournament is a great opportunity for them to show off their skills while raising funds for your organization. You can choose family-friendly games such as these top sports titles

For younger groups, it may be better to keep things non-competitive. Instead, Kids can take turns playing a variety of games rated E for everyone. Common Sense Media publishes a great list of games for kids in different age groups. 

Gaming events can be great in a hybrid format. Tournament attendees can join in the fun online or at the in-person event. Just make sure they have a way to communicate with event coordinators and other guests. Gaming marathoners can choose to participate in an in-person fundraiser where everyone plays the same game together for a certain period of time or virtual attendees can livestream their gameplay while asking for donations. If kids will be participating, get parents’ permission before encouraging livestreaming.  

Nonprofit in action:

This kind of event is profitable and repeatable. Just ask Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass!

Ronald McDonald House Charities' Givers & Gamers event banner.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass hosted an incredibly successful event called Givers & Gamers that raised 22% more than their fundraising goal. In fact, the event was so nice they hosted it twice! Their top fundraiser? A teenager who fundraised while livestreaming virtually. You can find out more about their event, here.

3. Live performances

A fundraising event that features live entertainment is great for attracting a captive audience. Then, make asks throughout the performance to get your audience giving! Livestreaming technology and video tools make it easy to broadcast performances to people all over the world. Whether you have the kids acting in a play or playing musical instruments, their family can watch from wherever they are. 

This event type works great for musicians, magic shows, plays and performances, and other forms of entertainment. Likewise, you can host your organization’s own version of a TED talk and entertain questions from parents and community members. You could also bring in guest speakers to share valuable information relevant to the work you do. You’d be surprised how well these kinds of events go over. 

Performances are great for the hybrid event format because it creates some exclusivity for those chosen to attend in person. Others can still register and watch online. Build asks into your event and consider hosting sub-events like auctions, raffles, and wine pulls. 

Nonprofit in action:

Snow City Arts took a virtual performance to the streets, offering a tour of some of Chicago’s most diverse and creative neighborhoods.

Snow City Arts' Virtual DeTour event banner

Snow City Arts hosted a great virtual event called Junelle & Wayne’s Virtual DeTour, which showcased diverse Chicago communities and the arts in these neighborhoods. While this tour was conducted 100% virtually, it’d be easy to offer a limited number of in-person tickets for a walking tour while livestreaming to virtual attendees. Their event reached 111% of its fundraising goal, and the folks at Snow City Arts got to share their passion for art with their supporters. 

4. Hybrid fundraising galas

A gala event can work great in a hybrid format. Part live performance and part dinner event, these events often feature guest speakers, music, and more to raise funds for great causes. 

This type of event lends itself well to the hybrid event format. Like live performances, you can livestream a gala event while allowing for a limited number of in-person attendees. This lends an exclusive feel to your hybrid event without actually excluding supporters from participating. 

Hybrid galas offer many ways to raise money while keeping things fun. Sub-events like auctions and raffles can be profitable and create healthy competition among event attendees. Wine pulls appeal to guests who love a good bottle of wine and the allure of receiving a mystery bottle. Additionally, galas are a great opportunity to host table decorating and costume competitions among guests. It just takes getting creative! 

Nonprofit in action:

Phoenix Charities Football Club had great success hosting theit hybrid gala fundraiser, Sky Full of Stars.

The Sky Full of Stars hybrid gala event banner.

Phoenix Charities Football Club raises funds each year so youth in Arizona can participate in soccer leagues. Their Sky Full of Stars hybrid gala event combined an evening of entertainment with a stellar fundraising auction. 

They limited the number of in-person participants and livestreamed the gala to virtual attendees. But to make virtual attendees feel more included, they arranged to-go meals from the same restaurant that served in-person guests in their rooftop dining area. 

The night was full of great guest presentations and sub-events that helped them raise more than $100,000! 

Is a gala the right type of event for your youth organization? Find out here

5. Hybrid Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunt fundraisers provide family-friendly entertainment to your supporters while also helping nonprofits raise money for their cause. This kind of fundraiser is perfect for youth organizations because you can tailor the scavenger hunt to your ideal audience.  

You may think adding virtual elements to a scavenger hunt is impossible, but it’s actually pretty easy! Make sure the items you want guests to find can be found both at your event venue and at home. You could also incorporate challenges that participants must submit photo or video proof of to complete. Virtual attendees and in-person participants alike can participate by photographing the items they found and submitting them to a designated scavenger hunt email address or via a specific scavenger hunt app, like Eventzee

But it’s not enough to host a fun event. Bring fundraising into it by awarding teams bonus points for donations they bring in, like a bonus point for each $100 raised. This can create some serious competition for fundraising between teams leading up to the actual scavenger hunt event.

Nonprofit in action:

This next example was designed with children and families in mind. Check out Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass’ Scavenger Hunt for Kids’ Sake event.

Hybrid Scavenger Hunt event banner by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass’ Scavenger Hunt for Kids’ Sake took on the hybrid scavenger hunt challenge. They’ve prepared family-friendly challenges in-person and virtual attendees can compete and have started accepting donations for bonus points. Their event doesn’t take place until June and they’ve already raised more than $11,000! 


Your youth organization can take advantage of the hybrid event format to draw supporters from outside of your service area. The additional source of funding provided by hybrid events can be incredibly beneficial to your organization. Keep important programs funded by incorporating some of these hybrid event ideas into your annual fundraising strategy. Or get creative and come up with a unique hybrid fundraiser tailored to your nonprofit’s unique brand! 

Not sure how to get started with your hybrid event planning? We’ve got you covered! Download your free copy of the hybrid event planner for tips and tools for planning more successful hybrid events. 

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