Video Courtesy of Kearney Community Olympics

Video Courtesy of Hillside Community Olympics

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Community Olympics Fundraiser

Potential Revenues:


Revenue Source:

Competition entry fees, attendance fees, parking, booth, and concession fees


Social media, posters, flyers, direct mail, press releases, media ads, website, all communications


Depends on venues selected, plus signage, tickets, concession stands, etc.


Area taverns, area companies, individuals

Volunteers Needed:

To sell sponsorships, develop event publications, manage traffic, deal with signage, balloons, etc.

How It Works:

This is a terrific community-wide event that is both fun, as well as an attractor of attendance to watch the competitions.  Community Olympics are usually aimed at people 18 years of age and older. Teams are typically comprised of 10-30 people. Events can be widely-varied and pretty eclectic: inner-tube water polo, golf, obstacle course, horseshoes, volleyball, dodge ball, tugs-of-war, baseball, table tennis, swimming, tennis, miniature golf, bowling, hiking, and whatever else creates competition and vaguely resembles a sporting event. 

The events usually run over a weekend, starting on a Friday night, and include plenty of other entertainment such as band competitions and performances, food vendors, caricature artists, silent auctions, raffles, fireworks, art and crafts exhibits, parades, and whatever else seems to attract families, sponsors, and competitors.

Teams compete for points in each event over the several days, and the highest point count determines the gold, silver and bronze awards.  Where do they come from?  Every business, club, school, association, bar, restaurant, and even Facebook friends are potential competitors.  In turn, encourage these competitors to invite families and friends.  You want people to come and spend money at the event.

Don’t underestimate the amount of planning and work to pull off an event of this magnitude.  It will take multiple committees and lots of volunteers.

Ideas to Consider:

This is a great opportunity to get a big dollar sponsorship for the overall event, as well as several supporting sponsors.  If you publish an event guide, which is highly recommended, that opens up even more sponsor opportunities in the guide.  If you’re in a fenced enclosed area, consider selling banner space to area businesses.

Get the local news and television stations involved.  Some might want to broadcast from the event, and all will give you air time if you give out free attendance tickets.

If this becomes your yearly premier event, then you’ll see an enormous increase in attendance as word gets out on the success of the first event.  Brainstorm the types of events and surrounding activities, and then break each of those activities into a subcommittee to handle the event.

Fairgrounds, college campuses, high schools and other large grounds will provide the space you need for the events and parking.  If parking is limited, you might even want to consider a parking fee. 

The usual advice is to start small in the first year, but remember, that first year will establish your event’s reputation.  And of course, check the laws around events.

Source of Idea: This idea is modeled after the Olympics and Special Olympics, and was first seen used by the city of Kearney, NE.  It was first suggested to the author by Frank Maguire, one of the co-authors of the Special Olympics and Project Head Start, as well as a former member of The Orphan Foundation before his death.

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