A benefit is about what you get out of it and who it helps.
But what about what goes into it?
Donations need to be solicited. The venue needs to be booked. Tasks need to be delegated. Baskets need to be filled and wrapped. Sauce needs to simmer. The word needs to be spread.
Neal Workman of Newton Falls dishes out spaghetti at the John Mann benefit.
Whether it's a spaghetti dinner or a motorcyle poker run, a bowl-a-thon or a golf outing, there's plenty of preparation involved.
"You want to start early and get the word out," said Rebecca Bush of Bristol, who recently co-hosted a bowling benefit to help the family of her brother-in-law, Dale James McCartney.
Bush said the family had a poker run two years ago when McCartney was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but this time the publicity was better.
Some things to consider when
putting on a fundraiser
Find something family-oriented
Designate people to pick up donations
Find reliable people to help that you know are going to show up
Call many different places to get prices
Get a big enough place to accomodate your needs
Make it reasonably priced
Choose something that's not affected by the weather
Think about the date - don't hold an event too close to a holiday
- Vickie Harkelrode of West Farmington, Harkelrode Foundation
"We've had a lot of responses from Facebook," she said.
The idea for a bowling event came from Vickie Harkelrode of the Harkelrode Foundation.
"You want to find something that people want to do with their family and help somebody at the same time," Harkelrode said.
The bowling benefit fits that bill.
"It's family-oriented, and there's not a lot of major prep and cleanup," Bush said. "It's at a bowling alley, so anybody can come. You don't have to bowl, you can just come in and do the other activities going on."
Those activities included a bake sale, with treats provided by family members and a couple of churches; a 50-50 raffle and a Chinese auction.
Harkelrode said that's the way to go - "do more than one and make a lot of money at once."
"Thankfully, we have a pretty large family, so there was a lot of people to help," Bush said. "And we had a tremendous amount of donations that we received."
Harkelrode said after the posters and fliers asking for donations have been distributed, it's a good idea to have only have so many people who are going to come around and pick things up.
"People are scamming and going around asking for donations," she said.
Although Harkelrode says a golf outing is "a lot, a lot, a lot of work," Kris Vadas of Newton Falls is putting on a fourth one this year.
"In my eyes, a golf outing is the easiest to put on because it runs itself," he said, adding that the hardest part for him is signing up enough teams to fill the course.
Vadas is president of the Growlin' Howland Browns Backers. Their third annual outing is set for June 2, and the proceeds will go toward the Children's Rehabilitation Center. The first two went toward the Susan G. Komen Foundation, while a cornhole tournment's earnings went to the Animal Welfare League. He also organized an event to help raise money for a former classmate with cancer.
"Now it's easy for me, because I just have a spreadsheet from the first one," he said. For example, it starts with his grocery list.
Vadas said that although he's a little behind this year, he usually starts asking for donations at the end of February or the beginning of March.
"I'm not ashamed to go up to someone and ask them for money," he said. "I won't bat an eye, because I know it's going for a good cause."
Rick and Tina Croyle recently put on a spaghetti dinner to help his sister, Sandi Mann. Her husband, John, died in January after battling several health issues.
"I'm facing massive debt - the last two years were enormous," Mann said.
Tina Croyle said planning for the dinner started about six weeks before the event. Once they got the date set, she made up a flier for area businesses to see what they would donate. Items included restaurant gift certificates and basket items for a Chinese auction, drink mixes, cups and napkins and more.
At the event, a thank-you note listing each donor was big enough to cover a door.
"I sent out a lot of emails," Croyle said, adding that some businesses require the request to be sent to a corporate office.
They also set up a donation account at a local bank, something Tina Croyle said turned out to be a challenge.
Having never done a dinner before, Croyle said there was some trial and error. But she had the delegation bit down - family members were cooking and serving the dinner, her husband was manning the door, Sandi Mann was serving desserts, someone else was painting faces, and Tina's daughter Brittany Miller was selling Chinese auction and 50-50 raffle tickets along with Brenda Hoostel.
"Find reliable people to help that you know are going to show up," advised Harkelrode. "Help is very, very important for anything."
The Croyles said the spaghetti dinner brought in about $1,500, including about 90 tickets sold at the door and $500 from the Chinese auction. The winner of the 50-50 raffle donated their share back to the cause.
Vadas admits he's not as good at delegating, at least not before the golf outing.
"If I do it, I know it's gonna get done," he said. But the day of the event, he's got people working 50/50 tickets, raffles, a casino hole, food and more.
"I just float around and make sure everything goes OK," he said.
The Backers also use Facebook as a successful marketing tool. Vadas said his connections with the Browns and with the Browns Backers Worldwide organization help him offer great prizes to local fans, too.
Putting on a fundraiser can even help those in charge.
"You have to feel like you can help," Bush said. "Unfortunately we can't fix the problem, but at least you feel like you're doing something."