Fundraiser ideas

Murder mystery parties make for excellent fundraiser ideas - whether it's for the church roof, textbooks for school, or just your favourite charity.

murder mystery parties for fundraisers

Here I've included tips for using murder mystery games as fundraisers, along with a selection of murder mystery games you might want to consider for a fundraiser idea.

I've selected games for over 30 people (because you want to raise lots of money for your chosen charity!).

Some companies have conditions over using their games for fundraising - I've included those where appropriate.

If you like the sound of running a murder mystery game as a fundraiser idea, your next step should be to read more about the game and download the introductory pdf file (if that game has one) to check if that game is suitable for your guests.

You will find that running a murder mystery party for a large number of people at your fundraiser differs significantly from one for a dozen or so. If nothing else, there's a bigger chance of Murphy's Rule ("If something can go wrong, it will.") striking.

tips for running a large murder mystery fundraiser

  • Prepare in advance: Everything will take longer, so start well in advance. Don't wait until the last minute before choosing your game - give yourself at least a month. Ideally, give yourself even longer.
  • Buffet Meal: The larger murder mystery games are all "interactive" in style, rather than the dinner-party games. So a buffet meal, or finger food, means your guests can mingle with a drink and plate in their hand. Have lots of places for people to leave their plates and glasses as they play.
  • Plenty of Help: Don't do everything yourself; recruit help. You might want someone to help with running the murder mystery, but you might also want someone else in charge of food or drinks. Don't try to do it all yourself.
  • Drinks: Make sure you have a good supply of soft drinks. Your guests will be talking throughout the game and are bound to become very thirsty.
  • Don't worry about the murder yourself: Some of the games allow you to play in the game - but if you're organising the fundraiser event, you're likely to be too busy to spend much time trying to solve the mystery.
  • Play safe: Don't forget to play safe! Props are great - but never use props for weapons.
  • You can't please all of the people all of the time: Which is to say that you should expect one or two problems and maybe even a complaint. There's not that much you can do about this - it doesn't seem to matter how well organised an event is, someone finds something to complain about. So be prepared to handle problems.


    Something else to consider for your fundraiser is the matter of prizes.

    Some games have suggestions for prizes, but you can always include your own prizes - for example:

  • Best Costume
  • Most Valuable Player
  • Best Roleplayer
  • Most Outrageous Accent

The best way I have found when allocating prizes is to let everyone vote for them (although this might be impractical at a large event).

I usually include a voting form in each character envelope, and at the end of the game the guests hand them in for counting.

The prizes themselves might be a simple certificate (you can get these from office suppliers), a box of chocolates, bottle of wine - or something more suited to the game itself.

Some games have specific prizes.

For example, in The Last Gasp the player with the most money at the end of the game wins a prize. However, those who start with money aren't eligible for the prize.

If you want everyone to be eligible, you could calculate how much everyone has increased their wealth by. So if you end up with £200 but started with nothing, you've done better than someone who ends with £300 but starts with £400. (This does require a little maths - but not much.)

Even if you follow these points I can't guarantee that your charity party will be a hit, but you have a better chance of success if you do.

Fundraising murder mystery parties

Here is a selection of murder mystery party games that I believe work well as fundraisers.

The Auction is a modern-day murder mystery party for up to 40 guests.

Death in Them Thar Hills caters for over 100 guests. Click here to learn more about Death in Them Thar Hills and other Mysteries-on-the-Net games.

The Last Gasp is a Victorian murder mystery for up to 40 guests, great for dressing up!

Murder at Sea is set at the outbreak of World War 1 on a cruise liner in the Atlantic.

Hollywood Lies is a Hollywood-themed murder mystery party and includes a movie-making party game to round off the evening.

St Cakes is a school-based party for up to 200 guests!

Way out West is a Wild West murder mystery for up to 24 guests. Here's a story where someone used Way out West to raise over $1000 for charity (scroll down, the story is in the comments).

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Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

New game

Cover for A Purrfect Murder

A Purrfect Murder - a cat-themed murder mystery for 9-12 guests.

Don't know where to start?

Here's my suggested quick route through the site:

Step 1 - Go to Choosing a Game to choose the game that suits your party best.

Step 2 - Review the Tips for Hosts for helpful advice.

Step 3 - If you want to keep up to date with the latest murder mystery game news, click on my What's New page.

Step 4 - Once you've had your party - tell me how it went! Click here to tell me your murder mystery party story.

Got a question? Click here to go to the FAQ.

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