Charging a donation rather than a ticket price

I am organizing a free STEM event for kids that really should include a $20-$35 charge. However, the people I am working with are a non-profit and asked we not charge for a profit. So instead, I was thinking of “charging” a required $10-15 donation for their group at the time of registration. Does anyone know if this ok to do? Is it a bad idea?

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Usually I see requests for a ‘suggested donation of x’ when it’s a charity event. I don’t think you can have a mandatory “donation”. In this case it might be better to make it clear that it’s a non-profit event and the ticket price just covers the cost of materials and refreshments or whatever.