Fundraising events are a popular form of fundraising. While they can be great money makers for an organization, they can also be time consuming and expensive. The success of events depends on careful planning.
For fundraising and charity events, you want to ensure people are getting value for money and understand the great cause they are supporting.
To help you ensure that your fundraising event is a winner, here are ten steps to organizing it:
1. Determine your goals
In order to measure the success of your event, it is important to first determine some goals. Key among these will be the amount of money you hope to raise.
Make educated guesses about the number of supporters who will attend and the amount you hope to raise per guest over and above expenses. This will become easier in subsequent years.
In addition to raising money, think how your event can help you reach other goals, such as:
- Acquiring new donors
- Promoting your cause
- Stewarding existing donors
2. Establish an event budget
Determining the costs of holding an event against the potential funds expected to be raised is imperative. This will allow appropriate measurements to be taken in order to identify what can be executed to minimise expenditure and maximise fundraising and revenue.
To avoid disappointment post-event, a realistic attitude must be taken towards the event. Set timelines, budgets and stay within these guidelines.
3. Set a date
Before booking entertainment and a venue, you need to know when your event will take place. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Make sure you have enough time to secure a venue and allow guests to RSVP.
- If it is an annual event, keep your date consistent each year so donors can expect it.
- Avoid conflicts by planning around holidays, national or local events, major sports games, etc.
4. Pick your venue carefully
It is imperative that a variety of locations are researched, visited and assessed in accordance with the event. The most suitable location must be chosen as it can significantly impact attendance, creates the atmosphere of the event, and contributes to the theme and aesthetic of the event. Particularly if you’re fundraising for a cause that impacts mobility, consider how easy it will be for your desired audience to get there and research the accessibility of every venue.
it is also important to consider what the venue has to offer in terms of discounts or special promotions in order to assist with the event’s fundraising efforts. When selecting a venue, a thorough budget review should be produced and executed. This will help you determine if anything needs to be sacrificed in order to meet the minimum spend while still maintaining effective and successful fundraising.
5. Assemble a leadership team
Determine who will be in charge of the different components of your fundraiser. This may include a single committee for smaller events or multiple task forces comprised of staff and volunteers for major events. Delegate someone to lead specific duties, such as:
- Soliciting sponsorships
- Marketing and promotions
- Ticket sales, registration and checkout
- Volunteer management
- Venue setup and cleanup
- Auction item procurement
- Event follow-up
6. Seek Sponsorship
While cash is a considerably helpful contribution, for your first event contra can be just as beneficial. Remember, the less you spend towards the event, taking form of venue costs, printing, audio visual, beverage sponsors and those alike, the more profit you will generate from ticket sales. Spend wisely and choose event partners strategically. Go out and look for sponsors.
7. Market your event
Just like a new product, your event needs to be aggressively marketed to your target audience. You need to convince your supporters that your organization and event are worthy of their time and money. Draw up an entire marketing plan for the event. Possible methods of “getting the word out” include: using your non-profit’s fundraising network,social media, mailed invitations, direct mail, phone banks, word of mouth and the event host committee.
8. Sell Tickets
Once you market your event, there must be a procedure in place for making the actual ticket sales, or accepting donations for the event. You must decide whether there will be different contribution levels for the event (such as a flat ticket charge, an extra charge to be invited to a V.I.P. reception in addition to the event, etc.). You must decide who will sell the tickets, how they will be shipped or delivered, and who will be responsible for organizing the incoming information.
9. Set up for the big day
Before opening the doors, put all the final touches in place, including:
- Confirming details with entertainment (arrival, parking, rehearsals/sound-checks)
- Decorating the venue
- Scheduling and organizing volunteers
- Arranging day-of ticket sales and registration
- Displaying auction items
- Confirming catering
10. Follow up with supporters
Tap into the good feelings your supporters have from the event by promptly thanking them for their support. Be sure to include event sponsors and volunteers. Let everyone know how much money you raised and how this will benefit your cause. Solicit feedback to make your event even more successful next time.
Planning an event fundraiser that is memorable and fun for supporters and profitable for your organization takes a lot of hard work. With a little planning and coordination, you can help your organization reach its goals of engaging supporters and raising much needed funds. If you need any assistance in making your fundraising event a success, don’t hesitate to contact us as we’ll come through for you.