Fundraising events are one of the best ways to gain support and financing for an organization, cause or other pursuit. The success of an event relates to careful planning and leadership. Besides having a written event plan or hiring a coordinator, these are some tips that can help you ensure that your fundraising event is a winning success.
1. What’s the Goal?
Before you plan any part of a fundraiser, you have to decide what the goal or purpose of the event is. Is it only a fundraising event? You could also have other goals in mind such as gaining publicity or networking with those who could help your organization in the long-term. Most charitable events are more than a fundraiser. Once you figure out the different goals of your fundraiser, you can more accurately plan the details of the event and achieve what you want.
2. What’s the Number?
On the other hand, you do need a specific fundraising monetary goal. This number should be a decision made between your event host committee, organization staff and key fundraisers. You need to know what the money is for, and you should also have a budget in mind for the fundraiser itself. Everything in your event must be geared to raising this specific amount of money. You should deduct expenses to get the net amount that you hope to raise.
3. What’s the Budget?
One of the major keys to a successful fundraiser is knowing what you can spend. Every fundraising event plan must contain a complete budget that lists all of the expenses right down the red plastic cups. Budget has to include invitations, location rental, food service or catering, band or other entertainment, parking, valet, security guards and staff as well as anything else that you have to pay for to make the fundraiser a success. You should also include the amount of money you need to raise in your budget. The amount that you raise must be more than all of your expenses.
4. Who’s the Leader?
There should be a host committee and a chairperson to lead the event to greatness. These people will have to commit several hours or more of their time to encouraging influential people to come to the fundraiser as well. They are responsible for inviting key people to your event as well including wealthy contributors, business executives, local famous persons and others who can contribute by publicizing the event and contributing to the pot. The chairperson and committee are not responsible for coordinating the fundraiser. This is the job of a fundraiser planner or planning team.
5. Who’s the Audience?
You have to decide who your audience is early on before planning any of the particular events and themes for your fundraiser. If you are creating a general fundraiser where everyone is invited, your planning needs will be much different. If it is a specific group of business people or influential donors, then you may also have another type of fundraiser on your hands. Age also plays a significant role. If you are looking for help from young professionals, then your party should reflect that youthfulness.
6. How to Setup
The coordinator and staff should plan the event setup prior to the fundraiser. The setup should include all of the details of the event. Some questions to answer when setting up your fundraiser include:
- Where will your event be held?
- What food are you serving?
- Will there be entertainment?
- What kind of dress should be required?
- What is the itinerary for the event?
- Who are the speakers?
- How many guests do you expect?
These are just some of the main questions that you should ask while planning and setting up the event. If you want to attract in certain donors, you should also think about what interests them and why they would want to come to your event.
7. How to Market
Another part of the fundraiser is marketing to your target crowd. You have to convince people through advertising, word of mouth, social media and other methods that your fundraiser is worth time and money. You should create an entire market plan for the event. You can call upon your fundraiser’s network and local businesses such as local restaurants and local apartment complexes. Use mail invitations, use email and phone lists, contact your host committee and create visually stunning advertisements to post online and around town. Radio and TV promotion is also wonderful, but this could be costly and not reach your target audience. However, accessing your local college’s radio to bring in young professionals is a direct line to their ears. Of course, you will have to know the price of tickets to the event and whether you will be charging more for VIP.
In addition to these steps, you should also consider practicing the event beforehand, so that you can account for any missing details or challenges to the event. After the event is over, plan to send thank you cards to all who attended. It’s a show of appreciation and may lead to more donations after the fundraiser is over.