We’re heading into the most significant fundraising period of the year, which happens during the year-end. If you want to raise money, this is the time to create an exciting fundraiser that will get people motivated to donate during the time of year where they are the most generous.
Your fundraising event doesn’t have to be an expensive gala, although it could be if you have the budget. It can be a potluck or even a fun bowling event that raises money for your cause. Be as creative as you can for a fun event! There’s still time to get a fundraising event done so you can tap into the generosity of your supporters as many nonprofits begin to focus on year-end giving.
Here are our quick tips to help you with the planning!
Purpose and Fundraising Goal
The first things you have to determine are the purpose and fundraising goal. Think about your needs, especially the most important ones, add up the costs you will have to spend to make sure you can provide for those needs, which will be your gross expenses. Then, think of your fundraising event and cost that out. By deducting your fundraising event expenses from the total funds you need for your programs, you will see how much your fundraiser will have to net to ensure you succeed. When you’re doing your financial planning, make sure to include all fundraising event expenses, such as publicity, third-party vendors, invitations, promotions, etc.
When you’re working on your budgeting and planning, it’s not all just about dollars and cents. For instance, let’s say you want to get printed invites into the mail in addition to email invites people may miss. You may not need to pay the printing costs. Think about getting local businesses to sponsor the printing, which will help them promote their brand and also help you save money. Your budget should take into account any overtime pay you might have to give to your team, space rental costs, catering, etc. When you’re determining your goal, you’ll want to raise more money than the budget for the event, so take the time to think carefully about every possible expense and try to get as much sponsorship as possible. In addition to businesses, think about major donors underwriting portions of your event.
To ensure the success of a fundraising event, you need volunteer help. Look to your board volunteers or any volunteer committee first to become members of your host committee. But don’t stop there. You want to get people to attend your event so think about getting celebrities or local politicians (who can’t help you raise money but can be a good name draw to get people to attend). Also, think about pre-eminent business leaders in your community that might also serve as a draw for others to participate. For instance, the CEO of your local bank or a major franchise owner are all excellent people to have as part of your committee because they can help you get people to attend beyond the supporters on your database. When you recruit a host committee, you’ll have people helping you in all aspects of preparing for an event, but you’ll also have the opportunity to tap into their networks to get people they know to attend your fundraiser.
Target Audience and Marketing
Marketing and promotion is everything, as you know. When you’ve got your host committee on board, clarity for a reason for your fundraiser and a budget is done, you need to ensure that you next develop a list of people to attend your fundraiser. Make sure to get high-level donors and also prospects from your database and your community onto the list. In today’s world, it’s also crucial to attract attendees in different ways because some people will respond to print, others will prefer digital, and still, others will sign up through social media. Think about every way you can get people to attend, which should include personal invitations from your host committee, direct mail, social media posts (including Facebook Live), and emails. As your RSVP draws nearer, recruit a team of volunteers to work the phones to encourage people to attend and help you ensure that you get an accurate count of attendees.
You want to get a lot of ticket sales, but it’s important to know how to price your tickets. Think about creating sponsorship levels so that those that have more money, such as corporations or wealthy individuals contribute more to attend your event and others pay less. Think about how many people you need at every contribution level to ensure that you make your goal. Also, a good rule of thumb is to have at least three times the prospects at every level so you can project how many tickets you need to sell at every level to ensure you achieve your fundraising goal. As an added incentive, particularly for high-level contributions, think about ways to promote it in the community through the collateral material you create for the event, social media posts or on your website.
As your planning continues for your event, determine the program schedule for your event and make sure that you have that all worked out for the big day. If you will be having speakers or video presentations, time everything and tell people who will be speaking how long they have to make their speech. Also, before you send out invitations, ensure you are clear about the dress code. Think about the event, theme and what you want participants to experience, then make sure that everything related to your set up is aligned with the spirit of the overall event, including your food, the speakers and any entertainment.
Having a practice session or run-through with your team and volunteers makes a lot of sense and is best practice you should follow, so people have a better understanding of their responsibilities at the event. In particular, if you’re planning on having a dinner or more scripted event, you’ll want to have a session where everyone is familiar with what they will be doing, such as where the registration tables will be, how the event space is laid out so volunteers can help guide guests, or when videos and presentations will be made during the course of an event. When you take the time to get everyone prepared and ready for your fundraising event, the day itself becomes a lot less stressful because your team and volunteers are clear about their responsibilities and how things are supposed to go.
Finally, thank everyone! One the day of your event, make it a point to thank your donors and all of your supporters and team members who helped you put together a memorable event. But don’t stop there. It’s also important to follow-up after the event to send thank you emails, make special calls or even send printed thank you notes. Even if you think people know you’re grateful, your donor and supporters will still appreciate hearing about your gratitude on the day of the event which will help them understand what you will be able to do with their support. They will also appreciate a personalized acknowledgment after the event day.
© 2018 Funds2Orgs. All Rights Reserved.