Fundraising events are a great way to gain traction and garner attention for your organization and cause, but can be tricky to organize. Successful fundraisers take a lot of planning, budgeting and patience, along with a dedicated event crew who you can rely on. So, where do you start when planning a fundraiser?
Define your Fundraising Goal
Depending on your cause and organization, you may have a few different goals you’d like to reach through hosting a fundraiser. It’s important to pick ONE goal that’s measurable and specific that any other benefits from a fundraiser will fall under. The most common goal of a fundraiser is the amount of money raised overall. Pick your desired dollar amount to be raised, and base your budget, attendance list and event ticket prices off of that. If you plan on having a fancier event, your ticket prices need to reflect that. Will your target attendees be willing to pay a higher price for your fundraiser? Make sure you research your target audience for the event and plan one they’ll be excited to be a part of.
Pick the Right Kind of Event
Want to have a black tie dinner? Or a community car wash? Both are great ideas, but only if your target attendees match your event. You also need to make sure your event matches your:
- Brand and mission
- Your budget
- Your staff, volunteers and event crew
- How much time you have to plan and execute
- Your objectives and goals
Reach Out to Corporate Sponsors
So, you have your goal but it doesn’t match up with your budget. Securing corporate sponsors will allow you to maximize your spending while building financially beneficial business relationships. However, you need to do your research when selecting which corporations to reach out to. Explain how your mission and target audience aligns with their business and communication goals. Explain how their business will be featured and promoted before, during and after the event takes place. Additionally, have different sponsorship packages available to give potential sponsors a few options.
Promote. Promote. Promote.
Your communications plan for your event is crucial. Where is your target audience? Are they on social media? Do they read the community newspaper? Find where they go for their news and place ads there. Also, reach out to your community’s local reporter with the event’s information and gain some free coverage that way, along with adding your event to online listings (i.e. Eventbrite.com, Eventful.com, Metromix.com, etc). Create a press release for your event for easy distribution to your local newspapers, journalists, bloggers and any other influential people who could help spread the word. Event credentials, like the ones we make here at Event Passes, are another fun way to promote an event. You can send out custom passes to your attendees who purchased tickets prior to the fundraiser so they can skip any line that may be leading from the entrance. You can also create VIP passes to give to sponsors or those who donate a certain amount of money. Along with attendees, you’ll want event passes for your event crew for security measures, to make sure you can distinguish who is working the fundraiser so the day of the event there is no miscommunication or confusion among event staff and volunteers.
Review Your Fundraiser
Event planning doesn’t end when your fundraiser does. It’s important to analyze the results and feedback from your fundraiser. Was your goal achieved? Did you have good attendance? Were people who attended satisfied with their experience? How did people buy tickets, online or at the door? Did the corporate sponsorships work well? These questions, plus more, are essential because they’ll help you build your fundraiser into a greater success the next time around.