What better way to garner support than a memorable, engaging fundraising event?
Events are a great way to raise a lot of money in a short time period. They also create brand awareness, and are often the best times to create a one-on-one dynamic with donors.
But as we all know, running a large event can be time-consuming and risky, potentially wasting valuable time and resources. Successful events depend on having the right skills, the appropriate resources for planning and managing events, and the ability to market the event effectively to your target audience. In order to create a successful event you must execute a detailed plan.
Here’s how to make your fundraising event a successful one:
Before you start planning, ask yourself the right questions.
In designing a fundraising event, you must first establish who your target audience is, what you are trying to accomplish, what the purpose of the event is, and the best location to host the event. It’s not necessary to throw a huge gala for all of your supporters at first. Try starting with a smaller, more intimate event with previous volunteers or recurring donors. The quality of your organization’s personal interactions with these supporters trumps the quantity of bodies you have in the room.
Be creative with your ideas!
A trivia night, casino night, yard sale, talent show, or auction of local artists’ work are just a handful of ideas that can make your event memorable and engaging.
Set one specific goal.
Set a goal that truly advances your mission and meets the most critical needs of your organization (think beyond simply raising awareness). By narrowing your focus to one specific goal, you can really key in on every step of planning and execution for your event. Keep in mind that the event is not a free-standing endeavor, it should be a part of your overall strategic engagement and fundraising efforts.
Define metrics, success measures for that goal, and… a budget!
Measuring the impact of your event is a great way to show the attendees and your own organization the difference they are making. Ideally, this step should be done in order to improve the future impact of your mission.
Seek out sponsorships.
Large corporations and small local businesses alike make great partners to take some of the pressure off of paying for your whole event. Get wine donated from a local vineyard, or flyers donated from a local printing company. When seeking sponsorships, be sure to let companies know the mission of your event and the vision of your organization, and make sure that your values are aligned
Pay attention to your invitation.
Create an invitation that is visually pleasing and not too filled with hard-to-digest information. Tie your invite back to the importance of your cause, and create a sense of urgency. Pre-sale or early bird pricing is a great idea to get users on board right away!
Make it easy to spread the word.
Your invite and promotional materials should include links to your website, and social media buttons to make it easy for your supporters and friends to let their network know the event is happening! You could even create a peer-to-peer campaign, where your board members, employees, volunteers, and cause champions create a fundraising page to sell tickets on behalf of your organization.
After you send an invite, follow up regularly.
Use a variety of media to reach people where they are- email, social media, your blog. Invite friends with large networks to champion the event for you. Have corporate sponsors co-promote the event. Send out juicy sneak-previews about what you have in store for attendees. Be creative, but make your event’s presence known!
Engage attendees on the spot.
Have staff members with mobile tablets taking mobile donations, put together a silent auction, or sell merchandise related to your cause at the event. Attendees are there to have fun and meet people, but most importantly they’re there to support your organization- make it easy for them!
Whether you’re the executive director of your organization or hired specifically as an event planner, the mood you set surrounding the event is the most important aspect of a successful fundraiser. Remember to take some time for yourself, and recognize that although everything might not be going perfectly, you’re reaching supporters and spreading the word about your cause. Remember your core goal!
Other Tips to keep in mind:
- Aim to create a positive culture for the event. This is determined by the attitude, language, and behavior used by the attendees, staff, and volunteers.
- Have a volunteer take photos or video, or get a professional to donate their time. These images and footage will serve as great fodder for future blog posts, promotional materials, and great memories!
- Never forget to say “Thank You”, and say it often!
What are your best practices for a great fundraising event?
Flipcause is a great place to start with your event planning- list free events and sell event tickets with multiple tiers, seating charts, coupon codes, and more! To learn more about Flipcause, sign up for a quick demo today!