A fundraising event is one of the most popular and fun ways to bring monetary donations and engage supporters. Hosting a fundraising event requires careful planning, financial support, and hard work.
However, while a fundraiser event can be an excellent moneymaker for a non-profit organization, it may also be costly and time-consuming. Here are 9 essential steps to help you plan and execute a successful fundraiser event.
1. Figure out your fundraising goals and objectives
Before you commit to a fundraising event, you need to decide why you are holding it in the first place. Develop a goal depending on the team members and the tools available. When you have a well-defined purpose and objective, planning a fundraising event, promoting it, and sticking to your budget becomes easier.
The primary goal of a fundraising event is to raise money, but it should include more than just how much money you can bring in. You also need to consider who will ultimately benefit from the fund you are raising and what that money will do for them.
2. Choose the right type of fundraiser event
The kind of fundraiser event you choose to host can have a great impact on how you will ask for donations. There are numerous types of fundraising events, but the main ones include the following:
- Sporting event
- Fashion show
- Art exhibit
- Fun run or walk
- A-thon events
Regardless of the event you decide to host, always track your data. The information you get will help you gauge the event’s success, determine how to reduce costs for the event, and improve attendance.
The type of event you choose to host will also determine the kind of venue you should pick. If you are hosting a concert or talent show, you will require a large stage, lighting, and sound equipment for performers.
3. Create a realistic budget
Hiring a venue, food, drinks, entertainment, and organizing a fundraising event all cost money. Therefore, the best way to ensure you don’t overspend in organizing your fundraiser is to set a realistic budget. Craft a detailed budget that shows how much needs to be allocated to each part of the event, and do research to find the average costs for your items.
You should also leave extra room in your budget for unanticipated costs. It’s better to surpass your goals than to be consumed by unexpected expenses. Look for ways to control the costs without affecting your event’s overall experience. Another factor to consider at this stage is your potential sponsors. Local businesses and supporters can help reduce some of the expenses and build long-lasting relationships in the community.
4. Create an engaging theme
People will be excited to support your cause but should also have fun. The easiest way to have an engaging event is to give it an ambient theme. For instance, for a casino fundraiser, set up various card game tables where guests can try their luck. This can help raise extra money, and guests may also voluntarily donate the money they win.
Include attractions such as a musical act, special guest, or pop-up store that will get the attention of a wider audience and give people something to talk about. Your theme should ideally align with your chosen cause, target audience, and overall goal.
5. Set a date and time for your event
Before calling your potential venues and booking corporate entertainment service, know when and where your event will occur. If you are hosting a daytime fundraising event, choose a weekend when donors are more likely to be free. You can get a great deal on a venue on a weeknight if your event takes place in the evening, but donors are less likely to stay late.
6. Promote your event
The key to a successful fundraiser event is marketing it. You can set up your fundraising event in a high pedestrian-traffic area and attract the attention of passersby. However, you can have a greater chance of success if you create buzz about your event beforehand or promote it on social media.
Create an event hashtag in the weeks leading up to the fundraiser and use it in your posts. You can also encourage your attendees to do the same. Posts can include updates, statistical facts about your cause, and inspirational stories of how people’s lives were positively impacted because of a non-profit organization. You can also include email marketing as part of your overall marketing and campaign strategy.
7. Leverage automation
Most fundraising events don’t have extensive budgets, so you can lower costs by making your operations and marketing more efficient. For instance, automated emails can provide your attendees with detailed event information upon ticket purchase. Through the help of an automated email marketing tool, you can spread info about your event faster and to a broader audience. You can also use API tools to help your IT team use less time to edit each picture after your event. Instead, these tools can allow attendees to upload photos from their smartphones while the automated tool does all of the changes you need.
8. Determine how you will collect donations
Ticket sales will likely be your main form of fundraising, but you can still raise extra funds on the day. Cash donations may increase your chance of maximizing your fundraising collections. However, your collection method should match the change toward cashless payments if you want to collect the most additional funds. Look for a fundraising device that can allow you to seamlessly collect extra funds at your event without your guests having to dig into their pockets for suppressed spare money.
9. Insure against the unexpected
Most fundraising events end without a hitch, but there is always a possibility something might go wrong, or someone could get injured. It’s usually a good idea to get insurance that can protect against such scenarios. Bad weather can make stairs or paths to your event slippery. If a participant or volunteer gets injured at your event, they might take legal action against your fundraising.
Planning a fundraising event isn’t easy, and it takes lots of time and effort to be successful. However, with the right strategies and tools, you can plan a memorable, profitable, and fun fundraiser event for your supporters and donors.