If you are going to invest the time and money into planning a fundraiser, you want to be sure that you get the most out of your investment. Here are seven tips to help make your next event a great success.
1. Define Your Goal and Purpose
How much money do you want to raise? Is your primary goal fundraising, or is it to gain publicity? Your goal and purpose will dictate how you spend all of your time and money as you plan.
2. Make Your Guest List Early
Start the planning with your guest list. While you can’t know who will attend, you can know whom you want to invite, and your guest list will dictate much about what you choose to do, from the venue to the food you offer. Once you have your potential guest list, use an online system to send a digital invitation, and follow up with a paper one to ensure everyone knows they are invited. If you are opening up the event to the general public, make sure you have sufficient space to handle the crowd that could come.
3. Set Your Schedule
Next, set the timeline for the evening. Typically you will start with a short opening speech, then give your guests some time to mingle. If you have a speaker, this will come next, and then any fun or entertainment you have provided. Make sure you schedule in time to present your organization as well.
4. Solicit Donors
Part of the money that comes to your fundraising event comes from your guests and the tickets they purchase, but most of it comes from corporate sponsors. Start sending out inquiries for event sponsors. Offer the sponsors advertising in return for their support, such as an ad in the program or presence on a slideshow at your event. Keep a list of all of the donors so you don’t overlook anyone.
5. Start the Publicity Train
Once you have your date, time and venue set, it’s time to start the publicity train. Use as many publicity and news venues as you can. Remember, these don’t have to cost much. Create and pass out flyers if you are opening the event to the public, and post notices in the local newspaper and your online news source. You can also submit press releases, both on and offline, to generate interest and support. The more people who hear about your event, the more successful it will be.
6. Plan a Thank-You Gift
People love freebies, and they expect to get something for their support of your event. A simple thank-you gift, such as a small magnet or other similar trinket, will not only thank them for their support and contributions, but also help improve your branding when it is displayed in their home or on their car.
7. Plan Appropriate Staff
Whether the staff comes from your organization or the venue, make sure you have enough. From the leadership committee to the people who clean up afterwards, make sure your budget and your plans account for sufficient help.
A fundraising event can help generate funds and publicity for your organization. With the right planning, it will be a success. Use these tips to ensure that your next event goes off without a hitch.