What is Fundraising?
Fundraising or fund raising is a process of collecting or gathering voluntary contributions from willing donors in the form of money, goods, or other resources for a certain goal and purposes. If you choose to raise money on behalf of an organization or charity institution, then you are fundraising.
The fundraising event has the main purpose of helping people and achieving goals to promote unity.
While this event can be a great money maker for a certain cause and goal, it is also time-consuming and sometimes expensive. You need to plan carefully to ensure your event’s success.
Before planning your first fundraising event, you need to consider the factors below to give you clear directions to follow.
Guide to Planning a Fundraising Event:
Set Your Purpose
Before anything else, you need to set a goal first. Is it really a fundraising event or you have other goals? Perhaps your organization is hoping to raise money at the event but the main function is to gain publicity.
Many fundraising has more than one goal. The detail figuration for your event will depend on your set goals.
Decide Your Goal
It is important to quantify how much money you want to raise at your event. Everything in the event planners will be geared to raise the specific amount of money you set as your goal.
The amount should be the net after all the expenses are deducted. To find your monetary goal, you need to look for larger fundraising strategy and where your event could tie in.
You need to set this to know how well you did and how to improve in the future.
Right Type of Event
After setting your goal, you now need to choose what event is best to get the job done. To select the best, you need to understand your donors and your goal.
Know what events your prospective donors are interested in. Know your length of volunteers before you proceed to plan the event.
Like for example, you want to attract publicity for your business or organization, then you might need to host a large and accessible event like walkathon or fun run rather than an intimate event.
But if your fundraising goal is at the higher end and you want to attract more donors, then a charity event or a formal dinner is a good choice.
Keep in mind that the goal you choose is your influence to the venue you will need.
Establish Your Event Budget
While the main purpose of your event is to raise a certain amount of money, do not forget that you have to invest some of your own resources to make the event happen.
To make sure you are on the right track, make a list of everything you need before you start spending.
While different events have different budget needs, some common needs are event space or venue, entertainment, catering of refreshments and foods, event planning or auction software, invitations, tables, chairs, dishes, cutlery, staff, sound or lighting equipment, and promotional items.
Make a spreadsheet of all the expenses and do some research to find the best deal and price. Try to put some extensions in your budget for some unexpected expenses might come up.
Build Leadership Team
Before you get too far with the event planning, determine who will be in-charge of the different components of your fundraising events. If you plan for an event easy to manage, maybe you just need one person to spearhead the event.
But for large events, you’ll need multiple committees or task forces to utilize and educate all the staffs.
And because event planning is a wide term, it’s a good idea to delegate one person to tackle each aspect such as sponsorship, marketing and promotion, ticket sales or promotions, volunteer management, major donor involvement, venue set-up, auction item procurement and event follow-ups.
Best leadership strategy is maximizing communication and avoid mistakes as much as possible. Make sure that each one of your staff and volunteers knows what exactly is their role in the success of your event.
Set a Date and Time
Before contacting for the venue, determine first when your event will be. Be thoughtful when planning for this two.
Choose a time and a date that is more engaging and convenient to your donors. Plan for this in advance to give your guests more time to RSVP.
If you plan to have your event annually, make sure to make your time and date consistent so that donors will generally know when to expect it. Avoid conflicts. Consider holidays, national events and shows or sports games to have more participants.
Weekends are good too, as long as you know that your donors are free during your set time.
Decide who will be invited to your event. Whether it is a general fundraising where everyone is invited or it is planned for a specific group of people like businessmen, professionals, parents or young enthusiasts.
After you have decided who your guests will be, start spreading your word out. And you need to consider some strategies to get this done.
Like direct emails including invitations, flyers, printed ads in local papers, create event website, and social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). You need to convince your audience that your organization and event is worthy of their time, presence and donations.
Set-up Your Big Day
Before you open doors to your guests, you need to make sure that your event is well set-up in advance.
Give a final touch to everything such as coordinating with entertainment (i.e., when to arrive, where to park, when rehearsals/sound-checks will take place), decorating the venue, scheduling and organizing volunteers, arranging day-of ticket sales or registration, placing auction item displays, preparing refreshments and all.
Enjoy your Fundraising Event
By the time that your big day had come, you should relax a little, your part is definitely not yet over.
As your event is going, try to focus on these things:
– engage with your guest– this is your only time to make face to face with donors so check on them more often to make sure they are enjoying the event.
– broadcast your event – this is for those invited but didn’t make it, live stream your event on social media to make social engagements.
– have fun – while attending to everything they need, do not deprive yourself of having some fun.
After you enjoy the fruit of your labor and hard work, don’t forget the “thank you” part of the event. Always make your donors and sponsors that their effort and participation is well appreciated.
Sometime in the future, you will be needing their support again. And first impressions lasts, so give them a good one to remember.
You can consider sending thank you letters with the information that your event had reached its goal because of their support.
No one said planning an event fundraiser was easy, but with the right strategies in mind, anyone can plan an event that’s memorable, profitable and a whole lot of fun for donors.