A Step-By-Step Guide To Planning A Fundraising Event

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Organizing a fundraiser is very rewarding, particularly, if we’re talking about something that’s meaningful and that’s going to raise awareness among a large group of people. What’s generally great about it is that it could potentially attract new supporters and connect you to various, important institutions in your area.

Even though there's no doubt that something like this can be very impactful to not only those who attend it but also to people who organize and plan it, this entire process, at times, can be very complex and overwhelming.

That’s why it’s of huge importance to take the necessary steps that are going to help you execute it the right way. If you’ve never done it before, then just take a look at these steps that will help you turn this event into something successful.

What is your main goal?

Before you take any further steps as far as this is concerned, you should first set your main goal, meaning, what you will do with all the donations. Something like this will provide you with a direction.

What Is Your Main Goal?

For instance, if you currently need more money in order to keep operating in the upcoming years, then you need to create an event that’s going to show the purpose of your organization and its impact.

Bear in mind that people (who love attending these events and who are genuinely interested in them) always like to know their goals, because if they are familiar with every relevant detail, they are more likely to come, and most importantly, donate a certain amount of money.

The type of event you’ll be having

Now, that you determined the aim, it’s time to focus on another essential aspect of this project and that is the type. Why is this so important? Well, that’s because all people are different. For example, your loyal supporters may not have the same preference when it comes to this as the new ones.

Some like bigger events, while there are those who are more into events that are intimate and smaller. On the flip side, there are supporters who prefer to attend a walkathon because they find it to be not only dynamic but entertaining as well. And then for music lovers, organizing a concert may be a great idea too!

In order to get the right answers, it would be smart to conduct a demographic segmentation, because with it, you will get the idea regarding the time of the day you should organize this event.

For instance, if you'll be having more donors who are over the age of 65, then it would be advisable to plan it during the day instead of at night. On the other hand, if we're talking about the working class, then in these instances, the weekend might just be a perfect time, since most of them are not that busy during that period of time.

Aside from all of this, another element that should be considered is whether it’s going to be a free or paid event. Keep in mind that not all events of this type are supposed to be paid. In fact, those that are completely free of charge, typically attract a lot more people.

On the flip side, those who require a certain amount of money, usually generate a lot more donations. For example, you can sell tickets at different prices so that everybody can afford them, and simultaneously, increase the chances of receiving a substantial amount of cash.

Don’t forget to determine the budget

Although it is widely known that the primary goal of these sorts of events is to gather as much money as possible, bear in mind that it takes a certain amount of cash to organize it. Yes, you can always receive some funds from the sponsors, however, that doesn’t instantly mean that you’re not going to have any out-of-pocket costs.

That’s why, it’s pivotal to first determine the budget to avoid overspending and dealing with unnecessary losses. Remember that every penny that you manage to save can go toward your goal.

Don’t forget to determine the budget

In order to execute this correctly, there are several factors that need to be taken into account and they include the following:

  • Paid staffing expenses
  • Costs that are related to the venue renting
  • Speakers and hosts
  • Catering (drinks and food)
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Vendors
  • Decorations
  • Miscellaneous costs

As soon as you set the budget, you’ll know exactly how much money you’re supposed to raise. Apart from that, it’s also an excellent starting point for sponsorship goal-setting. The more expenses these sponsors cover the more money will go to your cause. 

Analyze your resources

Now, that you’ve done all these above-mentioned steps, it’s time to take this one. It’s of huge importance to properly assess what you have at your disposal.

When we say this, we refer to the following:

  1. Your budget: Although this was already mentioned, it doesn't hurt to discuss it once again. You need to figure out how much money you can spend on this cause. We previously talked about the expenses that most events have, however, don't forget that there are those that oftentimes appear unexpectedly.
  2. Staff: No event could ever be organized with a certain number of people. Sometimes, one or two persons (depending on its size) is enough, however, in some instances, you would need a larger group of people. If you currently do not have enough manpower, then you can always reach out to some volunteers, because they will most definitely chip in.
  3. Essential tools: Did you figure out what type of tools will be necessary? There are a number of tools that you can utilize, starting from an event ticketing tool, a donation platform, a nonprofit CRM, and many others.

Spread the word effectively

In order to reach a wider audience that's going to attend this event, you need to make sure you begin advertising it as soon as possible. At times, a couple of weeks ahead (or even months) is necessary if you want to spread the word the right way.

If you’re planning on organizing something that’s relatively small, such as a happy hour, then it would be advisable to promote it at least three or four weeks prior to it. On the flip side, if we’re talking about something bigger and more complex, such as galas, then five to six months in advance is a must.

That’s because these sorts of events in general can be very challenging and time-consuming to organize the right way. Whilst you’re there, do not forget to put social media extensions because they are going to encourage others to spread the word about this event.

Another tool that you can opt for is the event page because it’s going to help you efficiently advertise your campaign, along with the giving program. Something like this is going to streamline donating a gift by the donors.

Now, keep in mind that this can oftentimes be difficult to implement if you do employ a free events platform that’s not linked to your institution’s reporting. However, if you utilize event management platforms that offer a built-in way to link to your current campaign, you’ll be able to execute this a lot more smoothly.

Did you consult others?

If the answer is no, then now, may be a good time to do it, especially, if this is your first time organizing this type of event. Even if it isn’t, it still doesn’t hurt to get advice from more experienced people.

For instance, if your organization is going to join forces with another one that has had a plethora of experience as far as this is concerned, then you should consider talking to the marketing director to see if he/she will provide you with some useful advice.

This is generally always a good idea because it is going to help you avoid making any mistakes when planning your budget or setting a schedule. Not to mention the fact that if these people reside in your area, they may connect you with other important people who can help you with catering or venue.

The importance of The location

Now, some of you may not think that this is that important, however, you wouldn’t believe how pivotal it is. At times, it can make or break things when organizing an event. For starters, you should conduct detailed research to see which venue is most suitable for your upcoming event.

The Importance Of The Location

As previously concluded, that's going to influence the attendance, along with the whole vibe and atmosphere. Once you get an idea of the number of attendees, you need to find a venue that's not too far away from that.

If you realize that a vast majority of your donors reside in a particular neighborhood, then make sure to choose a venue that's in that region. In these types of situations, you should restrict your options to only places such as convention centers and/or catering halls.

Bear in mind that a lot of events of this kind are often held at rooftop gardens or country barns, hence you should take them into account too!

There’s no denying that fundraising events can be a perfect opportunity to raise a lot of money for a specific cause, however, as you can see, they are not so easy to organize. Therefore, it’s crucial to implement all these tips if you want to organize a successful event.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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