Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably been to a fundraising event of some sort, whether it was an extravagant gala or a dinner at the local Legion. Many organizations, rely on these events to raise a lot of capital in a short time frame. But when you're on the other end and must plan the fundraiser, things are quite a bit different. You now have to work out every aspect from the venue, entertainment, prizes and all the minuscule details in between to create an unforgettable evening - one that will entice your guests to drop some cash in your favor. So you need to host a fundraiser, Whether you are running the Boston Marathon and need to raise money or rallying behind a cause near and dear to your heart, one goal is clear you need to entice your attendees to show up and dish out some cash. But how do you successfully pull this off while ensuring your event is appealing to your guests?
Naturally, the size of your organization will determine the best kind of event to host and will undoubtedly affect how you plan, but no matter the size or scale of your event, I found there are a few key elements that will make your event a success.
1) DETERMINE A BUDGET
You've heard the saying, "it takes money to make money" - and that is 100 % true for hosting events. Sure, if you are persuasive enough you can hit your local shops and vendors to get things to raffle off and give away. But despite that generosity and support from your local community you'll still end up needing to spend on event essentials such as a venue, food and even entertainment.
To make sure you can swing it, while still profiting towards your cause, create a budget before you start planning the details. With a firm grasp on your financial situation, you'll be able to easily figure out if you can plan a full sit-down dinner- or if you'll have to go for light appetizers and cocktails instead.
2) SECURE A VENUE
Now that you've set a budget you need a place to host your fundraiser, and the options can be overwhelming. First, you need to align your cause with your venue. For example, you don't want to host a Marathon Fundraiser, with your guests showing up in track suits at the Ritz. Next you need to start calling around. PRO TIP: The earlier you start researching venues the better, as the good ones book up fast! When interviewing potential venues make sure to ask about room rentals, food and beverage minimums and fully explain your vision for your event. You want to make sure your vision can be fully executed BEFORE you put down a deposit!
3) MAKE IT AN EXPERIENCE
So, we've established that your main goal is to raise money towards your cause. Your second goal is to entice people to donate. There is no better way to do this than by making your fundraiser an experience they will not forget! It is essentially an equal exchange, they give you money, you give them an amazing event.
To do this, you need to find what will best appeal to your audience. Entertainment is a huge hit, such as a live band, comedian or even a DJ. Give your guests a reason to get out of the house and to your event!
4) SOLICIT DONATIONS
The first rule of successful fundraising is to ask! And sure, when you host an event everyone knows that they may be expected to cough up the price of a ticket, but you can also incorporate other opportunities for your guests to give.
The most common type of fundraising successes come in the form of raffles and silent auctions ( and yes you can do both) It is actually quite easy to get these types of prizes by asking around your local community for contributions. Make sure to hit restaurants, beauty salons, large corporations and everything in between! The more prizes you have to offer, the more people will want to donate. Donations can range from gift cards to assorted baskets, make sure to inform your donors of the marketing opportunity they will be receiving in return!
5. DECIDE ON THE ENTRY CHARGE
Your events ticket price will depend heavily on the type of event you are hosting, the entertainment and food provided as well as the prizes you will be offering. Make sure to keep it aligned with your event and your audience but also ensure you are profiting as well.
For higher end events, consider designing & printing tickets to sell in advance. (This is also helpful to keep track of guest counts.) Next, you will need to determine ticket pricing for raffles. It is best to keep this simple and make sure it aligns with the prizes offered. You cannot charge $20.00 for 5 tickets if your highest ticketed item is a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
6.) PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
In order to have a successful event people need to donate, right? But first they must SHOW UP! Now that you have your events ducks in a row, its time to spread the word. Start by creating eye catching flyers highlighting the benefits of your event. Remember, you need to entice them to show up first and donate once they are there! Hand these out to your social network, email them out to your friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to share as well!
Next, get all over social media, make shareable images, create an event on Facebook and all social channels! (PRO TIP: Set aside on of your raffle prizes and run a social contest enticing guests to like and and share your post, this drives up engagement and makes your event noticeable to a larger audience). The more people that know about your event, means more people showing up and more money to be raised!
7) FIND VOLUNTEERS YOU CAN COUNT ON
Realizing at the last moment that you have no one to pick up the cake from Costco or work the door and collect money day of can be extremely stressful. Rule number one, if your volunteer seems wishy washy, do not depend on them. Try offering small incentives like a free T-Shirt to help people come through. Also, if your venue has a dedicated event coordinator or manager rely on them as much as possible, it is their job after all!
8) CHOOSE THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS
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From our new private kitchen space, customizable event menus and packages, live entertainment, dedicated event manager and staff and more, we make it stress free to plan any event. Don't know how to create flyers or don't have the time? Choose one of our ala carte event packages and we will do it for you! Don't know how to run a