By: Kasey Patton
You’ve heard the cliché ‘another day, another dollar’.
In the world of non-profit associations, much of the money coming in comes from fundraising, and specifically fundraising events. So how can you insure your client has a successful fundraising event? After working in fundraising and event planning for non-profits for several years I’ve found a few tips that will help ensure that they event is a hit.
1) Get Ideas- Board members are great at giving you a sneak peek into what your target audience will be. For example, if board members don’t use the internet heavily, then mailed invitations might have a greater effect than emails or an e-blast. Utilize them as a sounding board to get a good feel for what your target audience will be and how to reach them best.
2) Be clear- Make sure to be clear about fundraising goals and expectations. If you know through experience, approximately how much the event will bring in, tell your board or other decision makers. Always be conservative. It’s better to underestimate the amount you will make and blow past your goals than to overestimate and not reach them.
3) Swag- When people give money they expect something in return, even at a fundraiser where they know they are expected to give money. You may have heard the phrase, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Well this rings true even for fundraising. Make sure to reward those that are giving money with some sort of “swag” item. This is also a great place to put your logo and make sure your clients name gets more visibility and exposure.
4) Keep overhead low- When planning an event, remember- “free or better”. Don’t be afraid to ask caterers, local stores, boutiques, affiliated associations, etc. for discounts and even free items. The worse thing they can tell you is no. Be clear about your goals and how much you are looking to raise. Often, if they can’t give you a break, they will offer to contribute in some other way.
5) Give yourself time- Time is money! Make sure you give ample time to plan the event. If you feel like you might be crunched, suggest tabling it till next year or till you have the time devote to it. Explain that in order for it to be successful you need to be able to give the event the time and attention it needs.
If you keep these tips in mind when planning your next event you will be able to avoid some major headaches and raise money for your client. Good luck and Happy fundraising!