How to Plan a Successful Fundraiser

How to Plan a Successful Fundraiser

Those who manage a non-profit or who are volunteering to raise money for a cause may feel overwhelmed when it comes to planning a fundraiser. It can be daunting as the fundraiser’s success reflects your hard work.

Planning a successful fundraiser includes several steps so be sure to get a checklist together and work on it daily until the event. That will relieve stress. Below are some things to include on the checklist.

Fundraiser Logistics

The first part of planning is getting the basics together so you can promote it. The initial step is to find a venue for your desired date. It could be that you may need to move the date if there is a specific venue you want as many venues have a waiting list.

It’s advised to do this between six months and a year ahead  because popular venues book up far in advance. You will need that time to promote it anyway.

The Campaign Starts

The next thing to do is to start promoting the event once you get the venue scheduled. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have everything else mapped out. A repeated campaign publicizing the date, the venue, and the cause will establish it in people’s minds.

Your campaign should include different components but an early campaign should include letting your established donors know and social media posts. Advertise it on your website too,

Add More Details

Planning a successful fundraiser means establishing details soon after you get the venue. The initial planning begins with a theme if you are planning to do a theme. This may depend on the time of year the fundraiser is held or be something fun you think people will enjoy.

Themes can help promote the event as many people look for something unique to do. They can also be a good foundation for all the rest of your planning.

Many planners get caught up on theme decor but put that aside for a moment. You have two other key elements to plan before you get to decor. More money should be spent on food and entertainment than decor so settle on those first.

Food can be done in several ways. You can have volunteers make it or hire a caterer. One important aspect of food is that it accommodates your theme. For instance, you may want a chocolate station if you have a Valentine’s Day function. Spring may call for more fruits and vegetables.

Entertainment is a key part of your event because that is what keeps people there. This can include a live band, a jazz ensemble, a DJ, or a comedian but make sure the entertainment fits your cause and event. Elegant affairs may need a small string quartet while a fun party-fundraiser may do better with a pop band.

The Final Touches

The final details are the tables, chairs, flowers, other decor, dishes, serving ware, and chafers if the caterer isn’t providing them. Some of these things may need to be rented while others are bought.

It’s best to keep this simple. Search online for some great affordable options to purchase and talk to local businesses about the cost of renting. Some will give a discount to a non-profit fundraising effort while others may work a deal if you give a sponsorship at the event in a sign, program ad, or announcement.

Keep the Campaign Up

Don’t forget at this point to update your campaign for your fundraiser, adding the details of your event as you settle them. This will build excitement6 among your donors and the community. You will want to start ticket sales three to four months before the event with an early-bird discount. Heavily promote the discount with reminders of when it ends.

You may want to add direct mail and broadcast ads at this point. Another excellent way to promote is to give updates on videos on social media platforms. Repetition is key. Don’t worry about over-promoting. You can never over-promote.

Add Other Ways to Donate

Don’t expect the ticket sales to net your cause all the money it needs. Remember, you have to pay the cost of the fundraiser, so you need cash in donations beyond selling tickets. You can get that by adding other ways those attending can donate.

You can do this by raffling off door prizes or a silent auction. Silent auctions do very well in drumming up extra money if you have some high-value items donated. It’s a low-key way to raise money rather than asking everyone to buy a raffle ticket. However, you can do both at your function if you have a large prize for the raffle and smaller prizes for the auction.

Final Thoughts

The success of a fundraiser is determined by three things. They are how well attended it is, how much fun attendees have, and ultimately how much money you raise. Paying attention to details, outlining your budget, and making deals with vendors providing what you need will give you positive outcomes in all three areas.

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