A few good fundraising events every year can help make a major difference in what a nonprofit can achieve. While fundraising events are extremely important to the overall success of the organization, they can be difficult to pull off. However, the right steps taken before the event can ensure that it not only goes off without a hitch, but fulfills the purpose of bringing in much needed funding to your organization. The following seven tips should help:
1. Have a budget
If you don't have a budget for your event, you run the risk of spending more money on the occasion than it actually brings in. Ask anyone who hosts large groups of people often or look over the expenses from your last event, you can easily spend way too much money trying to put on a great fundraiser event, not to mention the cost of marketing it. Before you do anything, do some research. Look over the last few events that you've held. How much was brought in? Ask around the local nonprofit community. What do they typically spend on an event and how do they stick to their budget? Once you have done your research and are confident with the budget you've created for the event, stick to it.
2. Set a dollar amount goal
After you have a proposed budget, you need to think about how much you can realistically raise. This is also something that can be figured out by doing research. First, find out how much money you need to continue offering the services you do, then add in relevant costs for any expansions in operations. If you put on multiple events each year, make sure to not ask for everything all at once. Consider planning several months in advance, and remember that many donors will donate more than once
"Think about who exactly is going to come and try to have activities they will be interested in."
3. Make the event enjoyable
An enjoyable event is more successful. The Nonprofit Times pointed out that it's easier to get people to participate in an event if they are enjoying themselves. Think about who exactly is going to come and try to have activities they will be interested in.
4. Reach out to donors early
While you might want to wait to ask for money, make it clear to donors early on you're putting on a fundraising event and you would be honored if they showed up. By doing this well in advance, donors can plan for the event. Sending a few emails to invite them is great, but you may also want to send direct mail invitations. When reaching out to donors, make sure to have a personalized message. You want them to realize you're talking directly to them.
5. Gather volunteers in advance
Just as you need to reach out to donors early, you should let your volunteers know about the event. Without your network of volunteers, there is a good chance the event would be impossible. Reaching out to them is much like reaching out to donors. Utilize email and direct mail, but also make sure to request help in person. You likely have more contact with volunteers than you do donors, so when you see them ask them for help personally.
6. Stress your organization's purpose
At the event and when marketing, you should stress how important your purpose is. Let people know why you're passionate about the service you provide to the community and the world. Before the event, make sure any marketing materials show how invested your organization is to their cause, and at the event make sure every attendee knows the work you do is helping make the world a better place.
7. Manage the donations well
Donation management isn't easy, but it's necessary. Sometimes it can be hard to handle all of the donations that come in during the event because everything is happening all at once. It's a good idea to utilize a donation management software solution. The software can help process transactions and make sure everything is kept organized. If you're looking for a more robust solution, consider event management software. This solution you keep track of every part of the fundraising event you worked so hard to put on. There is also software that helps manage volunteer participation and track donor activity. All of these tools can make a nonprofit's job much easier, especially for events.