Non-profit organizations face a great number of challenges, not the least of which is organizing and executing a successful fund raising event. A great fundraiser takes a lot of planning, a good deal of hard work, and a fair amount of financial support. When successful, a fundraiser can do more than simply raise money for a worthy cause. It can also increase public awareness for that cause, and promote the goals and activities of the non-profit organization itself. Both of which can lead to long term donations that will continue to support the organization’s philanthropy. If you have been tasked with planning a non-profit organization’s next fundraiser, keep these five tips in mind to get you started.
Setting Your Goals
The first step in planning any fundraiser is to understand the ultimate goal of your event. As a non-profit, your overall goal is to raise money and awareness for your cause. But beyond that, you need to have a solid fund raising target in mind for your event. This will become even more important when you begin to set a budget for your event, and make the final decision about the nature of the event itself. For example, if your organization’s goal is to raise a small amount of money you will have a smaller operational budget. However, if your goal is to raise tens of thousands of dollars, your event will need to be more elaborate and your operating budget will be larger.
Matching Your Event to Your Goals
The goal you have set for your fundraiser will dictate the type of event you decide to stage. To raise larger sums of donations, you want to stage an event that is likely to attract those capable of making larger donations, such as business owners and patrons of the city. In other words, the more money you are trying to raise the more your event must appeal to those who have the ability to fund your cause.
If you are planning a major fund raising event, you will need to consider securing some corporate sponsorship. These sponsorships are what will help you reduce your organizations out of pocket expenses for the fund raising event. Design a number of different sponsorship packages that are suitable for a wide range of sponsors.
Choosing the Right Venue
With the backing of sponsors, you will be able to create a working budget for your event. The next step is to find a suitable venue for your fundraiser. While it may be tempting to try and conserve money by using an inexpensive venue like a local gathering hall or civic auditorium, consider this: A successful fundraiser must be run professionally, and spending the money to hire a respectable and efficient event space will pay greater dividends in the long run. Look for professional event spaces that offer amenities you will need to make your event a success. Review a few different venues and compare costs as well as location and services. Choose the venue that is most suitable for your event, even if it costs a little more. Remember, a black tie affair set in an elegant facility will do more for your fundraiser and for your organization’s reputation than trying to cut costs by choosing a venue of lesser quality.
Once you’ve decided what type of event you will be staging and you have secured your venue, it’s time to get the word out. The success of your fundraiser depends on the number of guests who attend. Send personal invitations to your sponsors, and to the well-known patrons and philanthropists of the city. Send invitations or emails to any regular donor to your organization, and advertise your event though print, radio and online.
Organizing a successful fundraiser takes time and financial investment. To get the best results, you need to approach the planning of your event with care and an attention to detail. These few tips should get you off to a good start and will help you lay the groundwork for a successful fund raising event.