Step 1: Choose your target program
Most organizations offer many programs and services under one mission. The easiest way for you to get others on board is to select a specific program that you are hosting your fundraiser for. This also helps when you are trying to determine outcomes. For example, you may know that selling 100 tickets for $30 will pay for a haircut for 100 homeless friends. When you are able to communicate the specific impact of your donor’s contribution you will be able to convince more individuals to get involved. You’ll want to make this information the primary message when it comes to the marketing for your fundraising event.
Step 2: Identify your ideal donor and choose an event
Choosing an event isn’t just about what you think would be fun to do on a Saturday. You also have to consider your ideal donor. How to identify your ideal donor? First take a look at your mission statement and who your organization serves. Then, think about who benefits from what you do. For example, if you provide emotional support and entertainment for the elderly, you may attract men and women donors between the ages of 40 and 50 who have parents that use your services. You’ll want to choose an event that fits their interests, such as a bowling tournament or BBQ throwdown. If you provide extracurricular activities for young girls, a mommy and me event would fit your donor. Think more along the lines of a basketball tournament when supporting young boys.
Step 3: Create a budget and end goal
Think about what you are trying to accomplish and how much this will cost. If you haven’t started your organization’s budget yet, this may require a bit of research and window shopping. Also, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the expenses are going to be for your fundraiser. You’ll want the event to pay for itself, so If your fundraising goal is $2,000 and your event costs $1,000, you will want to let your donors know that you are raising $3,000. When you price out your budget, nail down every single detail (including the anticipated number of guests you will need in order to reach your goal) and leave a little wiggle room for unforeseen expenses.
Some of the things you’ll want to consider:
Marketing materials (flyers, business cards)
Promotional items with your logo (t-shirts, pens, mugs)
Food and Beverages
Step 4: Get Sponsored
Consider asking for outside help in order to accomplish your fundraising goals. You’ll want to reach out to companies that may be interested in sponsoring your event. Your first step should be to send an email or letter and follow up via phone to the point of contact describing your organization, mission, fundraiser, and offering different tiers of recognition in exchange for their financial support. Check to see what sponsorship opportunities other similar organizations in your area are offering so that you don’t price too high or too low. Tiers of recognition can include their logo on monthly newsletters, your website, promotional items such as t-shirts, providing tickets to the fundraising event, and even naming the event after them.
Step 5: Find Volunteers and In-Kind Donations
Recruiting reliable volunteers among family and friends and requesting in-kind donations can save you a ton of money and make it so much easier to achieve your goal. You can even use a modified version of our office space in-kind donation letter. In-kind donations our donations that come as anything other than an actual financial contribution. They can be collected from families, friends, and businesses and include catering, tables, chairs, decor, services, and even venues.
Step 6: Choose a venue
Choose a venue that fits within your budget, will be able to comfortably fit the anticipated number of guests, and is easily accessible to your ideal donor. The best way to estimate your number of guests is to assume that 40-50% of those who are invited will actually be able to attend. When choosing your venue, make sure you are working with a company whose staff is reliable and easy to communicate with, as well as a place that has the proper audio and video capabilities for the designated event.
Step 7: Market Your Event
Once you’ve found a venue and have reserved a time and date, you’ll want to start promoting your event. Spreading the word about your fundraiser is crucial to its success. This can include mail invitations, email marketing, posting on social media, Facebook ads, press releases, and more. Choose a color palette and contact NFN consulting to have a logo created for your event. Set up an event page on your website and on Facebook so that your attendees can easily spread the word.
The Big Day
On your big day, just like any other event, you’ll want to make a checklist and make sure that all volunteers and staff know what they are supposed to be doing, so that you can focus on managing your guests. Hire a professional photographer or videographer to capture every moment of your event and encourage your guests to post on social media as well. At some point in between the fun, you’ll want to take some time to acknowledge your sponsors and speak about the impact that your organization has had on the community. It would be even more impactful if a previous client was willing to speak on how your organization helped them personally. Set up a text to donate system and encourage your guests to participate in giving during the duration of the event.