Fundraising events are an incredibly effective way to raise money for a charity. While they certainly have a lot of potential for returns, they can also be incredibly time-consuming and hard to organize. Like any kind of event, the success of it all depends heavily on how much work goes into the planning and preparation. Sure, there may be countless people who believe in the cause you’re supporting. However, if they don’t know that the event is happening, or attend it and aren’t all that inspired by the experience, then you’re not going to have much hope of accomplishing what you set out to do. Here, I’ve listed some of the essential steps for making sure your charity event is a success.
Seen as you clicked on this post, I’ll assume that you already have charitable cause which you’re looking to support. After settling on that, the next big step is setting a firm goal for the amount of money you want to raise for the event. Get together with the organization staff, key fundraisers, and host committee, and talk with them to get a figure that’s both realistic and significant. The amount you eventually settle on should be what you want to net; the money you plan to raise after all expenses are paid for.
The next thing you need to do is settle on a budget. This should be a complete list of all the expenses that you’re going to need to pay in order to make the event happen. It should include invitations, rental for the space, catering, transportation if necessary, utilities, and staff if you can’t source enough charity volunteers. Like anything, you may run into various expenses that you didn’t plan for. Because of this risk, it’s important to leave yourself some kind of buffer to cover these. If you don’t have to use this money, you can always give it as a donation!
Another essential step in making sure your fundraiser goes off as you planned is establishing leadership. Like most fundraising events, yours will probably have a host committee, and one or more chairpersons of that committee. These are the most prominent people of the event, who are responsible for donating fairly substantial amounts to the cause, and using their influence to get other people to follow suit. Generally, they’re composed of particularly wealthy donors, business leaders from the local community, and even local celebrities if you can get them on board. They’re not responsible for the actual organization and execution of the event. I assume that you’ve got more to do with that! However, they’re integral to pushing the whole thing closer to your ultimate fundraising goal.
A specific target audience for your fundraiser isn’t really essential, but it can be quite helpful when it comes to getting the word out. When you have a clear idea of who you want coming to the event, it will ensure that your marketing efforts for it are applied as efficiently as possible. Causes like helping people out of poverty or cancer research generally have a very wide demographic of people who will be happy to be donors. Environmental and animal rights causes, on the other hand, generally resonate more naturally with a young age group. Conversely, events that support Alzheimer’s and dementia research are more popular among the elderly and middle-aged, as they’re more likely to have a partner or parent who’s been affected by the issue. If your cause has a specific target audience, then make sure you’re keeping this in mind as you go about publicizing the event.
After organizing these steps, your next step will be getting down to something a little more practical: the set-up. This should be planned well in advance, so that you’re not scrambling to bring everything together at short notice. Here, I’m talking about all the details and particulars. Where are you going to hold it? What kind of capacity will you want? What food are you going to serve? What kind of dress will be required or suggested? Are you going to organize any entertainment? Answering these kinds of questions could open your eyes to some glaring errors you’ve made. You may need to hire a more affordable catering service, or make an order from a company like Advantage church chairs. This is where the time you’ve left yourself, and the extra cash buffer, can come in handy.
Having established your target audience (if you had one), you need to spend some time thinking about how you’re going to market the event. This is simply taking steps to convince people that your cause and event is worth their time and money. Draft a detailed marketing strategy for the whole event. Generally, charity event organizers don’t have a massive amount of money to throw around. Fortunately, there are many affordable ways of getting the word out. Set up a social media page for the event, and share it with as many people as possible. This will spark some word-of-mouth marketing, which can be a lot more effective than some people think. You could tell a local news site about your event, too. Many of them will be happy to give you some free publicity. You may also want to print off some decent posters, and distribute them to local stores and other public places.
Once everything’s set up, all you need to do is practice and keep people informed. While you won’t need a full run-through of the whole event (unless it’s a benefit gig or something similar), it’s essential that everyone involved in the event knows what their responsibilities are, when they need to fulfill them, and any other relevant details. You’re probably going to be pretty stressed by the whole thing as it is. That’s going to be made even worse if you don’t keep things organized, and little mistakes screw up the flow of the event. Inform everyone of their responsibilities in detail well in advance, and keep reminding them about them all the way up to the day before!