Thinking of hosting a fundraising gala, charity auction or golf tournament? Fundraising events are a great way to cultivate donors, reach new supporters and raise money. They can also be a lot of work — so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a good plan in place, as well as a system to manage all of the details.
Before you dive in and start planning your nonprofit fundraising event, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are you trying to accomplish? As much fun as events can be, you want to have a clear idea of what the end result should be.
- Who are you trying to reach? Is this for existing supporters or are you trying to reach new ones? Maybe your event is for clients. Decide on your target audience before planning the event.
- What do I want them to do? Have a clear call to action for attendees. Will they be asked to donate at the event or participate in an activity? What is the primary result you want to see from those who attend? Make sure this is baked into your planning and communications.
- Is an event the best solution? Events can be time consuming and expensive, so make sure it is the best way to reach your goal. If your goal is only to raise awareness, you may want to think twice about using an event to accomplish this.
Now that you’ve decided an event is the best way to reach your objective, invest some time in creating your plan.
Set a specific goal for your event. Whether it’s adding new donors or reaching a certain donation level, you need to have a clear and measurable end result in mind. Know how you will define as success — such as “Raise $20,000” or “Cultivate 100 Gold Level Sponsors”.
Set a budget. A realistic budget (and sticking to it) is vital to a successful fundraising event. Ask yourself how much attendees will be willing to spend. Obviously the more lavish an event, the higher the ticket price should be, but don’t be afraid to ask for a reasonable donation. Getting corporate sponsors is a great way to help with the cost and achieve a realistic budget.
Create a communications plan. For example, two months out, secure your sponsors and send out “Save the Date” emails. Begin sending out tweets and update your Facebook status with information on the event. One month out, send invitations to those you hope will attend. Write a blog post about the event and reach out to local media. In the days before, send reminders to your attendees and use social media to generate excitement and interest around your event. After the event, be sure to have a plan to send thank you notes and acknowledge all who attended and helped make your event a success.
Measure your success. Finally, don’t think your work is finished after the last supporter goes home. Follow up after the event is crucial as well. Analyze the results to see what went right and what went wrong. Did you stick to your budget? Did you raise more money or sell more tickets online or offline? Did you receive any new donors? Tracking this information will help you make your next event even more successful!
Now that you have a plan, how are you going to implement it and make it easy for supporters to join? Try Network for Good’s events ticketing software. Create a customized event page, sell tickets and ask for donations from those who can’t attend. Request a personalized demo today and see how easy it is to create a better way to manage your events and fundraising activity.