What makes your average 9 to 5 all the more worth it? Sure, the benefits are great.
And the coworkers aren’t bad either. But what about those nights where you get to let your hair down and give back to your community?
Oh, that’s right. Fundraising events!
Fundraising events are a fantastic way of shaking things up in the office. And for non-profits, a fundraising event is essential for keeping the organization strong.
You might be juggling a number of different ideas on how to make your fundraising or charity event pop. And let’s be real, sometimes coming up with ideas is the best part.
For example, you might be looking to raise money through a silent auction at your event. Or, you might be looking to get some rockstar guest speakers on your panel.
But either way, you’re going to want to get some inside advice on how to create a successful charity event. No matter the type of event you’re aiming for.
So buckle up and get ready to engage in some of the best practices for hosting a charity or fundraising event out there. Your event may just carry you through to the next big project you’ve been itching to get started at your organization.
Before the charity event
No event – whether fundraising, charity, birthday party, or bridal shower – is successful without proper planning. Remember that saying your mother likely told you before planning a party?
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” Or something like that. I’m sure all moms tend to put their own twist on it.
But the sentiment remains true. So what exactly do you need to look out for before getting your charity events in order?
Get clear about your cause
Specificity is one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal. Besides, people aren’t likely to donate to causes they don’t necessarily understand.
So when you spread the word about your event, make sure donors know exactly what they are supporting. A specific mission in mind will also help you create a clear promotional strategy as well.
For example, your cause might be particularly personal. But don’t let that fool you into thinking your campaign ideas are too cheesy or sappy.
Use those personal stories, ideas, and connections to enhance your campaign strategy for your charity event. People raising money are everywhere.
So make your charity or fundraising event stand out from the rest. And give guests a clear idea of how their money will make a difference.
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Establish a reasonable fundraising goal
Hosting a fundraising event typically means one thing. You’re there to collect donations.
But how can you shift the focus from the amount of money raised at the event to the impact of the donations? Hear us out.
Sure, you can focus solely on how much money ticket sales and auction costs bring in. Heck, you can even make the corporate entertainers you hired for the event an auction item!
One night only at one lucky guest’s personal estate. See how fun that sounds? So why not get creative with your fundraising goal too through nontraditional means?
For example, your goal could include getting 100 new recurring donors as opposed to one-off donations throughout the night. Or, maybe your non-profit is looking to forge business partnerships with other local businesses in attendance.
Just because you’re hosting a charity fundraiser or gala doesn’t mean that money is your only goal. You can raise awareness, make connections among attendees, and enrich the fundraising event through non-monetary means as well.
Funds are important and fantastic and all that jazz. But sometimes, a fundraising event can create friends out of guests.
And who do they have to thank for that lifelong friendship? You and your company.
So make the charity event more meaningful for your supporters. And inspire folks to make the event of giving back last longer than a single night.
Plan out your budget
Every event needs a budget. After all, there are a number of event factors to keep track of!
But if you’re a nonprofit, you’ll likely be looking for any way to keep the event costs low where you can. Take these tips for example and make your next community fundraiser an exciting event without breaking the bank!
It’s tempting to go for a popular event space that will surely draw out more attendees. But if there’s little room in your budget, get creative with the venue instead.
This past year has proven the success of hosting a virtual event. So maybe you want to keep that momentum going.
Or, you might want to opt for a community center, especially if your fundraiser or event is focused on giving back to local businesses. That way, your event space can match the theme of your fundraiser.
And guests will get more acquainted with a venue they might not otherwise experience. Even ask volunteers in advance if they have suggestions for a venue space you might not have thought of.
Volunteers will give you a good idea of two things. A) what a fun night out for them would look like and, B) which venue still speaks true to the mission of the charity event.
Besides, if you spend less money on the space and more on the comedians you hire for your corporate evening, then you’ll get an even better bang for your buck. That’s a win-win!
Everybody loves free food! And attendees at your fundraising event are no different.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you hire a catering service that will fit the needs of your event and target audience. But consider looking at local food businesses to, again, get a leg up on community engagement.
In a way, it’s like free advertising for both your team and the local restaurant in question. They get new supporters from your event and organization.
And as a host, you can demonstrate to your audience that you’re community-oriented. Not driven simply for the sake of raising money.
No fundraiser or event is complete without a little bit of entertainment here and there. After all, a charity event is still a night out for some!
If your budget allows, go big on entertainment. Hire a comedian to MC the event or get a dance squad to perform some stellar moves.
Whatever entertainment you choose will be the biggest draw of your event. Volunteers and supporters of the organization alike want to be entertained.
And besides, entertainment is a great way to show just how much you appreciate your attendees. Your fundraising event is essentially saying, “Please give us money!”
So it’s only fitting that you give them something in return. Make sure the entertainment falls in line with the theme you’re presenting.
And be sure to book an act in advance! Once you’ve set a date, get them locked down because the entertainment industry goes fast.
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Do not underestimate marketing. I repeat! Do not. Underestimate. Marketing!
Marketing is how you get the word out of your charity event. And it is crucial to building up some event hype to get supporters and donors excited to attend.
Social media is one of the most accessible marketing tools you have at your disposal. So make sure you’re taking full advantage of these online tools.
And if your budget is shy of hiring an outside marketing organization, rely on your friends. A nonprofit organization needs to take an all-hands-on-deck approach.
It’s not just the team putting together this fundraising event. It’s the community too.
Every event needs tickets (obviously). But deciding on how much tickets should sell for is a whole other conversation on its own.
Some fundraisers jack their ticket prices up high. After all, what they sell in tickets will also contribute to their overall funds for the evening.
But other fundraisers choose to charge a lower price for tickets. And this can sometimes make fundraising events feel more accessible.
Think of it this way. Your company might be known for its charity events amongst large donors and their personal circles.
In that case, you’d likely want to host a more exclusive type of event. And this would call for tickets to sell at a higher price.
But maybe your charity events are more about networking with new supporters and getting folks more acquainted with your organization. In that case, you could sell tickets for less.
And perhaps get a larger turnout. There’s no right or wrong way to get attendees in the door.
But it’s simply a matter of how you want to appeal to your target audience. All of these costs can seem overwhelming at first, but just remember to breathe!
During the charity event
What you’ve been waiting for! The event itself!
(Finally! You can whip out that dress you save only for corporate holiday parties.)
As host, you’ll want to make sure that the event goes off without a hitch. And that means getting some folks on board that you trust.
Create a host committee
You might be asking yourself, “What’s a host committee?” Well, a host committee is made up of people who already support your cause and help you plan and run the event.
This could include donors, corporate partners, even long-time volunteers. They will not only help you get started when it comes to the planning of this event.
But they can also deepen your influence across a number of circles. And if event funds aren’t necessarily high in your budget already, your host committee is a great resource for you to use.
Once the event gets started, you can also rely on your host committee to welcome guests. Hosting fundraisers or any type of event can feel quite daunting when they’re a one-person job.
But a host committee can take on some of the responsibilities that accompany charity events. And they’ll also help you raise money at a more substantial rate since guests have a personal connection.
Decide how to accept donations
Some fundraising events rely on tickets alone to raise money. But other fundraising and charity events look for more ways to raise money throughout the evening.
If you find yourself in this situation, determine beforehand how you want to collect donations. You can set up a digital account where donors can easily send in their support.
And this might be the better option in comparison to cash. Not many folks continue to carry around a substantial amount of funds in their pocket.
So do a little online research beforehand to find a platform that can facilitate auction donations. Or tally up donation after donation in a jiffy.
After the charity event
You might think hosting an event ends when the last donation rolls in, right? Wrong!
There are still plenty of ways for you to maximize the success of your event even after the evening has ended. Keep reading to find out how to create and sustain buzz.
Send thank-you notes
Thank-you notes might seem old-fashioned to some. But that personal touch could be just enough for some supporters to feel inspired to donate again.
An organization has the opportunity to showcase who they are in the face of a fundraiser. And how they give thanks is no different.
Of course, writing a personal note to each of the donors who attended is a bit overkill. (But go ahead and do it if you have both the energy and the time).
But just reminding people of their donations is a great way to keep them engaged with the event. Even after it’s ended.
Always place emphasis on the charity in question that they helped to support. Or write substantial gains that their donation helps to achieve.
The more specific, the better. Just create something heartfelt that separates your organization from the rest.
Share your achievements online
You may use social media before the fundraising event itself. But don’t think you can’t use it after too!
Share the success of your fundraising events through social media. And you’ll give guests the chance to continue engaging even after the fun of a single night has ended.
Give a shoutout to the venue or auction items used to boost the costs of the event. Or, even take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour of why your organization chose whatever theme it did for the evening.
Hosting the actual event is only one part of the job it takes as a host. Hosting actually means reminding people of the fun date night they had.
Or, giving them another taste of how much money they helped to raise for an important cause. So, come up with some creative ideas to keep your fundraising and charity events alive.
Social media is a great platform to do so. Besides, the party’s only over until you say it is.
Your next fundraising or charity event might be around the corner. Or it might be months and months away.
Either way, it’s never a bad idea to start planning now. And figuring out how you can create the world’s best event that also manages to raise donations for a significant cause.
Just take hosting with a grain of salt. Determine what you want guests to experience both in-person at the event and online after.
And stay true to the charity in question. When everyone comes together, there’s nothing you can’t do.
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.