It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas just brings out the giving spirit and what could be better for your year-end fundraising than that?
But odds are, you’re having to make your own Christmas lists and check them twice. So organizing the fundraising events at your company might not be at the very top of your mind.
Luckily, we’re here to help you raise money and set up the most successful fundraising event you can possibly imagine. Think of us as your own personal Santa Claus.
Except our red suit comes in the form of a business suit. But we’ll still show up with that same sweet twinkle in our eyes! So, ready to get started?
#1. Focus your fundraising event around a purpose
Every gala or charity event needs to have a clear idea in mind. After all, you’re asking potential donors to help you in raising money for a specific cause.
They’ll want to know exactly where their money is going! But when we say purpose, we mean a lot of things.
The purpose of your fundraising efforts might be to raise funds for a specific group. But the purpose of fundraising might just be the fundraising event itself.
Maybe you’re looking to foster peer-to-peer fundraising in an effort to establish a new network. Or simply provide a rewarding experience for board members and potential attendees alike.
Either way, knowing what you want to achieve out of your fundraising event will determine the course of your actions. And it will help get team members on the same page with one another too!
See Related: How To Host A Virtual Gala
#2. Come up with a fundraising goal
Obviously, you’ll want to come up with more money than your past fundraising events. But how much money you set as your fundraising goals will help you take everything into consideration.
We’re talking about how much you sell tickets for, will phone banks be a part of the process, what promotional items you’re willing to give out during the silent auction. Just remember that potential sponsors will give as much as you give them.
So if you’re hosting a big event with menial auction items, that might not inspire a board member or two to be particularly generous. But with mailed invitations, an event page, guest speakers, and more, you’ll give ticket purchasers and donors a night they won’t forget.
Because when they’re treated like royalty, they’ll give like royalty. And all that time-consuming work will have paid off in the amount of money you managed to raise.
#3. Create a detailed budget
When you want to raise money, you have to spend money. But that doesn’t mean you should spend money willy-nilly.
Nonprofit organizations are particularly good at coming up with an all-encompassing budget. Because every penny counts.
And that’s exactly the mindset you’ll need to adopt if you want to have a successful event in your future. Sure, you might find ways to save money by making a free Facebook page for your event.
Or, you may rely solely on social media as a free marketing tool for your entire fundraising event. Either way, you’ll want to set up the fundraiser for success and that means thinking of every possible hiccup down the road.
#4. Determine your target audience
Let’s say you’re looking to broaden your pool of event attendees and go for a younger generation who prefers online donations. But what happens to your long-time donors who prefer to send in their donations by direct mail?
These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to take into consideration for your fundraising event. This might mean making a marketing plan or two meant to target different demographics.
But either way, you’ll want to make sure that none of your event attendees feel left out. This isn’t to say that you can’t change things up at your charity events.
It’s just a matter of making sure that the fundraiser is for the people there to attend it. Not just a few people who know all the in’s and out’s of social media.
#5. Create your host committee
We’ll give you a great tip now since you’re half-way through the list! Your planning committee should look like the perfect representation of your target audience.
Especially if they’re the ones in charge of the lead up of the event. Whether it’s an in-person event or virtual event, attendees want to know that they’ll be in similar company.
Besides, if your host committee is your target audience, then you’ve already got a shoe in on your marketing materials. There’s no better way to test things out than with a controlled group.
And don’t forget to hire a virtual event host too! They’ll work alongside your host committee and make sure they have all the right words to say to potential attendees.
#6. Secure a venue for your fundraising event
We should probably also say a virtual platform if you’re going the route of virtual events. But either way, you’ll want to have your venue or platform secured well before the fundraiser itself.
And if you’re going virtual, consider a platform that will allow you to have a virtual emcee! They’re great at fundraising as they engage with donors and make the event more personable.
Besides, they’re like your own personal charity navigator. You know, telling folks where to send in their donations and such.
And cracking jokes in the meantime to make the event all the more memorable! Even if your venue isn’t quite up to snuff, having the right Master of Ceremonies is exactly what folks will walk away remembering.
#7. Hire corporate entertainment
Remember how we said you have to give a little to get a little? Well, why not give with some corporate entertainers by your side?
Sure, this might not be the type of thing you see on other “How To Organize A Fundraiser” type articles. But we know how to make your events pop like no other.
And that’s because we have the power of comedy on our side. As much as we don’t like to say it, a fundraiser or event is all about schmoozing.
Sometimes, similar events like that can feel a little stuffy. But a clean comedian can come in and refresh the air.
They may poke some fun at the event name if the opportunity is there. But you won’t leave with any hard feelings when folks come up asking for that same comedian to perform at the next fundraiser.
Bonus: What Is A Sales Kickoff?
#8. Start social media marketing
Most events use social media as a free marketing tool and for good reason! Your event should get the most visibility it can possibly get.
Because your fundraiser deserves the best turnout. Besides, you can even advertise that you’re taking mobile payments over social media.
So if someone can’t make the fundraiser in person, they can still send in donations before or after the event! That’s a pretty solid tool, huh?
#9. Collect ticket sales that offer sponsorship levels
You may have seen sponsorship levels offered at other types of events and thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of work.” But trust us when we say that that kind of work pays off.
Folks like to know that they can customize their support. And sponsorships and various levels allow them to do exactly that.
Not to mention it adds a whole other level of gravitas to your fundraiser. (Gravitas? Who do we think we are?)
#10. Figure out how you will accept donations
Every event tends to do this part differently. And there’s no right or wrong way.
But when planning out your fundraiser, you’ll want to decide on this method early on. That way, you can troubleshoot any roadblocks or issues that arise without breaking a sweat.
Okay, you might sweat a little. We can’t guarantee whether or not you’ll perspire. But what do you want from us? It’s your body!
#11. Run through the events of the evening
There’s a reason that dress rehearsals exist. They help to bring everything together so you can target specific moments that need a little bit more work.
Even if it’s just walking through the event, this will help you understand and conceptualize the night as a whole. Besides, it’s a great way for you to walk through how the attendees will experience the event.
And how they experience it will be the ultimate way of determining whether the night was a success or not. So make things seem effortless by preparing, preparing some more, and then preparing even more than that.
#12. Partner with local businesses to raise awareness
Odds are you’re not the only company who’s planning their end-of-year fundraiser. So you want to make sure that yours stands out!
Consider partnering with local businesses at your event. Even if that means hiring a catering service from a local restaurant or offering booths to small businesses.
This is a great way to engage the community as a whole. And all while bringing the focus back to your company or nonprofit.
Besides, you’ll get a lot of folks in your corner this way. And the event itself will take on something bigger than just itself.
#13. Follow up and thank donors and guests
This is an absolute must! Following up and thanking donors and guests for attending will do wonders for your event even after the event itself has ended.
People like to know that their actions and efforts are recognized. And sending a thank you note acknowledging their donation is a great way to do just that.
Besides, it also gives them tangible evidence of their donation. (Taxes, hint hint.)
#14. Get them excited for your next event
If you didn’t think following up was already a good idea, consider it as marketing for your next shindig. You can already start advertising for the next year’s event in your thank you note.
And no, it’s never too early to start planning. An event takes a lot of coordination and cooperation.
But most importantly, it requires building up a lot of hype. Besides, if this year’s event was a success, then nobody will want to turn down an invitation to the next one!
And who knows? Maybe it’ll even get you excited too.
Start planning your fundraiser now!
Your event is just waiting to blow people’s minds away. But in order to do exactly that, you’ll need to stay organized and on top of every element of your event throughout the process.
Sure, that sounds like a lot of stress. But you’ve got a great event team behind you, especially when you hire a clean comedian to make you look good too.
(See that? Marketing! And getting you excited for your next comedic event!)
Keep Reading: What’s The Best Virtual Gala Platform?
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.