Regardless of the fundraising event, there are a few things your organization can do to guarantee success. To make any event work it is important that you focus on your donors. If your event is relevant to your donors, resonates with them and makes them see why their donation is important, then it will be a success.
Special fundraising events require a lot of planning and not just the logistics of pulling off a large event. You need to have a firm grasp of what you expect from the event. Is your event to raise money, increase awareness, or draw in new donors? Once you have a clear idea of what you wish to gain from you event you can focus on what type of event to have.
While it’s true that there is no one single event is a guaranteed money maker for every organization, every time there are five events that perform better than most:
The auction. Whether your organization goes with a traditional in person auction or tries an online auction; an auction based fundraising event works well.
The key to its success is knowing your audience and having items that are of interest to your donors. Offering items such as ski trips or wine country tours not best suit your audience. Maybe your audience would prefer to bid on items like gift baskets or family friendly water park getaways.
The gala is another tried and true fundraising event, but remember just because your organization has used the same gala format for eons doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from a little tweaking.
If you event isn’t adding new interest, try changing it up a bit. Add a different form of entertainment-maybe you can get a well-known celebrity to speak at your event. You could throw in a silent auction or change it from a sit down dinner to cocktails.
Fundraising events that engage the donor in a physical way such as a Run/Walk, Golf Outing, or other physical activity. The beauty of these events is that technology allows your donors to set up individual fundraising pages. They share their fundraising pages on social media and your message and mission reaches more people.
Crowdfunding, not really an event but it does empower current supporters to become ambassadors for your organization. Again, it harnesses the power of social media since crowdfunding allows individuals to set up custom donation pages that are easily shared with friends, family, colleagues and social networks. A little food for thought, on average a crowdfunding individual raises $568, compare that with the average traditional one-time gift of $139.
Signature event, admittedly this last category takes some time to establish, but think about the Girl Scouts Cookie Sale. There are probably very few people in this world who haven’t heard of the event. Maybe there is an event that can become your organization’s signature event. A humane society could do an annual pet calendar sale or pet pictures with Santa.
Don’t be afraid to get a little quirky with your event, if you believe your donor base will support it. If your organization is focused on keeping lakes and streams clean, perhaps you could have a canoe race.
Remember the key to the success of any event is knowing your audience and planning an event that will appeal to your donor base.