4 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make when Planning a Fundraising Event

Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make when Planning a Fundraising Event

Written by Tim Grable

October 21, 2022

A successful fundraising event involves more than just throwing together a party and inviting donors. Funders must be thoroughly planned and executed to produce the best results for nonprofits.

If your fundraising events consistently fail to reach their goals and generate impact, you may make one or more of the common fundraising mistakes outlined in this article.

1) Not Allocating Enough Time to Plan the Event

Time is one of your most important resources when planning a successful event.

Not having enough time to plan the event can lead to a lack of creativity and an underwhelming affair. From securing a venue to promoting the fundraiser- there are many parts to organizing a successful event, and you need time to ensure all bases are covered.

So, how far in advance should you start planning?

There is no ONE correct answer to this question, as this will depend on the size and complexity of the event and the goals you’ve laid out for it.

However, dedicating 6-9 months to planning the event should give you enough time to take care of all the necessary details.

2) Lack of Promotion for Your Fundraising Event

Recent data shows that 60% of nonprofits invest in advertising and promotion, with a median annual spend of $12,067. That’s because advertising works.

However, one of the biggest mistakes many planners still make is not promoting the event to enough people. Avoid this mistake by focusing on getting the word out about your fundraiser in every way that makes sense for your organization.

That could include: using flyers, social media promotion, sending out email newsletters and press releases, as well as leveraging other digital channels.

Promotion pays untold dividends, helping you raise awareness for your nonprofit organization and increase attendance. So be sure this is at the top of your event planning to-do list.

3) Insufficient or Poor Internal Communication

It can be challenging for nonprofits to keep up with the different aspects of a fundraising event. Still, it’s important to remember that you need to share information internally before you can share it externally.

To effectively plan a successful fundraiser, you need a clear plan and understanding of what will happen, who will do what, and when. This is where internal communication comes in handy.

Make sure that:

  • all volunteers and team members working on planning the event are given clear direction, and the goals of the event have been communicated to them;
  • there are multiple paths of communication in place (for example, instead of just sending an email, also make sure that crucial information is also shared face-to-face or via an internal group chat)
  • there are no bottlenecks in the flow of information that may hamper your communication efforts.

4) Not Acknowledging the Importance of Entertainment

A successful fundraising event is not just about raising money. It is also about ensuring your guests have a great time attending it. One way to make that happen is to invest in high-quality entertainment.

The right entertainment can make an event a memorable one, and it can also help with your fundraising goals. Plus, guests having an amazing experience will make them more likely to attend future events.

There are many different entertainment options to choose from, which all relate to the type of fundraiser you’re organizing, your budget, and your audience’s preferences.

For more information, you need to know about choosing the best entertainment for your fundraising event, be sure to check out this resource we’ve put together for you.

Looking for More Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits?

A fundraiser is a perfect opportunity for an organization to communicate its mission, gain new supporters and raise money.

However, this event can also be the most difficult to plan. For more tips that will help you save time and maximize the impact of your event, please take a look at some of the other articles featured on our blog.

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