Top 12 Fundraising Event Planning Tips You Need to Know

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Written by Tim Grable

July 9, 2017

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Looking for fundraising event planning tips to help you organize a successful event? Coming up with new creative ideas to implement at your fundraising events can influence the donor retention in a positive way. Most donors are pretty much used to the same fundraisers every single year.  We got you covered with expert advice which will make your work more efficient, your event more appealing and reaching your goals easier.  Even though this type of fundraising event is mostly focused on a good cause, there’s nothing wrong with making it unique, and thinking about strategies to do so.

Let’s get to work!

1. Clearly Define Your Audience

Starting your fundraising event planning tips by clearly defining your audience will help you a lot. Your entire event should then be shaped according to your audience’s preferences.

Aspects like the style of fundraising, the type of the gala, the theme, the budget, the venue will be easier to choose. Even the entertainment will be easier to pick.

2. Choose a theme

Themes are fun, they can be extremely creative, and you can find one that will fit the type of fundraiser you are having. For example, if it is a fundraising event for cancer research, the theme could be that all the attendees need to wear something pink. Imagine how men would rock pink ties!

3. Fundraising Event Planning Tips: Be Realistic

Top 7 Fundraising Event Planning Tips You Need to Know

As you proceed with your work, it is vital to know what you can and can’t do. Setting up your targets and achievements should be stated as SMART objectives.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based.

4. Set Up an Estimated Financial Plan

Estimate the funding you expect to receive from sponsorships and ticket sales. Then figure out how much money you believe your event will raise from different fundraising tactics like:

  • Ticket sales
  • Live auction
  • Raffles.

Then write down all expenses you foresee, so you can highlight items and aspects towards which sponsors can contribute. Partnering with local brands and businesses helps your organization with funds and resources while providing them excellent exposure.

5. Organize a contest

Don’t stick to the primary contests or games that fundraising events are organizing. You can run a contest that is similar to those we see on TV, but with a lower budget. It could be something like “Do you want to be a millionaire?”, Moreover, taken the example I showed above it could transform into “Do you wish to help cancer research?” The answer to this question is obvious, but it will be more interesting this way.

6. Donate and win something

Some people are more willing to give if they receive an incentive. You can talk to some big companies to see whether they are prepared to offer some cool prizes. It is kind of dull to provide material things, so you can make a list of prizes that will add value to someone’s life, such as meeting an influential celebrity, or visiting the NASA (this is just a fictional example, to give you an idea).

7. Make it easy to donate

Many people want to help, but they do not have money to donate. Instead, you can do something like “donate your skill”. Talented people can come forward and help others learn what they do best, and so it is a win-win situation. Also, this idea will get more people involved, because donating is not only about giving money.

8. Fundraising Event Planning: Maximize Attendance

people, team

The more people you  is get at your event, the higher the chances you will achieve your targets. Besides funding to support your cause, pleasing your audience will also ensure continuity for your organization.

Booking the right type of entertainment raises attendance. It’s one of the most popular fundraising event planning advice from the experts.

Head on to The Grable Group’s dedicated section for fundraising entertainment to see what are some of your best options. Any of those entertainers will give extra oomph to your event and will turn it into a memorable experience.

9. Use Social Media

Create your marketing plan early on and be sure to include social media. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter – they all are great marketing channels. Additionally, they are free to use.

Think of a creative campaign which will create much buzz around your event. Add video to your promotions, as rich media is prevalent these days. You can do live streams on almost all social media networks.

10. You Will Need Volunteers

Make sure you add volunteers on your fundraising event planning checklist. You will not be able to take care of everything, especially not on the date of the event.

Volunteers can even help you in the planning phase. Delegating some of the responsibilities is just an efficient way of organizing a successful event.

However, since they offer their time for free, be sure you give them tasks they enjoy to carry on and do your best to inspire them with the knowledge they are working for the greater good.

11. Come up with the unexpected

You do not have to shock the guests or something like that. However, it is a good idea to surprise them whenever you can. For example, at the entrance, you can give them a little consideration, prepare a show with quality entertainment they did not know about, or even have a unique design for the food bar. Do whatever you can to stand out from the crowd.

12. Practice, Practice, Practice

On the event day, everything needs to work smoothly. To achieve that, you should ask for one test run.

Have your hosts and key speakers – mostly everyone except your guests – run through their presentations. Doing this will also let you test the technological infrastructure and fix any issues which might affect your guests’ experience.

Fundraising Event Planning Myths We Can Do Without

Myths are everywhere around – they are interwoven within our daily patterns. Some of them are culturally inherited to such an extent that we do not even realize to what degree they dictate our actions.

Not even fundraising event planning is exempt from such preconceived notions.

You would think planning a fundraiser would be pretty straightforward, but you will be surprised to notice there are some fallacies event planners are often faced with.

You may encounter the following 4 myths among your peer fundraisers, or you may even find aspects yourself thought true about nonprofit events planning.

1. Small Nonprofits cannot Plan for a ‘Major Gifts’ Approach

To many, a ‘significant gift’ approach is left out of event planning. Major contributions are larger donations which exceed the economic thresholds an organization set. If a smaller NGO sets a $1,000 limit, anything above that is considered a ‘major gift.’

Too many small NGOs get stuck in this area where they cannot attract larger donation because they shy away from setting a higher donation bar.

4 Fundraising Event Planning Myths We Can Do Without

Myth busted: Changing the major gift policy should be on your planning checklist if you are a small non-profit seeking to break out.

Adjusting the donation range serves small and middle-sized NGOs better than planning for cautious targets.

2. Peer-to-peer Fundraising Is Only for Certain Kinds of Fundraisers

Crowdfunding has been soaring the past years, but somehow it is still associated with events like fun runs, marathons or larger events.

Moreover, more significant events, as we know, mean more considerable amount of financial resources.

Myth busted: In fact, it is counterintuitive to get stuck in this mindset when peer-to-peer fundraising is so accessible. Not only that, but it also empowers current donors to take part in the process actively. Via crowdfunding, you can ask them to share your event.

Peer-to-peer fundraising also helps you aim for a targeted, more flexible audience you can activate in several ways.

Last but not least, this fundraising practice grants you extra time and resources to find the best entertainment for your cause.

3. Fundraising Event Planning Should Ditch Classic Fundraising Methods

The increasing number of software tools and online marketing strategies have impacted the fundraising sector as well. Now and then, it seems that fundraising event planning should follow the latest trends and neglect what is thought of as ‘outdated.’

Myth busted: Classic fundraising practices are still viable. The best way to go about them is to look closely at your organization’s needs and align them with digital strategies, to get the most out of each.

Direct mail fundraising requests are one of the strategies thought of as obsolete. However, the truth is, they are so widely used because they are tested, and they still work.

People are still willing to click on a subject line asking for donations and to contribute to causes they learn about via their inboxes. The key is to win their trust.

4. Nonprofit Fundraisers Can Do Without Customer Service and Donor Feedback

These are the kind of small details which could make a difference between a stalling and a booming donor count.

Still, a general false impression is that they could be overlooked in the fundraising event planning process.

Myth busted: a sound plan should always take into account customer service and donor follow-up. Don’t let loyal contributors slip by just because you did not show interest in hearing their voice.

feedback, comments

Identifying these 4 fundraiser fallacies will save you precious planning time. Plus, being aware of them helps your long-term fundraising event planner approach, so that you employ the best practices when designing your future – successful! – events.

At Grable Group, we have your back: on our website, we frequently post on event planning, fundraising or corporate events tips ‘n’ tricks.

We even offer a free eBook comprising valuable event planning advice, so be sure to get on our site and download it or keep up with our posts by joining our weekly newsletter (subscribe by filling in your email address in the newsletter tab on the right of our homepage).

Entertainment is a must even at fundraisers

We do hope that these tips will help you come up with some great ideas for your next fundraising event.

Fundraising event planning tips shouldn’t be stressful or overwhelming. Follow the tips presented above, and you will be an expert organizer in no time.

The Grable Group is a booking agency, and entertainment company focused on delivering high-quality professional services for event organizers. If you are looking for some quality entertainers, you can browse through our list of speakers, and if you find on that fits your event, feel free to contact us or simply call us at 1-615-283-0039.

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