Special events are a common way to raise funds for charities and nonprofit groups. Unfortunately many fall short of the intended goal with the average charity spending $1.33 for every $1 they raise (based on a report from Charity Navigator).
While increasing awareness and attracting new donors can be great side benefits, you still want the event to raise money. At the Wesley Center in Clermont FL we have been honored to help many nonprofit organizations throw successful events resulting in these top suggestions for…
Planning A Successful Nonprofit Fundraising Event
1. Be Budget Conscious
Set a specific goal amount for the fundraising event and then watch expenses carefully. Many events start out well intentioned but then get off track with elaborate ideas. Make one person accountable for monitoring expenses and keeping the budget on track. On the flip side implement a double approval process when it comes to authorizing costs or spending any money.
2. Cultivate Event Sponsors
Sponsorships by corporations, organizations, and individuals are the backbone of all successful fundraising events. In addition to creating sponsorship packages that acknowledge the donors in programs and ads be sure to think beyond the basics.
Seek sponsors to donate funds for specific items like a meal, table centerpiece, napkins, or programs. Beyond cash, a business might also be willing to make an in-kind donation of food, entertainment, supplies, or a silent auction items
3. Plan Ahead
Every successful nonprofit event starts with a great plan. Begin organizing 9-12 months before the event to have plenty of time to secure space and market. For larger events allow an ample 12-14 months to plan ahead.
4. Utilize Available Resources
Take inventory of all the available resources within your sphere of influence. Do you have volunteers that specialize in certain areas of entertainment or marketing? Are their any reusable items or decorations in storage from past events? Does the banquet hall or event facility have tables, chairs and linens that can be utilized without additional rental cost? Using all available resources will save both time and money.
5. Pre-Sell Event Tickets
There is nothing worse than throwing an event and having no clue how many people will show up on the big day. Make it a goal to pre-sell every ticket before the event. In addition to engaging the help of volunteers to sell tickets also offer online options through EventBrite or PayPal. Be sure to give people the opportunity to specify an additional donation amount above and beyond the ticket price.
6. Market, Market, and Market Some More
Both businesses and events live and die by marketing. Start by spreading the word early through every possible outlet. Contact newspapers, radio stations, and Chamber of Commerce groups to see if they save space for nonprofit events in the local Clermont area. Visit networking and community groups to hand out flyers and brochures. Post announcements on every public bulletin board.
Tap in to Social Media to get the word out on a limited budget. In addition to creating event pages on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn plus a hashtag on Twitter you can also gain exposure with sponsored ads. Social media ads are less expensive than traditional advertising and can be targeted to specific interests and locations.
7. Enlist Assistance
There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Touch base with other groups to see what type of charity events have been most successful in your area. Talk with event facility managers to get money saving ideas and ways to avoid common planning mistakes or budget busters.
At the Wesley Center we have provided hall rental and catering services for a variety of nonprofit fundraising events including:
- Greater Clermont Cancer Foundation Tea & Luncheon
- Child Development Center
- Cornerstone Hospice Luncheon
- Faith Neighborhood Volunteers
- Reverend Tony McCoy’s Remission Celebration
- Health Fair for New Beginnings
- United Methodist Women’s Luncheon
We invite you to contact us to help with your next fundraising event in the Clermont or South Lake area!