Whatever you’re trying to raise funds for, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves. Fundraisers can be quite time-consuming. Without careful planning, you’ll spend more money than you’ll raise. So, when crafting your plan, have these elements in mind.
The first order of business – decide what’s your purpose. Is it truly a fundraiser? Or do you have other goals in mind? You must figure out the purpose of the event before doing anything else.
Even though you’re hoping to raise money, your main goal may be to reach out to a certain network or simply gain publicity. Plenty of charitable events have multiple goals. You have to know exactly what you want to achieve if you want to figure out the details properly.
You must set an amount that you plan to raise at the event in conjunction with key fundraisers, organization staff, and event host committee. If it is all mostly about raising funds, then all aspects of your plant should be geared toward raising a certain amount of money. Deduct the expenses and choose an amount you hope to net.
List all the expenses. Your plan should have a set budget that will cover the security, transportation, entertainment, catering, invitations, staff, utilities and space rental, as well as everything else you need. Make sure it’s all on paper.
Take your fundraising goal into account. Naturally, you’d want to raise much more than just enough to cover the expenses. Chances are, there will be some unforeseen costs. Leave a bit of extra space in your budget just to be safe.
Create a separate calendar for your fundraiser. Scheduling promotion and marketing plans on your general content calendar won’t cut it. A separate calendar helps you stay organised and coordinate everything.
With such a calendar, you won’t have to sort through all other activities because you’ll have everything in one place. Put deadlines for different elements of the event. For instance, you can aim to reserve a caterer by a specific date, or to have all the print ready a week in advance.
Have you determined how many volunteers you need? Recruit some more, just in case. You’ll be better off with a pair of extra hands than not enough. Having more volunteers than initially planned will allow your staff members to take a break and have a bit of fun themselves.
Designate one person to be “the runner.” Most of the people involved will have specific jobs, while the runner will deal with minor issues that may occur. That could be grabbing more plates, helping guests find their seats, or just jumping in to give a helping hand where needed.
Something unexpected will come up. You can try to avoid it, but some things are just out of your control. With a runner, you won’t have to short-hand one group or area of the fundraiser.
Just because something unexpected is likely to happen, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to prevent that. People do wedding rehearsals the day before for a very good reason. Why should it be any different with a fundraising event?
You don’t want to find out that the lighting is dim in one area or that the speaker’s table is not close enough to the podium on the day of the event. Instead of a guest pointing out such things to you, rehearse everything the day before and avoid such shortcomings. The set-up must be planned and prepared in advance.
You may be carrying out the bulk of preparations and planning, but you still need to keep your staff updated. Make sure to communicate with them along the way.
Gather everyone once a week for a fifteen-minute meeting. As the event approaches, you can hold meetings more often. Meet every day during the final week.
Set up a procedure for accepting donations or selling tickets. You must decide whether there will be a flat ticket charge or different contribution levels. You also must decide how you will deliver or ship tickets, who will sell them, who will be responsible for managing the sales, etc.
Is this a general fundraising event? Or do you have a specific target audience? You might be aiming for parents, entrepreneurs, young adults, etc. Think about whom you will invite.
As a takeaway, remember to say thank you. When it comes to complaints, most contributors say no one ever thanked them! Keep your donors happy and be sure to send thank-you notes to everyone involved. When the dust settles, congratulate yourself on a job well done!