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How to Host Fundraising Events

Hosting a fundraising event can often seem a daunting task - yet, if pulled off right, it can not only help spread awareness and raise funds, it will also put you on the radar of the people you are trying to recruit for your cause. 

1

Introduction

Organizing and hosting a fundraising event is a noble undertaking, and in order for all your efforts to be worthwhile, it requires a careful planning process. So, you’re basically throwing a party which has to be attractive and interesting enough to motivate your guests to show up, but the real trick is to get them to put their hands in their pockets. It’s true that people like to share their good fortune with ones in need, but you need to engage them to opt for your cause. No matter whether you’re hosting a spectacular gala or a smaller, more modest event, the steps are almost the same.

2

Set a goal

This is the first and most important step, because it will determine how much money you want to raise. Also, it will allow you to keep track and analyze how successful the event was afterwards. Once you know how much money you want to raise, it will be much easier to establish who your target audience is and what kind of event they will expect. Of course, the objectives of your fundraiser should extend well beyond the “how much”, so it’s crucial to have your “why” figured out. Namely, people are more likely to donate money and offer any kind of support when you present your goal in terms of a concrete mission instead of an abstract idea. In other words, set a very specific goal such as raising $30,000 to equip a hospital in Africa, for example.

3

Create and secure a budget

After you’ve decided how much money you need and what for, it’s time to draw up your operating budget. That’s right, you can’t raise money for a good cause unless you have some money for organizing a charity event.  Remember that you need resources for renting a venue, the catering, marketing, hiring staff, and many other things. It’s true that you can get free food and drinks, and that there are people who would be happy to volunteer during such an event, but if you want a professionally organized and hosted event that will be a success, you need to find deep-pocket supporters willing to chip in and sponsor your fundraiser.

4

Location, location, location

This phrase doesn’t apply just to the real estate industry. In order to interest big shots in backing up your charity, you need to take things to the next level and make sure that the whole organization is running like clockwork. Meeting certain standards when it comes to selecting the appropriate location is also a must. In other words, if your hometown doesn’t have much to offer, it’s always a better idea to organize such an event in a big, culturally rich city with attractive venues, good food, and friendly locals. Historic cities like Prague, with its more than 300 bridges, haunted castles, breweries, restaurants serving delicious Czech cuisine, and countless other tourist attractions have great potential to attract a wider donor audience and turn your charity event into a triumph. A qualified destination management company can help with the logistics, and they might also help by donating their time as well, as it is great publicity for them. We’ve had some great experiences with Prague Eventery, whom we highly recommend.

5

Promote your event

Marketing is everything. Your event doesn’t stand a chance of being successful unless it’s heavily publicized. It’s important to use all available marketing channels, including social media platforms, direct mail, newspaper ads, as well as TV and radio commercials. With more than 1.45 billion daily active users, Facebook can help you expand your reach tremendously. However, posting the information on your Facebook and Twitter pages won’t do the trick if you don’t have a full-fledged social media marketing strategy in place. If your budget allows it, it would be best to hire a marketer who would create and manage your campaign. Of course, traditional methods of word-of-mouth marketing still work, so your charity’s network of supporters and volunteers can be a valuable resource for spreading the word.

6

Leverage incentives

Besides setting your marketing campaign in motion, it’s important to get people to buy tickets right away, because if they don’t do that, there’s a chance that they’ll forget. Incentivize early-bird registrations by offering a discount for those who purchase several tickets. A two-pack option can be highly beneficial for charities seeking to grow their supporter base. Since most people would like to bring their partners and spouses with them, it’s a great way of amassing genuine supporters. In order to build loyalty, make sure to follow up with these new supporters after the event itself, and find out what they think about your charity and which programs they’re willing to support.

7

Encourage your attendees to give more

People who attend charity events know that they will have to pay for their tickets, but that doesn’t have to be all. Silent auctions can make them spend more money, thus contributing to your cause. Get in touch with local businesses such as spa centres, gyms, restaurants, or beauty salons and ask them to donate their products or services. Most of them will be very happy to do it, because such generous gestures are great for PR, not to mention that they get to promote themselves and land new customers. In case your guests aren’t in the habit of giving large sums of money, you can encourage them to become more involved in the volunteering part of your charity.

8

Invest in a testimonial video

Many charities go out of their way to hire high-profile speakers that will attract a large audience and give their event much-needed publicity. This investment, although hefty, can hit the bullseye and bring a lot of donations to your cause. However, an effective testimonial video showing people who benefited from your organization, major donors, as well as volunteers who participated in your programs, can make an even greater impact on your audience and show them that their money is very well spent and that every effort they make counts. And guess what? This video can cost you as much as 10 times less than a celebrity speaker.

The first and most important thing about hosting fundraising events is to ask for all the help you can get. Getting people excited about participating and sparking the joy of giving should be your number one task.

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Page last edited Jun 13, 2018 History

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