A big part of a charitable organization’s income often comes from fundraising activities (e.g., charity sales, sponsored challenges, and events). While they can be highly effective cash generators, they require a significant investment in terms of both time and money. Unfortunately, it is too easy to put a lot of work into an event for little return, but with the right planning and research, even a novice event planner can create a fantastic event. Whether you want to raise £1,000 or £100,000, this guide includes some important questions and considerations to keep in mind when planning a successful fundraising event.
What’s the purpose of the event?
Obviously, you want to raise money for a charitable organization, and you will probably have a figure in mind. This figure will influence the type of event that you run, the people you invite, your budget, and your activities or entertainment. Aim for a higher figure than you need to increase how much money you make.
However, raising money is probably not the only objective. For example, you might also want to raise awareness of the charity in the local area, establish partnerships with local businesses, and/or attract volunteers. With your objectives in mind, you can focus your planning and avoid getting carried away with details that will not impact your objective.
What is your event budget?
The lower you can keep your overheads, the higher your profit is likely to be. However, it is almost impossible to organize an event without spending money, and the more exciting or luxurious your event, the easier it will be to get people to attend. You should look at your event budget like running a business; your ultimate profits should outweigh your expenses.
Who will plan the event?
In most cases, there will be a chairperson with ultimate control and responsibility, but no one can plan and run an event on their own. You should set up an event committee of experienced volunteers who will take responsibility for particular parts of the planning process.
Who are your ideal attendees?
You may want to broaden the appeal of the event so that lots of different people from the local area attend, but another effective strategy is to target a group such as parents, local businesspeople, or high net worth individuals and their associates. Your attendees will influence the type of event that you run. For example, you might choose a black-tie ball for businesspeople while parents would appreciate a family fun day.
Who will run the event on the day?
You will need a team of dedicated people to set-up the event and run it on the day. This might include volunteers, and it could include paid staff such as professional caterers, bartenders from eventbartenders.com, or entertainers. For events with higher fundraising targets, it might be worth spending money on professional event staff to ensure the event runs smoothly.
How will you market and sell tickets?
You might be planning an incredible event, but without effective marketing that attracts attendees, it will not be a success. It is often better to sell tickets ahead of an event so that you can be sure of the number of guests and can order the right amount of food and drink. Digital marketing tools such as social media platforms and email marketing are low-cost but can be effective at drumming up interest in an event.