While there are several ways to raise money to support your organization, one of the most popular and fun is a fundraiser. It’s the perfect opportunity for like-minded people to gather together to support an organization that’s making a difference.
Despite the great potential, if you have never hosted a fundraiser, you may feel challenged about where to start. You may be wondering how to plan the event, when you should order gear such as custom lapel pins, and how you can reach the most people.
We won’t lie, it’s quite a large undertaking. However, by following a clear plan with a dedicated team, you can host a great event. Here are seven key steps to help you plan and execute a successful fundraiser:
- Set achievable goals
- Establish a budget
- Recruit a passionate team
- Set a date, time, and location
- Develop a strong marketing strategy
- Set up and enjoy
- Follow up with the attendees
Continue reading to discover each step in detail. By the end of this guide, you will be more than ready to start planning your fundraiser!
1. Set achievable goals
The first step of any fundraiser is to set clear SMART goals. Ask yourself what your organization will consider successful. Is it a specific dollar amount? A huge attendance and increased awareness? More people signed up to volunteer and donate regularly?
No matter what the goal is, it’s best to ensure it’s measurable and achievable. As your fundraising goal is the driving factor of your event, but sure you take plenty of time to brainstorm what will make the fundraiser worthwhile.
2. Establish a budget
The next important step is establishing a budget. Although the purpose of the event is to raise funds, you will also have to spend some to see results.
Consider the following when planning your budget:
- Event venue
- Marketing materials
While this is just a short list of some of the costs you may incur, it’s best to write the list out in its entirety and estimate the costs of each item. This way, you will be able to set a realistic budget. Make sure you also add a buffer, as you never know what unexpected costs may come up!
3. Recruit a passionate team
To host a successful fundraiser, you will need a dedicated team of people to stand behind the event. It will likely take a lot of hours to plan and execute, so finding a team that is motivated and willing to spend the time to help you is key.
Once you know who will help, give everyone tasks and deadlines to keep everything on track. Be sure to have a clear communication channel so everyone can keep in touch and understand the progress of the event planning.
4. Set a date, time, and location
The next important step is to consider the date, time, and location that’s most suitable for your event. Think about the budget when deciding on where you want to host the event. It’s best to contact multiple venues to see how costs vary and what your organization can afford.
With your team, strategize when the most people can attend your fundraiser, whether there are any conflicting events, and if you will have plenty of time to plan.
5. Develop a strong marketing strategy
Without a strong marketing strategy, you won’t be able to reach many guests. Be sure to plan how you will invite people, spread the word, and encourage people to attend. Use tools like flyers, social media, your website, and your email list.
In addition, a great way to encourage people to talk about the event is to add a hashtag to your communications. On social media, people can use the hashtag to post about your organization before the fundraiser, as well as while they are there. This will help you reach an audience you may not have thought possible. The best part? It’s free!
6. Set up and enjoy
After long weeks or months of planning, it’s time to finally set up and enjoy the event! This will be the most satisfying part of the entire process (besides the results, of course!). It’s the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and enjoy all of your hard work.
While you are more relaxed, be sure to engage with guests, take plenty of pictures, and above all, have fun!
7. Follow up with the attendees
Finally, once the event is over, it’s time to thank your guests and let them know how their efforts paid off! People love when organizations follow up and let them know the positive impacts of the fundraiser.
By sending a thank you message, you will keep the attention of the guests and may even encourage them to get more involved. You can also ask for their feedback about the event to gather ideas on how to best plan and execute the next fundraiser.
Now that you have the key steps to planning and executing a successful fundraiser, it’s time to start! Set your goals, gather your team, and get ready for a rewarding experience that will make a difference for your organization.