Whether an SME or a Fortune 500 company, one thing is sure as an entrepreneur – everyone wants to raise funds. So organisations use fundraising events to raise money for a cause. This article will teach you how to organise a successful fundraising event.
Most times, fundraising events are synonymous with social entrepreneurship. However, their popularity and effectiveness make this old model of raising funds creep into other aspects of entrepreneurship.
Successful fundraising events can be daunting because they demand your time and resources. Still, you must be deliberate, intentional, and strategic about them.
Furthermore, you need to tap into your network and support system to plan a successful fundraising event. That’s why the saying your network is your net worth is true.
We will look at the steps you need to take for a successful fundraising event.
How To Organise A Successful Fundraising Event
How do you organise a successful fundraising event? Follow these steps to organise your fundraising event, and thank us later.
Purpose of Your Fundraising Event
Before embarking on your fundraising journey, define the event’s purpose. To give you a head start, these questions will help to define your purpose:
- Is the fundraising event for a charity cause?
- Are you hoping to acquire new donors for your existing projects?
- Is the event going to be used as a springboard to create and gain more publicity for the cause you and your organisation represent?
- Are you going to use the event to engage with your existing donor community?
The clearer your answers to these questions, the better your chances of having a successful fundraising event.
How much do you plan to raise at the event? Before initiating plans for your event, you must make this decision with every stakeholder. Remember, the amount you arrive at with your team must be the net amount, not the gross amount.
As soon as you decide on the target, it would help if you mapped out a plan with a blueprint for executing the plan. This will involve you listing the tasks and responsibilities of each team in achieving the target.
Also, timelines should be attached to each task and a proper communication channel for reporting the progress of work done.
What type of audience do you want in your fundraising event? As already outlined above, the purpose and goal of your fundraising event will give you a clear understanding of the kind of audience you need.
Your fundraising event is a serious business and should be treated as one. Therefore, determine who the invitee will be.
Do you want every Tom, Dick, and Harry? Is it a general fundraiser where everyone will be invited? Or is this event geared towards a specific group like business people, parents, or young professionals?
The type of audience in your fundraising event is a crucial determinant of the outcome of your event. Therefore, take this part seriously.
Map out a budget for the fundraising event. The budget should be comprehensive so that you don’t have any surprises. Also, your target for the event should exceed the event’s budget. If not, the purpose of the fundraising event will be defeated.
Depending on the fundraising event you are hosting, your budget can include items like print materials, event venue rental, catering, entertainment, transportation, security, utilities, etc.
Your fundraising event is like a new product waiting to be launched in the market. As a result, you need to create awareness for the event. Your target audience needs to know about your upcoming fundraising event. So you and your team should develop a comprehensive marketing plan for your event.
The event theme should be framed to permeate all aspects of your marketing plan. This is so because you must convince prospective attendees that the event is worth their time and money. Also, be transparent with how the expected donations will be used for the cause for which it was solicited.
Some of the marketing channels to explore for your fundraising event are:
- Word of mouth
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Direct mails
- Phone calls
- Social media platforms
- Paid online adverts.
Whatever the marketing channel (s) you decide to adopt, remember to get the word out early enough. And do follow up with your invitees as the event date approaches.
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Now that you and your team have done an excellent marketing campaign for your fundraising event, what’s next? How will you capture the leads that your marketing efforts generate? How will tickets for the events be sold? What will be the process of accepting donations?
You have to strengthen these details and put modalities in place to have a seamless event. As discussed in the fundraising target, you must assign your team members to these tasks and ensure they are equipped to execute.
One of the best ways to go about a fundraising event is to seek brand sponsorship. The thumbscrew is that these brands don’t have to be big. In addition, support doesn’t always have to come in cash; it can come in kind.
The event venue and meal (item-7 – Nigerians can relate) can be sponsored. Getting sponsors for most of the things you need for the event will help reduce the event cost, which will help you in realising the event target.
Make Do With What You Have
Just like how entrepreneurs go head over heels in bootstrapping their businesses, you can bootstrap your fundraising event.
For instance, for our Entrepreneurs.ng Meet event, we started with what we have. We already had the space and a network of entrepreneurs we could invite to the event. So we started, and as we continued, sponsors came knocking.
Always start with what you have; that is the spirit of entrepreneurship. You can even hold the event virtually to reduce cost.
See also: How to start your POS business with this detailed cost analysis guide.
Go Through Your Plans Once More
Congratulations for coming thus far. Now that you are on the verge of victory, you need not lower your guard.
A dry run before the event date may be necessary if your fundraising event is virtual. Depending on how complicated the IT equipment and processes involved in hosting the virtual event are, there may be a need for multiple dry runs to make sure that issues of equipment failures and redundancies are adequately sorted out on time.
Ensure that your team and stakeholders know their tasks ahead. If possible, role-play the job and ensure every likely scenario is covered. Then, go over the program once more with the event host. Also, reach out to all invited guests to ensure you are all on the same page.
On The Fundraising Event
On the event day, ensure that you remain calm and let your team take care of their assigned task. Take the time to ensure that guests are comfortable and enjoying the event.
You can have a feedback box at the venue; that way, you can get insights from guests on areas of improvement and the things that you did well.
A Note Of Gratitude
Congratulations again on a successful fundraising event. Yes, you and your team pulled this incredible feat off. It’s time to send a thank-you note to everyone who contributed to your event’s success. And these include volunteers, contributors, teams, and vendors.
Organising a successful fundraising event or any event is not a small feat. However, you have to follow the steps and put in the work if you want to achieve your target goal.
As an entrepreneur, have you ever tried organising a fundraising event? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.
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