If you’ve never hosted a fundraiser event for your business – or have failed to host a successful one – then you probably feel the pressure coming at you from all sides. The good news is that anyone can throw a successful event if they simply understand what matters in the grand scheme of things.
Five Tips for Success
For decades, businesses have spent considerable amounts of money trying to determine why some fundraisers are successful and others aren’t. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a single unifying conclusion. However, what research has proven is that the following tips increase an organization’s chances of hosting a profitable event.
- Form a Committee
Successful fundraiser events tend to have multiple people in positions of leadership. If you don’t already have one, form a committee of people you believe have different strengths. This should include people both inside and outside of your business. A host committee tends to consist of wealthy donors and local celebrities. The idea is to involve people from all walks of life to increase your chances of connecting with the right individuals.
- Invite the Right People
Once you have the committee in place, you can turn your attention towards the guest list. Again, diversity is key here. You want a healthy mixture of people who are familiar with your business and people who are totally new to what you’re doing. This provides some much-needed balance and paves the way for future fundraisers down the road.
It should also be noted that you shouldn’t just invite wealthy people. The fact of the matter is that most wealthy people already give lots of money to various causes. While they may add your organization to their list, you may stand a better chance of getting moderate donations from middle-class individuals who don’t already give to organizations and causes.
- Pre-Raise Some Money
It’s a smart idea to pre-raise some money before the event happens. Tap into your most loyal supporters and ask if they’d be willing to attend a small pre-event gathering. Bill it as a VIP event to make them feel special. During the event, try to raise some money towards your goal (letting them know that you don’t expect them to give twice). This allows you to start your event by saying something like, “We just started and have already raised $10,000 towards our $100,000 goal.”
- Make it Entertaining
There are two types of fundraisers: (1) Cheap fundraisers that aren’t very much fun for attendees, and (2) Nice fundraisers that cost a bit more but are a total hit with attendees. The latter obviously costs more, but also tends to result in higher contributions.
How do you make a fundraiser event more entertaining? Consider hiring a band for some live music and dancing. Many bands specialize in corporate events and know just how to strike a balance between professional and fun. Other ideas include hosting casino tables, setting up lawn games, and even inviting a comedian.
- Serve Drinks Cautiously
You’ve probably debated about whether or not it’s appropriate to serve alcohol at a fundraiser event. The answer is yes it’s appropriate, but you need to be cautious. Drinks make people feel good and often result in higher contributions, but you don’t want it to appear like you’re “liquoring” people up to take advantage of them. You also don’t want people drinking and driving. If you choose to serve alcohol, set some ground rules in order to protect yourself.
Don’t Overthink Things
At the end of the day, don’t overthink things. As long as you nail the basics and have the right people in attendance, you can guarantee that the fundraiser won’t totally flop. People make fundraisers successful and your goal should be to interact and engage with the individuals who are most likely to give towards your cause.