A fundraising event is an in-person or virtual gathering that raises money for a charity or cause. Depending on your goals, a fundraising event can be used to attract new supporters, solicit donations, or both (Tempel, Seiler, and Burlingame 2016).
There are a variety of ways to hold a successful fundraiser, but one key thing to remember is that it is important to have a clear aim in mind. This will help donors connect to your mission on a personal level, which can make an event far more impactful.
It is also crucial to think about what type of event you want to host in order to determine your audience. This will help you focus on what types of marketing materials to create, as well as how and when to distribute them. Having a communications plan can also be helpful, as it will ensure that your messaging is consistent across all channels.
Nonprofit organizations often use special events to celebrate their success and further embrace and appreciate existing supporters. Some examples of special events include galas, walkathons, or telethons. Special events are also a great opportunity to showcase your organization’s unique culture and community.
Creating an immersive experience can help to drive engagement and increase event attendance at your fundraiser. In order to do so, consider what themes or activities would be most fitting for your target audience and fundraising goal. For example, a polar plunge is the perfect peer-to-peer event to promote during the winter, when people tend to feel extra charitable. You could also use a holiday theme, like a gingerbread house building contest, to appeal to your audience at an ideal time of year.
Themes and activities can also be used to increase fundraising at your event by leveraging the power of social media. For instance, a photo contest can encourage your attendees to share their photos online using hashtags related to your event. This will boost your reach and visibility, and it will also help your audience discover your event through their friends’ posts.
Another way to bolster fundraising at your event is by incorporating sponsorships. Featured sponsors can be highlighted on signage, in promotional material, or during the event itself. You can also offer special perks for major benefactors, such as the opportunity to speak at your event or introduce someone important.
Lastly, don’t forget to follow up with your guests after the event. A simple thank you email or phone call can go a long way in cultivating relationships and driving future fundraising. Additionally, be sure to feature major benefactors in your organization’s newsletter or annual report to further build their relationship with the cause and show them how their support has made an impact. With a little bit of planning, you can create a fundraising event that will boost your bottom line and leave a lasting impact on your supporters. Good luck!