I’ve organised all sorts of fundraising events including film nights, launch events and talks (both professionally & in my spare time). If done well I think events are a great way to help you reach a fundraising goal. My most successful example to date was a quiz night which made a profit of over £3000. These are my top tips for fundraising events!
If need more inspiration you can also read different ways to fundraise for charity.
Decide on your event
Step one is working out what you are going to do. There are lots of different events you can put on to raise money for charity. Including:
- talk night (getting people to deliver talks on a theme)
- dinner and dance
- picnic and games
- race or sports day
Go for something that excites you and that you would attend yourself. You also need to decide if you want to keep the event small and personal – just inviting friends and family – or if you want to open it up to the public. Something like a quiz works really well if you can ask friends to put a team up made with their colleagues or connections. That way you are reaching beyond just your own network.
Try and be ambitious with whatever you decide!
Get organised early on
Put a plan together for your event. I always have a 2 pronged list. The first listing the essentials – the absolute basics needed to put on the event. So things like finding a venue and selling tickets.
I then create a list of the extras and additions which I can add if I have time. These are the small touches like decorations or creative table names. It’s important to prioritise.
Keep your costs down
To make your event as profitable as possible you want to try and keep your costs as low as you can. The best way to do this is by getting sponsorship in kind. Think about everything you need for your event to happen…..like a venue, DJ, food, a bouncy castle or decorations. Now try and find companies that might be willing to donate these as it’s for a good cause.
It’s just a case of writing an email saying what you are doing and what you are asking for and then contacting relevant places. You will likely get lots of rejections (or ignores) so keep sending. It is best to use contacts first and then to find local providers or any company that might have a connection with the charity.
There are lots of different ways you can make money from the event. Selling tickets to attend is an obvious one. If you can get your venue and entertainment for free then your sales will all be profit.
But try and think beyond just ticket sales so you are also bringing in money in other ways. You could set up a bar taking the profits or run a raffle or auction. Or convince a caricaturist to come for free for the evening and to sell pictures for £5…..Or maybe even a palm reader.
Marketing your fundraising event
Often the hardest part of an event is getting people there. This is certainly where I get most nervous!
As soon as your venue and date are confirmed, contact your friends and family and ask them if they will come. Tell them that it would be great if they could also try and get a couple of their friends to come along too. This is the easiest way to sell tickets.
Once you’ve tried friends and family, approach your colleagues and keep posting regularly on social media to remind people they need to get tickets. Look for local places that might be willing to advertise the event. This could be…
….the venue where the event is taking place
…..in a paper or online newspaper
…..on the radio
…..at the local shop noticeboard
…..the school noticeboard
…..a gym newsletter
Ask the charity you are fundraising for if they would send out details in their newsletter. You can also do the same for any company who has donated a prize or service.
A few tips for event day
- I always have a printed out schedule for the event with what I need to do at which time. This makes the whole process go more smoothly and means I don’t forget anything
- starting setting up sooner than you think
- have someone helping you who can take your phone and answer calls so you can focus on managing everything
- remember to thank companies at the event who have donated services or prizes
- eat and drink….it can be easy to forget to do this when you are event organiser!
Pull on the heartstrings
At the event itself make sure you pull on peoples heart strings. Stand up and introduce yourself and say why you are fundraising. Talk about the charity and why it’s important they raise money. Showing a video or getting a benefited of the charity to give a talk is a great way to make this part more emotive.
Following the event
After the dust has settled following the event it’s important to send out thank you emails. Firstly to your attendees Then to the venue and to companies who donated. Include how much you managed to raise.
It can be easy to forget this once your project is over and the event is behind you. But it’s important to appreciate those who helped. You never know when you might need their support again in the future!
Tips for fundraising events
Hopefully, my tips for fundraising events has given you some pointers. If you have any questions just ask in the comments box below.
Check out my 7 fundraising tips.
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