Tips for Organizing a Fundraiser from Scratch
January 20, 2020
Things come up all the time that call for organizing a quick, yet solid fundraiser at the drop of a hat. We work with customers on a regular basis who pull off planning, organizing, and executing fundraising events in a matter of weeks, in order to help people in their communities, families, or other places in need.
When you find yourself in a situation where you want to quickly raise money for someone in need, there’s no reason to panic, nor to get overwhelmed! Here are some tips for planning and organizing your own fundraiser from scratch:
Decide On What and Where
Deciding what kind of fundraiser you’ll have is an obvious first step to kick off your planning process, and luckily there are endless possibilities! Some ideas are a 5k or Fun Run, a Beef and Beer benefit, or a silent auction. Try to make yours something personal to your cause.
Based on what kind of event you decide on, you can then figure out where you’ll host it. If you’re planning a 5K walk or run, you’ll need to look into local parks, or speak with someone in the community about safe roads you can hold the event on. If it’s a Beef and Beer benefit or silent auction you’re planning, you’ll want to look into local restaurants or halls that can support the amount of people you estimate on coming out.
Get a Team on Board
Establishing exactly who you have on board to help execute everything is a key step early on in the process when planning any event. Having a few people to help share the tasks will make the planning process run smoothly, and more hands on deck means more potential contacts you could reach out to for participation and sponsorship.
Set a Reasonable Budget
Once you have the what and where decided on, you can set a realistic budget for the event. You obviously want to make sure that you’re able to raise more money than you spend on the event’s execution. Consider the cost of event space, any food or drinks, and raffle baskets you might want to include, however, don’t worry too much about putting a bucket load of money into the event upfront. For fundraising events, you’ll find that plenty of people are extremely charitable with donations.
Get Your Word Out
As things are coming together, you’ll want to establish a name and some kind of branding graphic for your event. For inspirational examples, take a look at large organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, who have created extremely recognizable logos for their events, as well as nice looking advertisements.
Yours doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but creating a unique, recognizable name and graphic for your event will help with everything else. They will especially come into play when you promote or advertise your event using flyers, emails, and press releases.
Once you’re ready to spread the word, we recommend starting a Facebook page, Eventbrite page, or other event website. These make it easy to share event information with your friends, and all act as a great way to get the word out. Ask your friends to share your event website, or forward promotional emails to their coworkers and friends.
Set Up Simple Event Registration
Making your event easy to register for will help everyone, and there are a few different ways you could go about doing it.
You could set up participant registration through sites like Active.com, Eventbrite.com, MyEvent.com, and various other sites that allow your guests to sign up themselves. These sites will gather information and payments for you, as well as serve as a portal for keeping guests up-to-date about your event.
Registration sites are extremely helpful for keeping your guest’s information organized, and take a lot of extra work out of the process for you. They also make it easier to keep track of how many people are attending and how much money you can expect to bring in.
Secure Sponsors and Donations
Regardless of the type of event you’re planning, there are various supplies you’re guaranteed to need. Some of the essentials are t-shirts, posters, and raffle baskets.
For many of the supplies, especially items like raffle baskets, your best bet is to ask around for donations. Reach out to friends, co-workers, neighbors, or anyone in your network who might be able to contribute. Don’t be afraid to send emails, make phone calls, and even go door-to-door to local businesses asking for sponsorship. It is rare that anyone is going to deny supporting a good cause, especially if you go local.
Crowdfund Your Cause
Use crowdfunding to continue raising proceeds for your cause during and after your event. Crowdfunding services like GoFundMe and SpreadSpirit allow people to contribute their donations at any time, and from anywhere. Crowdfunding pages can also take on a life of their own online and spread awareness for your cause that stretches way beyond the event.
Organizing a fundraiser from scratch can be daunting, but once you’ve laid the foundations for your first event, turning it into an annual fundraiser becomes easier, as most of the process will already be done year to year.
The most important thing is that you’re happy with the event’s success, and that you know you’ve contributed to a good cause in the end. Happy planning!
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