Fundraisers are one of the best ways to draw and gather finances. A creative and sensible event always attracts the right crowd and nothing can parallel it if planned properly. Starting a business is not incredibly difficult. But setting up a small business requires careful planning, especially when it comes to finances.
While it is a lot more convenient to attract investors and source funds for a big enterprise, it is usually the small and medium businesses that find this phase their most difficult challenge. We will now take you through the basic steps to be followed and the factors to be kept in mind while organizing a fundraising event for your business.
Fundraising Event and Location
Typically, planning for your fundraisers should be done about six months in advance to have enough time in hand for the execution. The first and primary step of the planning is deciding on the kind of event or activity you want to organize. While deciding the type of event, you will need to keep the following factors in mind:
- The type of business is set up
- Target audience or demographic
- Available time
- Staff and volunteers
Once you have finalized the event, choose a convenient and attractive location to match the event requirements. Your location is a primary aspect of your event as it will indicate to your guests the kind of event you are organizing. Remember, you will have to keep track of the venue’s availability.
Fundraiser Budget and Sponsorships
Once you have set out the overall budget for organizing your fundraisers, segregate and break it down to the various aspects, such as the event requirements, location, food and beverages, activities, special guests, and so on.
Depending on your budget requirements, you may also have to reach out to corporate sponsors and partners for the event. This will not only help you in gathering more funds but these corporate institutions can go a long way in contributing to your organization’s non-profit ventures. However, in order to attract these corporate parties, you will have to make sure that your event aligns with their promotional targets.
Ensure you make the most of your own network. Evaluate the people you know and approach people accordingly for financing or sponsorships, keeping in mind their interests and preferences.
Think about the initiative or activities they will be interested in and accordingly design your proposals. You can also offer certain services at your event to be sponsored, such as food and beverage, venue, décor, and so on.
Fundraiser Guest List and Invitation
The guest list is important too. Your guest list – who you want to invite and reach out to for the donations – will depend on your fundraising goal, that is, the amount of money and resources you want to gather.
Your guest list will also depend on the kind of event you are organizing – whether it is a general dinner or special themed event based on your business or something related. Once the list of invitees is ready, start planning your invitation process. A sensible yet attractive invitation goes a long way in attracting the expected crowd.
Get as creative as you can with the invitation – a card or digital RSVP – but ensure that it is in sync with your event and activities. Attempt to create a sense of urgency and keep different pricing for various stages of booking the event – this usually ensures a certain guaranteed number of invitees attending your event.
Invitations or ticket prices are usually considered to be the donations to be gathered from the guests, so make sure you price them accordingly. However, do not forget to ensure that you keep options open for additional donations beyond your ticket prices.
Promoting your fundraiser
Once all your event strategies are in place, start organizing your marketing strategies for promoting the event. Think all channels – both online and offline – when it comes to promoting your fundraisers. You can go for hoardings, newspaper advertisements and pamphlets if you are thinking of offline promotions. In case of digital channels, go all way out when choosing your platforms – from Facebook events to direct e-mails – make sure you leave nothing out.
Promote your event aggressively on the web – either through Facebook events or by tying up with event promotions websites – since these channels go a long way in connecting with interested individuals and organizations. You can also think of creating an Advertisement Book – a magazine listing out all the people who want to advertise themselves or their companies.
The money paid by these interested advertisers can be a big addition to your finances. Keep options open for people to even publish their wishes towards your business for which you can charge them.
However, make sure you plan in advance since you will have to print a copy of the Ad Book for everyone who attends your event as well as the sponsors. Once all your strategies are in place, keep track of perfect executions. Indulge in dress rehearsals, if required, of the activities and the flow of events that you have planned for the fundraisers.
Gather enough volunteers, in case you do not have sufficient staff, to execute all the aspects of your fundraisers down to the very last detail. Not to forget, most importantly, create a timeline to manage all your tasks without missing deadlines.
Last but not least, make sure you express your gratitude towards everyone involved – from the cashier to the caterer to the smallest contributor. Everyone did their bit for organizing your event and they deserve a thank you. So make sure you say one. Have successful and productive fundraisers!