Planning a fundraiser can be a daunting prospect. There are many elements to consider from the guest list to the fundraising activities and everything in-between. That’s why we’ve put together four steps to help you get off to a flying start!
1) Know your audience
It’s important to know who your guests are so that you can provide a tailored fundraising experience that they will talk about for the rest of the year. Adapting your auction and pledge moment to directly appeal to your guests demographic could massively boost the amount you raise for your cause.
For example, if you have a mixture of major donors and donors who are passionate about your mission but aren’t in a position to part with large sums of cash, we’d recommend you implement an incremental pledge. This will help present each demographic with the opportunity to give. Using a tiered strategy for your pledge moment will encourage maximum participation. We advise that you start with the highest amount and work your way down, for example £5,000, £2,000, £1,000, £500, £100.
2) Getting the word out and increasing awareness
Creating awareness for your event is paramount, not only does it increase ticket sales, but it will let guests know that at some point during the event they will be asked to part with their cash. Social media and your preferred communication channels for example email blasts, newsletters etc are a great place to start promoting your event.
In addition, promoting your event alongside national and/or international campaigns can help your event gain more visibility online. For instance, the Bardou Foundation, a charitable body helping to fight issues facing women and girls around the world, hosts annual events on International Women’s Day and the International Day of the Girl. Aligning yourself with a campaign will attract new supporters, they may not be able to attend the event, but they can always donate, bringing you one step closer to your fundraising target.
3) Finding the perfect venue and location for your event
Choosing the right venue for your specific event can have a huge impact on the amount raised. With competition growing between charities that host a range of annual fundraising events, it’s more important than ever to ensure your venue is the perfect setting to impress your guests and encourage giving.
A hotel or large hall is always a strong contender for a gala lunch or dinner style event, allowing plenty of space to accommodate a large number of guests. However, a smaller gallery, members club or restaurant would be better suited to a more intimate event such as a drinks reception where guests are restricted to a certain area. Every event is unique, so it’s important to ask yourself which venue and location would suit your specific demographic.
4) Planning activities to supplement fundraising
Now you’ve got some of the essentials of event planning under your belt, it’s time to think about the logistics of your fundraising activities.
Hosting a silent or live auction is a great way to get the fundraising going. The best silent auctions have a wide range of auction items that are specifically procured for your demographic. A good rule to follow is to have enough auction items to cover 10-20% of guest numbers.
Creating the perfect pledge moment could be the difference between smashing your target and raising an underwhelming amount. Here are some of our recommended key ingredients to create a successful pledge drive at your event:
A strong and engaging MC, can help to add energy and excitement, which is vital to tactfully highlight the importance of meeting your fundraising objectives. The MC can help maximise donations for your cause, especially when paired with an emotional speech or video at the event. We highly recommend using Harry Santa-Olalla, a professional auctioneer based in America. He specialises in maximising audience participation with his methodical approach to fundraising, utilising data from previous years, as well as analysis of event formats and guest demographic helping charities to achieve ambitious fundraising goals, learn more here.
Create a real connection between your mission and the guests in the room to help boost funds. Use a speech or video to state what the target will achieve, this is a great way to get people reaching into their pockets.
If guests know from the moment they sit down that every table has the chance to win something in exchange for donating; it can change the dynamic in the room. Getting your MC to highlight the rules and give regular updates on totals can really help to create the perfect giving atmosphere.
Using fundraising technology at events will streamline the entire process, take a chunk of stress away from you and maximise your fundraising efforts! To learn more and get a free consultation with one of our fundraising experts, please get in touch.