Picture a room full of people cheering with excitement as a live band comes on stage to play a benefit concert. Or imagine community members participating in a festive bike-a-thon, enjoying the camaraderie and feel-good vibes of supporting an important charitable cause. These are the types of memorable events you should utilize to augment your online crowdfunding campaign.
Hosting an offline fundraising event can help boost your donation pool and raise awareness for your cause. It is also a chance for people to talk to you about why you are raising funds and what meaningful impacts you plan on making.
Executing your event well is crucial, and being organized, punctual, and creative every step of the way will help to ensure your success. Successful fundraising ideas make things happen.
Six Tips for Planning a Fundraising Event
1. Organize Your Plan of Action
Your event’s success will stem from your initial planning. First, determine the date, time and location. Securing a location is important to do months ahead of your fundraising event, so make sure to be proactive. After you have secured a date, time and location create a unique invitation that you can send out via mail, email and social media. Capitalize on every available online and offline channel to get the word out about your event. Consider using online event sites such as Eventbrite. Also, coming up with a hashtag for your audience will help document the event.
2. Pick a Theme
To make an ordinary event feel extraordinary choose a theme for your fundraising event. Oftentimes, you can pick a theme that is both relevant to your cause and fun for the audience. One option would be to focus your fundraising event on art by hosting an event such as a gallery opening where the art showcased reflects the cause. Another potential focus is sports. With this theme you could host a fundraising event such as a jog-a-thon, a bicycle race, a color run or even a training day. Food-themed events are also popular, including cooking competitions, bake sales, pancake breakfasts or even cake decorating classes.
3. Host a Raffle or Auction
Raffles and auctions are fundraising event staples. There are many auction options, including silent, 50/50, live and reverse. The most important step is securing great items to raffle or auction off. Enlist the help of friends who can reach out to their contacts for potential gift items. It is also beneficial to ask local businesses to contribute items for your cause, such as merchandise and gift cards. When you approach businesses to ask for donations, be sure to highlight the importance of your cause and try to pose it as an advertising opportunity. Also, always keep the audience in mind. For example, if you are putting on a fundraising event that will mainly attract women, you may consider approaching a company such as Benefit and ask them to donate makeovers for your auction.
4. Increase Attendance
You want your event to be dynamic and exciting for your audience. Entice people with options such as entertainment. Approach a local band or consider asking an expert speaker or local celebrity to participate. Meanwhile, the best way to get people interested in your fundraising event is to promote it on your social networks online, as well as within your social circles offline. Another beneficial way to boost attendance is to reach out to local media to see if they will feature your story. You can even offer discounts on ticket prices for individuals who register early for your event.
5. Boost Donations
One of the main reasons you are throwing a fundraising event is to draw more donations. Make sure to offer multiple ways to donate to your cause, whether that is purchasing a ticket to your fundraising event, participating in a raffle, contributing to your crowdfunding campaign via a laptop at the event or volunteering time directly to the cause.
6. Document and Follow Up
There are a number of things you should do during and after your fundraising event. Take photos and videos during the event to document it and to post on social media with a custom hashtag. Encourage participants to do the same. Have a sign-in sheet at the event to secure participants’ email addresses. Remember to post an update to your YouCaring page highlighting how successful the event was, and post event photos and videos to your campaign gallery. After the event, write thank you letters to those who helped and those who participated, and if you send them via email, attach a few of the best photos you took.
Successful Fundraising Events on YouCaring
Each year, Ronin Aquatic in Asbury Park, N.J., hosts the “100 x 100 Swimming Event” to augment its online YouCaring campaign, Swimming to Help. The campaign was started to make a difference in the community by giving local children and adults the opportunity to learn to swim without imposing financial hardships. The campaign has raised enough funds to start learn-to-swim programs, purchase equipment and make ongoing repairs to its aging facility, including renovating its pool. During the annual swimming event, lanes are set up based on ability, and $25 raffle tickets are sold for a chance to win a grand prize.
When all four members of the Tiessen family of British Columbia, Canada, were hit with the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, they sought out ways to pay for the expensive treatments for each family member. The family discovered the Sponaugle Wellness Institute in Oldsmar, Fla., which was successfully treating others with the disease, and decided to take action. They started a YouCaring crowdfunding campaign as a way to raise the necessary funds for transportation, lodging and treatment. Their campaign has raised more than $275,000 to date, and much of that money is from various fundraising events. One of their notable events was a family fun day with music, food, art and a silent auction, and they have also hosted benefit concerts, luncheons and barbeques.
For more great campaign strategies, see our Fundraising Ideas page.
Is there a cause that’s close to your heart? Start a free YouCaring fundraiser today.