Guest blog written by Cara Benson from Eventbrite
Whether you’re planning a fundraising event to benefit an ill family member or hosting an event for a large nonprofit, your goals are the same—attracting attendees and raising money to support your cause. To help meet (or exceed) your goals, check out our seven simple tips for event success.
1. Set an event budget—and prepare for the unexpected
Whatever your event, you need a place to hold it and a way to entertain guests. Other common expenses include food, drinks, insurance, decorations … the costs can quickly add up, and not every vendor will be able to offer free services. With this in mind, it’s important to consider all of your costs and set a master budget for your event. But what about unexpected costs? Be ready with a contingency budget – most experts suggest adding up to 20% to cover costs you can’t foresee.
2. Motivate donors and vendors to promote your event
If you’re taking the lead with event planning, that doesn’t mean you need to handle it all on your own. A successful fundraising event planner knows how to delegate and motivate event champions—and we don’t just mean on the day of. Early on, tap key donors, vendors, and attendees to help promote your event. Consider asking loyal donors to write testimonials about your cause, then share them on your event page or social media profiles.
You can also delegate online marketing tasks. Event management platform Eventbrite’s The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Event Online walks you (and your helpers) through powerful marketing moves, including offering social proof, developing a cross-channel hashtag campaign, and producing share-worthy content. Make your event promotion compelling and easy to follow, and supporters will be more likely to share your content on their platforms of choice.
3. Provide multiple ways to give
When people attend a fundraising event, they usually expect to pay a ticket price as one way to donate. But there can be many ways to give at an event. Silent auctions and raffle drawings offer a win-win for all involved—donor, organization, and vendor. Consider offering a way to give online as well, through a free crowdfunding platform such as YouCaring. An online donation option lets people share the news about their giving—and motivate their own networks to give. Online sharing even allows attendees to give again after your event.
4. Listen to your donors
Understanding the needs and motivations of your current donors can help you better understand how to market to new donors. Ask donors for their feedback. How do they prefer to contribute? How often do they give? Which ways of giving back do they find most fulfilling?
Ask for feedback from a few existing donors before planning your event. Then ask again afterwards, perhaps in a follow-up survey. The results can have a huge impact, helping you target people who want to give to your cause. Try using a free online survey to collect information. MailChimp and SurveyMonkey, for example, work together to make soliciting feedback easy.
5. Build relationships with your current donors
While it’s important to increase your donor base, you also need to develop and retain relationships with your existing donors. Further your relationships with current involved donors and you develop ambassadors for your cause. An established donor relationship also makes it easier to ask for support during events and to spread the word about your cause. And that, in turn, grows your donor base.
6. Bring fun to every event
To ensure that your fundraising event is both successful and memorable, make it fun for attendees. Need inspiration? Check out this list of 100 unique fundraising ideas from Eventbrite.
7. Follow up with donors, volunteers, and vendors
After your successful fundraising event, don’t forget to thank your donors! Go beyond a simple thank-you email, and paint a clear picture of exactly how the donor’s gift has made a difference to your cause. Customized follow-ups are also a great way to engage donors more deeply. What’s the most important reason they support your cause? Would they be interested in any future events or volunteer opportunities? A personal email, note, or phone call to each donor can go a long way toward developing long-term champions for your cause.
The same advice applies when it comes to your volunteers and vendor partners. Stay engaged through calls, email, and social media, and figure out how you might work together again in the future to meet your shared goals.