Planning a Fundraising Event

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in this video we're gonna talk about how to plan a fundraising event. My name is

Dan Kimball product specialist at Aplos software you know in planning

fundraising events there are tons of events out there everybody's kind of

looking for that magic bullet or how to raise a lot of money for your nonprofit

organization but today what I want to do is kind of kind of walk you through and

talk a little bit about you know what are the basic components of any kind of

event whether it's a huge event such as like a dinner banquet or a gala or

something even smaller scale either way there are some some basic core

components we want to talk about you know the first thing you want to do when

planning an event is actually identify its purpose what is it that you're

actually trying to accomplish with the event for example there's fundraising

events where your actual raising money and there's actually such a thing called

a friend raising event where maybe the money is not important but maybe you're

just introducing people to your nonprofit organization church or

ministry so you want to really kind of get its purpose down

what you know what is it exactly you're trying to accomplish by doing this event

and then after you identify the purpose you of course you want to set a goal how

much money are you trying to raise or what is it you're trying to accomplish

through that event so let's say for example you're let's just take for the

sake of this video a gala or a dinner or some kind of dinner type of function you

want to set a financial goal and then of course you want to set a budget so you

want to raise $50,000 how much is it going to cost you to put this particular

event on once you kind of get those in place then of course you got to get into

the nitty-gritty the details to putting that thing on we all know especially for

small nonprofits you know you still have to do your regular job you've still got

the work of your mission to do so you throw an event in there it can get real

busy so what I recommend people doing is identifying or putting together some

kind of leadership team it could be volunteers led by a staff member from

your nonprofit or church it could be an all-volunteer group it could be your

group paid staff it either way somebody who's kind of the point

that's really in charge of putting that particular event on we call that a

committee you could call that a volunteer committee so once you kind of

have those basics of course then comes the planning and then you want to

identify who your target audience is who you're trying to get there that's kind

of be really important based off the event if it's a you know is are you

looking for a younger crowd are you looking for a group of alumni are you

looking for big donors are you looking for both everybody you know wants that

perfect scenario where I want all ages and I want to raise a million dollars

well that may or may not you know not happen in your first try but either way

these are good things to talk about and and really zero in on on who it is your

audiences who are you targeting for example it might be a tournament of some

kind well you're gonna say well we're gonna look for kind of a younger

audience maybe younger people don't you know don't want to do a traditional

sit-down banquet or vice versa maybe you know if you're trying to reach out to an

older group they're not going to want like a concert or something like that

you know so I think that's kind of an obvious type of thing so it's really

important that you as you start to plan and promote you really identify ting

keep in mind who it is you're targeting and how you target them if it's an older

audience you're probably gonna want to reach out more by a traditional

invitation and an email if it's a younger audience you might want to look

into doing a Facebook or a text or something in in that matter as well and

then of course you got to promote it and really give yourself enough time for me

what's really frustrating as a fundraiser is when I hear about or find

out that organizations have put on this really cool event they've done the

planning they've set a budget they set a goal and then all of a sudden they

didn't give themselves enough time to get the word out so all of a sudden I

get an invitation for something like it's like in two weeks so you know even

as much to go back and do something like what's called a save the date card or a

save to date notification six months out four months out something like that so

those are details that are become really important in promoting and putting on

that that so again when talking about your

target audience there's a couple ways you can approach

it you know you have to kind of ask your question are we going for the audience

or are you trying to put it on that particular fundraiser it's kind of like

the chicken and the egg kind of debate if you think about it that way what's

more important well I think you know the biggest thing is you want to think about

it more of how well do you know your donors and prospects I think that's

really the first question you want to ask every if you google best fundraising

idea in the world you're gonna get a thousand different searches and opinions

and things like that or if somebody comes to you says hey this organization

over here did this really awesome dinner banquet they did a live auction they

auctioned off a house in Maui and and a boat cruise and all this and they raised

five hundred thousand dollars you should do that and you go okay great let's do

that but you're a brand new organization you haven't been around for three or

four years you might not have the donor base to do that kind of event so it's

really important I think before you even get into any kind of event understand

and know your audience you know are you young are you old are you both you know

kind of thing or even do a survey you can very simply as is throw out a survey

to your donor or if you have an advisory board get some feedback kind of that way

so let's keep let's go on with this you know let's suppose you're gonna do this

dinner or this banquet you you've got everything in motion you have maybe a

group planning it and one of the things you want to think about is the actual

setup of that event what a lot of people don't realize is that the time involved

you get the promotion out maybe there's invitation there's RSVPs

involved but now you have event day or event weekend they're set up involved so

you really want to be thinking strategically about what does that look

like are you do you need extra volunteers are you gonna close down your

office for the day a lot of people don't realize just sort of the little details

another little item that I really like to encourage people when talking about

special events is the actual practice what we call walk through a lot of

people you know they maybe don't think about the the location and maybe there's

some logistical things do you have a plan a do you have a plan B whatever

reigns is it indoor is it outdoor you know all those kinds of things so if

you're feeling overwhelmed you kind of want to take it step back and go yeah

these are the kinds of things you want to think about so not only do you have

setup day but you actually have a practice day where maybe you walk

through the registration process want to make sure your technology works if

you're doing like registrations with your computer or maybe you're taking

donations you know that kind of that kind of thing and then finally you know

of course you have the details of the event the last thing to think about in

doing a special event is to follow up what happens after the event are you

gonna ask for donations at the event are you gonna ask people to respond or give

you something after the event and then last but not least my favorite thing to

do is to thank people you got to have a thank you plan and whatever I think the

great I'll call it the great sins of a fundraising event is having people a

bunch of people come to your event and not taking down any kind of information

and email you know who did they come with some way to to reach back out to

them and say hey thanks for coming because of your attendance the following

happened we raised this much money 300 people were became more aware of our of

our our mission in downtown wherever you may be kind of things so don't forget to

think and and then build off of that another thing to think about when when

doing a special event is your volunteer base in your volunteer corps that in

itself can become very important a good volunteer base can save you obviously a

lot of time a lot of money in some cases in terms of staffing but you really want

to think through you know first of all who are your volunteers and how are you

getting them and to make sure that on the day of the event there's someone

that's giving those volunteers particular tasks and things to do are

they working in shifts are they working the whole time for example you know a

lot of people don't think through let's say you're doing this dinner this

banquet you have 40 tables that you've sold and you have volunteers and their

jobs are over around dinner time are you going to feed them are you

gonna feed them the same dinner that the the guests of that event or are you

gonna maybe do pizza for them in the back you know those things will add to

your expenses as well so just really have a strategy about again who your

volunteers are and who's kind of responsible for giving them tasks

because at the end of the day you can't fire yeah I mean you can maybe ask them

to not come back but it can be kind of awkward if you have a volunteer that you

don't either know what to do with or maybe a volunteer shows up and and maybe

they're not as helpful as you would hope so be thinking about that as you as you

build out your event and then the last thing I just kind of want to touch on is

is you know the difference wean a really good event versus maybe a not-so-good of

that and I really think it comes down into planning and we all know there's

there's always going to be circumstances that maybe we can't control that's the

great kind of joy and stress about a special event you just can't predict you

know I as an example recall a time I was responsible for a fundraising dinner and

we had this really beautiful lighting pieces and in the middle of the event

two of them caught on fire during the event and it was pretty it was pretty

wild and and funny if he afterwards but it certainly took us by surprise but

luckily we had a cup people that got right on it put the fire out they they

kind of distracted the guests say it's no big deal we're gonna keep moving on

but it was something that I mean and I could probably give you a lot of other

examples of things that have maybe gone wrong but really what you want to think

of the difference between a well-planned event is is really thinking out some of

the details ahead of time I think things like the registration and Food lines

those are two areas that can really be the difference between a what I'll call

a clump a clunky event versus a smooth-running event are people waiting

around for too long to get to their table or you know is it unorganized so I

really think that to do an event you really want to think through the the

planning and some of the steps ahead of time so that it's a really good

experience from the guests standpoint so I hope you enjoyed this video you find

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videos like this and certainly give us some feedback add some comments in there

tell us about your event experience and we'll love to hear from you