How To Organise A Charity Fundraising Event
Charity events are often used to raise money for not-for-profit organisations. They are popular and enjoyable occasions, but they do take a lot of hard work and forward planning to get right. The event will be used not just to raise funds, but also to raise the public’s awareness of the charity and the cause that they represent.
Therefore it is important to create a good impression with a well organised event that reflects well on the charity, and most importantly draws attention to the valuable work that they do. Here are some tips for planning a successful charity event.
Have a specific cause
If you are thinking about organising an event, no doubt you already have a charitable organisation in mind. However, to attract the most donors and sponsors, you need to nail down some specifics. For example, if the charity supports people with disabilities, how exactly will the donated funds be spent?
This might be to provide extra equipment such as ramps and wheelchairs for those most in need, it might be to pay for respite care so that the family carers of the disabled person can have a break, or it might go towards medical research or treatment. Define exactly who or what will be the main beneficiary of the money raised and how it will be spent.
Set a fundraising target
Establish a goal that is realistic and achievable, but also prompts the attendees to make an extra effort to reach it. There are more ways than ticket sales to raise funds. Consider advance online donor pages, auctions, or raffles. You may also want to set up a sponsorship scheme, whereby local companies receive publicity in return for a regular donation.
Plan the budget carefully
Balancing the budget can be challenging for a charitable event. It is important to have a professional occasion that creates a strong impact on the audience, but naturally most not-for-profit organisations tend to have smaller marketing budgets than corporate businesses.
Balance the costs against the potential amount of funds the event is likely to raise. It may be worth contacting past donors or businesses with some type of link to the charity, to see if they would be willing to sponsor the event.
Determine who the audience will be
It’s important to attract the right attendees who will have a genuine interest in the work of the charity or organisation. It may help to create a profile of your target audience member, in terms of their age, gender, occupation, socio economic status, interests, and educational level.
This will help you determine the theme of the event that is most likely to appeal to them, and will also be useful for marketing and publicity purposes.
Find the right venue
The venue is key to holding a successful event. A purpose-built conference and events centre that is geared towards hosting large events may be the most cost-effective solution. If you go for a seemingly cheaper alternative such as a sports hall, you may end up spending more on hiring furniture, technical equipment, catering facilities, and so on.
The venue should be centrally located for the majority of your guests, and well connected to major transport routes. Accessibility is also an important factor. This will widen your potential audience and send out the right message that the charity genuinely cares about inclusivity and equality.
Step-free access should be provided at all the main entrances and to all the major indoor rooms and toilets. Ensure that the venue has the right audiovisual equipment to cater for the needs of people with visual and hearing impairments. Make sure that the venue can cater for the size and type of the event and check if they have any preferred caterers to work with.
Decide on the theme of the event
The event will have much more impact if you have a theme that draws people in, rather than just a polite evening of canapés and speeches. Think about your target audience member, and what would be most likely to interest and enthuse them. Would it be live music or comedy, a celebrity star guest, a quiz, a fashion show, or a gala dinner, for example?
Market the event
The more publicity the better. Arrange a mixture of traditional marketing such as flyers, press releases, and local radio promotions, and online marketing through social media and emails. You could offer incentives such as free ticket giveaways to encourage shares and comments on social media platforms.
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