Event fundraising is a fantastic way for charities to raise money. If you’re working with or for a charity, then this is a fundraising technique you’ll certainly want to know more about!
Hosting your own fundraising event is a brilliant opportunity to bring your existing supporters and donors together, while also drumming up fresh interest in your organisation. This can lead to new life-long relationships between your charity and the people who wish to support you.
Organising a charity event can certainly be hard work and it’s essential to have a well-thought-out plan in place before you get started. Luckily, you’ve landed in the right place, so read on to discover how to host a successful event!
What Are Fundraising Events?
Before we get into it, let’s take a closer look at what fundraising events are.
This method of fundraising is used by charities and non-profit groups to raise awareness and money. The primary focus of these events is generally financial support, but they also serve as a fun way to network and spread the message of the organisation.
Typically, money will be raised via guests purchasing tickets, with additional money being collected in other ways during the event.
Additionally, raising funds can either be the sole focus of the event or it can take place in the background. It can be more interesting for your guests if you provide food and entertainment alongside your money-raising activities—although this will naturally increase your budget.
Different Options for Fundraising Events
There are several different types of fundraiser events and it’s wise to consider the benefits of each before you decide which direction to go in.
The most popular options for fundraising events are:
- Gala Dinners/Balls – which can be informal or black tie
- Golf/Clay Shoot Days
- Virtual Events
It’s also the case that practically any event can be turned into a fundraising opportunity, so there’s no reason to limit yourself when planning yours!
Let’s take a closer look at each of these event types.
A gala dinner or ball can be informal or a lavish party. The event features a sit-down meal and a variety of entertainment, as well as the opportunity to socialise and dance. Guests will usually be required to adhere to a dress code to attend.
It’s common for a dinner event to also feature a live auction or a silent auction as a part of the evening.
Gala dinners/balls can be upscale events and therefore naturally won’t be the most appropriate for some organisations. So consider who your guests are and what type of event they are going to enjoy and be comfortable at before you choose this option.
Golf/Clay Shoot Days
A golf/clay shoot day is an event where guests will play a round of golf or take part in a shoot individually, in pairs or with a group. These events allow guests to get some low-impact exercise and fresh air, and are also a chance to socialise whilst supporting a great cause at the same time. Generally, these types of days are limited in numbers, which subsequently creates a higher demand for tickets.
Depending on the nature of the event, the length of the game can vary. So bare this is mind if you’re thinking about including dinner, an auction or a prize presentation for your guests afterwards.
Virtual events are a great way to either promote your fundraising campaign online or boost an upcoming in-person event. A virtual event allows your guests to support the fundraising at their convenience from anywhere they choose.
Virtual events are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they can continue for as long as you like. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. As an example, if you’re hosting a virtual auction, then this can result in a higher number of bids while also costing less than hosting an in-person event.
Once you have decided which fundraising event is the best option for your charity or organisation, you will need to consider the fundraising methods for your event. The most popular options for event fundraising are:
- Live Auctions
- Silent Auctions
- Raffles & Games
Live auctions are a very popular type of fundraising at a charity event. A live auction takes place in a short amount of designated time, typically at the end of the meal. This is hosted by a live auctioneer and is usually reserved for just a small number of higher-value items. The live auctioneer will entice and encourage your supporters to outbid each other.
When you’re organising a live auction, you can solicit donations from new and existing supporters to be sold at the event. Getting items donated to you for free, can lead to a lot of money being raised for your organisation.
Silent auctions are also a very popular type of fundraising at a charity event and work well in unison with a live auction. The silent auction runs throughout the evening and typically closes at the desert course, with the live auction starting shortly after.
Silent auctions involve guests making ‘silent’ offers on items. This can be through either sealed bid brochure bidding or electronic bidding. Similarly, to a live auction, the items to be sold can donated by a range of other organisations and businesses.
This type of auction offers many more lots of varying price points, which gives the opportunity for more supporter to be involved.
At a silent auction, attendees won’t know who has won each auction lot until the end of the event.
Raffles and Games
Raffles and games such as Heads and Tails can also be included as an additional fundraising method at your event.
The low entry value allows the opportunity for all guests to get involved, which can add up to a substantial amount of money. Full Event Fundraising can offer further guidance on this.
How to Plan a Fundraiser Event
Once you know which type of event you’re going to host, you can set the wheels in motion and start organising.
If possible, giving yourself six months or more to plan the event is a great idea. This will ensure you have enough time to do everything properly without having to compromise on quality. This also makes it more likely that your guests will be available on the date of your charity fundraiser as they’ll have ample notice.
The following actions should be key components of your fundraiser checklist:
- Fundraising target
- Event budget
- Event type and theme
- Marketing and promotion
1. Fundraising Target
It’s a good idea to start out by defining exactly what the purpose of the event is and what the money raised will be for. This will help you easily explain the mission of the event to potential guests and any organisations you might want to approach for sponsorship.
The next step is to figure out how much money you’d ideally like to raise at the event. In addition to deciding on a financial goal, you might also want to set a target for how many new donors you bring on board as a result of the event.
While considering your fundraising target, you should give some thought to how you’re going to earn donations. You’ll initially be making money through ticket sales, but it’s advantageous to have other methods of fundraising taking place on the night.
Also, make sure that your fundraising goal accounts for the money that you’ll have to spend organising the event.
2. Event Budget
You’ll need to choose a budget for your event that includes a contingency for anything unexpected. This should be a realistic and affordable amount but one that still allows you to throw an amazing event.
There are many creative ways to keep costs down when organising a fundraiser—from recruiting volunteers to going digital—so be as imaginative as you can to keep your budget under control.
Once your goal and your budget are defined, you can move on to considering who your guests are going to be, as well as how many people you’ll invite.
Inviting a mix of existing supporters and fresh faces is a great way to nurture existing relationships while also forging new connections. Your chosen audience will influence the nature of the event that you host and vice versa, so make sure these two important considerations are a match.
4. Event Type and Theme
With your audience in mind, you can figure out what the most appropriate type of event is. For example, a gala or a silent auction.
Setting a theme for the event is a fun way to get attendees excited. This could involve having them dress up to embrace the theme or might simply influence how you decorate the venue and the food you serve.
Now that you know exactly what your event is going to be and how many people you’ll be inviting, you can get to work finding the perfect venue.
Make sure you choose a space that’s big enough to accommodate all of your guests comfortably, as well as one that’s in a convenient location.
6. Marketing and Promotion
When the time comes to promote your event—which you should begin as soon as possible—you’ll want to utilise all of your available marketing channels. This includes your website, email newsletter, social media platforms and any other medium you use to communicate with your supporters and followers.
It’s essential that you share all of the important details about your event so people know what to expect. You should also make the ticket-purchasing process as simple and efficient as possible.
Your Charity Fundraising Event
Hosting an event to raise money for your charity can be a huge undertaking. Fortunately, we can help you every step of the way. At Full Event Fundraising, we offer the perfect range of solutions for your event and understand that your needs are unique.
Wherever you are in the process of organising your event, our team of experts can be on hand to help you achieve your goals, so why not get in touch to talk to us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you can find some frequently asked questions about charity fundraiser events. If you have further questions, then be sure to contact us directly or leave a comment below.
Why are fundraising events important for charities?
Fundraising events are important simply because they’re a fantastic way to raise money.
Although some charities are able to easily apply for government grants and funding from certain places, this is not true for all. For those who don’t have ample sources of reliable support, fundraising is essential.
How long should a fundraiser event last?
Since there are so many different types of fundraising events, it’s difficult to definitively answer this question!
In-person events will typically take place in the evening and may go on for several hours. Whereas virtual events may be shorter to hold everyone’s attention.
Are fundraising events worth it?
Yes! Fundraising events are an excellent opportunity to raise vital funds for your organisation while also increasing awareness. Fundraising events are also a wonderful way to bring people together and to thank existing donors for their support.