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A Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising Event– How to Start a Fundraiser

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You can make fundraising a part-time job if you know what goes in and how things are done. Fundraising can be scary, at times confusing, and most often leads to nowhere, but it need not be that way if you follow our guide. You just have to learn the principles of fundraising and practice it, and by the end of it, we assure you that you will be a great fundraiser. Fundraising is a skill, like any other business skill. It should be refined over time to get optimum results out of it.

Today, we shall share with you what you need to start a fundraiser. We will give you basic knowledge, a foundation upon which you can start your project. However, you have to practice and try different combinations to raise funds for events and personal projects.

Anyone Can Be a Fundraiser

Everyone is associated with some group or the other. Everyone involved in the group has certain issues they care about. People with these issues often look for money to fulfill their mission. If you wish to help these people, or even a church, a school, or a non-profit organization, you could start a fundraising event for them.

Most people don’t like talking about money. So, feeling fear ahead of your project is normal. However, with knowledge and practice, you will eventually start feeling comfortable making fundraising calls and asks. You have to test different methods, strategies and a hundred other tactics to see what helps you and your organization raise money and what does not. You have to study the basics of fundraising. You could observe a professional or ask for guidance from one. You have to learn how to make an ask, how to conduct an event, how to find prospects and how to establish and expand the network.

After you learn and understand the process, you need to put the understanding into practice. You could start by volunteering in different events to write letters, make some asks and be a part of the event. And then, it would be time to start a fundraiser all by yourself.

Steps to Start a Fundraising Event

Step 1: Decide Your Purpose

Ask yourself which charity you are going to help or which one needs funds according to you. The organization should be non-profit and working for the welfare of the community. It could be a religious organization, orphanage, pet shelter, old-homes school or even libraryThese types of places most often need funding. Ask these organizations are there any immediate need for money. And, once you have found a suitable cause to raise funds, begins your next step.

Step 2: Establish Your Goals

Before you start the process, you have to determine the amount of money you wish to raise for the event. A concrete goal will give you and your participants a better insight and a reason to move forward. Set your goals according to your capabilities and not beyond it.

Step 3: Make Note of Your Prospect Audience

In order to make an event successful by raising money, you need to gather an audience who will attend your event. The crowd you address to will determine the type of event and vice-versa. You should know what your audience may want and what they don’t prefer. For instance, if you are running a fundraiser event to benefit a schools’ sports department, you might want to host a drawing competition or a gaming event. On the other hand, you may not want to host a fashion show for a conservative church.

Step 3:  Decide Your Event

Creativity is your limit here. You can choose traditional or you can try something very different. You could choose a water-fight, a drawing competition, a kabaddi match instead of traditional auction or dinner meets. You could also use fancy dressing to your advantage. For instance, you can ask your volunteers to play characters from Avengers or Game of Thrones when they go to collect donations.

Your event should create an experience to raise more money. An experience can be formed only when there are fun actions and participants to perform. You can host contests, such as Tambola, dance or singing contest or offer a service, such as a car vacuum wash. Whatever you choose, make sure it is combined with entertainment, fun, and a good purpose.

Step 4: Set Your Budget for the Event

If you spend everything that you raise in your event, the entire point of it will be useless. So, you need to establish a budget in order to differentiate the expense the funds that have to be raised.

Make sure while writing down the budget include the smallest of expenses, such as paper plates and cups, stationaries and supplies for entertainment. Of course, the bigger things, such as venue, prizes, food, drinks, raffles, guest speakers, or entertainers have to be calculated first. You could arrange for the bigger things free of cost or at a reduced price from local businesses. You could explain the purpose behind your fundraising event and thebenefit the businesses will receive by donating.

They can use the fundraising event as a platform to market and establish brand value.

Step 5: Open a Bank Account and Hire People to Champion Your Cause

Contact people to find out if they would like to host the event or be part of it. Any experienced person will be of great help, especially when you don’t have the experience yourself. They can guide you through the process and help you achieve your milestone.

A bank account is very important to raise funds from the public. Make sure you open the bank account with an authentic name, such as Smile Cleft Pallet Donation Fund, or Susan Cancer Donation Fund. The name will also help you during tax filing. A proper bank account will also increase confidence in the donors that their money is used for the right purpose.

Step 6:  Find Your Event Venue

Remember, your target is a cost-effective way of organizing a fundraising event so that most of the amount collected is secured for the cause. Possible places you can approach your indoor events include schools, wineries, restaurants, halls, churches etc. Or you could also do some research and find out where other similar events have been held. If you are good with your pitch and your fundraising cause is really inspiring, you could get the event venue as a donation.

Make sure the place you select has the facilities you require to conduct the event. It should be accessible for crowds to gather. A place that is in the city and has plenty of transportation options should be your ideal choice.

Choose an ideal date and time for your event. The date should suit the event. If it is for children, then evenings between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. could be an ideal time. Clean the venue ahead of time and make the place presentable.

Step 7: Determine a Payment Set-up

You have to decide the type of payment you will be accepting. Cash and cheques are common options. But, credit cards are a way to make people spend more on your event. They are complicated though. Today there are several digital options as well, such as PayPal, PayTM, and Google Pay, which works with mobile phones and comprisea pretty simpletransaction process. However, you will have to give away a certain percentage of each sale for using the service.

Make sure you clearly communicate the various modes of payment with the donators to make things efficient and effective.

Step 8: Follow the Rules and Guidelines

Even before you commence the idea, you have to do your groundwork to find out the necessary obligations needed to be fulfilled by you. For instance, if you are going to host a food event, you will have to adhere to the food and health administration laws, if you are holding a raffle, you will have to get permission from the gaming department.

Step 9: Decide the Price for Admission

One of the easy and effective ways to raise money for charity is pricing the admission ticket. You could use single coupons, double coupons or family coupons. Make the tickets fairly cheap to admit as many people as you can from different walks of life. Use special services or tools like Eventbrite count and coordinate the sales of the tickets.

Provide multiple options for the guests or donors to contribute for the cause. For instance, apart from a basic cover fee, you could sell tokens for food, drinks, raffles, games, and entertainment afterward.

You should include your friends and family members to volunteer as hosts for their part of the contribution.

You may also want to consider putting separate large lock boxes at the entrance table to trigger people to donate more at their free will.

Also, make sure, you have separate boxes to store collected money, dimes, and pennies. Assign at least two responsible volunteers to manage the money. Ask them to make entries in a ledger book for each payment and transaction.

Step 10:  Keep Your Supplies Ready

You will need the necessary supplies to conduct the event successfully. For example, a drawing competition would require art paper, clipboards, colors and paints, tables, and chairs, whereas a food and entertainment event would need food, music, lights, speakers, plates, napkins, water installed, chairs etc. You could request the suppliers to donate the items or sell at a reduced cost for the cause in return of brand promotion and marketing.

Step 11: Market the Event and Spread the Word

Now, this is the most crucial part of the entire fundraising project. Unless you market and advertise your event hard-core no one would turn up to donate or contribute. So, you should chart out a great marketing plan for your event. Here are a few steps that you can follow to spread the word out.

  • Use Social Media and Traditional Marketing Mediums: Create an event page on Facebook and invite your friends in. Print few hundred-invitation cards and send it across local businesses and retailers so that they can forward them to their customers. Create softcopies of the invitation card and post it on your Instagram profile, Twitter profile, Facebook page,and LinkedIn profile.

Distribute pamphlets via newspapers and at church.

  • Use WhatsApp Messenger: Create groups among your friends and family and share the softcopy of the invitation card. Follow up with them and remind them every once in a week.
  • Talk to Local Businesses: Find out if they would be willing to help you. The local newspaper is the best source to put the word across. You do not have to heavily invest in the advertisement. But, if you do, it would be like the cherry on top of a cake. Make sure you contact the editorial department or a news columnist for covering your event. They need news and you need public. So don’t worry about money here. They will be more than happy to help.
  • Talk to the Radio: Apart from the Newspaper and social media channels, Radio and Televisions are also popular mediums to attract attention. However, go for local Radio stations. Ask if they would be willing to offer Public Service Announcement or give your event a small news coverage.
  • Pre-sell tickets:Don’t wait for the event day to arrive. If you are charging admissions, selling tickets ahead of time will prove profitable to you. Since the tickets cost is not very high, people will be more than willing to buy them before date.

This gives people who cannot make it for the event a chance to donate for the cause. If they are not participating, they can give the tickets to someone else. Pre-selling tickets will help you buy the necessary supplies and arrangements to host the event.

  • Offer early bird discount, group discount and consider VIP Early Access event.

We are almost done with the steps. It is time to start. Don’t wait for the last minute. Hire a big volunteer team for support for bigger events. Keep the ambiance fun and pleasant and keep the area clean. Make sure attendees are clear about where to go and what to do, especially if it is a competition or an auction. For any clarifications and doubts, please send your queries in comments below.