Rx. For $$$ Fundraisers: Plan Ahead!

Posted by Dave

This past week, I sat in on a strategy session for a charity fundraiser. The event is still over 6 months away. And this was but one of the committee’s regular gatherings!

Charity events require just this type of advance planning, in order to create the step-by-step stairway to success. Here are a few of those steps:

1. An Underwriter’s Party. Invite to dinner at your home some of those who are both well-heeled and well-disposed to your cause. Ask them to bring their checkbooks. Lay out your hopes for the charity event, as well as your plans for the proceeds. Explain to them that, by their underwriting of the evening, every single penny that comes in will go to the charity. You will use their “seed money” as your party’s budget – for advertising, venue, food and drink, and entertainment.

2. Creative Auction Packages. Anyone involved in your charity who has a lake house, mountain retreat, or even a time-share by the sea can volunteer their home-away-from-home as part of an auction item. Add someone else’s unused air miles, and – Bam! – you have a package: round-trip air and accomodations! Wine experts, gourmet cooks, and others with special skills can donate their time and expertise. Those with tickets to sporting or musical events can offer to stay home for one night, giving their seats to the highest bidders. All of these are prizes someone will gladly bid on, and which have cost you nothing from your budget.

3. Balancing Success And Fun. Your primary goal is to raise money for your worthy cause. But – in order for you to remain successful, year-in and year-out – you have to throw a wonderful party! Continually put yourself in the position of the party guest: what will make this a stellar event? Never lose sight of the fun factor. If your guests feel unappreciated, they won’t be back – no matter how lofty your charitable goal.

4. Put A Pro On The Microphone. Local television personalities and sports team announcers are experienced speakers. They know how to get the audience’s attention, then hold it. They also bring glamor to your event. Then, for your live auction, nothing tops a professional auctioneer at raising the most money on every item. This is too important for your success to turn over to a well-meaning, but uninspiring, volunteer.

5. Get Everybody Possible Involved. Finally, recruit an army to spread the word for you. Scout troops, youth groups, and service organizations are good sources. The more people you have promoting your event, the more successful it will be. But, the real key is to start now!


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