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Make Your Fundraising Events Memorable and Successful

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Make Your Fundraising Events Memorable and Successful
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Hosting a fundraising event is a great way to earn money for your organization or a special cause. People like to attend these events because they benefit a good cause and they’re fun. It’s important ensure your event is well-organized and enjoyable, so attendees want to come to your next one.

How to Start Planning Fundraising Events

Planning fundraising events requires a lot of hard work, but the more you put into them, the higher your success rate.

Take the following essential elements of planning an event into consideration for your fundraiser:

  • Timing: Make sure to start planning the event at least six months in advance to allow adequate preparation time and for unexpected problems.
  • Type of Event: Choose a type of event that’s fun and exciting, so people want to attend.
  • Venue: Location is a huge factor in getting people to attend your event. Choose the nicest venue you can secure to make it fun for your guests to go somewhere out of the ordinary.
  • Prizes: Everyone enjoys the chance to win a prize, so find local businesses to donate or discount items to give out in raffle drawings, silent auctions, and as door prizes.
  • Food: People expect to eat at fundraising events, so do your best to create a menu filled with a variety of foods to please choosy eaters and attendees with dietary restrictions.
  • Volunteers: Use your social media sites to solicit volunteers to help plan the event and run it on the big day.

Sponsors are Essential

As important as the venue, food, and promise of an enjoyable event are to success, gathering energetic and generous sponsors may be just as vital. Sponsors can provide food, donate products or services and some may even give cash.

Start reaching out to sponsors at least four months before the event. It may take time to find businesses willing to help or they may need time to approve sponsoring an event. By this point you should have some of the details in place. Sponsors will want to know as much as possible before making a decision.

Businesses that agree to sponsorships can also promote the event themselves which benefits you and the business. Take advantage of any cross-promotion possibilities through the sponsors’ social media.

The event’s success also benefits your sponsors.

Some large local companies that sponsor events year after year may set aside money annually for their sponsorships. So it’s important to remember you’re not the only one requesting sponsorships. You need to reach those companies before representatives from other events devour their budget.

Don’t be afraid to solicit donations from every type of company you can think of, as this is a great way for businesses to promote themselves in the community. When possible, visit a business in person to request a donation.

Have your volunteers use their contacts to seek sponsors. They can also ask companies they work for about sponsorships.

All sponsors don’t have to be the same. You can offer different levels of involvement and donations.

These are some sponsorship levels to consider from

  • The business name or logo on banners, signs, T-shirts, podium or your website in different sizes and visibility
  • Sponsor one or more tables at the event
  • Tiered sponsorships with various amounts of publicity
  • Exclusive sponsorship with no competitors allowed to sponsor
  • Different size ads on brochures or promotional material

Also, even if businesses don’t agree to become sponsors, they still may be willing to donate.

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The Final 2 Months

By two months before the event you should have most of your sponsors lined up and the majority of planning finished. That lets you focus on getting people to register and encouraging those who have already signed up to tell their friends and co-workers.

Evaluate how you’re doing by closely monitoring the number of people who have donated, volunteered, registered to attend, have declined or have not responded.

While thanking those who accepted, donated or agreed to help, concentrate on anyone who hasn’t responded with gentle reminders every couple weeks that the event is coming. But keep the reminders low key and without pressure.

For those who have not responded, send another invitation about a month from the event and another about two weeks later. If you have not heard back by then, they probably won’t attend.

It is also the time to stay attentive to promotional activities, volunteers and the myriad details.

Also, it’s never too early to start preparing for next year. At this point you will have encountered and solved some problems such as conflicts with the date, sponsors or the venue and learned from them. You should start lining up sponsors, donors and volunteers who helped this time for help next year.

It is also a time to look at those who declined to attend or become sponsors to see if there was a trend such as the wrong time of year or some other conflict that you can change next year.

Learn more about fundraising through an executive certificate program in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership available 100% online that can help anyone who is part of a nonprofit organization or is considering becoming involved. 


I am taking Principles of Leading Transformational Nonprofits and have enjoyed Dr. Ricke-Kiely's interactive online teaching style. Our virtual classes have been absolutely amazing. The classroom included tech support as well as classmates from other parts of the country. Dr. Ricke-Kiely's knowledge, experience and subject matter expertise were outstanding. Her ability to reference the other recorded lectures and bring them into our virtual lectures made things really come together. This course is a must for anyone in nonprofit leadership.

Ann Guillory

Category: Nonprofit Leadership