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Ideas for planning a fun and effective fundraiser

Lora Hoover | May 03, 2019

Person counting coins.

Your organization wants to serve its community, but that takes money. Holding a fundraising event is one way your group can get some money — and improve its profile at the same time. If this is the right solution for your group, make sure your fundraiser is fun, effective and profitable. Fundraising expert Lora Hoover, director of development for the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, says a successful fundraiser should:  

  1. Be fun! Fundraisers shouldn’t be dreadful. It’s important to have fun every step of the way, from planning to clean-up. If you don’t enjoy and embrace every aspect of a fundraising event, it might not be the right project.  
  2. Be sustainable. Regularly assess your event by asking yourself:
    • Is this event aligned with our capacity?
    • Have we chosen an event that has potential for long-term growth?
    • Are we making the best use of our resources and relationships?
  3. Promote your organization's goals. Your fundraising event may be the first opportunity for a member of the public to learn about your organization. Make sure that every aspect of your event represents your organization’s culture and purpose.
  4. Highlight your community’s culture. We often fall back on the same kinds of fundraising events: golf outings, galas, wine tastings. Rather than hosting a fundraiser that other organizations in your community have tried, find something unique and lean into that.
  5. Engage your community in various ways. Your event can be led by your organization and benefit a cause it’s passionate about, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Here’s a pro tip: Ask community members to serve on the event’s organizing committee. Community partnerships can lead to deeper engagement with your organization. Each year, you’ll gain more support and move closer to cultivating your volunteers into funders and champions of your cause.
  6. Don’t leave money on the table. People come to fundraising events knowing they'll be asked for a gift. But don’t be afraid to raise money in other ways. Some ideas include:
    • Admission fee
    • VIP experience
    • Raffle, auction, gift certificate board, wine pull, diamond dig
    • Merchandise sales
    • Concessions
  7. Include a follow up. Make sure to strengthen your relationship by reaching out to participants afterward. People who attend your fundraiser may be interested in having a closer relationship with your organization. Don’t waste the opportunity to engage!

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