Can a superlative, catered fundraising event get guests to ante up more money for the cause? We think so. Here we offer five tips to help raise the bar.
1. Be clear about your fundraising goals
Make sure you’re clear about your overall objective: how much money you need to raise at your event. All choices you make should align with this objective. Keep in mind all associated expenses must be deducted so the amount you net satisfies your goal.
2. Plan carefully and strategically
Depending on the size of your event, your potential contributors, and the amount of money you need to raise, you should consider establishing committees to help you. Perhaps you know of one significant donor who has great leadership skills or has special connections to entertainment. Engaging donors, business leaders, civic leaders, or local celebrities not only helps to boost your event profile, but also helps you reach your goals.
As part of your planning efforts, consider who your potential contributors are. How can you best reach them?
3. Keep an eye on the bottom line
Because you’re trying to raise money, you’ll want your event to be as cost-effective as possible. Have an established budget and stick to it. The budget should include the following:
- Space rental
It’s a good idea to give yourself some buffer room to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.
4. Choose your caterer and menu carefully
Whether your event is for 50 people or 500, it’s important to know the kind of support you can receive from your caterer. Not every caterer has experience with gala affairs, for instance. Hoagies served to your guests in gowns and black-ties may not help you reach your financial goals.
Select food your guests expect and will enjoy. If this is a black-tie affair, you’ll want to opt for elegant choices from table ware to dessert. If this is a school fundraiser, you may decide to go with simpler fare.
Support services from your caterer can help you deliver a smooth-running event while you focus on your guests and your fundraising objectives. You’ll want a catering service that can set-up and take-down, care for decorations if you need them, and even entertainment and photography.
5. Decide how you’re going to accept donations
Are you issuing tickets to the event and donations are built into the ticket price? Or are donations handled privately? Decide how you want to accept your guests’ contributions.
Bonus: Say thank you
It’s a simple enough thing to do and say, yet many neglect it. Make sure you think your contributors: donors, staff, and anyone else connected with your event and its cause.