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Plan A Successful Fundraiser

Plan A Successful Fundraiser

Follow these steps to plan and follow through with a fun and successful fundraiser for your school, dance team, sports team, non-profit, or any other cause.

Ruthie Prasil

Channel: Ruthie PrasilPublished on Mar 17, 2016

What need does your group have? People want to know exactly where their money is going. Sure, you will get some small donations here and there with no questions asked but the big money comes from people who want to know they are making a difference. If you're able to tell them exactly how you will be spending their money, they will be more likely to contribute.

Look at your community calendar. Is there a trend for fundraisers? An auction every weekend or a benefit walk at least once a month? Brainstorm with other members of your group and come up with a list of at least five events that are unique and fun to your area. Examples: garden tour in the Spring, campfire tour in the Autumn, family game night, murder mystery dinner, kiddie carnival, mud run, holiday gift baskets, etc.

This is crucial! In order for your event to be successful you must divide and conquer. No one person can do it all. You should have a committee, at the very least, in the following areas: event sponsors, ticket sales (tailor to your event), food and decor, marketing, set up/take down, volunteers, and an executive committee who will decide and organize things like event date and location.

The executive committee should outline the event and each team member should have, in print, the specifics. Where is the event going to be held? What date and what time? Before you can go out and solicit support for the event, everyone must be giving the same (and correct) information.

Before tickets are sold, sponsors must be nailed down. Your goal should be to cover all costs of the event so that 100% of ticket sales or sales of items/services sold goes to the organization. When soliciting sponsors, follow the steps in the "How to Solicit Sponsors for a Fundraiser" checklist HERE:

Start early, three months before the event. Your marketing committee should be able to find someone who is well-versed in graphic design to donate their time and talent to creating images for you to use (posters, fliers, tickets, etc). Create an event page on Facebook and be very thorough and descriptive in your description of it. Tell the audience exactly what they can expect, when to expect it and what they need to do to support it. Create tickets (if applicable) and posters for the event and INCLUDE YOUR SPONSORS LOGOS. This is very important. Tag each of them on Facebook to increase the number of people seeing it.

Majority of fundraisers involve ticket sales, but if yours doesn't, skip this step. If yours does, listen carefully: assign each member of each committee a number of tickets they are expected to sell. Selling isn't fun and it isn't easy, but it's part of the deal with fundraisers. Tickets can be sold to co-workers, parents at school drop-off, family members, prominent members of the community, church members, you name it. Try to sell in-person if possible and always follow up any ticket conversation with a phone call. Make it easy for them: deliver tickets and always have change.

There should always be food and drink available, regardless of the event. It doesn't have to be fancy and it doesn't have to be expensive, but if people are buying tickets to an event, they need to receive something tangible in return and that usually comes down to food. The food and drink committee should meet monthly at first and then bi-weekly and eventually weekly up until the event date to nail down the details.

The executive committee should be in constant contact with each of the other committees, being made aware of any changes or additions to plans. Each committee also has people they need to be in contact with: food and drink providers, event site hosts, printers/graphic designers, etc.

If your event is outside, make sure you are ready for inclement weather. This might mean having tents and portable heaters available just in case. Have more tables and chairs available than tickets purchased, more food available than the exact head count, and more volunteers ready to work than you think you need.

Things change and plans don't always work out exactly how we picture them working out. Stay positive and always be open to change. Remember the reason for the fundraiser and hold people to their word. As long as everyone is working hard and staying on top of things, it will be a success.

Ruthie Prasil

Channel: Ruthie PrasilPublished on Mar 17, 2016

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