Awareness Is Nice, But Special Events Need to Raise Cash
On his www.raise-funds.com Web site, fundraising consultant Tony Poderis wrote recently on special events, addressing the question of whether they should be focused on making friends for an organization or bringing in money.
His answer: Raising money should be the main goal, though special events also can help bring in new supporters, increase volunteer involvement and publicize the organization. A special event with the primary goal of making money, Poderis writes, is a special event more likely to succeed.
Before considering putting on a special event, organizations should keep in mind the following:
1. Profit. Poderis says a fundraising event should not be produced if it will not generate a profit. Organizers need to establish income goals for the event in order to give volunteers and staff something to shoot for.
“Volunteers need and want stated, measurable, obtainable goals,” Poderis writes. “Give them that, and you give them the opportunity to be winners. If they feel like winners, they’ll be back to help again.”
2. Choose an event that fits into your organization’s fundraising mix. Take into consideration the activities of the event, as well as the time, talent and resources it will take to make it successful. Determine how you can come up with the resources to produce the event. If you have a named dollar goal, make sure you choose an event that is capable of reaching it. Poderis recommends organizations look at their history. What has worked in the past, what didn’t and why? Choose an event that reflects your constituents, not just in terms of age and wealth but also social and business demographics. Fundraisers also can look to other organizations for event ideas.
And find a hook. If your organization is soon to celebrate a special anniversary or other milestone, it might be a good time to hold an event.