Keeping It Special
Special events have an important place in a good overall fundraising program. One or maybe two well-done events can generate publicity for your organization in addition to raising money. Events can also give you a way to cultivate relationships.
The problem is that many small nonprofits get stuck on the "special event hamster wheel." It's the only kind of fundraising they really know, and they wind up holding too many events during the year, which keeps them from focusing on developing their individual-donor programs (which is a MUST to move from being a "small" nonprofit to playing with the big ones)!
As you try to decide which one or two events to focus on, keep in mind what your organization is getting out of the event. The return on investment that the event brings must be greater than the resources of time, energy and money you put into it. Make sure you get at least one of these from your event:
- Money. Events are usually meant to be fundraisers, so be sure you generate as much as you can from them. Corporate sponsors, silent auctions and VIP extras can add to your bottom line.
- Awareness. Events can raise awareness for your cause in the community, drawing much-needed attention to your work.
- New or deeper relationships. Some events lend themselves very well to bringing new supporters into your organization's family or getting to know current supporters better.
- Other resources. If there's something that your event is bringing your organization (like large donations of food or clothing, etc.), it may be very worthwhile to hold the event.
Once you decide which event you plan to hold, use these tips to maximize your efforts and get the greatest possible return on investment.
1. Clearly define each event you hold