Special Events — More Than Just Raising Money
In her article, “How to Make the Most of Your Special Events,” Joanne Fritz, guide for the Nonprofit Charitable Orgs. site on About.com, talks about the fact that special events aren’t, for the most part, barn-burner fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. So, she says, it’s important to have other goals and benefits in mind when planning events.
According to the article, “special events create other fundraising possibilities through ‘ancillary’ methods of raising funds.”
Among those methods:
* In-kind contributions such as donations of food, the venue or entertainment. In-kind contributions are easier to get from a business without a prior relationship and might be a foot in the door to other contributions.
* Sponsorships are commonly used to increase the income from events. Sponsors pay for various benefits such as publicity through the event, an ad in the program or a company logo displayed prominently.
* Silent auctions allow you to charge for an event that many people can afford but then bring in more funds through the auction.
* Ad books can be given to event guests. The ad book is made up of paid advertisements and also includes information about the nonprofit. Prospects for ad buyers include local businesses, vendors, entrepreneurs and even donors who want to advertise a service.
* Special events also can build relationships, helping potential donors feel a connection with your cause. An event provides great “face time” with your supporters, sometimes setting the stage for large gifts.
* Events are an opportunity to bring in new donors and introduce them to your organization.
* Special events also can generate a lot of publicity. Your PR staff will find myriad methods for getting the word out, from fliers to interviews with local media. Building visibility in the community is crucial to successful fundraising.
* Use special events as a way to provide fundraising experience to your volunteers, including your board members. Selling tickets to an event is less anxiety-producing than making a personal call on a donor. Help volunteers build confidence through your event activities.