Live Fundraising Event 101: 7 Essentials for Successful Fundraising Events
You’re planning a fundraiser. It must be so many things – profitable, fun, impactful, logistically sound, well-attended. Where do you even begin? And what are the most important things to nail? Read on. You got this. And we got you!
AV + Audio Visual Professionals
Sound/AV is one area that is consistently underfunded, overlooked and not taken seriously enough. Before you spend a moment (or a dollar) on anything else, secure yourself a fantastic AV partner (and no, we NEVER mean the DJ’s speakers and sound system!). When fundraising, NEVER skimp on sound. Great sound is paramount! Otherwise, all of your other efforts procuring the very best live auction packages, crafting compelling program content, producing that awesome video and securing fabulous speakers are ALL IN VAIN! When people can’t hear or easily understand program content, they lose interest and you lose money. Hire a reputable AV company who provides tech support staff on site during the ENTIRE event. Sound check really isn’t a rehearsal for speakers – it’s a rehearsal for your AV tech so they can help speakers deliver the absolute best program possible. We rely on trusted AV partners for the best sound at successful events so we can focus entirely on fundraising strategy. Don’t ruin your event before it even begins. Need recommendations for amazing AV? Reach out!
Professional Pre-Event Consultation
Before you select a date, get in touch! We partner with you and offer guidance on every single tiny event detail – from start to finish. A background in event planning is valuable, but when it comes to fundraising, event sequencing, program content, revenue strategy, best practices and what moves your donors to action – you need a professional fundraiser. Our Benefit Auctioneer Specialists do one thing: we raise money for our partners. Above all else, we put your mission and your donors’ experience at the forefront of everything we do. And it shows.
Location. Location. Location.
There are so many venues to choose from – which one is right for your particular event? So much to consideration – aesthetics, accessibility, capacity, vendor partnerships – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Make sure the venue you select suits the needs of your unique event. We can offer tons of recommendations for local venues and answer loads of questions about each one too. Remember, popular venues often book 12-18 (sometimes longer!) months in advance. Don’t lose out on the perfect venue because you didn’t act soon enough. Start the inquiry process NOW!
Great Food + Libations
Sadly, lousy food is an incredibly common guest complaint. Rubber chicken – yuck! You don’t want your guests bonding over how bad the food is. We can recommend great caterers – reach out. Also, don’t skimp on the drinks! Always offer a variety of beverages to satisfy your donors’ desires. Consider offering a signature drink – a theme aligning with your org’s mission, perhaps? And remember, not everyone drinks alcohol. Not everyone drinks soda either! It’s a good idea to provide special non-alcoholic beverages to appeal to all of your guests.
Live Program + Event Marketing Content + Strategy
We can’t stress enough the value of cohesive messaging, from the very first save the date – to the invitation, social media, live event scripting to the final goodnight, follow up and post-event thank yous. If content doesn’t isn’t cohesive or does not align with your mission or further your event goals, it doesn’t belong in your live program.
The value of event marketing is also something to consider – especially harnessing the power of social media. It’s an incredibly valuable yet inexpensive marketing tool – are you using it to your advantage? (Get Social blog). Start strategizing now for compelling ways to spread your message, further awareness and get folks spending money in support of your organization.
Staff + Volunteers
“We have plenty of people working our event,” said no one ever. Having plentiful staff members and trusted volunteers on site will enhance your donors’ experience in so many ways. No matter how carefully you plan your event, always expect the unexpected and have more volunteers than you think you’ll need present to deal with anything that comes your way. Because it will. Select the RIGHT person for the job. We repeat, sweat whom you assign every task to. Raffle ticket sales? Assign that to your most outgoing salesperson. Registration? Select your accountant friend who’s calm under pressure and great with numbers. Greeters at the door? You want the most friendly, charming and knowledgeable folks to serve as your guests’ first impressions.
Registration + Internal Systems
(Check-in + out – registration, event software, claiming won items, logistics, flow, set-up, communications)
Long lines at registration get your event off to a bad start. Avoid this. We have trusted strategies to reduce and even eliminate lines altogether. Ask us about them! Does the event flow make sense, feel organic and prevent bottlenecking? It should. Study your venue’s floor plan carefully for a couple of reasons – make sure there’s nothing that’ll get in the way of your guests AND determine the best place to keep the items they’ll be claiming at checkout. Ah, checkout – whatever you do, DON’T let confusion and chaos ruin an otherwise fabulous night! An integrated event software program will help streamline the checkout process. We can steer you in the right direction in that regard. As for your guests – the top two things that can steer them in the right direction – knowledgeable, friendly volunteers and big beautiful signs.
We hope now you’re ready and able to start planning a fabulous fundraising event! Let this sink in, then contact us so we can start hammering out the details. Here’s to funding your cause!