A while ago, I talked about different types of fundraisers you could throw. But how do you decide which of those many different options is right for you?
Today, I've got 11 questions you should be asking in order to make this determination.
1: What Is Your Budget/Price Per Person?
Some styles of fundraisers (balls, galas, etc.) just cost more than others. That is why one of the first questions you should ask is how much money you have to spend...and pay special attention to how much you can spend per guest. Use that number to determine what types of events you can afford to throw.
2: When Is Your Event?
Are you having a winter event? Maybe you shouldn't consider a golf tournament (depending on the typical weather in your area, of course). On the other hand, the middle of summer might make it the perfect time for that outdoor barbecue.
Let the season of your event help you pick a fundraiser style (and then, even, the theme.)
3: What Time Is Your Event?
On a similar note, don't just ask yourself when your event is: ask yourself what time it is. A day event will probably have a different feel than a night event, after all. You will want this reflected in the type of event you pick.
4: What Is Your Cause?
What is the purpose behind your cause? What are your values and mission? Are you raising money for a specific population group?
Answering these questions can help you start the process of picking a fundraising style. For example, say that you are trying to raise money for animals. Perhaps you would want to allow pets to attend the event. If so, then that may affect what you ultimately decide to do. (Similarly, if you a raising money for a school, etc., maybe you'd like to have the kids attend - though, maybe you'd rather give the parents a night out. Get our school fundraising idea ebook for more info about that, though!)
Anyway, the point is this: look at who you are and let that guide you to the right event type for you.
5: Who Are Your Likely Guests?
Now that you know who you are, it is time to look at your guests. I've talked a little before about knowing your donors and creating donor personas. This is a great time to use that information!
The more you know about your potential guests and donors, the easier it will be to decide on a type of event. After all, you want to make the donors want to keep coming back year after year. But to do that, you need to do something they will want to keep attending.
Do they hate stuffy balls where they have to wear ties? Do they want more opportunities to get dressed up in their nicest clothes and leave the kids at home? Are they at the golf course as often as they can get there?
Know your guests and form your event around them: then, they will want to keep attending.
6: Where Are You Having the Event?
While it is probably a good idea to figure out what type of event that you are having and then pick a venue that matches, if you do already have a venue, consider what type of venue it is and what types of events it typically holds.
Make sure that the event that you decide to throw will work in that venue.
7: What Have You Done in the Past?
Another good way to determine what type of fundraiser to throw is just looking at what worked (and, equally as important, what didn't work) for you in the past.
While it is always a good idea to try new things every once in a while before the things you always do go stale, it is still smart to use what has worked for you in the past. However, it is just as smart to be willing to move away from that thing that you have been doing for the last 4,000 years in a row that just doesn't do anything for you anymore.
8: What Vibe Are You Trying to Achieve?
Are you trying to go for classy and fancy or do you think laid-back and casual is more of your thing? The vibe you are trying to accomplish will quickly help you narrow down the type of event that you want to have.
9: How Many People Will Likely Attend?
The size of your fundraiser will make a difference in what type of fundraiser is going to work best for you. An event for 500 people is just naturally going to be different than an event for 50 people. Figuring out how many people you are expecting to attend can help you narrow down your options.
10: What All Is Happening at the Event?
Are you having an auction? Using technology? Getting a guest celebrity to make an appearance? Looking at all of these factors will help you make the best choice for your event.
11: How Many Fundraisers/Events Do You Usually Do?
Is this your one big event of the year? Or do you do something every month and this one isn't more special than any of the others? (I mean, they are all special, but maybe this one just isn't any more special.)
If this is your main event of the year, then maybe you want to do something bigger and splashier. But if this is just one of many events you need to plan this year, then simple will make your world a lot easier.
Some Final Thoughts
There are not necessarily right or wrong answers to what type of fundraiser you should throw. All of them have been proven to work in different situations for different organizations.
However, by looking at your organization, your guests, and your needs, you can feel a lot better that you picked the right fundraiser style for you.
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