Welcome to 2017! (I know I say that as if I have been here for a while waiting for you, but since I am on the East Coast, if you were located in any other part of the USA at midnight at the turn of the New Year, then I did beat you here. So I stand by my welcome.)
Anyway, we have now had half a month to work on our personal resolutions, so let’s talk a little about our work goals. Namely, let’s talk about goals for this year’s charity event(s).
All of you seasoned fundraisers out there know that just because your big fundraising event ended last month doesn’t mean it is too early to start planning for this year’s. High off of your success (or disappointed after a less-than-expected total), it is time to reflect on last year’s results and start setting goals so that you can do even better this year!
Money is an obvious one (though we will still talk a little bit about it.) Yes, you want your big fundraising event – or events – to raise even more money than ever! But it isn’t the only goal you should set for yourself and your charity events this year.
Let’s look at eight different goals you should be looking at while planning your upcoming fundraisers. (This isn’t a comprehensive list, but hopefully it is a good starting point for you.)
Goal 1: Money
Even though money shouldn’t be the only goal of your fundraising or charity event, it is obviously a pretty important one.
A good goal should, in general, follow the SMART format. While this applies to all of the types of goals that we will talk about today, I’m only going to talk about it in detail in this section.
A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.
(For all of you ‘shoot for the moon, and if you miss, at least you’ll land among the stars’ people, just know that you could also substitute in agreed-upon and rewarding in place of the attainable and realistic.)
When you are determining how much money you want to raise at this year’s event, remember to follow the SMART guidelines.
Don’t just say we want to raise more money this year, but specify how much you want to make. And even if you do keep it in the realm of the possible, make it lofty. If your goals are too easy, you don’t have enough to work towards.
Goal 2: Awareness
Another goal your fundraiser should have (though one which is a little trickier to put into SMART goal format) is awareness building. Your organization is trying to do something great. But if nobody knows about it, then you’re going to have a hard time succeeding.
Make sure to do things to promote awareness at your event. Measure your success with a wide array of metrics. As examples:
- The amount of press coverage you received. (Only had one newspaper cover your event last year? Work to get three or four this year.)
- The number of attendees at your event.
- An increase in social media following.
- The number of donations your received (as opposed to the total. If more people are donating, but at smaller rates, you are still reaching more people.)
Goal 3: Total Donations Throughout the Year
If you add Goal One with Goal Two, you get Goal Three. Your overall donation totals aren’t totally a reflection of your one charity event, of course, but it is a factor.
Let’s pretend you invite me to your fundraiser, and I come. Only, right now isn’t a good time for me financially. I don’t donate that night. However, you really inspired me. So, in a month or two, when I get my tax refund maybe, you are the first person I think about.
So, when making your fundraiser goals, take people like hypothetical me into account and consider your overall yearly donation total goal as well.
Goal 4: Volunteers
Let’s go back to my same hypothetical in Goal Three. I come to your event. You do a great job inspiring me. But my bank account is still at zero. Maybe I can’t donate money, but maybe you make me realize how much I could do by volunteering with you.
Great! Even though you didn’t get a cash donation from me, you got me to donate my time. I know you already know this, but I’m saying it anyway: your volunteer base is important to keeping your organization afloat. So calculate for it. Make sure you have a goal in mind for how many new volunteers you want to gain at your fundraiser.
Goal 5: Sponsors
I’m about to say yet another thing you already know: fundraisers can be expensive! And when you are trying to raise as much as possible for your great cause, who wants to spend the majority of it on the event designed to raise the money?
Nobody is the obvious answer.
That is where sponsors come in to help save the day.
The bigger and better your charity event, the bigger and better the results will likely be. However, it will also be more expensive. So make it a goal to get more (or just bigger and better, to use my phrase of the paragraph) sponsors to help you alleviate the costs of the event without alleviating the benefits of having a flashy, tech-y event.
There are lots of ways to go about getting more sponsors:
- Do some research on who in your area tends to support local charities or has donation programs.
- Create an awesome marketing kit that clearly outlines why a sponsor should help you. (What benefits do they get? Where would their name be listed? What exactly is your organization trying to do? How would you use the money? I could keep going, but hopefully you get the point.)
- Use your marketing kit, but customize your pitch to every potential sponsor.
- Make sure to keep up good relationships with your sponsors so they will keep coming back year after year.
Goal 6: Donor Base
Goal 6 goes back to Goal 2 and Goal 3: awareness. Let’s say that you set a goal this year to raise $40,000. And then this wealthy old man donates $50,000 all by himself! That’s great. Mission accomplished. It doesn’t even matter that hardly anybody else donated at all.
Only, if you are thinking of the future, then that’s not as good as it seems to be. This man may want to give you a big check year after year. But maybe he was just feeling generous that one night and has no intention of ever giving again.
My numbers in this scenario are pretty crazy. You’re not likely to get your whole total from one person and not have any other donations at all. However, the point stands:
Not only do you want to grow your total donations, you want to grow your overall donor base. So when setting a goal, don’t forget to add one for how many new donors you would like to reach.
Goal 7: Donor Appreciation
This may be the hardest goal on my list to quantify using the SMART format, but it is an important one nonetheless: one goal of your charity event should be to make your donors feel appreciated.
To do that, here are a few things you can do:
- Take them into account when you are planning your event. What does your average donor like? Dislike? If you build it with them in mind, it won’t go unnoticed.
- Have some giveaways or “party favors.”
- Say thank you – this one is easy. Thank people for coming and for everything they do for you.
- Follow-up with a nice thank you after the event as well.
Here is a way to measure this goal: keep track of your donor retention rates. If they keep donating and attending your events, you’re probably doing this right.
Goal 8: Fun
Part of the donor appreciation part is to make sure your guests have fun. However, you should be having a good time too! You put a lot of work into this charity event: enjoy it!
How do you measure this:
At the end of the night, ask yourself, “Did I have fun tonight?”
If the answer is yes, then you have met at least one of your goals.
Let’s Wrap This Up
New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for being broken quickly. That is why I gave you a couple of weeks to settle down before I hit you with a list of goals.
Don’t think of these as resolutions – because I don’t want you to break any of them. I want you to think of them with the same word I used for them: goals.
These are the goals that are going to make your organization stronger than ever. So make sure you set your sights high and have the best charity event you’ve ever had this fundraising season!
Shameless Sales Pitch: If you do want to really boost your funds at this year’s charity event, think about getting some fundraising technology. This tech can make it easier for your guests to sign in, bid if you have an auction, donate, buy tickets, etc. And GiveSmart has a pretty great set of technology for you to consider….