Here are four tips to planning a successful fundraiser from Jackson:
1. Begin planning early. Nonprofit organizations should start planning fundraising events six months to a year in advance so there is enough time to develop necessary alliances, obtain venues and sponsors and create an event theme that will make an awesome event. Additionally, nonprofits should look for partners that will consider donating space and food in-kind or on an "at cost" basis. Do not use most of your organization's dollars on venues, food, entertainment and decoration (flowers, lighting, staging, etc.). The more things you can get donated or at a reduced cost, the more money you'll have to allot to actual programs.
2. Form a planning committee. It's essential to gather a strong and capable team of volunteers to help execute your fundraiser. Make sure to delegate clear tasks or form subcommittees (like sponsorships, ticket sales, programs) to be sure every detail is accounted for. Determine the people in your network who are actively involved in the community with their company, sorority/fraternity, school or other nonprofit, who can help you raise money or find volunteers for your event.
3. Create a list of potential sponsors/donors. When contacting potential donors, you don't have to start from scratch. Reach out to companies, small businesses and individuals who are familiar with your organization. Begin with board members and planning committee members to obtain a strong group of supporters. Also, form fundraising ideas that attract stakeholders, board members and other supporters to help gather support behind your event.
4. Highlight the work of your organization. Showcase and celebrate partners, clients, staff and sponsors who have come together to help the organization make an impact. Honoring those who make the work possible helps make the case for why more money is needed for programs. Testimonials from program participants are valuable as well. They help supporters and sponsors really see their money at work and know that their donations are actually making a big difference.
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