Guest post by Maddie Rockwell
Need to fundraise for your children’s school, community theater or other worthy cause? Here’s a look at some simple ways regular citizens can put together a fun, meaningful event that will bring in cash to help your community.
Put On Your Planning Cap
First of all, don’t make the idea behind the event the sole responsibility of one person. Usually the best event planning for a fundraiser is the result of one or more group brainstorming sessions that explore the different ways your community may be open to donating to your cause. The planning for your event may be made easier by researching potential partnerships in your area. Chances are that your community has a diversity of nonprofits and charitable organizations already established. Ask yourselves if one of these organizations would be interested in helping you in connection with a program that they are already running. If your fundraiser will benefit the same part of the community these organizations already serve, perhaps they would be interested in joining forces with you or at least giving you some advice on professional fundraising. If you think that the nonprofits and charities in your area are not a good match to your cause, don’t overlook asking local businesses for their assistance. Many businesses put aside money to help community projects, and may be searching for an opportunity just like yours. Businesses can also help you with some in-kind donations, including advertising and printing costs and the use of a space where you can hold your fundraising event.
Outline Your Responsibilities
Unfortunately, a fundraising event is not only a matter of getting people to give you money for your cause. If you’re holding a sale, performance or other event that will involve a lot of people getting together in one space, you’ll have many more responsibilities than simply counting the cash that flows from your attendees’ pocketbooks. For one thing, you may need to get permission from the local authorities, especially if your event will put an added burden on the city in terms of parking, crowd control or waste management. For example, if you can show the local city council that you have already organized places for parking, security and temporary dumpster options, then you will already be ahead in your planning. Once you know the nature and scope of your event, you can calculate how many volunteers you’ll need to make it happen and to clean up after it.
Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Though many event planners are involved in every aspect of their fundraisers, it’s important to remember to delegate responsibility. The more enthusiastic and committed people you have working toward the common goal of raising money for your cause, the more people in your community you will be able to inspire through them. For example, if you limit your event staff to a mere 10 people, you may be limiting the amount of excitement those people will be able to generate in their own networks of friends, families and coworkers. Generally, it’s better to have a larger group of event workers who will not feel burdened by their responsibilities for the fundraiser and who will be able to spend more time on outreach and creative thinking.
Get the Word Out
Even though it’s crucial you have one person whose main job it is to think of ways to publicize your event, you’ll also want each member of your fundraising team to do their best to bring attention to the event. Encourage everyone to share the event’s details and the reason why they think it is a good cause on their Facebook pages and other social media platforms. Ask them to take flyers about your event to their work or place of worship. Galvanize your team to work as a group to make your fundraiser a success. And then, you can sit back and count the good you’ve done — both in terms of raising money and public awareness of your cause.
Contributing blogger, Maddie Rockwell is a techie with 8 years of experience with technology and social media. She is also a regular volunteer for several nonprofit organizations and enjoys helping the less fortunate.
Image by Tax Credits from Flickr’s Creative Commons