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Make Your Charity Event Stand Out!

charity eventWhen trying to introduce a new charitable endeavor into the already crowded fundraising marketplace, hosting a memorable event for prospective donors can be a great way of getting your non-profit’s name out there. In addition to creating a recognizable brand, being creative with these kinds of events can kick off your organization’s fundraising efforts with a valuable influx of seed money.

The best bit of advice we have to offer is to make this introductory event identify with your charity. Does your organization seek to raise money for animals in need, from finding homes, to vaccinations, to preventing cruelty?  Hosting an event at a pet friendly venue is ideal in getting your charity’s name and mission into the minds, hearts, and wallets of your target audience, i.e. donors. Most people who have pets identify themselves as “animal lovers”.  Including their dog or cat babies in a Park Walk or a Puppy Beach Party is a great way to offer commiseration. It also reminds them that not all animals are as fortunate.

They will pay to attend, have a great time that includes their beloved pet, and maybe participate in some mid-event activities that offer them an opportunity to give even more. Most importantly, by making a fun happy memory, you are inviting them to become FUTURE donors, sympathetic to your intentions. They will therefore be more likely to invite others to participate in future efforts for this charity both in person and on social media.

Your Event Creates Opportunities

Obviously, the impact of your event depends on more than the venue. Fundraising events offer an opportunity for organizers to connect with donors. Don’t just send a flyer in the mail. Hosting a tangible event to attend is a fun way to develop relationships between charitable organizers and donors. At an event, you can provide more opportunities for guests to give beyond entrance fees or ticket sales.

Holding activities during the event gives supporters the chance to participate in even more acts of generosity.  They can support the cause, while also receiving some benefits in return. Auctions and raffles are a great fundraising tool.  Guests spend small amounts of money on “chances-to-win” prizes that hopefully tie into the charity’s goals. If your charity benefits the well-being of children, prizes for these auctions can include anything from coveted popular toys, tickets for admission to theme parks, zoos, or other kid friendly activities.

Make Donating to the Charity Easy!

This event can be your biggest opportunity to showcase where to submit donations. Have multiple stations or kiosks positioned around the venue.  Make it east to find where people can set up recurring gifts or membership subscriptions. Have friendly, professional staff who can make the process as easy as possible. It also pays to have a system in place to accept one-time cash or check donations. You can also utilize new technology such as mobile donations, which allows attendees to donate money electronically on the spot.

While you are providing a great time everyone is inspired to get involved with your organization’s goals. Offer instruction on how to become engaged members. Let people create their own connections with other potential donors in their sphere of influence.

Utilizing peer-to-peer fundraising on their personal social media is an effective way to broaden the reach of your events. You can even set up a Social Wall at the event.  Display a rotating gallery of your guests’ posts from Instagram and Twitter in real time.  Make sure to decide on a hashtag to use to make it easy for them.

Invite Those That Will Benefit From the Charity

Invite the beneficiaries to participate to further illustrate to donors in a non-condescending way.  They can explain how the charity and those who give to it have impacted their lives. If they can’t speak for themselves–as with small children, animals –videos, photos, and other types of media are a welcome replacement for speeches with dry statistics and facts. Events where families are invited to mingle and connect with people who benefit are more personal than those that just send mailings.

Another fantastic advantage to hosting a successful charitable event is it gives you the opportunity to acknowledge all the donations of funds and time that members are providing. By highlighting your successes, you are showing how valuable these individuals are to the success of the mission. You are also allowing others to acknowledge these contributions as well. Invite some of them to speak, give testimonials of their own experiences.

Acknowledge Your Sponsors

Finally, use every opportunity to acknowledge the financial sponsors of your event. Local businesses and organizations are often the very reason these events can be held. As with donors, these businesses are happy to give in support of your charity’s cause.  They will want some credit for that support. Seeing the name “Larry’s Laundromat” on all printed materials might inspire an attendee to use that business in the future since it appears they share similar values with the owners.

After the dust has settled on your successful fundraising event, you can then take advantage of that momentum to follow up with all your new members. By utilizing information gathered at the event to express your gratitude, and extend the relationship of your community, you can make first time donors in to long time members.

Make your charity event a real stand out.  Call Pat and Vince at 212-534-3052 to get your event planned properly!