Fundraising or organizing similar events are crucial for many organizations, especially charities where the budget is very minimal to help organize the event. Sometimes such events can be the only source of income, hence careful planning and execution are necessary to extract the maximum out of an event. There are various event management tools and websites online to help in the process such as Eventbrite, Alumni Alliances, Cvent, Ticket Tailor, etc. Here in this blog, we will outline 7 Things to Know When Organizing a Fundraiser.
1. The Goal of the Event
Before organizing a fundraising event, an organization must first set the goal of the event. This is to specify what exactly the organization is intending to achieve. Monetarily, the organization would set a target amount that needs to be attained which would cover the costs of getting a particular cause to be implemented successfully. And so the right fundraising amount needs to be predicted.
Apart from that, these are some other points that need to be thought about :
- To acquire new donors for the organization
- To promote the cause
- Ensuring that the existing sponsors do not exit
- Raise awareness
2. Identify the Event
Choosing the right type of event to get donors is crucial. You will have to tap into your donor database and find out the types of events that most of the previous donors have attended or at least have an interest in. For example, if most of your donors are interested in outdoor activities then you could organize a sports event. Or if there are business people, then you might think of organizing a more formal dinner or gala event.
3. Event Budget
To raise money for the event, you first have to spend a certain amount. All the costs for making the event successful has to be minutely recorded, for example, costs relating to advertising, venue, valet parking, catering, entertainment, event planning, invitation, auction or donation software, traveling allowances for the team, miscellaneous costs, etc.
4. Revenue Sources and Sponsors
Forbes outlines the following as the desirable ratio of revenue from a fundraising gala event. 
- Sponsorships – 10%
- Ticket Sales – 40%
- Drawing/Raffle – 10%
- Silent Auction – 20%
- Live Auction – 20%
Noting that the cost of hosting an event comes from the revenue, one has either to limit their costs of hostings or finding suitable sponsors who can fund most of the costs so that the revenue can go straight to the cost or finding options that are truly cost-effective in the absence of sponsors. Have a look at the following assumptions that might prove handy while cutting down costs.
- Venue – look for a venue that also covers overheads associated with decorations or any such related costs. Also, have quotes from other venues.
- Food and Beverage – find sponsors who could aid in this cost. There are beverage companies that might be able to provide free beverages for a good cause.
- Entertainment – find entertainers who could use their talent and fan base to bring in more patrons. Also, try to bring in entertainers who could perform at a minimal cost or for free to help the cause.
Forbes also enlists the following as the places that one can look for sponsors.
- Past sponsors – who may have helped the organization before.
- Affinity sponsors – companies that may align with your organization’s mission.
- Activation sponsors – “there may be organizations willing to pay, in addition to an upfront fee, an additional fee after the event for leads or conversions generated from the event.”
5. Marketing the Event
To maximize the event, one has to reach all avenues. Promote your event using both online (social media, website, emails, etc.) and traditional (direct advertisements, print ads, etc.) methods. One other way to market for the event is through tapping one’s alumni community. This may seem like an unused route but if you consider the amount of work and business or projects that an organization gets through reference or word of mouth, this form of advertising is quite beneficial. And when a member of your alumni community, the people that you have gone to school with and have interacted or known over the years, vouch or help you, there is bound to be an effective response.
You can try Alumni Alliances, an alumni community, that does not only help in marketing an event but also creating one through their professional networking platform. To know more, click here. You can also find sponsors, patrons, well-wishers, and supporters who can help with your cause.
You can start selling tickets at the earliest. Also, consider the following points as highlighted in an online article. 
- Flat prices, VIP tickets, family or group packages, early-bird prices, etc.
- Mode of selling the ticket. Ensure that ticket buyers know where to buy the tickets from or are guided to the event website.
- Ensure that the information about the patrons through buying tickets is filtered to your donor information database.
7. Event Technology Automation
This part seems to be ignored the most but an organization has to cut efforts wherever possible. With technology, one can scale more out of an event without exhausting their staff, for example, automated emails can give the patrons detailed information about the event and venue or social media tools such as buffer.com could be used to time posts in advance so that they can be published at the right time and coincide with particular activities of the event.
These are the 7 things to know when organizing a fundraiser. You can learn more while organizing events on Alumni Alliances as it prompts you to organize physical and virtual events, restrict an event post to specific alumni, specify the industry from which potential patrons or donors can be catered to, etc. If you like this article then do share it through the social media handles and bookmark Alumni Insider for more insightful articles like this.
1. Featured Image – Gert Altmann
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3. Image 2 – Tumisu
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