5 Key Elements for Special Event Fundraising Success

It has been a busy time of year for fundraising events and the fun doesn’t slow down until late June. So, I thought I’d go a little deeper into the 5 key elements you need to have in place to have special event fundraising success.

Here they are:

  1. Have one goal for the event. Is it a friend-raiser or a fundraiser? You can’t do two things well at once, so pick one goal and make a plan to achieve it.
  2. Keep your special event short. There is nothing worse than a long special event, especially if it goes beyond the communicated end time. Your goal is to have your guests feeling fresh and energized – not checking their watches.
  3. Your event should be structured so that the “business” portion of the event is before the “fundraising” portion of the event. What I mean is you should schedule your announcements, board acknowledgment, comments about the organization, etc., BEFORE you state the need and ask event guests to make a donation.
  4. This leads to the most important point: your event should have a fundraising offer. Put simply, what problem will the donor solve by making a donation? Make your offer as measurable, simple and clear as possible. Then weave it in throughout the entire event; it should be mentioned when the ED speaks, it should be mentioned during the beneficiary story, and should be in the Ask.
  5. Successful fundraising events ask the donors to do something very specific with their money — and donors are challenged to give more than they originally thought they would. When making the ask, tell the potential donors in the room exactly what you want them to do and how best to make their gift. Be bold. Keep it simple. Make it easy for the donor to make a gift!

Assuming you have the right people in the room and you follow these 5-steps, you will increase your likelihood of fundraising success!

Jim Shapiro
Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. He has 20 years experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a $300m nonprofit. He then co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money. Jim is married, serves his community by coaching high school football, and has three children.

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