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Last updated June 27, 2017

We all know that organising a fundraising event takes a lot of time, effort and energy. So, if you are going to go to the trouble of organising something, you want to make sure that you will be able to repeat it over and over again. The first time around it’s hard, but the next time around it’s easier – if you keep these things in mind.

Just because you think it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean everybody else does. There are times when you need to grab an opportunity and run with it – but big fundraising events need to be well researched to ensure they are viable first. Talk to people who have run similar events in different cities – what worked well, what mistakes did they make, and what would they do differently next time?

When we talk about resourcing, we’re talking about both money and people. Trying to create a big fundraising event without plenty of people to help, will only cause burn out in the long run. Even if you think you are super-human, resist the urge to plan a huge activity all on your own. Plan an event as big as your people power will allow and then make it bigger next year.

Likewise, while it is possible to create a fundraising event with very little budget, it is difficult and exhausting. Make sure you have a realistic budget to plan your event from the start. Remember, it takes money to make money.

Your fundraising event must reward you financially, but it must also reward your volunteers with a sense of achievement as well. If all they feel at the end of an event is worn out – they won’t be back to help out next year. Make sure both your volunteers and your organisation get back what they put in. A thank-you goes a long way!

In theory, fundraising events are supposed to get easier each time you do them, but that is only the case if you record the details so you have a plan to follow. Make sure you write down all the important contacts, sponsors, and information so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel next time around.

Having a debrief shortly after the event is essential. What worked well? What would you do differently next time? What were the unexpected challenges or rewards? It is important that this review happens very quickly after the event, while things are still fresh in your mind.

Provided you have got the first 5 ‘R’s right – fundraising events can be repeated over and over creating an ongoing and reliable source of income.

Kerri Tilby-Price
Kerri is a Facilitator / Trainer with Exult and has over 20 years experience working in and for the community sector.

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