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Last updated February 7, 2020

Fundraising dinners are a fantastic one-time event that has the potential to raise a lot of funds! However, in order for your dinner to be a success, you need to put in the necessary time and effort. This article briefly outlines the in’s and out’s of planning and organising a fundraising dinner.

  1. Create a Plan

Whatever you do, don’t try and hold a fundraising dinner WITHOUT a plan. You will need to consider things such as:

  • Theme
  • Date/Time
  • Venue
  • Ticketing
  • Catering
  • Seating
  • Entertainment
  • Activities
  • Sponsorship
  • Attendees
  • Speakers
  • Advertising

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (www.philanthropy.com) has created an excellent resource to help guide your planning. While it is aimed at American organisations, most of the content is relevant and adaptable to meet your needs here in New Zealand. Check it out here https://tinyurl.com/s5gfxkq

  1. Set a Budget

This is super important! You need to have a budget for a number of reasons, but most importantly to ensure you are not spending more than you will gain through the event. Make sure you not only set an overall budget, but also a budget for each component of your event. E.g. a specific budget for venue hire, catering per person, entertainment etc. Don’t forget about advertising!

To help you, there are a number of sites you can visit to download adaptable event budget templates to meet your needs. Here are a few:

Microsoft Word Templates https://tinyurl.com/qtnzloy
The Chronicle of Philanthropy https://tinyurl.com/uhzaaur
Endless Events https://tinyurl.com/wlzmtkx

  1. Promote, Promote, Promote

You could have planned the best fundraising dinner ever but if you don’t promote it, your tables will be looking pretty empty. Share your event on social media or traditional media (radio, newspapers etc.). Pound the pavement and post flyers in letterboxes. Ask local businesses to place a poster in their windows or on their counter. Think big so that you can achieve big results.

  1. Create a Programme

Provide your guests with an outline of how the night will play out. This will not only help you and your MC run the dinner, but it will also keep your guests in the loop. There are plenty of online tools you can use to create a stylish programme, including:

Snapfish www.snapfish.com
Canva www.canva.com
Vistaprint www.vistaprint.com

  1. Evaluate and Assess

After everything is over, take the time to evaluate and assess the outcomes of your fundraising dinner. Ask yourself important questions like:

  • Did we meet our budget?
  • How much did we raise?
  • Did our guests enjoy their night? (consider sending a survey out after the event)
  • What worked well?
  • What didn’t work so well?
  • What would we change next time?
  • Did the venue meet our needs?
  • Was the catering up to standard?

Spend the necessary time looking into each aspect of your event. It will help you when planning and organising future events.

If you have any specific questions or need a little help, feel free to flick me an email courtney@exult.co.nz

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