Last updated September 9, 2014
Often I hear people complaining that there’s no point hosting a fundraising event because they make little money for a lot of effort. While in some cases that may be true, fundraising events are not just about the dollars. Holding a fundraising event can bring other benefits to your organisation as well.
1. Events are a great way to get some publicity
Well run fundraising events are newsworthy, especially if there is some sort of celebrity angle. If you are going to run an event of any sort, make sure it pays off for you in the publicity stakes. Send a press release to local media, use online social networking and generally make a song and dance about what’s going on.
2. Events give you a chance to engage face-to-face with potential supporters
If someone goes to the trouble of attending your event, then chances are they are at least a little sympathetic to your cause. Hosting an event means you get to speak to potential supporters face-to-face and truly engage them with what your organisation does. Make sure you use this opportunity to really get under their skin.
3. Events give your volunteers an opportunity to grow as a team
Planning an event forces people to all pull in the same direction, and while sometimes the process can prove stressful; there is a real sense of achievement when the whole thing comes together. To get volunteers on board, make personal requests for help and find tasks that are specifically suited to their skills.
4. Events show the community you ‘work hard for your money’
Rightly or wrongly, there is a growing public perception that community organisations have always got their hand out asking for money. When you run an event, the perception is you are prepared to roll up your sleeves and work hard to keep your programmes running. It sheds a positive light on your organisation and people are willing to give you a ‘hand up’.
5. Well run events grow and become more profitable with time
Undoubtedly large events are hard work to organise, but if well recorded the process will get easier each year, and your profits will increase. Make sure you record every aspect of your event, build strong relationships with your sponsors, and reward your volunteers well. As your event grows, the initial hard work really does start to pay off.
6. Events provide tangible opportunities for your sponsors
Finding sponsorship for a specific event is usually easier than finding blanket sponsorship for your entire organisation. Event sponsorship is a great way to introduce new supporters to your cause, because you can give them tangible benefits in return. Once they are involved at that level, you can offer them other opportunities to support you as well.
In a nutshell, fundraising events are not the silver bullet for raising funds, but they can be a useful part of your overall fundraising strategy. Don’t dismiss them too quickly as all work and no pay – there’s more to events than dollars in the bank.
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