Deciding how best to spend your money on your fundraising event is no small task.
Costs are a given. The trick is to decide how to spend your money to get the biggest bang for your buck. What do you hire out and what do you do in-house? Which will make your fundraising event more successful and bring in the most revenue?
First, assess the needs of your event and the real talents among your staff and your community. Sometimes the volunteer option is the best choice. Other times hiring a professional is the wisest strategy. Your knowledge of your community will be your best guide.
Setting the stage
You want your fundraising event to focus on providing the highest quality experience possible for your donors. By concentrating on what they will encounter—from valet parking and a warm welcome to concierge service for loading up those fantastic auction items at the end of the evening—you’ll help your donors feel appreciated and relaxed. As a result, they’ll spend more money.
Beyond your donors, the fundraising event should be a glorious representation of your cause, highlighting your brand in every aspect. While official sponsors will display their brands in designated publications and locations that you have agreed to, any service providers should focus on assisting your organization—not promoting their own business.
Event Night Staff
Understanding the resources you need for the night of your event may seem overwhelming, but we have outlined the essentials in our event night staff requirements article. Check-in and check-out are critical points where your event night staff will be interacting directly with your donors, so ensuring you have a properly trained staff is key to a streamlined flow. You can hire people who have event experience, if you feel it’s necessary. On the other hand, volunteers who have compassion for your organization, or who are recipients of your good works, will create a much stronger connection with your donors.
Greater Giving software is designed with simplicity in mind so you can successfully manage a large event with your in-house staff and volunteers.
Easy to set up and easy to use, Greater Giving software is flexible enough to work on your equipment or on rented equipment if you need it.
And, if you really need that additional support for your event, Greater Giving offers professional Event Services—experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate.
Planning a large event takes a particular skill set. If you have this expertise in-house, fantastic. You are ahead of the game. If not, you may find that outsourcing the planning is the best use of your time and funds. If so, make sure to hire someone who is a very good communicator, who understands your mission and who can get up to speed on the details quickly.
Perhaps your school has a very funny, lively character that everyone knows and loves. Asking this person to be your MC may be just the ticket to boost enthusiasm at your event. In addition hiring a professional auctioneer is a wise investment, because you want someone with the expertise and personality to engage a wide range of people and inspire them to donate to your cause.
Depending on the type of atmosphere you want to create, you could choose to provide the food yourself or hire a caterer to cook the meal. An informal Spaghetti Dinner is a great place to put those fantastic volunteer cooks in your community to work. On the other hand, a formal sit-down dinner would probably be more successful with the services of a professional caterer. For more considerations on which option to choose, visit Event Food Catering & DIY- Feeding the Masses.
Some organizations are fortunate to have access to really top-notch technicians and equipment for their audio-visual needs. Perhaps you have connections with a team that can provide these services in some form of a sponsorship deal. If so, take full advantage of these resources. If not, hiring a professional team will ensure your event goes off without a hitch. The last thing you want is a dead microphone in the middle of the auction.
As with all aspects of planning your fundraising event, know your community. You may have a parent or volunteer who is an outstanding photographer and who would love to volunteer to support your cause. But don’t settle for mediocre. If the person has the willingness, but not the real talent, you’re better off hiring a professional to do the job.
What auction hardware do you have on hand? What do you have access to through your contacts and connections? Can you arrange a sponsorship or in-kind donation? Explore all the possibilities and see what arrangements you can make. For some things, you may just need to rent the equipment directly. If so, make sure you’re getting the quality you need to make your event professional. For a list of hardware you’ll need and additional suggestions for obtaining it, visit How to Solicit Auction Hardware: Rent, Buy or Borrow.
What is Your Experience?
Have you had to choose between hiring services for your fundraising event or doing it yourself? What criteria did you use to make the decision? Is there anything you would do differently? Share your insights, we’d love to hear from you.