How To Rethink Your Fundraising Event

Do you wonder if all the hard work that goes into a fundraising event is worth it in the end?

We talk with nonprofits all the time who invest tons of hours, dollars and volunteers only to pull off a fundraising event without seeing results. If that sounds like your organization, it may be time to take a hard look at why your event is not producing ROI and rethink your strategy.

Here are the key areas to review when rethinking your event strategy:

Budget—Net gain

  • Are you raising more than you are spending?
  • How many hours is staff spending on the event – what is that costing you in actual time?  1 to 1 or 1-2 What could the staff have been doing with that time lost? What opportunities were missed because staff is working on an event?
  • Do you have a lead sponsor for the event?

Event Planning

  • What is the 5 year plan?
  • What is the life span of the event?
  • Is there an exit strategy for the event?
  • Is there a plan to handle the competition?
  • Pricing plan – are you charging enough/not enough?
  • How are we making our event unique?
  • What is the event capacity or cap?
  • Timing of the event? Weather, competition for attendees all need to be considered.
  • Is there a point in the event you can share your message to the attendees?
  • Does this event tie in with your mission? Let’s say your mission is family oriented but this is a beer tasting event – is it the right fit or image you want to portray?
  • Are your board, staff and volunteers committed and engaged in this event?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to look at any gaps and determine what needs to be improved, or consider trying a different type of event.

One of the biggest areas of opportunity is from sponsorships. If you can procure lucrative sponsorship to offset the costs of the event, you are already ahead of the game!

Leveraging volunteers in place of paid staff is also a great way to keep costs down, and ensure your staff members are engaging with donors during the event.

So focus on the business side of your events to make sure you are getting the fundraising results your organization deserves.


2 Responses to “How To Rethink Your Fundraising Event”

  1. We’ve been in the fundraising industry for 15 years and the two biggest mistakes we see are frequency and timing issues.

    Too many groups go to the well too often and wonder why their donor base continually shrinks.

    The other mistake is timing. Really study your donor base and see if there are better times of the year for them. It’s not always when it’s best for you. After all your donors are the ones writing the checks.


Share your thoughts