Planning a large fundraiser is a big job: there are thousands of details to manage, teams to coordinate and deadlines to meet…
So how do you deal with the stress of it all?
I’ve put together a list of tips that have helped me when tasked with a big job. Hopefully these suggestions will help you manage and maintain your stress levels while putting on your big event.
It’s amazing how a deep breath can calm and center you. When we get stressed, we tend to breathe more shallowly, which restricts oxygen to the brain. So give your brain (and your nerves) a calming boost—take a deep breath. You will be busy. There’s no question about that. Just take a deep breath, chill for a moment and dive in.
Event day will place a lot of demands on you. Make sure you get enough rest. If you tend to have trouble sleeping the night before a high-energy day, take that into account and get plenty of rest in the days leading up to the event.
Prepare healthy snacks for yourself to keep your energy level steady. Coffee and donuts will get you going, but you don’t want that inevitable slump when the effect wears off.
Go for a walk, do yoga, meditate, have a glass of wine, relax with your family, have coffee with a friend… Do whatever it is that makes you feel grounded and centered. And remember to treat yourself when the event is over too.
Completing all the pre-planning well ahead of time will save you time and stress later on:
- Map out what needs to be done, by when and by whom. Check out our event planning timeline is a good place to start.
- Put your plan in writing so everyone knows what is expected of them. Download our comprehensive Fundraising Auction Planner to put it all in one place.
- Create a checklist and check off tasks as they are completed (included in our Fundraising Auction Planner).
- Review your checklist constantly and keep it updated.
Volunteers are essential in putting together a great fundraiser. Make sure to train your people so they know what to do, when to do it and how to do it properly. Volunteers are much more likely to come back when they are given clear expectations and sincere appreciation for a job well done.
Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how well-organized we are, sometimes life just happens to us—the weather turns nasty, the auctioneer gets sick, the keynote speaker’s flight gets delayed. Take a deep breath, recognize there are things out of your control, find the silver lining and make the best of it. The point is not to avoid unexpected challenges—but to dance with them when they come.
Remember the Cause
When things get crazy, stop for a moment and remember why you are doing this. Your organization is important, you are doing important work and the world is a better place as a result. The whole purpose of putting on this fundraiser is so that your organization can continue to make lives better. Connect with that purpose and you’ll be able to handle whatever the evening throws at you.
When it’s all done—when the last receipt is sent out and the last auction item delivered—throw a party. Get together with your team and celebrate the completion of another successful event. You earned it!
Share Your Ideas
How do you cope with the stress of putting on a big fundraising event? Share your tips in the comments below.