Fundraising events (fundraiser events) have become an essential part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of organisations. In Dubai, UAE, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of fundraising events organised over the years by both for-profit and non-profit organisations with a view to help charities and raise funds for worthy causes.
While fundraisers are a great way to generate funds and create awareness about charitable causes, they require a great deal of planning and meticulous organising to achieve the desired results. Whether it’s a charity raffle evening, a race night, charity golf, auction, or any type of fundraiser, here are some essential steps to make the event a success:
Establish your objectives
It is important to finalise and agree on the purpose of the fundraiser event:
- Is the sole purpose of event to help raising funds or do you want to create an event of which fundraising is just a part?
- Will you be inviting event sponsors?
- Do you want to achieve publicity with the event?
- What is the realistic target amount you plan to raise?
Established goals will help you set realistic expectations, determine the type of fundraiser event / activities you require, and this will feed into the next steps of planning and setting a budget.
Know your audience
You need to have a good idea about the audience / donors that will attend your fundraiser. Whether you’re inviting selected guests or keeping the event open to everyone, and whether the guests are friends, employees, clients, local businesses, HNWIs, government departments or perhaps celebrities, will help you determine the content and theme of the event. Remember: whatever the audience, fundraisers must be fun, engaging and entertaining while keeping the focus on the objective.
Setup and Location
Now comes the stage where you start putting the event together; this includes narrowing down on the most suitable venue – one that is easy to access and well known to your audience. You’ll also start preparing and finalising the following essential elements:
- Guest invites
- Event theme and activities
- Legal permissions for collecting donations
- Event staff and volunteers
- Gift bags and giveaways
- Event space design
This is an important stage and it is best to seek advice from experienced event professionals in order to get it right. Quick Tip: while contacting suppliers for the above, don’t forget to mention that this is for a charity event; it’s worth a try and might get you a discount.
When planning for a successful event, make sure you don’t underestimate the role of marketing. Whether it’s an open event or restricted to select guests, the role of marketing should focus on highlighting why the event is worth attending. Early and timely reminders through direct mail, phone and word-of-mouth, in addition to social media and local press releases, will ensure your audience understands the cause and importance of your fundraising efforts and the event receives deserved publicity.
Don’t forget to say Thank You
Donations, charity and volunteering are things people do out of goodwill without expecting anything in return but that doesn’t mean you can’t say Thank You and express gratitude to those who donated / volunteered. Keep your donors happy because you might require the donations again for a future event. Small giveaways commemorating the occasion will leave a lasting impression.
Fundraising events can be both exciting and overwhelming; it’s important to prepare early and focus on realistic objectives. Remember: people love a great venue, great food, and prizes; keep it all centred on fun and you’ll be the right track.