4 Things Fundraising Events Generate (Besides Money)

by Summy Lau, Winspire

The #1 goal of fundraising events – think fundraising galas, dinners, benefit concerts, golf tournaments, charity auctions and more – is to raise money.

However, they also have significant fringe benefits that lead to more support down the line.

In this post, we will look at four benefits of fundraisers besides much-needed flexible funding.

When all is said and done, if you can check off these accomplishments, you’ll know you have created a successful, sustainable event.

1. Events help identify and/or cultivate major donors.

Believe it or not, when it comes to promoting your event, selling the most tickets possible is not the end-all, be-all. Event success relies on getting the right audience into the room. That means finding new high-net worth donors in your community: people who will actually participate and enroll into your cause.

Tip: Procure and promote big-ticket Live Auction items

Offering big marquee items in the live auction – think a trip to Napa Valley, The Masters or New York City – not only brings in significant revenue, it helps you identify potential major donors.

Items of this caliber add instant credibility to your event, so you want to tell people what you are going to offer well in advance via promotional emails and social media posts.

You’ll be informing VIPs in the community that you expect more people like them to be in attendance. And you’re garnering the “Wow!” response you want from potential high net worth donors.

Click here to view top-selling travel packages you can reserve for a fundraising auction in minutes with no upfront cost or risk.

2. Events facilitate new relationships with local businesses via sponsorships.

Fundraising events are the perfect springboard to begin and/or continue cultivating relationships with local businesses.

Each year, list people and businesses that have sponsored in the past, then meet with these VIP contacts to discuss this year’s opportunities. If they have found great value in your event, you might brainstorm ways to increase their participation and ask for feedback.

In addition to retaining past sponsors, seek out potential new sponsors with whom you have connections or references. Go through your own contacts for business owners you know personally, then ask committee and board members to do the same. Also try looking at similar events in your area and checking their sponsor lists.

Tip: Find out who will be sitting at sponsored tables.

Often you’ll find that even if you bring in more numbers, you won’t necessarily raise more money…because you’ve attracted the wrong type of people for your event.

One great example of this is sponsored tables. These are tables given to sponsors that end up filled with employees or friends who have only come for free entertainment.

If you’re giving sponsors tables at your event, ask who they’ll be sending to fill the tables (it’s okay to ask!). Ideally they’ll be sending influencers and decision makers to your event. If they aren’t, consider offering a different reward and holding off on sponsored tables.

At the very least, do not put those tables front and center for the auction.

3. Creating an event community enrols donors into your cause.

What is a fundraising event community?

It’s an environment where local business owners, executives and leaders come together and spend money in support of your cause. Creating this environment isn’t easy – but it is the number one strategy to create a sustainable event.

This is why it’s so important to sell tickets not to whoever will pay, but those who will build your community in the long run.

Four signs you’ve created a sense of community:

  • Your event shows up in the social calendars of C-suite level individuals.
  • You make people feel like they need to be there because they’re connected.
  • People feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Your event is the “it” place to be for movers & shakers.

Tip: Share who else will be there.

To build your community, clue your VIPs in on who the other high-level guests are that plan to attend. Who is it that supports you in the ballroom? Other VIPs in your community will flock to the event when they know other VIPs are going to be there.

4. Events raise awareness and broaden your reach.

Your event should be an awesome party, but remember this is first and foremost a fundraiser supporting life-changing programs and services.

Tip: Keep your cause front and center.

Throughout promotional efforts, make sure potential guests understand what it is you are raising money for, and how it fits into the overall goal of the organization. Be sure to include the goal of your event, striking statistics and meaningful anecdotes in every piece of collateral, announcement, press release and social media post you deliver.

The more your guests know about the cause before walking into the ballroom, the more prepared they’ll be to give generously to your cause.

As you can see, special events offer a multifaceted boon to development even beyond critical short-term funds.

For a more in-depth look at leveraging fundraising events to boost fundraising year-round, please join us for the upcoming webinar, “Using Events to Identify High Net Worth Donors.” 

Author Bio: Summy Lau

This post was created in collaboration with Summy Lau of Winspire. Winspire provides incredible travel packages and luxury hotel stays for charities to use in fundraising auctions and raffles, with no upfront cost. As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings extensive experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising and publishing to Winspire’s semiweekly event fundraising blog, Winspire News.

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