Save the Date!

Photo by  Dafne Cholet

Photo by Dafne Cholet

 When planning a fundraiser, choosing a date is more than simply looking at the calendar.  Consider your organization’s resources and then the idea of partnering with others.

•     •     •     •     •

There are many ways to raise money for your group or organization.  Bake sales, book fairs, walk-a-thons, dinner dances….. whatever the event is, your first job is to pick a date.  So, you pull out your handy dandy calendar, close your eyes and point.  Seriously, that is how some people do it.  We, at BIG, encourage you to be a little more thoughtful when choosing a time and day for your event.

There are two things that factor into the date of your event:

Availability

Is the venue available, are your volunteers available, are your guests available?

Choosing the proper venue is critical to running a successful event – especially for large scale fundraising. Confirming that your perfect venue is available is easy – it just requires a simple phone call.  But, confirming the availability of your volunteers is another issue completely.  Planning and executing a successful large-scale capital fundraiser requires lots of manpower.  You must make sure that your volunteers are able to help not just the day of the event, but the days and weeks leading up to the event.  Having a large gala the week after everyone comes home from spring break might be difficult. But maybe, if the bulk of your volunteers stay in town over break, it would be a great time.  It all depends on your situation.

The same goes for your attendees: those you want to come to your event and support your efforts financially.  Take a look at your community’s calendar.  Are there other events going on that could prevent people from coming?  Is there another non-profit hosting an event at the same time, or around the same time?  You are counting on financial support at your event.  You don’t want people to choose one event or the other, OR to go to both but not bring as much in financial donations to the table.  That not only hurts you and your organization, it impacts the other organization as well.

Partnerships  

Working with others to create a larger event.

It may sound counter-intuitive to work with others when planning your event.  It might even seem to contradict the paragraph above, BUT your organization can benefit from partnering with another non-profit or group. Start by looking for another organization with whom you would like to work.  You might pick a group whose efforts compliment those of your organization.  For example, a local dance school could host a Dance-a-Thon and partner with an organization that makes a difference through sneaker collection. (If you live in the Chicagoland area, you can reach out to Share Your Soles or more nationally through The More Foundation to donate your shoes.)

On the flip side, the partnership doesn’t always have to make sense.  For instance, a local animal shelter and the library could work together.  Books and dogs!  You have two totally different audiences.  It is the perfect opportunity to introduce one group to the other and quite possibly your attendees could end up supporting both!  It’s a win-win!  By partnering with another group, you get the benefit of larger audiences and exposure to your efforts. The other benefit of partnering is the simple economic fact of sharing costs.  No explanation necessary.

Picking a date that works for your organization is just the first step.  Taking the time to consider your internal resources and the external community can help you pick the perfect date to assure a successful and more profitable event.

For more information on partnerships, check out the posts “Partnerships for Profit” and “Friend-raising.

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