Ask the Expert: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Coordinating a fundraiser can be challenging because many of us can’t see the forest for the trees. Have you experienced this? In planning any event, being too focused on the details can put the big picture on the back burner, and in turn, the event itself can fail simply because the big picture wasn’t taken attended to. Simply put, the details tend to fall into place once the main aspects of any event are in checked off the list (and yes, that means contracts signed!).

Venue is first and foremost. Booking a venue secures you not only a place to have your event, but almost as importantly, a date and potential theme for its’ characteristics. If the venue isn’t partially or entirely donated, it could also eat up a large portion of your budget. So, we recommend viewing multiple venues and weighing the options for the date, cost, audio/visual capabilities, parking, electricity/water access, and many other considerations that may come into play during your event. Having your vendor team with you during these walkthroughs will give you a good perspective in what to look for in a venue.

Once your venue is booked and a date is secured, hiring your catering and bartending services should be your next step. Again, we recommend interviewing several vendors in each area of expertise to see what they will be willing to donate, what their services include, how many staff members they will be providing, etc. Keep in mind: many of these vendors are competitively priced, so the main differences in their offerings comes down to quality of food or beverages, and service!

Now that the event is coming together, it’s time to select your auctioneer. We recently wrote a blog on optimizing your emcee, and many of those tips work for auctioneers as well. Your auctioneer should be a professionally trained individual who can work a crowd and is prepared with a script, which they’ve practiced weeks prior to the event, as well as during a runthrough the week of the event with all vendors. They should also be comfortable making announcements throughout the event to promote the silent and live auctions, and they should have a thorough understanding of the clientele at the event. A well-prepared and well-educated auctioneer can truly make all the difference in the auction funds you raise at your event.

Finally, the music to our ears – marketing and event design! Once the key players are set in place, marketing your event is crucial to securing ticket sales + auction donations and spreading the word! Encourage event partners to share your marketing content so that it is cross-posted, reaching as large of an audience as possible. Create a social media plan and invest in paid social to promote the event to those who may have never heard of it. Designing the event cohesively, with proper branding, decor, and signage, brings it full circle for guests. They know that they are getting what they paid for if your event is properly executed, engaging, and cohesively branded. This all adds to the donor experience, making them aware that they are at a professionally managed event, and thus encouraging them to participate in the auction and other sponsorship opportunities. The ultimate goal is for donors to have such a good time that they come again next year, bringing their friends this time, gradually growing your donor pool each year.

Get in touch with us to learn more about budgeting for your fundraiser!