While planning events for the past 13 years, I will say that fundraising ideas are not always easy to come up with for your fundraiser. Despite the economy and not really sure of the financial capabilities of guests, you’re inviting them to your event to ask for money. Certainly you have a great cause, but you are still asking for money nonetheless.
The challenge to fundraisers is having guests see your event as more than just a time to come and party. You want to activate them which in return will cause them to help you reach your goal.
What really works to get guests to not only have a good time, but pull our their check books?
Two Easy Ways to Get Event Fundraising Ideas Started
Master The Art of Storytelling
I believe TV series have really mastered the art of storytelling. Take Game of Thrones or even This Is Us as examples. Season after season you are let into the lives of dozens of characters. Faithfully you watch to live vicariously through these characters to see what will unfold in their lives.
Some shows make you cry because someone passed away. Others make you scream because the villain just got away with yet another victory.
This is the beauty of storytelling. You are drawn in and feel emotionally connected to the show. This can also be applied to fundraising events.
Are you building awareness for domestic violence, HIV or fighting cancer? Tell the stories of those who are directly benefiting from your charity or cause. When you share these stories at your fundraising event, you connect with your audience’s heart strings which propels them to donate.
Engage Your Audience On Social Media
Years ago it was rare to see companies actually engage with their audience on social media. Most of the interaction was one directional. The company would tweet something and you either replied back to them or retweeted. Unless it was a customer service request it was difficult to get replies.
That has changed. Companies have realized that their followers want to interact with them. It’s a way to get even closer to them like I explain via storytelling.
Not only does social media help you interact with event attendees, you are able to reach even more people who may not know of your charity event. Give your attendees a reason to share your event with their network. Allow them to take photos and go Live during your event. While some may not be able to attend, they may still be willing to donate.
Lastly, being engaged online allows you to see what your guests are doing and further improve the next event. That’s very valuable information that comes for free.
How To Attract Attendees To Your Event
8 Fundraising Ideas To Boost Revenue
Photo: Edward Underwood Photography
There are so many local and globally known Fashion Designers that have participated in fundraising fashion shows. Event hosts raise funds via tickets sales. Fashion shows have been used during a lunch or dinner reception or standalone. With the right designer(s) you can easily sell out a show.
Influencer marketing is a new alternative way of getting support for your fundraising ideas. Most times you see Influencers advertising products, but this doesn’t mean they can’t create content to inform their followers about your event. Connecting with the right Influencer can mean people who may not normally look to donating to your fundraiser now wanting to donate.
Make Money While You Sleep
People are always online and may find donating via your website the easiest way to help. Make donating easier by adding a donate button on your website and even inside your newsletters. I recommend that you make the donation box more eye-catching and engaging. Don’t settle for the traditional Donate button. Turn it into a GIF or something else that’s fun.
I believe raffles have been a part of fundraising ideas for a long time. The goal is to have guests pay to receive a ticket to some grand prize. But the goal is to get a sponsor to provide a prize people simply can’t say no to. Partner with a local dealership to have them raffle off a new car. Partner with a travel agency to raffle off a vacation to Bali. Get Gary Vaynerchuk to donate a year’s supply of his new Empathy Wines.
Photo: Annie Spratt
One way to reduce your fundraising event budget is to have sponsors cover some if not all of the expenses. While sponsorship marketing does take practice, with the right incentives, you can have sponsors:
Cover the cost of your bar with a sponsorship bar
Serve as the venue sponsor
Cover the cost of your Keynote Speaker
Cover the cost of an event app
Sponsor a 360 video photo booth
There are so many opportunities outside of splashing a logo on your website or step and repeat. Engage your sponsors to see what they want to benefit from the most.
Valet Service with a Twist
Photo Emile Guillemont
Would you be more inclined to pay for valet if it came with a car wash? Getting your car cleaned while having fun at a charity fundraiser just makes sense. Have a portion of the proceeds go towards the charity which is a WIN/WIN for both sides.
I’m a fan of WGTS 91.9. I think they do an amazing job when it comes to fundraising. Callers are able to challenge the radio station and listeners to donating a certain amount. The challenger could match $5000 if other callers made a combined donation to equal that. The result is the radio station getting $10,000.
Guests are always looking for ways to be entertained with a little competition. Attendees are more open to paying to play a game especially when they can come out as the winner. Using a game like Fortnite will have plenty of people wanting to play it in front of a live audience. Your event doesn’t have to have an entire gamification theme. You can easily scale this down or up to meet your goal.
While some might see a fundraising event as a challenge to boost revenue, it doesn’t have to be. The goal is to connect with your attendees and make sure you create an experience. When you establish a successful event, you simply have to build on that each year. Don’t forget what your mission is and why you are hosting the event.
Events can serve as an entry point to your charity. It can also extend well past the day of your event if you actively engage on social media and through news outlets. Ultimately you have to ensure that you treat each attendee as if they were your only attendee. Make sure your sponsors are well taken care of and that everyone understands your revenue goal when the event is over.
Need help planning your fundraiser? We have more ideas than this blog post can hold so complete our questionnaire and let’s get you closer to your goal.