Nonprofit charities spend a great deal of time raising funds for the causes they support. Most of them take donations throughout the year via a donations pages on their websites. To help charities raise money, fundraiser companies provide services like planning fundraising events, contacting donors, and provide marketing ideas to organizations.
Area of Expertise
Many fundraising businesses work with certain types of charities to help them raise money. Some work exclusively with schools, scout groups, or kids’ sports teams. They offer ideas, such as products the kids can sell to help raise money for their group.
For example, to help a little league baseball team raise money for new uniforms, a fundraising company may provide them with sales kits for cookies, popcorn, lottery scratch-offs, or mugs with the team’s logo imprinted on them. When a child sells a mug, then the profits go to the team.
Not only does the team make money, but the business does as well. Some fundraising businesses get up to 50% from the sales when an organization uses their kits to raise money.
Along with children’s groups, fundraising businesses work with churches, nonprofit community organizations, civic groups, and others to help raise funds for their cause. Along with offering product kits, these businesses can also help plan fundraisers.
What is a Fundraiser?
A fundraiser is either a person or event that helps to raise money for a charity’s cause. People solicit donations from individuals or companies to support and provide services through their charity. Fundraising events may include:
- Silent auctions
- Selling products
- Walks or races like 5 or 10Ks and marathons.
- Art Exhibits
While galas or silent auctions may be for certain groups of people, such as a charity’s major donors, others are open to the public. A concert or an art exhibit will sell tickets to raise money or walkathons and races will have participants get pledges from friends and family to help get money for the charity.
It‘s important that the fundraiser doesn’t cost more to produce than the money it raises. That is an area where help from a fundraising business can be useful. They can have experience planning successful events and can keep costs under control.
There are many fundraising event ideas that charitable organizations can do to raise money. However, they need to be profitable, so the organizations make more than they spend on putting on the event. Here are some of the most profitable ideas for fundraising events.
Walk or Run-a-thons
Some charities hold walk, run, golf, or bike-a-thons to raise money every year. Some events, like marathons, are competitive and may draw many people from all over the country to participate. Others are smaller community events where people can enjoy getting out and exercising with their friends and other participants.
In most cases, money is raised by the participants who get pledges from their family, friends, co-workers, and others for each mile they walk, run, bike, etc. The event not only gathers money for the charity, but it can also help:
- Increase public awareness of the charity’s cause.
- Increase community support.
- Increase donations.
Compared to other fundraisers, these events are inexpensive to stage so that smaller organizations will see a higher profit from them. Larger charities also receive a good return on their investment and can build them into larger events for their communities.
Everyone has a talent they like to show-off, so charities can stage competitive events such as singing, dancing, or eating competitions to raise money. Money can be donated for a chance to vote on the winner or participants in the competition may pay to enter it.
These competitions are popular with charities because they do not cost as much to produce as other fundraisers. Fundraiser companies can help organize and stage these events for organizations of all sizes.
You’ve probably seen many cheerleading squads, high school sports teams, and churches holding car washes to raise money. This event is popular because its costs are very low, so the organization can easily make money from it.
It can also be held almost anywhere, including a school parking lot, a car wash may donate some of their space for one, or at a church. The main costs are the water, soap, and the volunteers’ time to wash cars. On a sunny day, a car wash can attract quite a few car owners who will pay a few dollars to keep from doing the chore themselves.
A live or silent auction is a good fundraising event for mid-size organizations, such as a local chapter of a national charity, a volunteer fire department, or a semi-professional sports team to raise funds to travel to a competition.
Organizers can solicit auction items from local businesses, sports teams, and corporations with offices or stores in the community. Smaller nonprofit organizations, like churches, may have members of their congregations make items for the auction or solicit them from local businesses.
By soliciting auction items, advertising the event through social media and on their websites, and community bulletin boards, the cost of most auctions are minimal, and they can yield a good ROI for mid-sized and smaller nonprofits.
A raffle is another fundraising idea that businesses in the community can get in on. When they participate, it is a good form of advertising for them, especially if the nonprofit is community oriented. People will remember a store which supports their church or a charity to which they are connected.
Local businesses can donate items for the raffle, such as gift cards already loaded with a certain dollar amount, gift baskets, hotel stays, or tickets to a sports event. Most raffles usually have a big ticket item to give away, but others may also have several other items available for people to win.
Money is raised at a raffle by selling tickets for the item(s) being offered. If there are several items, then tables may be set up to sell tickets, with the buyer putting their name and information on the back of it and then putting it in a box from which the winning ticket will be drawn.
Many raffles take place at community events like an open house at a church or school, a fundraising dinner, or at booths during fairs or similar community gatherings.
How to Set Up a Fundraiser
If your organization decides to put on a fundraising event, there are several steps to take to ensure its success.
Decide its Purpose
Determine the purpose of the fundraiser. While it may be about making money to send the choir to Europe or to fund a special project, other goals may include promoting the organization within the community and networking with businesses and other nonprofit organizations.
Set Fundraising Goal
Hold a meeting with the event host committee and the organization’s staff to decide the monetary goal for the fundraiser. Knowing the goal will help you choose a low-cost event so that the event can raise the money that is needed.
Set Up Committee
You will need to set up an event host committee, with one or two chairpersons, to help gather donations to hold the event. The committee should be comprised of people who have made substantial donations to your cause, local celebrities, and community leaders. Their job is to reach out to others to get donations.
Set a Budget
Any event, no matter its cause, needs to set a budget with which to work. Start by listing all the expenses for the event, such as:
- Venue rental
- Staff pay
- Hiring entertainers
The budget needs to consider the fundraising goal so that the costs are well below how much your organization wants to raise. Leave room in the budget for unexpected costs as well.
Determine Target Audience
By determining who you want to attend the event, you can design the event around them. For instance, if the event is for high-dollar donors, then it may be a more formal occasion, such as a dinner, a silent auction, or a gala.
If the event is open to the public, such as a benefit concert, then you will need to structure the event for them. Perhaps include a meet and greet with the stars of the concert, sell souvenirs to help raise money and tickets to the event.
If it is a public event, then you will need to start promoting it well in advance of its date. There are many inexpensive ways to market it, such as social media, putting it on your website’s event page, posting flyers, and posting it on community event boards. Also, contact local radio and television stations about announcing it the week of the event.
Lastly, send thank you cards to everyone who helped plan and put on the fundraising event. Send them to the host committee, the venue, donors, celebrities and others who participated in holding the event.
If you need help coming up with event ideas or with planning it, contact fundraiser companies about helping your organization hold a fundraiser.