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Why Are Fundraising Events Important?

Why Are Fundraising Events Important?


If you are wondering why fundraising events
are important, I’m going to talk a little bit about that today. Why they’re important, why you should do them,
why you shouldn’t do them and give you a few ideas of types of events and how you can go
about doing those events. Let’s talk about why fundraising events are
even important. First off, it needs to be a part of your overall fundraising strategy. It needs to be built into your fundraising
plan or your development plan as to how you’re going to go about during this year of creating your plan and how many events
are you going to have and what kind of events are you going to have. So, you do need to have events. But why are
events important? One thing is that it increases the visibility, it increases the awareness
of your nonprofit. Because every time you advertise it, every
time you tell somebody about this event, then it gives you a reason to talk about your nonprofit. It also educates people about who you are.
So if you think about that, you are going to have some type of a gala or a banquet or
whatever. well, you’re going to want to invite people.
So you want to go to your board and you want to ask your board who they know that they can invite to this event. You want
to get a volunteer committee together. So everything that you do is educating people
about who you are and why are you even doing this event so that
you’ll bring money in to support your constituents. It honors people who have given so much and
it inspires other people to give. So many times we see what what I’ll call this little
bit of competition between people who give to nonprofits. And
so many times somebody will say, “Oh, I bought a table at that event for $25,000 or $10,000
or $1,000 or whatever.” And then somebody else will say, “Oh, you
bought a table there? Oh, I’ll buy a table, too.” And so it honors that person because
they know that their money was well used. It had an impact. And that’s why they’re coming
back to the event again and then they’re inviting others to come in with them. It increases the involvement and strengthens
relationships with our donors, because many times we don’t have a set time when we can
actually schedule with our donors. So for instance
if, here in lovely Vail, Colorado. we have second homeowners. So a lot of our donors
are only here for part of the year. And that makes it even more challenging to
try to get together with them because when they are here, they are seeing their friends
and doing things with their friends. And so when we ask them out for a cup of coffee
or out for lunch. They already have plans. So how do we create something so that we have
our donors in one place? We can put on something that’s really fun, exciting
that they want to come to, that they can invite their friends to. And so those four reasons of increasing awareness,
educating people about who that your nonprofit is, honoring people who’ve given before and
increasing involvement. Right there, those are for really good reasons to have an event. But let’s talk a little bit about mistakes.
These are things that people do and think they need to have an event and maybe they
shouldn’t have an event. One of the rules of thumb that I tell nonprofits
is you should always have your event paid for before you ever even schedule it. And
I know that causes heavy breathing, because that’s scary. I mean,
how do you have an event paid for before you even schedule it? Case in point, I had a donor who had a suggestion for having
an event out in the woods. And it would be under the aspen trees and there’d be this
whole field of sunflowers and we would have a very exclusive event. We would
have wine tasting and and then we would have dinner. And as we are walking this piece of
property where we’re thinking about having it, one of the people who was familiar with this
property with us and so he looked around and he said I like this idea, how much would it cost to
put an event on here? Well, I didn’t know because, as you can imagine I was going to have to get outhouses and water
up there. And how are we going to get people who aren’t able to hike the one mile. How
are we going to get golf carts or four wheel drives or whatever? But the person who was with us. He said, uh,
we did a similar event up here and it was $30,000. Well the donor looked at me and said,
Robin, you got it. Go for it. So my event was totally paid for before I even began to
plan it. So don’t just plan an event because you see
somebody else made a million dollars or 500,000 or 100,000 or whatever at their last event
and think, “Oh, we can do that too.” No have it paid for beforehand. So that’s
one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is they don’t have the event paid for
beforehand. One of the things that happens is that and this happens a lot in good golf tournaments,
that type of event people give away things with logos on them. People don’t keep those. They don’t use those
unless they’re just the coolest whizz bang thing you’ve ever seen. They don’t keep those. And so be careful about
having sponsors logos on giveaways. You want your logo. The nonprofit’s logo. One of the things that seems to happen at
events is people don’t mention the mission of the organization. For some reason that
just ends up on the cutting room floor. And so when we are talking about why are fundraising
events important? It’s important to get the word out about your nonprofit and if you’re
not telling them what your mission is, if you aren’t putting your logos on giveaways, if you aren’t working the room during the
event, that’s one of the reasons events are important is to make that connection because
people bring their friends. Being sure that when you do an auction, there’s
something that represents your organization, something that goes along the lines with what
your organization does. And so when we look at what type of event
that you’re going to have, that’s one of the ways why our events important. Well, do you
want to attract new people to your nonprofit? Well, then do a donor cultivation event. Do
you need to raise money? Well, do a fundraising event. You just need to thank your donors. I had
a donor say to me, we have not done enough to thank our donors. I will pay for an event
that’s just a thank you event that has no ask. Well, that was a knife right through my heart to have an event that
we couldn’t ask. But the whole idea was just stewardship. It was just thanking them. And then you probably heard of peer to peer
fundraising events. Facebook is doing a lot of those right now. So if you have a birthday
and let’s say that somebody running a race a marathon or something,
you can ask for money to support that person that’s peer to peer fundraising. We have a
lot of events here where they involve skiing, of course, and there’s something called Pink
Vail. And people form their own teams and they get
their friends to donate and they have their whatever amount they want to raise. What that
does is those events, bring in people who might not have known anything about the cause
that Pink Vail does cancer research and helps people who have cancer. And then of course there’s the grassroots
fundraising event that’s when you might just invite somebody to an event. A living room event is what we
call them. In a living room event just means that maybe one of your donors or a board member
is willing to have a group of people in their house where they invite their neighbors or
whatever. It’s just grassroots fundraising. And then there’s another type of event called
an immersion event. And from what I understand, this is taking the country by storm. And what
an immersion event is, let’s say that you your nonprofit works with
teams who are homeless. And so an immersion event might have various tables set up around
the room. And let’s say at the first table, the person
who’s attending the event gets a backpack and the backpack is full of food and it has
blankets and might even have some money in it and has extra shoes and socks and you go
to the next area, next table, and they say, “All all your food got stolen.” So they take
all your food away. The next one. “Oh, your blanket got soaking
wet.” And now you can’t use it. They take the blanket away. So by the time that you
get to the end of this immersion activity, your backpack is empty. And so that’s how people understand what the
people you support might go through is how did that feel to have an empty backpack? So that’s why that we need to have events.
We need to have them to help people be aware of what we do. Well, thanks for joining me. Please subscribe
to my YouTube channel. I have videos coming out all the time and they are short videos
that will just help you do the things you need to do to be an even more effective fundraiser
and putting the fun in fundraising. Thanks so
much. Till next time.

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