How to Create a Unique Fundraising Event Concept
By Brittany LaGanke, Director of Nonprofit Development, CGC
Originally published on 7/31/19 by NonProfitPRO
As a nonprofit organization, you are no doubt constantly trying to come up with new and inventive ways to fundraise. Most organizations love the idea of hosting events, but oftentimes fundraising events end up becoming a time and money suck, with no real benefit for all the effort. In order to host a successful fundraising event, your team must first develop an event concept. But what exactly goes into developing an event concept?
Here are some of our tips for your initial brainstorming sessions.
1. Decide on the Purpose
Before you do anything else, your team must first determine the purpose of the event. Is the main goal to raise funds and meet a financial goal? Do you want the event to be for networking or to gain sponsors? Before you begin any plans on a concept or theme, you must first determine the reason that you are hosting the event in the first place. Ensure that the purpose of your event also aligns with your organization’s overall mission.
2. Determine Your Budget
Work with your financial team and board of directors to determine an appropriate budget for the fundraising event. Knowing the limits or bounty of available funds for this purpose will play a large part in determining what kind of concept you pursue for the fundraising event.
3. Consider Your Target Audience
Who will be the guests at your fundraising event? Do you want to focus on individual donors or corporate sponsors? Once you determine a broad category for the types of guests you will invite to the event, brainstorm various ideas or themes that might resonate with this group. Businesses often talk about their “ideal client,” but a nonprofit can also learn a lot about their audience from this idea: Your organization has an ideal audience for your event, so try to dig in and get a better understanding of these people in order to connect with them.
You can ask yourself questions like: What are their goals or dreams? What are some of the challenges in their lives? How do they like to spend a Saturday night? The answers to any and all of these questions could spark a unique idea for your event.
4. Brainstorm the ‘Big Draw’
To ensure that your audience will feel compelled to spend their precious time at your fundraising event, try to determine something one-of-a-kind that draw guests in. This could be anything from a specific person who gives a keynote address, a special location or venue or an activity that will take place during the event. For this, the sky’s the limit! Make sure your team also utilizes personal connections. Someone in your network could have access to a professional sports stadium or other unique location. Others may know a published author or speaker who could be featured at the event.
Additionally, come up with some ways for your fundraising event to be interactive for the guests in attendance. Silent auctions are no longer unique, per se, but the idea behind it is sound: Finding a way for your guests to be actively involved and invested in the event will ensure greater success.
Need help planning your event? Check out our Event Management services.