Fundraisers are bigger than ever…and they’re not just for school trips or health research any more. Though those are both worthy causes, people are banding together more and more with fundraiser parties for anything from adding awareness about a local cause to starting a local business to promoting the making of an independent film.
If you have a cause in mind, here’s how to plan a fund raiser event by holding a party that’s both fun and a smashing success.
Gather Your Materials Ahead of Time
If you’re looking to raise awareness and/or funds about a particular project, go to the headquarters of the organization, your city hall or look online and ask for brochures to hand out during the fundraiser.
If the issue is more personal, gather information describing your cause and create a catchy, professional-looking one page handout. (This is easy to do using Word or a similar document program and free clipart you can find on the internet.)
If you’re hosting a PartyLite or Tupperware get-together – or something similar – make sure you’re well stocked on order forms, extra catalogs and samples. (If you hadn’t considered this avenue but already have such a home business, ask your superior whether the company offers fundraiser help. Many do.)
Estimate Your Number of Attendees
If you’re expecting a huge crowd but don’t necessarily live in a mansion, consider asking your local Lion’s Club or other hall whether you’d be able to host your party there. Local organizations are often happy to donate their space free of charge for a good cause.
For a smaller gathering, have the party at your own home, in a reserved area of a restaurant or at a friend’s home.
If you’re having trouble estimating the total amount of attendees, ask for RSVPs three weeks in advance of the event. This will give you a better idea of what kind of space you’ll be needing for your fund raising party.
Drum Up Interest
Create sympathy for your cause by making flyers that explain what you’re doing and why. Then post them at establishments that allow you to (ALWAYS ask before hanging up your flyers).
Use the internet for this purpose, too. Use free social networking sites like Facebook to post information and updates as you get closer to the big day. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to engage people’s interest in your idea and to remind them when the party is coming up.
Don’t discount word of mouth as a marketing tool. Mention your party to your children’s teachers, to friends, even at work if it doesn’t seem inappropriate (some work places discourage this type of networking openly in the workplace; get a feel for your company on this or find out if there’s a policy).
Make Your Attendees Comfortable
Have snacks and beverages on hand. As a general rule, keep this simple (and you can even ask for donations of soda, juice, sandwiches, salads or order-in pizza. Even places like McDonald’s may donate large coffee urns for your event.) Consider a potluck if it’s a smaller, more intimate party.
Have plenty of seating available. Ask friends to bring folding chairs, or rent them through your local party outlet (you’d be surprised how inexpensive this can be).
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for volunteers. Others who support your cause, family members, close friends, and parents of your child’s schoolmates (if they’re involved in the cause) are all great candidates. Ask helpers to make follow-up RSVP calls for a head count, help set up seating and tables before the event or send thank-you notes after the event (see below).
Say Thank You
Don’t forget to send thank you notes after the event. People remember small gestures – and it’s important that you let them know how much their involvement has meant to you.