Apr 22, 2024

Behind the scenes of a successful fundraiser: Understanding event logistics

successful fundraiser

Careful fundraiser event planning can help you grow your nonprofit and raise awareness of your cause. Before the big day, you’ll want to determine your organization’s primary goals, secure sponsors, sell tickets, and set up your venue for success. Here’s how to host a fundraiser, including steps for securing sponsorships and using digital fundraiser tools to your advantage.

Determine fundraising goals

The first step in fundraiser event planning is determining your goals. Most nonprofit organizations organize fundraisers to:

  • Raise funds: The main goal of fundraising events is to fund your nonprofit’s purpose and grow your cause. If you’re hoping to raise enough money for a specific project, break down the estimated costs, and establish a realistic fundraising target for your event.
  • Spread awareness: While not every attendee will be a donor, you should encourage them to spread the word about your nonprofit and its goals. Fundraising events encourage audience engagement, helping you maintain strong partnerships to continue growing your nonprofit.
  • Strengthen donor relations: Besides recruiting supporters, organizing a fundraiser can help steward existing supporters. While your goals regarding donor relations might not be as clearly defined, you should still have a general idea of what success looks like. A robust reporting software can help you gain insight into your supporters’ motivations and create goals.

While planning your goals, identify the point people who will be responsible for executing each project. For example, you might tap into your marketing team when planning a content calendar and launching social media campaigns.

Secure sponsors

Fundraising events often require a fair amount of money to cover upfront costs. Ensure your event is a financial net gain by securing sponsorship. With the support of established groups, you can reach more people and achieve more recognition. Prepare the following to secure sponsors:

  • Define your value: Communicate with local businesses or other established companies about why your nonprofit is a good fit for a partnership. Consider how your purpose aligns with their unique goals and how many people have benefited from your organization to seal the deal.
  • Convey your reach: Emphasize to business owners that consumers like supporting companies that contribute to charitable groups, especially those involved in improving their local community. Show them how your target audiences converge — potential sponsors will want to know how they benefit from an event where attendees are more likely to become customers.
  • Build sponsorship packages: Discuss what you’re hoping to gain from a sponsorship, whether it’s a $3,000 donation or a free event space to use. Then, outline what sponsors will receive in return. For example, you might include the company’s name and logo on promotional materials or mention their name during speeches. Offer different packages and levels to attract smaller businesses as well as big brands.
established groups of people

Sell tickets

Your next objective is determining how you’ll sell tickets or accept donations for the fundraising event. Start selling tickets as soon as possible, but keep these factors in mind before opening your sale:

  • Flat price or ticket packages: Determine whether you’ll charge a flat ticket price or offer varying ticket packages. For example, your nonprofit might offer VIP tickets at a higher price or discounts to families and groups. You might even price your tickets by date of purchase, rewarding those who purchase early.
  • Where and how tickets are sold: Decide where you will sell tickets and who will handle selling them. Offer a clear option on your website so donors know how to purchase tickets. Showcase prices and package options in a way that helps avoid confusion and decide how tickets will be shipped or delivered.
  • How to manage attendee information: If your ticket sales and registrations are online, you’ll collect a lot of donor information with each purchase. The best way to organize data is through an intuitive ticket portal and mobile registration forms. Integrating the portal with your ticket sales helps you keep sponsorships in one place, ensuring data flows seamlessly into your donor database.

The right event fundraising software should streamline your ticketing processes and eliminate manual work, saving you time so you can focus more on your event. Choose a solution that empowers you to customize packages, let attendees submit seating requests, or add donations to ticket purchases.

Setup the event

Now that you’ve determined goals, secured sponsorships, and sold tickets, it’s time to set up your venue and put the final touches in place. Here are a few tasks to keep in mind when setting up your event:

  • Coordinate staff and entertainment: Hire any staff you need, including security or wait staff. Schedule food service, entertainment, and other necessities for your fundraiser. For example, book the band far in advance if you’re having live entertainment. If you have food, reserve a team of caterers to supply and serve the food to guests.
  • Schedule and organize volunteers: Assemble volunteers who support your cause and ask if they can help with your fundraiser. Gather enough people to help with tasks before, during, and after the event and assign roles and responsibilities. If you’re doing mobile bidding, use a digital fundraising platform that lets volunteers seamlessly communicate with guests and process payments with just one click.
  • Decorate the venue: Purchase or rent decorations and supplies ahead of time. Think about everything you might need for your event. For instance, if you’re having a silent auction, you’ll need tables, clipboards, pens, and donated goods for the auction. You’ll need tables, plates, glasses, cutlery, and centerpieces if you’re serving food.

Doing a practice run-through of your event is a good idea to ensure everyone is prepared. You can also test your technology and check that your volunteers know their responsibilities to pull off a successful event.

Streamline your fundraiser with GiveSmart

Whether you’re planning a small, large, online, in-person, or hybrid fundraiser, you’ll want to plan far enough in advance to ensure a successful event. Partnering with GiveSmart means gaining the tools, offerings, and convenient solutions to entice sponsors and donors to grow your nonprofit. Our comprehensive solutions, including fundraising event management software, can enhance your events, handling the more time-consuming tasks so you can focus on growing your cause.

Whether you need access to virtual auctions, contactless check-ins, or mobile bidding campaigns, we have you covered. Our software will help you successfully run your event, minimize errors, and improve your partnerships to help you reach your mission and goals. Schedule a free demo today.


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County