How to Organise a Fundraiser
Fundraisers can be a great way to ensure you raise the money needed to help worthwhile causes while still providing an enjoyable experience for your guests. For charitable events, a successful fundraiser should demonstrate the importance of the charity and encourage everyone who attends to support the organisation.
Whether you’re hosting a formal event at a historic venue or a quiz night at an event hall, here are our top tips on how to organise a fundraiser.
1. Set Clear Goals
Setting clear goals will make it easier to organise a fundraiser with realistic targets. Don’t forget to be clear in your planning and have clear answers for the following questions:
- Is the purpose of this event purely to raise one-off funds, or cultivate and thank supporters?
If your cause requires consistent follow-ups, or requires completion through multiple stages, you might consider attracting regular supporters and retaining the details of your donors for further reference.
- Do you want to invite guests who are already familiar with your cause or those that are new to your charity?
If the latter, you’ll need to think of a reason they would offer you a donation beyond all the other great causes out there.
- How much are your attendees willing to give?
Design your fundraising to suit the occasion and your guests’ giving appetite. For example, a £5000 minimum bid for an auction prize may be more achievable for exclusive fundraisers or charity balls, whereas a £5 raffle ticket could be a realistic format for lower targets.
- Have you included the right amount of details to justify your cause?
In order to make the goals of your event more achievable, you need to disclose clear details about why the funds are needed and what difference they will make. Be sure to emphasise the benefits and have a clear plan of action available in case one of your potential sponsors is interested in how you’ll be using the funds.
2. Choose the Right Venue
You may have previously chosen event venues for fundraisers, or perhaps you’ve been tasked with securing a corporate venue hire for the first time. No matter the level of your event planning experience, you’ll still need to visit and research potential locations to ensure the venue hall you select is in-keeping with your event.
Choosing the best event hall for your specific fundraiser helps to create the desired atmosphere for your event and can even boost the attendance rates for your event. Ideally, you should ensure the venue not only complements the event theme, but also aligns with the values and ethos of your cause.
For example, if you are an organisation that focuses on social reform and change, find a venue that has a story that resonates with your narrative and mission. The combination of your story and the venue will help you to create an atmosphere that inspires and enthuses your guests.
It’s also important to determine the capacity of each hall space for hire, to ensure it can accommodate the maximum number of guests you expect to attend your fundraiser. Confirm whether you will have exclusive access to the venue hall or will be expected to share the event space with others.
Depending on the type of fundraiser you’re organising, it may be advisable to find out if the venue has a sound system. Many fundraisers, including those that involve event speakers in a conference centre or hosts at quiz nights, are likely to require audio-visual equipment to ensure guests can hear the event no matter where they are seated within the venue.
Ensuring the event hall possesses a valid alcohol licence might also be important for certain events, as money raised from selling alcoholic beverages can further help you to reach your fundraising target. Similarly, checking if venue hire includes staff, such as waiters and cleaners, will help you stay within budget when creating an event that meets the expectations of your guests.
If you require a historic venue for a corporate event, our Lecture Hall is ideal for corporate venue hire and offers disabled access, high speed Wifi and AV equipment. Our Lecture Hall can be used in conjunction with Ashbee Hall for larger events. Our event catering service, complete with bespoke menus, is also available upon request for both private and corporate events taking place within our venues.
3. Allow Sufficient Planning Time
To create a successful fundraiser, it is crucial that you allow enough time to plan the event. In addition to choosing the best venue, the finer details of your fundraising event will ensure you organise a memorable reception for all of your attendees. Consider creating a moodboard to help you to perfect the final details when organising your fundraiser.
A realistic time frame is paramount, as this offers your prospective guests sufficient time to confirm their attendance and, if needed, purchase advance tickets. It is therefore advisable to allow at least six months to organise an event from scratch.
If you’re concerned about the planning time required for your event or you would like additional support, we have a dedicated event planning team who can assist with all visual aspects of your function, including AV setup and table planning.
4. Draft a Budget
It is vital that you determine the cost of holding your event in comparison to the funds that you expect to raise. This will help you work out any steps you might need to take in order to reduce expenditure and narrow down your search, such as only choosing event venues for hire which include venue staff as part of their standard costs. At Toynbee Hall, we can support our event organisers by providing venue staff across all of our bookings.
Consider hosting an event within a venue with charitable connections. If you’re organising a fundraiser which could benefit the cause of your host too, you may receive additional sponsorship or further incentives for an event partnership, such as a guest speaking opportunity.
5. Choose the Right Contributors
Who are you inviting to your fundraiser and how likely are they to donate? If you are working with a small number of committed sponsors with the capacity to give large gifts, an intimate reception may be more suitable. However, if your audience is mixed, a larger event with a broader appeal might work better.
Expert tip from Angela, our Head of Fundraising at Toynbee Hall:“My toppest tip would be to ensure that you have the right people in the room in the first place i.e. those that have the capacity and/or inclination to give.”
On that note, it may well be worth researching philantropers and organisations that have a record in supporting similar causes, or whose values align with the goals of your fundraising event.
6. Boost Your Earnings
Think about additional fundraising opportunities that could take place alongside the event itself. For example, a raffle at a corporate event or a quiz night can be an effective way to raise further funds for your charity and help you reach your fundraising target. Fortunately, you don’t need a licence to run the raffle as part of your fundraising event, so all you need to do is source your prizes. Ideally, try to find donors for your prizes by asking corporate supporters and partners.
If your event requires those attending to purchase a ticket, ensure tickets are made available as soon as possible. By offering advance tickets to your event, you can limit the chances of “no-shows”. Selling tickets in advance also gives you an indication of the number of people who are likely to attend your fundraiser, so you can monitor progress made from ticket sales towards your overall fundraising target.
Ensure your ticket price is competitive for what you are offering and is in line with what people can afford. Try to promote your tickets around payday too, when people have more disposable income. If you are also selling tickets on the door in the leadup to the event, then be sure to keep track of how many tickets have already been sold and how many tickets you have remaining, so you don’t risk exceeding the maximum event venue capacity.
7. Maximise Event Attendance
Keeping a contact list for your event will help you to monitor attendees. However, to ensure as many guests as possible choose to come to your event, you should send out invitations as early as possible. When designing your event invitations, ensure they demonstrate the good cause you want your guests to support, while being enthusiastic about the event itself as well.
Use all the available communication channels to further promote your fundraising event and the worthwhile cause you’re raising funds for. Social media channels can be particularly useful for raising awareness and reaching a wider network of like-minded individuals with an interest in the cause.