Fundraising events are a much underutilized tool in securing funding for human service projects. This is for good reason - when not done correctly they can end up being a major waste of time and money. Here are a few tips to help you move forward with planning for and executing a fundraising event to support your SOAR activities. Remember - you may choose to hire an outside consultant to plan your event. If this is the case, ask others who have used this person to make sure they have good references. You are always encouraged to contact your SOAR TA Center Liaison for support with sustaining and growing your SOAR program.
Make Goals That Make Sense
You should start with a monetary goal that meets concrete "things" you are looking to have funded. Maybe you want to purchase computers to collect medical records, or hire a new staff person to do SOAR applications - know the cost of what you need. The goal should be measurable and specific, and you need to be sure to have a budget for the event that you stick to.
It is important that you choose an event that matches your specific needs. The event(s) you choose should always match your audience, brand, mission, goals, budget, time/expertise, and the staff and volunteers you have supporting your efforts.
Securing Corporate Sponsors
Have different packages and sponsorship levels so you have support from both large and small sources. When doing outreach, bring easy-to-understand materials like infographics that easily describe the value you bring to the community. Once a relationship has been fostered, be sure to honor that relationship so that these one-time donors become regular contributors to your organization.
Make sure that you create an amazing experience that the attendees enjoy. Also, try to use live presentations from people that have actually benefited from SOAR so that the true reason to "give" is stuck in the minds of the attendees.
Marketing the Event
Use every format you have at your disposal: website, social media, e-mail, and print. This is also a time where you want to use a ‘save-the-date’ and send the event to local media outlets, so you can get them to carry a story about your upcoming event.
You're ready to get started!