Planning Your Fundraiser



It seems like now that pandemic restrictions have decreased, there is some kind of a fund-raising event every weekend – and even often during the week! And yet you read that philanthropic donations are on the down turn. So how do you make people look and listen – then most importantly, want to attend?

It’s about the experience. The “feel good” feeling that comes from giving back while also having fun doing it. So, if that is the case, how do fundraisers tap into this audience of individuals who are willing to give? Keep in mind that your guests’ time is very valuable, and the very people you are trying to engage are also very protective of how they spend their time.

Work out who your audience is in regards to the focus of the fundraising efforts. If the focus is on youth-related endeavors, then you have three target groups: young adults who plan to have children in the near future, parents of young children and teens, and grandparents. Then from these target groups, fine-tune which of your guests benefits most from a short-term and then from a long-term (think follow-up, continuity of ongoing and future interaction) factor? Organizers – ask yourself if this is a one-time event or do you plan to build on it each year? With these two focuses, it can help decide who your target market is going to be. If this is a one-time event, then you will want to design an event that attracts at least two designated groups to get the most impact for your planning time and input. If it will be an ongoing endeavor, then building relationships is key.

And so, in bringing out the “feel good” moment, create an interactive and fun activity while raising awareness and funds. For example, my team developed using a common and well-known board game activity that engages people of all ages. The guests decide how much they want to participate and there is a dangling incentive for them personally to get involved. While they are having fun playing the game, they are also spending money to move around on the game board. Thus, a win-win for all without the pressure to put guests on the spot. They walked away having filled their evening with laughter, good food, good will and wondering what we had planned for the next one! A clear success on all counts!



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