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Best Practices: Postponing your Fundraising Event

Posted by Lou Prisco

With the postponement of a gala event, much work needs to be accomplished in a short period of time and approached with flexibility and care. Our good friends at JDRF shared with us some tips for postponing an event that includes a checklist of activities and strategies to be considered and executed.

Within the first 24-48 hours

Personal outreach to your Gala Leadership & Board of Directors

Provide an update on event rescheduling, with a focus on gratitude for the ongoing partnership and what they can expect next. Prioritize your Board President first, then your Gala Event Chairs.

  1. Phone call to Board President
  2. Phone call to Gala Event Chairs
  3. Phone call to Honoree(s)
  4. Phone calls to other Gala event leadership (FAC Chair, Corporate Chair, Procurement Chair, etc.

Email communication to the entire Board of Directors and Gala Committee

  1. Provide visibility on next steps and areas they may be able to provide support (assisting with follow up communication/stewardship calls to supporters)
  2. Email to Gala Committee members

Connecting with your Venue

We encourage you to get as much in writing as possible to help ensure all parties are understanding of next steps, expectations and responsibilities for everyone involved, and any concessions that may be made by the venue/vendor. Should changes be made to your original contract, either a new contract or addendum should be provided.

  1. Schedule a call with your venue to clarify next steps
Consider and review food and perishable products already obtained by the venue and delivered to your office and repurposing of this food (food bank, homeless shelter, etc.)

Messaging to your confirmed supporters and event volunteers (Sponsors, Table Hosts, Attendees)

Provide visibility on event rescheduling, with a focus on gratitude for their support and understanding of the state of current events and of our decision to postpone the gala. Provide this audience with visibility into what is next to come and what to expect for future communications as things come together with the new date.

  1. Personal phone call to sponsor leads and table host contacts prior to sharing larger messaging to guests.
  2. At staff discretion, personal phone calls to longstanding donors
  3. Email to your event attendees and supporters
  4. Email to your day of and event night volunteers

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Website and Social Media Postings

Provide visibility on event rescheduling, with a focus on gratitude for their support and understanding. Share what to expect for future communications and next steps.

  1. Posting to your organizations website
  2. Posting to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Connecting with your Vendors

Email all other local vendors (including your auctioneer) with visibility on event rescheduling, with a focus on gratitude for their support and understanding. Share what to expect for future communications and next steps.

  • Emcees/Auctioneer
  • AV
  • Catering/Decor/Floral
  • Entertainment
  • Printing services
  • Photographers
  • Movers
  • Media
  • Consigned auction items

Reaching out to your VIP donors

Place phone calls to high level donors with a focus on gratitude for their support and understanding of the state of current events and of our decision to postpone the gala.

Provide this audience with visibility into what is next and an emphasis on how important their support is to continue to meet our mission goals during this time.

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Auction Items

Provide visibility to all Live Auction donors and those silent auction donors with date specific experiences regarding event rescheduling, with a focus on gratitude for their support and with visibility into what to expect in the coming weeks.

Engage in dialogue around a date extension for their package or a replacement package so we continue to partner together with our new date.

  1. Priority focus on phone call to Live Auction donors and those with upcoming expiration dates, then silent packages with upcoming expiration dates, travel related experiences, mass gatherings directly affected by COVID-19, and any related packages from the prior fiscal year that are yet to be redeemed.
  2. If using a consignment provider for auction items, contact you rep to let them know the event is postponed.

If you're considering taking your event online instead or hosting a virtual gala, let us know and we can help connect you with one of our partners! Best of luck and stay safe out there.

Fundraising Auction, Fundraising Events, Fundraising Strategies
Lou Prisco
Lou Prisco
Lou has 7+ years experience working at a small nonprofit before joining the Winspire team. As the Fundraising Manager, Lou is responsible for educating Nonprofits on best-practices when it comes to raising funds.

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