Like any legendary group of heroes - think Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Super Friends - your committee is faced with a seemingly insurmountable task. To succeed, you'll need driven, creative people who demonstrate tenacity and come from all different backgrounds. Most importantly, they must be willing to step up for your cause when it counts.
As the peak of summer winds down, fall fundraising season is fast approaching. That means it's almost time for many nonprofits' version of the "Super Bowl": the annual charity gala, auction, raffle, tournament and more.
Imagine the doors are open, the ballroom is full, tickets have been sold, and the crowd is ready to support your cause—with bigger philanthropic wallets than anyone ever estimates. You've only got 4 or 5 hours to capture all that money for your cause before it walks out the room at the end of the night.
Time is not your friend, and you don't want to waste any of it.
Where should the money come from during your fundraising event? Everyone knows the most popular income streams: the live auction, silent auction, cash appeals. In fact there are many different income streams to consider:
In this revenue-generating tree, the leaves represent the money you're trying to raise for your cause. Each root and tendril represents a different potential income stream that could be pulled up during your charity fundraiser.
Bottom line: Profits don't just happen.
To get all the leaves off the tree, organizations need to create a detailed, diverse profit plan now, months before the fundraising event, in the planning stages. And you need someone who knows what they're doing at the helm of your event—someone who will use the right tools at the right time to raise as much as possible.
Read on for practical tips to incorporate diverse revenue generators into the night's agenda, plus the answers to a few common questions we've received on the topic.
Cut fundraising "dead zones" out of your agenda
When planning the night's agenda, think very critically of each element in the evening's agenda. Is this producing income and getting us closer to our final fundraising goal?
This can be difficult for many nonprofits; after all, the annual gala has always had a lengthy entertainment portion, a 45-minute speech from the hospital administrator, the presentation of a dozen awards and the same trusty gift baskets and restaurant certificates in the silent auction.
That doesn't mean you can't do better. In fact, thinking outside the box, amping up excitement and streamlining the program will likely be a gamechanger for your event.
Fundraising auctions are a lot of work. They’re only worth the effort if they pay off in a big way. If your last event didn't meet your financial expectations, perhaps it’s because:
1. You focused on the decorations, dinner and dancing rather than the auction items.
You want to show attendees a good time, but only so they’ll spend more.
2. You failed to promote your stuff before and during the event.
Get them salivating. Encourage them to plan their bidding strategy. Publish periodic pre-event hot sheets and include plenty of detail about live items in your auction program. These are things that will entice people to spend more, turning items from wanted to must-haves.
3. Your items were run-of-the-mill. Who cares?
Tantalize them with things they can’t get at the mall. Experiential, unique and personalized. If it’s about them, they’ll pay more.
Winston & Winnie love to help Nonprofits raise money for amazing causes. They also love to travel and have a bucket list of amazing Experiences they are determined to complete in their lifetime. Winspire News is the result of this shared passion, offering fundraising advice, industry news and insight into charity fundraising with travel.