Getting people together for a party is a surefire way of ensuring that everyone has a good time. In the light of fundraising, parties are a fun and exciting way of raising money for a cause everyone’s passionate about. In a fundraising party, you are essentially celebrating two things; making purposeful strides towards a specific aim, and the togetherness of people bonding in a common setting.
The best part of hosting a fundraising party is that it doesn’t have to be extravagant; you can achieve an effect of comfort and friendliness in simpler and less expensive ways as well. People are your focus here; getting as many to attend so that you collectively raise more money towards a genuine cause. With the right amount of effort, you can successfully organize a fundraising party which is a combination of two essential elements: fun, and gathering donations.
Let’s look at some tips which facilitate this.
Plan in Advance
For your fundraising party, you must plan several months ahead to make sure you’re well prepared. There are several questions you’ll have to ask yourself prior to the fundraiser:
- What type of party am I going to have– there are several avenues you can explore and get creative with. Your party can be as simple as a barbeque party or a dinner, or it can be something fancy like a bake-off or a casino night.
- Pick a theme and plan accordingly with the equipment you’ll require, and the venue you’re working with.
- What is the budget I have at my disposal– depending upon the number of people you’re inviting and the extravagance of your party (read- decorations, lighting, furniture, etc), your budget will vary, or vice versa. A dinner party for twenty people at home will be far cheaper than a black-tie event in a hall. Plan your budget keeping this in mind, along with necessary provisions required such as loudspeakers, lights, and food. Keep room for unexpected expenses which may crop up.
- What kind of people am I going to invite– this depends on the type of event you’re setting up. If you want a closed or in-house event, it makes sense to only call people associated with your organization. But if you want a more varied audience, you can invite friends and their friends to ensure a diverse set of people at the fundraising party.
By planning beforehand, you’re ensuring that you have a good idea of how the party will turn out and the effort it’ll take to organize.
Send out Invites Beforehand
To reach your attendance goals, send out invites a few weeks before your event. Send out personalized email invitations to all the people in your mailing lists. You can also call or use tools like peer to peer texting to personally inform people about the event and can answer any associated questions or queries they may have about the party. You must make sure that your invites, whether verbal or typed, talk about the cause which the fundraising party is going to help.
If it’s to raise money for an old school, clearly mention it while inviting people- be brief yet clear about the cause; you will talk about it more during the party. Make the invitation warm and welcoming, a clear precursor of the atmosphere they can expect during the party.
Also, whichever tool you use, make sure to gather RSVPs so that you have a good idea of the number of people attending. This is easily done with p2p texting where RSVPs instantly sync with your event management software or CRM.
Also, mention the venue, time, and dress code, if any. Try to be convincing in your invite ask, and be gracious if they decline your invitation.
As for the invitees, try inviting an eclectic set of donors, if possible, to give the party its own charm with conversations flowing in different directions.
Make the Atmosphere Welcoming
The success of the party and your donation goals depends upon the mood that your event creates. No matter what type of party it is, whether a costume party, a luncheon, or a game night, the atmosphere is extremely important.
When your guests arrive, greet them warmly, or if you’re unable to do so personally, make sure to appoint someone (such as a close friend) who greets them on your behalf. Introduce people to one another; conversation is the catalyst which will keep the party running, and which fosters a sense of friendship and community united towards a common cause.
Depending upon your theme, it’s best to let the conversation flow before getting on with the fundraising activities. If possible, try inviting a social influencer to your party as well which gives it a sense of exclusivity. Ply your guests with food and drink and let them get to know one another before you talk about donations, which brings me to my next point…
Have a Procedure in place for Donations
As the host or hostess, before the donation ask begins, you should speak a few words about the cause: the issues around it and how monetary help can go a long way in solving or diminishing the problem. Be honest, genuine, and sincere so that people can see that you actually care about the cause. Use storytelling to create maximum impact.
And try to be as informal as you can be; it’s a fundraiser party, and although it’s in favor of a serious cause, it’s still a party. So try incorporating a few jokes and witty one-liners in your speech to ease any awkwardness which may have inadvertently crept in.
When it’s time to make donations, be absolutely clear if people are expected to give cash or donate directly to the organization’s website. To get as many donations, you’ll need to be flexible in how you accept them, so make use of text-to-give where you can send people links to the fundraising page, use donation kiosks which accept credit cards, or simply accept cheques. You can even sell tickets for your party to generate funds.
Make the donation ask fun by including a donation thermometer which puts your donation goals in plain sight, and is useful in motivating people to contribute just that little bit more to reach the goal.
Also, be clear that there is no “minimum amount”; if some people donate large amounts, others may get deterred and would end up not donating at all. By ensuring that no amount is too small, you are guaranteed to motivate small and big donors alike.
Give people other ways to Donate
While everyone at your party is likely to donate, there may be some people who’d want to contribute in other substantial ways as well. For this eventuality, give people options to volunteer for your cause instead, or become a part of your organization so that they can contribute by actively participating and taking up different tasks.
For this purpose, note down their emails and contact details- you can simply add their details to your database and reach out to them later via text messages or phone calls and take the conversation further from there depending upon how they want to volunteer.
You can also hold a charity auction which can be silent or not, or you could organize a raffle where people donate by buying tickets.
If possible, try organizing a mix of different activities and opportunities so that people can contribute in whichever way they are most comfortable with.
Thank your Guests
When your party has come to a close and all the guests are leaving, thank them earnestly for having attended and if you can, do it in person. Warmly express your gratitude and your hope that they attend similar events organized by you in the future. If this is not possible due to too many guests, send them a personalized text or email, make a phone call, or send a handwritten note of thanks.
It is important to remember to do this as it is a significant step in your relationship; in maintaining personalized relationships with regular donors, and cultivating new ones with more recent donors. Doing this shows that you wholeheartedly appreciate their contributions and also builds a sense of trust.
Your guests are also likely to spread the word about your party and organization as a form of mutual goodwill. And since word-of-mouth reviews are extremely beneficial to a cause, so it makes sense to make the most of them by organizing a kickass party.
While venue and theme are important for the success of your fundraiser party, the focus should be jointly on people and the cause with a healthy dose of fun mixed in. Hopefully, this article helps you in organizing a wildly successful fundraising party.Tags: fundraising party