The Ultimate Planning Guide for Fundraising Events
You’ve heard the old proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Let’s consider your fundraising event the journey of a thousand miles. So what would be your first step? You need a solid fundraising plan. We’ll also teach you how to create a fundraising plan template and a fundraising calendar template.
Create an Actionable Plan
It’s okay to just wing it if you’re meeting friends for coffee or an activity. It’s NOT okay to just wing it with regard to your fundraising plan. You’ll be sorry if you do. You need a pragmatic roadmap and an actionable plan, where everyone’s tasks are identified with clear deadlines. In other words, make sure the right-hand knows what the left hand is doing! With more than a year of experience planning and producing virtual galas (VGs) and hybrid Fusion Fundraising events, we’ve identified some best practices for keeping your entire team on track and moving toward your shared goal of a successful VG. A fundraising calendar really is essential.
How LOST would you be without your trusty personal calendar?! Your fundraising plan will be lost, too, if you don’t develop and stick to a calendar. Well, maybe “lost” isn’t exactly the right word. But it’ll be a better experience for everyone involved if you’re all on the same page. There’s a lot of work to do which needs to be laid out strategically. We can help! We share a Virtual Event Marketing & Communications Calendar with all of our partners. It’s a data-based tool with suggested timelines, content, and marketing ideas to keep you and your team on track and moving along in the right direction.
Let’s say your event is four months away – what should you be doing? Check the calendar! What should you be doing four weeks prior? Check the calendar! Not sure what words to use, not only to inform people about your event but to get them excited enough to talk to others about it? You guessed it – check the calendar. We even provide a sample copy that you can use verbatim. Or tweak it a bit, so it’s more aligned with your unique messaging and voice. Even our most painstakingly organized event planners rave about this fundraising calendar template.
Ready to Rendezvous?
Expect to spend hours in meetings with your team because there’s a lot to go over. So huddle up! Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect from these consultations when you partner with us.
Look + Feel
How do you want your event to look and feel? It’s one of the first questions we’ll ask you, after you select a date and time. Your first homework assignment is to watch other virtual or fusion fundraising events and determine what you like and don’t like. This will help you determine the overall look and feel of your event. We’ll discuss your run-of-show and what content appeals to you – videos, vignettes, PowerPoint slides, lower-third and full-screen graphics. Will you want to customize your graphics with your unique logo? We can do that! Do you want a custom background? There’s so much to think about in terms of the overall look and feel of your show. What colors do you want to use? What about music? Sound effects? Lighting? Your first homework assignment is a big one but it also should be an enjoyable one. You have ALL these possibilities laid out before you. You’re bringing your vision to life, so get creative and have fun with it!
Time to Talk Tech
Once you’ve determined how you want your show to look, feel, and what visuals you’ll use, it’s time to get technical. Who will be your live stream tech partners? We’re a great option! The MAA Livestream Team can do it all. We’re your one-stop-shop.
Review Revenue Strategies
Your fundraising pros will devise a revenue strategy just for you. After all, your org is unique, so your fundraising strategy should be, too. Our pros will walk you through your revenue stream options (a.k.a. the moneymakers!). Your special appeal strategy will be at the forefront. Think of it as the sun that your other revenue stream “planets” orbit around – games, raffles, incentives, drawings, donation matches and/or challenges, precommits, large gifts, sponsor dollars, etc.
Fundraising Plan Final Details
The closer you get to your event date, the busier you’ll be. But don’t worry! Remember, you’ve got your trusty fundraising calendar template by your side. The weeks leading up to your event will be spent finalizing your run of the show and your revenue strategies. You’ll go over your event script and confirm your tech and AV cues. If you’re partnering with us, we’ll do a tech rehearsal the week of your event, where our live stream engineer renders all of the visual elements of your show for your preview. This is an exciting point in the process – you get to see what others will see on the night (or afternoon) of your event. You’re so close to showtime!
Your big picture goal is simple: Raise money through a successful VG. (A beneficial byproduct is folks learning more about your org; hopefully, they’ll tell everyone they know about the amazing work you’re doing and the quantifiable difference you’re making for the people, places and /or animals you serve.) After you’ve identified your big picture goal, it may be helpful for you and your team to break out more modest goals. Consider them microcosms of your big picture goal. What are you raising money for, exactly? A new kids’ program? Renovations for your aging infrastructure? Identify ALL of your goals and share them with your team. Having shared goals builds community. And isn’t it more fun to celebrate team victories, as opposed to individual ones?!
We hope these guidelines help you create your own actionable fundraising plan when the time comes. They’re based on our own experiences over the past 15 months planning and executing virtual galas and hybrid Fusion Fundraising events. Virtual fundraising events were pretty much a novelty prior to March of 2020. Now it seems everybody’s doing it – and why not?! They’re fun, safe, AND successful. Request a free consultation and let’s get started on yours!