Step 1: Develop your theme.
What is going to speak to your existing donor base? What is going to be appealing towards your target donors? The possibilities here are truly endless, but be sure to keep your theme in line with the mission that your organization serves. For example, in a recent fundraising event hosted by an Almora client, we determined that the demographic of their donors would support hosting a wine tasting. The client works to educate on the subject of climate change in a non-partisan manner. In order to tie the event into the mission of the organization, we crafted a “Wine in the Time of Climate Change” theme, highlighting wines from producers in regions that have been impacted by the changing climate. The end product was engaging, provided social participation, and ended up being a huge success. Wa-La!
Step 2: Focus on partnerships
Fundraising is all about building connections, and the events that your organization hosts are no exception to that. Whether you are seeking funding from corporate sponsors, asking a major donor to host your event, or partnering with a local business to provide services, you will want to seek out these connections early. Many corporate sponsors require as much time as three months from the time that they receive your proposal. Collaborating with a major donor requires quite a bit of cultivation but can be a great tool to build your donor base and market your organization towards new networks.
Step 3: Build a timeline
By building an event timeline ahead of time you can save yourself and your team the headache of missing deadlines or getting overwhelmed by trying to accomplish too many items at once. An event timeline can be built using a spreadsheet with columns such as “Date”, “Action”, “Material”, “Status” and “Person Responsible”, or adjusted as you see fit for your event. When beginning this process with an Almora client, we will clearly outline the work that will be accomplished by both parties, beginning several months prior to the event actually taking place.
Taking the time early on in the planning process to organize all of the moving pieces seems like a small task, but it is perhaps one of the most important steps towards having a successful event.