Thank you for all the great calls and emails about my recent Blog titled “Shhh I have a secret.” Over the next few Blogs, I am going to spill my proverbial “Guts” on what it takes to host what I believe will be a very successful Charity Fundraiser. So here is my next one – “It takes a Village.”
If you know me, or think you do…you will know that when it comes to fundraisers, I am truly a “Control Freak.” But honestly, I know that about myself and accept it while trying to fight it with every inch of my fiber. My father told me a very long time ago, when you want something done right, do it yourself. But, when it comes to Charity Fundraisers, this is the worst possible way to go about it. This theory will drive a fundraising event down a dead end road…resulting in absolute disaster and here is why:
#1 – It takes a Village – Event Committee – I have a good friend, his name is Jerry. Jerry is an extremely connected individual and many connections. Jerry and I were on a Fundraising Event committee and he single handedly sold 13 tables of 10 for the event. But, he is definitely not the norm.
The norm is that for every fundraising event committee member, they certainly have the ability to sell at least 1 table of 10 people. So, if you do the math, to sell out an event of 500 people, a committee must consist of 50 members.
The more people you have helping, the more tickets you will sell – it’s a proven fact. But controlling the committee and only asking people you know or by keeping the committee small, don’t expect much unless you are an incredible marketer or you know 50 people yourself who will buy a table.
Build your committee to sell out your event.
#2 – How do you eat an Elephant? – Incremental Ticket Sales – The old adage “See the forest for the trees” applies here too. When you begin to plan your Charity Fundraiser, everyone always targets their event for the amount of people there. For this example, we will continue to use 500 people there.
Well, everyone always looks at the “500” as a mark and concentrates on the whole number which is often very intimidating. Selling 500 tickets is daunting, don’t get me wrong, but look back at #1, it takes a village.
Look at it like this – if you can sell full tables (using a ten person table as a rule), you will only need to sell 50. Still fifty is a large number, but if your committee is large enough, this will not be a problem.
Sell each table – 1 at a time. Full table sales are accomplished by marketing your even to groups or businesses…or people like Jerry who are extremely connected. Families are always another tactic to use. Also, if you can get five men or women, ask them to bring their partners (husbands, wives, etc.). Also, I often contact businesses which you may use as sub-contractors. Businesses which your organization utilizes will normally purchase a full table, why you ask? Because their livelihood depends on you.
#3 – Scavenger Hunt – I know what you’re thinking, what are you talking about George? Well, we are talking about the importance of a large Charity Fundraising committee. Why else would a large committee help with? Donations!!!
Donations are “EXTREMELY” important to the overall success of your event. Again, a small committee of people will absolutely restrict your ability to get a large amount of donations. There are three types of Donations:
- Items /Merchandise – As you know, I always tell our Charity Partners when they ask me “What kinds of donations should we go after?” and I always reply “Large or Small, we will take them all.” Basically this means, go after as much as possible, whatever idea you have, go after it.
- Services – Service providers such as BBQ caterers, landscapers, accountants, building contractors etc. all can donate their services.
- Financial/Underwriting – With any Fundraising Event, there are costs incurred which greatly reduce the bottom line of the event. For instance, there is catering costs, hall rental, liquor, programs, marketing, Audio Visual and last but certainly not least items purchased. However, the absolute best way of reducing your overall debt and raising the amount of Net proceeds is…financial donations or what is commonly referred to as “Underwriting.” Underwriting means another individual or entity pays for the items you have at your Charity Fundraiser. In turn, you place some type of notification near the item or items which they donated. If it is a service which they underwrote the costs of, then written notification and announcements can be made.
Now, how does this equate to the amount of Fundraising Committee members you have involved? The more people you have seeking donations, the more donations you will ultimately receive. The more donations you have, the better your event will be in the end. However, if you do not seek as many donations as possible, then you will have to purchase items for Auctions and Raffles – which obviously detract from the end or Net (profit).
Send your committee on a scavenger hunt, make it fun or a competition – who can get the most and the biggest donation. You may provide a prize of some sort..but most people will compete just to compete. The more donations you get = the less you will spend = the larger your profit will be.
#4 – It takes an Army – Ok, we are still going to use the “500” number for how many people will be at your event. So, with 500 people, you will need to have a lot of merchandise, and I mean A LOT!!! Plus, in order to take advantage of the fundraising possibilities and not leaving out all the possible fundraising platform options, you will need people to help set up the venue including the Live and Silent Auctions plus all the Raffles. It will take hours even with a lot of help.
Now, how else would a larger committee help? When it actually comes to working the event which means checking your guests in to the event, assigning bidder numbers, working raffles, working the live auction, checking people out etc., you will need an army of people.
So, as you see, the bigger the committee, the much better off you will be. How do you build a committee like this? Ask everyone – your family, friends, co-workers, people you meet day to day…ask them. Then ask them to ask others, ask them to bring their family, friends and co-workers. It goes on and on and on.
Build a Big committee and success will come.