Just the recent years, nonprofits have not just been taking few forms; from 5k runs, endurance bike rides and walk-a-thons. Nonprofits have expanded activities to include mud runs, polar plunging and to the extent of head shaving. But just like with any other undertaking, planning a fundraising event has its benefits and challenges. They can bring a lot of revenue to both the organization and the cause but can also put a lot of pressure on a nonprofit organization’s resources. Operations and logistics alone will test the integrity and the organization’s limits but the reward can certainly outweigh the risk if the plans are executed properly.
One main challenge of organizing a nonprofit event is the tremendous amount of effort and coordination that is needed that goes to planning and execution. Nonprofits that are considering planning an event should always start with a committee. Your organization then would need to carefully plan who will run the key aspects of the event. To make it easier, assign small groups to be in charge of operations, logistics, marketing and other critical aspects of the experience.
Personnel is obviously an important piece, but so is the budget. Make sure that you are able to set goals for your investment. To have a good sense of numbers, try to find organizations of comparable size that have experienced hosting similar events and ask them. Corporate sponsorships are also critical for an event to be called successful as they can provide capital resources. Make sure to look for the possibility of in-kind donations for crucial event components of the operations – corporate volunteers or prizes to incentivize participation.
A major benefit in organizing a fundraising event is brand awareness. This awareness is actually two-fold. First is online reach. The participants who will fundraise will be sharing your event and brand far. Fundraisers will send out emails with your logo and messaging to their own networks – thousands upon thousands of friends, colleagues and family.
The second type of brand awareness is at the local level. Local volunteers and participants will interact with each your team in a way that you would never copy just by sitting in an office or at any standard, programmed event. Operating an event is dynamic. The fluid nature of logistics will be able to push individuals to work together in many different ways and o course, can always be fun.
Do not make the mistake of underestimating the challenges that a fundraising event will present to an organization. If done correctly, all the funds collected, brand awareness and sheer enjoyment that a fundraising event can provide to staff, volunteers and attendees can completely change the dynamics of a nonprofit for the better.