November 11, 2015
It’s a sure bet that if you’re a volunteer, board member, or an employee of a non-profit organization, you have been a part of planning a fundraiser. Non-profit organizations rely on donor support to survive and enhance the community. The task of planning a fundraiser is not a small one, and many times volunteers are planning the event in addition to working full time. We sought the expertise of Jo A. Peay, the Board Secretary of The Centers for Exceptional Children (CFEC) to give us valuable insight on planning your next fundraiser.
1. Do you think the saying “You need to spend money to make money” is applicable in the fundraising world?
Absolutely. At the first planning meeting for the event we just had at WinMock, I was told our total budget. There was no way we could have had the type of event we were imagining for the budget initially presented. Had WinMock and Catered Affairs not been willing to work with us, we would have been in trouble.
2. What hidden details and costs do you think planners need to consider?
Cost of linens, service charges, rentals, hiring a photographer, entertainment, publicity, mailing of invitations and save the dates, and postage. It is important to build relationships so hopefully someone on the Board of Directors of the organization has a relationship with someone at the local newspaper so that your event is covered.
3. How do you feel about hiring a professional planner vs. having only volunteers run the fundraiser?
There are so many details to ensure the event is successful, so many moving parts, that hiring a professional planner is important. While it is not a requirement, at some non-profits, the Director of Development may have expertise in event planning, which would be a great asset to the organization.
4. What should planners consider when selecting their host committee?
What the committee member can bring to the table, their willingness to do whatever it takes to make the event successful, and an understanding of the goals of the event and the organization. Members who understand the value of a timeline and attention to detail.
5. What type of fundraising event has been most successful for your organization?
Our organization’s signature gala has been more successful when honoring past Board members or a significant anniversary, e.g.; the 65th anniversary of the organization. Our golf tournament has also been very successful.
6. How important is follow-up with donors, vendors, and volunteers after a fundraiser?
Follow-up is probably the most important aspect. There are so many great organizations in our community in need of fundraising dollars and donors, vendors and volunteers can only do so much. If they feel that their contribution or time is not appreciated or made a difference they will not step up the next time.
The Centers for Exceptional Children (CFEC) are dedicated to serving children with developmental delays, orthopedic disabilities and other health impairments. Their mission is to educate, nurture and support children with special needs to reach their highest potential intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically. To get involved with CFEC visit http://www.thecfec.org/.