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How to organise an event to raise money _ awareness for your organisation

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How to organise an event to raise money _ awareness for your organisation Powered By Docstoc
					Events can form an important aspect of a non-profit organisation 鈥檚 fundraising
programme. Small-scale events have been a staple of fundraising for decades.
However running them can be time-consuming and possibly risky. Successful events
depend on having the right skills and know-how as to what works, having the
appropriate resources to plan and manage them and marketing the event effectively to
the target audience. Why do you want to run an event?
  Whether large or small, the common objectives in running events are generating
income and raising awareness of a particular message or area of work. To be
successful an event needs an underlying strategy and clear objectives for what it
should achieve. It is essential to be absolutely clear about the purpose of the event.
  Ideally, there should be a single clear objective which will help inform decisions
about the venue, invitation lists, ticket price, media involvement and promotion as
well as resources needed to organise and carry out the event.
  But it is sometimes appropriate and indeed possible to plan an event which fits into
more than one of the following categories, in which case you should prioritise them so
that everyone is clear which is the primary objective and which are secondary.
  In the main, there are three types of events. 1. Enlistment and profile raising
  * To attract media attention and establish the reputation of your charity. * To
promote a new service or expand existing services. * To launch a specific Appeal. *
To persuade potential patrons that your charity is worthy of support. * To recruit
volunteers to help with fundraising or service delivery.
  In some cases it might be appropriate for such an event to be cost-free to those
attending, particularly if you want to enlist their support in the future. Whilst not
raising significant funds at the time, you are investing in the future. 2. Raising money
directly
  * Indoor or outdoor events. * One-off events or regular dates in the fundraising
calendar. * Anything from Savoy Balls to Pub Quizzes.
  These are aimed at generating the maximum income both from ticket sales and other
activities on the night 鈥?auctions, raffles, product sales 鈥?it is essential to pitch the
ticket price appropriately and market extensively to the target audience.
  Above all the event must be cost-effective. Have a clear budget from the outset. Any
event will always include an element of financial risk, but these can be minimised if
you:
  * consider all the potential costs * include hidden costs, such as staff time * include
additional fundraising opportunities during the event * calculate the break-even point.
  3. Acknowledging support
  Whilst all fundraisers are aware of the importance of thanking donors whether by
letter, email or a personal telephone call, sometimes their support deserves a more
public form of recognition. This can be very well served by an event marking a
particular milestone or significant voluntary effort.
  * Completion of a major Appeal. * Thanking supporters. * Recognising volunteers. *
Showcasing the work of the charity. * Involving service users and beneficiaries.
  "We need to be as diligent in saying 'thank you' as we are in saying 'please'"
Checklist for deciding on your event
  * Set a clear objective for the event. * Agree primary objective and, if appropriate,
secondary ones. * Agree achievable results and future outcomes. * Be clear about
your target audience.
  What type of event?
  Examples of events abound 鈥?there are plenty of useful resources to give you ideas,
as well as looking around to see what has already proved successful in your local
community and within your own organisation. But above all the event must be
marketable, saleable and profitable 鈥?whether generating income directly at the
event, or through enlisting future support. What resources will you need?
  * What are your existing resources in terms of staff and volunteers? * What others
will you need? * Where can you find them? * What about clearing up afterwards,
when all your helpers are anxious to get away? * What new promotional materials
will you need? * How can you utilise what you already have? * What can you afford
to spend on advertising?
  Venues
  The most appropriate venue may not be the one which is immediately to hand but
will depend upon your primary and secondary objective as well as budgetary
considerations. Beware of accepting the offer of a venue and building an event around
it. Plan the event first and find the best venue in which to hold it, taking into account
such practical matters as adequate car parking or access by public transport. Will you
have sole use of the venue or might you be competing with other activities claiming
car parking, or increasing the ambient noise level? Sponsorship
  Events offer a range of advantages and promotional opportunities that can attract
sponsorship which will significantly reduce your risk and defray costs. It can also be
an opportunity to recruit corporate sponsors who may become involved with your
organisation beyond the event itself.
  The best events can be those which are fully sponsored, resulting in no cost to your
organisation.
  In approaching potential sponsors, have a clear idea as to how much money you are
expecting from them and what you can give in return. Promotion
  Start with an understanding of who you are wanting to attract and who is likely to
want to come 鈥?in other words your target market.
  If the event is of general interest, begin by targeting your existing warm contacts to
see if they would be likely to support it. If your friends don 鈥檛 want to come, why
should strangers?
  One way of helping with promotion is to feature celebrities who may be willing to
attend. For many individuals the attraction of a special event is to be seen with
celebrities. Alternatively you can invite a celebrity to act as compere, to open the
event, or to present awards. This may be a celebrity who is already supporting your
cause or who may be persuaded to do so if properly approached. Ticket sales
  Selling tickets can be extremely hard work and a complete non-starter if you have
not already identified your audience and are confident that they will be interested in
attending. There is little point in securing high value prizes for an auction if the
audience can 鈥檛 afford to bid for them!
  Improve your chances by:
  * presenting a really attractive event * contacting a readily identifiable and reachable
target audience * appropriately pitching your ticket price * recruiting plenty of ticket
sellers.
  Spin offs and follow ups
  There are many examples of regular, similarly themed events run by organisations
whose profile is greatly enhanced by being associated with them.
  A great advantage of a successful event is the opportunity to build up a clientele for
future support. Make sure that the names and addresses of all those taking part or
attending are recorded and can be used again for your organisation 鈥?providing a
good mailing list for donations or just for invitations to future events.
  For many events, programmes and souvenir brochures are a worthwhile expense, but
even if this is too costly for your small event, make sure that everyone who attends
goes away with a piece of literature that they can keep, containing one new message
about your organisation.
  Look to the future!
  KnowHow NonProfit is a resource for building and sharing expertise in non profit
and charity organisations

				
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