Many schools and non-profit organizations host fundraising events as a way to raise money for their cause. Some common fundraising events include: walk-a-thons and peer-to-peer events, fundraising galas, charity golf tournaments, charity auctions, conferences and breakfast or lunch meetings.
Regardless of the type of fundraiser you decide to host, organizing any event requires careful planning and preparation. One great way to help you manage all the details is by using fundraising event management software. DoJiggy’s fundraising software platform helps organizers manage the entire event life cycle of a fundraising event. Within one integrated web application, event organizers can :
- Post all event information (speakers, schedules, maps, etc.),
- Manage online event registrations & donations,
- Promote and market the event,
- Manage sponsorship promotion and sales,
- Sell products and event items,
- Solicit in-kind donations,
- Share the campaign via embedded social media links
- Pull detailed financial reports,
- Manage check-in and day-of-event operations,
- Conduct post-event evaluations and send thank yous
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Although event management software can help keep you organized and track important data (i.e. attendees, sponsors, donations, etc.); you can’t just plug it in the week before your event and expect event success. You’ll still need to start planning way in advance. Successful special events are typically planned 6 months to one year in advance. A good way to begin is to create a Fundraising Event Timeline and Checklist. This will help guide your actions and keep you moving in the right direction. We’ve started this sample timeline one year in advance of a conference or other fundraising event.
One Year Prior to the Event
- Select conference event planning committee
- Reserve site location & date
- Reserve hotel block of rooms for attendees
- Prepare a fundraising event budget with fundraising goals in mind
- Set event theme
- Review any documentation available from the previous year’s event
9 Months Prior to the Event
- Identify & contact keynote speakers
- Prepare sponsor proposal & begin soliciting sponsorships
- Reserve necessary vendors and entertainment
- Set registration fees & tentative conference schedule
6 Months Prior to the Event
- Start recruiting volunteers
- Go live with fundraising event website
- Create promotional materials
- Distribute flyer with registration materials
- Begin selling tickets online
3 Months Prior to the Event
- Set menus & decorations
- Manage logistics (reserve AV needs for speakers, table rentals, tents, etc.)
- Determine room set-up (or event map if outdoor event)
- Confirm event/conference schedules with speakers, volunteers, etc.
- Send Email campaigns promoting event & ticket sales
- Social marketing & PR campaigns
1 Month Prior to the Event
- Prepare printed event brochure
- Preliminary meal confirmations (based on ticket sales)
- Print event signage
2 Weeks Prior to the Event
- Final tallies & registration confirmations
- Send volunteer schedules, sponsor details, etc.
- Meeting / ”run-through” with employees / volunteers
- Final promotional efforts
1 Week Prior to the Event
- Assemble conference packets
- Print registration forms & name tags
- Report final quantities to caterer
Tips for Event/Conference Day
- Keep a file on hand with all vendors & contracts
- Communication plan for employees/volunteers (mobiles, walkie-talkies, etc)
- Have fun!
- Send appreciation letters to speakers, sponsors, donors and volunteers
- Have staff, attendees and volunteers complete event evaluation forms
- Review & pay outstanding bills
Below we provide a sample Timeline & Checklist you can use as a template or guide for preparing for your own upcoming fundraising event.
Additional Special Event Planning Resources from DoJiggy
DoJiggy is the leader in free fundraising resources. We offer resources for walk-a-thon fundraisers, organizing a charity golf tournament, and a specialized auction timeline and planner. We also offer a fundraising event budget to assist with your event planning needs by helping your committee to anticipate income and expenses.