For Nonprofits

Event Planning Best Practices For Nonprofit Fundraising

September 14, 2022|by Spave

How to plan and implement a confidence-building, awareness-producing and fundraising launch event to usher in the public, grassroots giving!

Events provide an opportunity to solicit donors  – building on the excitement and momentum of a goal, and it is often used in coordination with a live streamed event.

We highly recommend reading Terry Axelrod’s Raising More Money book or review the Benevon site, as we incorporate many of Terry's excellent ideas.

There are a few key items to consider when planning your free event:

  • Locate the perfect space that combines a space for socializing and the presentation to secure as many attendees as possible.
  • The first hour consists of a social time to enjoy food and beverages.
  • Make sure you have chosen a large enough space for attendees to sit and enjoy a presentation after the social hour either in tables or theater-style seating.
  • Get creative! Depending on the spaces available, be sure to make the experience unique and engaging for all.
  • 45 minute Social Hour
  • 45 minute Presentation
  • After Party (if desired)
Tips for the Presentation
  • Ensure you know exactly what each speaker will share by having their speech in hand prior to the event.
  • The testimonial speakers capture excitement and trigger an emotional aspect from those who are going to be asked to give a pledge.
  • Create a 5 to 6 minute emotional and captivating video to be viewed during the program. {Link to Crescendo’s website for example}
  • Following the video, a 30-minute presentation with a concise PowerPoint will be shown.
  • To provide ease for handling literature at the event, consider using lanyards with the pledge cards and event program attached.
  • Prepare, in advance, a large challenge grant to encourage donors to give that evening to “match” the challenge and for a month following the event

Don’t forget to hold a run-through where the event is rehearsed from beginning to end – not only to provide a good practice for the speakers, but to also ensure everything will go off well during the live-stream event with lighting, sound, etc. Do not skip this step!

  • Invite and secure 25 percent more than expected as you will have that much in attrition.
  • Plan for walk-ins – remember this is a free event and some people will be unable to attend for one reason or another.
  • The more attendees, the more pledges and gifts you will secure. Consider that half of the attendees will give at the event or shorter thereafter. Plan for as many attendees as you possibly can.
  • Utilize volunteers from the campaign committees to serve as table captains or guest hosts who invite eight to 10 persons to encourage people to attend .
  • The guest hosts will use their contact and relationships to build a large event. The focus of this is to encourage people to talk about it in the community and build confidence and credibility in the cause or mission

Be sure to hire a professional to handle the live streaming. Recording the event will also provide more opportunities for people to watch it at a later time to provide yet another way to give.

  • Identify emcees who are comfortable speaking in front of large groups.
  • Emcees should unveil the amount of money raised so far – come up with clever options to share the excitement.
Ways to Give
  • Provide pledge cards at the event and boxes to place check donations.
  • Explore give by text and giving online station options.
Community partners
  • Consider inviting business sponsors from the community to help offset any of the event costs for food, beverages, entertainment, etc.

Planning an event for your nonprofit?

Explore our Definitive Guide to Nonprofit Event Planning or download the guide using the link below!

NPO Guide