6 Tips to Help You Host an Awareness Event or Fundraiser
Thinking of hosting a fundraiser for your organization, cause, or upcoming mission trip? Want to get the word out, create presence in your community, and raise awareness? Keep reading to find out how some of the staff of Shaping Destiny learned first-hand how to have fun, raise funds, spread awareness, and get the community involved!
It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Elizabeth Milburn Park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the fields were full of players — all gathered for a common goal: Ultimate Frisbee for the Fatherless. After all our hard work my colleague, Danielle, and I were able to step back and see the fruit of our labor. About 100 people showed up and were exposed to the orphan care work our ministry does in Cameroon, West Africa. This was the first event Danielle and I had ever organized…and boy were we overwhelmed! I wanted to take a brief moment to share 6 tips we’ve learned from putting this event together.
1. Plan Ahead
- Determine who your audience is. This will help you come up with the right event, invite the right people, and advertise the right way. We looked at the community, our talents, and the people most likely to get involved.[Tweet “Always start your planning by determining your audience”]
- Choose the type of event. Be creative, but keep your audience and demographic in mind. We chose ultimate Frisbee because Austin is full of active people, the weather is great, the sport is already popular, and we knew how to play and organize the teams.
- Select the date and time. Be aware of your type of event and people’s busy schedules!
- Find a place to hold the event. Where are similar events being held? Can you get space donated? Also, check with the proper authorities (ie. gaming, health, park and recreation).
- Stick to your budget. Your budget needs to line up with your ticket price and goal . If your event is extravagant, the ticket price needs to be higher or else you will end up lowering the effectiveness of your fundraiser.
2. Advertise Like Your Life Depends On It!
- Use social media, printed flyers, word of mouth, radio, your organization’s website, etc.
3. Get Support
- Look for corporate sponsors such as grocery stores or businesses for donations.
- Solicit additional donations from both attendees and non-attendees. Most people will donate beyond the ticket price and many times attendees will choose to give more if they are asked.
- Ask friends/family to help coordinate. This was an area we struggled a lot in and it caused us a lot of stress! We tried to do it all by ourselves and risked ruining the entire event and appearing very disorganized. You will most likely need many volunteers to help keep everything running smoothly.
4. Thank Supporters Immediately
- We sent out Thank You’s constantly — when players registered, when they paid for their ticket, to corporate sponsors who donated, and especially after the event.
5. Document the Event
- Take a lot of pictures and videos! This is great for follow up and will keep the excitement from the event going. We uploaded ours to social media and then, when we sent out a mass thank you to all the participants, invited them to like our page and tag themselves and the their friends. This drove traffic to our websites and gave us a lot of exposure beyond the actual event.
6. Cultivate Relationships
- Make sure you provide event attendees with additional opportunities to connect with and support your cause. We emailed a copy of our most recent newsletter out and invited everyone to join us for our weekly prayer meetings for orphans and the poor.
Many of these lessons we learned the hard way, but we hope that this post can save you from some of the stress we encountered. I’m sure some of you have experience with fundraisers and awareness events of your own. We’d love to hear any tips you have that helped you along the way! Please comment below to share with us and help save others precious time and energy as they seek to make a difference in the world around them.