Fundraising events can be costly and will add significant work and stress to staff. There is usually no guarantee of increasing profit from year to year, as donor loyalties change, the economy tanks, or your event is planned on the same busy weekend as everything else in the city!
How do you know when it’s time to put your fundraising event to rest? Here are three of the top signs it’s turning into an annual party, rather than a fundraiser:
- Less interest than in previous years. If tickets sales are slow and not many new potential donors are showing interest in attending, it may be a party. You may even experience your very loyal donors choosing another event over yours, if it is starting to feel worn-out and tired to them. If you are having trouble securing sponsors for your event, this may indicate that there is lagging interest in the community overall. Do not simply put on a fundraiser every year because it’s a “tradition” with no thoughts of evolving it into something more impactful, innovative, and desirable for guests to attend.
- The ticket price is too good of a value for the goods provided. If you are providing top-notch Food & Beverage in an incredible venue, you may be throwing a party. Make sure your ticket prices reflect that the event is a fundraiser! Guests should be attending the event for the intangible experience of being involved with the cause, and how it makes them feel when donating to something so worthwhile among their peers.
- No longer profitable. Are the donors simply not giving during the event? The first rule of fundraising is to ask. The event must be structured in a way that makes attendees feel that they must give, otherwise it’s a party. There should be a major influx of donations in the weeks leading up to the event by loyal donors who are not able to attend, but still want to be involved. A celebrity speaker can work wonders to boost the guest experience and therefore the giving inclination. A host committee, typically made up of a group of influential people that already donate their money and time, should reach out to their networks and ensure they invite the right guests to the event with guests you already know will donate or bid high during an auction.
Guests must feel connected to your cause throughout the event and know that they are attending to support the mission through donating. If you are not incorporating this before and throughout your fundraising event, you may be having a party, and therefore it’s probably time for a change.