Funding you receive from holding a benefit, gala, or other fundraising event.

  • Fundraising benefits always sound like an easy way to make a lot of money in a short period of time. In actuality, they are often a tremendous amount of work for very little return. Why? Because benefits cost money to put on and often yield very little after all the bills are paid. The impressive amounts of dollars raised you hear announced at the end of the night at these events are typically before the bills.
  • Typically there is a committee of volunteers that plans the benefit, perhaps secures items for an auction, plans the entertainment, rents a facility, determines the food and drink, sets the theme for the decorations and flowers, designs the invitations, helps create the guest list, and creates the needed buzz for the event. Often the committee will set the ticket prices, project the income, and often in its enthusiasm overlooks some of the costs involved and all the staff time. You can do successful fundraisers, but they typically require strong leadership from the staff and a tight reign on the budget.

Some questions to consider when planning a special event or fundraiser:

  • Does the event say “This is who we are?”
  • Is the event playful? Have you used a good sense of humor when planning the event? Will it be fun for everyone?
  • Will the event you have planned be interesting for everyone? If not, will it draw a large enough audience to raise money?
  • Will the event act as an empowerment tool for the participants? Will it be able to make members of your audience feel as if they can get involved if they want to, and on their own?
  • Will the feelings you get from the event outlive the event itself?
  • Have you considered the appropriate technology and scale? Are you able to do the event you have chosen?
  • Does the event leave the opportunity open for good future events?
  • When is the best time for the event?
  • Will you be able to answer the question, “Why are you doing this event?”
  • Is the leadership of your organization in agreement with your idea and the plans?