Five Tips for a Successful Fundraising Event

Updated April 27, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Tips for a Successful Fundraising Event

  • Communicate the particulars of the fundraiser.
  • Solicit donations.
  • Invite people to participate in your fundraising efforts.
  • Keep value-added extras in mind.
  • Be diligent in raising funds.

If you're a college student--or otherwise interested in college--you understand the rising cost of education these days. Tuition alone is raised exponentially each year, to say nothing of the inflation driving up such costs. With the bottom line on everyone's mind, thoughts quickly turn to fundraising. Here are five tips for hosting a successful fundraising event.

Communicate the particulars of the fundraiser.

1. Get the word out. Client direct-mailing may be a thing of the past, but there are plenty of modern and even old-fashioned ways to promote your fundraiser. Never underestimate the power of social media, says John White, founder of Social Marketing Solutions. In an article from, he writes, "Since I began networking on social media, it has completely changed the business landscape for me. The virtual relationships I've made... have been my biggest business driver..." The engine that drives White's business can rev up your fundraiser, too. And many times, these sites don't cost a dime to get started. To add to that advice, don't forget word-of-mouth. If your patrons have a good experience at your fundraiser, chances are they themselves will spread the word.

Solicit donations.

2. Ask for donations for as much as you can. The less you have to purchase up front, the more you can pocket as money raised for your good cause. Try approaching grocery stores for donations if your fundraiser involves food. HEB in Texas, for instance, regularly donates items to food pantries and community events. For monetary donations, don't be squeamish when it comes to banks. First State Bank of Uvalde, a local bank in South Texas, is well known for its monetary and material support of fundraisers. For the business, donating becomes a tax write-off as well as positive publicity, and for you, it is an invaluable piece of the fundraising puzzle.

Invite people to participate in your fundraising efforts.

3. Get as many people involved as possible. As with companies, individuals often have a desire to see a cause they believe in succeed, and many times are willing to put in the work to make it happen. If it's an event to benefit a school, ask parents to volunteer their time. If hosting a bake sale, ask friends to bake up a batch or two of their favorite cookies. In this way you will capitalize on people's sense of justice and their desire to give back. They feel they've done their part, and you can save the money you would have paid a staff.

Keep value-added extras in mind.

4. Show your patrons the benefit they gain from helping you out. Innately selfish creatures, people are more willing to buy into something if they know what's in it for them. This could be something as small as a complementary prize, or as large as participating in the next great humanitarian effort. If people walk away from the event satisfied in this way, they will more likely return if it becomes a yearly affair, thus increasing the likelihood of it being a successful fundraising event in the future.

Be diligent in raising funds.

5. Be willing to go the distance. Ray Zinn, an active CEO of software company Micrel for 37 years before the sale of the business in 2015, suggests that diligence is key for an entrepreneur. Says interviewer David K. Williams, "[I]f something seems impossible to others, a great entrepreneur will see a worthy vision and objective before [him], will seek to understand the barriers, and will understand that, with determination and practice, there is very little a person or team can't achieve." Only through diligence can you overcome financial obstacles and be successful at fundraising. To encourage your efforts, find an interview with Zinn by Forbes Magazine.

These are just some of the many ways you can host a successful fundraising event. If you consider yourself the entrepreneur that you are and put forth the effort needed, nothing can stand in your way.

Related Resource: The 24 Best Masters in Nonprofit Management Online Degree Programs

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