A 12-step guide for your fundraising event planning template

Brilliant fundraising events don’t happen by accident – they are carefully planned. And to ensure your next one is a success, here’s a 12-step guide to create your fundraising event planning template.

Are you preparing for your next fundraising event? If so, then you’re making the right choice. Qgiv reports that 35% of the overall donation happens during the last three months of the year. Furthermore, 12% of global donations happen during the last three days of the year. Without a doubt, this is the best time to advance your fundraising causes.

So get your pens and papers ready, because today we will teach you how to proceed with your event planning without a hitch – by making a fundraising event planning template.

Part 1: Establishing your fundraising event

In the first part of this process you’ll establish your fundraising event.

1) Identify your goals and objectives

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Fundraisers are one of the best ways to teach people the joy of giving. However, it is not the only reason why you organize one. You have specific results you want to get. What do you wish to accomplish at the end of your fundraising campaign? Setting up your goals is the first thing you need to include in your fundraising event planning template. Your goals define your fundraising success.

If you want to get clear results you need to have clear goals. Follow the SMART method in your goal setting. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, your fundraising golf tournament may aim to raise a specific amount of money or you want to gain a specific number of new donors or you want both. 

Whatever it is, make sure that the team and the sponsors clearly understand it so that everyone will move in the same direction.

2) Set up the fundraising committee

The author and advocate Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Fundraisers always highlight the beauty of teamwork and community. And behind every successful fundraising event is a dedicated fundraising committee.

The fundraising committee is composed of the committee chair and the committee members. They are responsible for the creation of fundraising opportunities and the management of the whole event. They are also responsible for accounting and keeping track of the finances raised.

Furthermore, it is the committee that will use the fundraising event planning template. Most organizations already have a solid fundraising committee but it wouldn’t hurt to recruit more volunteers to the team. Having a reliable and capable team will make the work easier and more productive.

3) Brainstorm and strategize

Before you come up with new fundraising ideas and strategies, reflect on your previous events. Learn from your challenges and setbacks and use them for your improvement. Make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

A good fundraising strategy is a carefully planned method that aims to achieve all the fundraising objectives. To simply put it, it is the means of how your organization will generate funds. One of the common strategies organizations use is selling tickets by hosting golf tournaments, talent shows, or concerts.

Hosting a gala fundraiser or a festival are famous picks as well. Strategize on what type of fundraising event will work best on your target sponsors and the people you are helping.

4) Make a budget plan for your fundraising event

This is a critical part of your fundraising event planning template. How much are you hoping to raise? How can you make sure you hit the goal and won’t overspend during the event? One way to do this is by making a detailed budget plan. You can find helpful free fundraiser templates online. Your budget plan will guide your spending.

List the specific items you need to purchase or you need to rent. Then designate estimated costs for each. More event organizers have considered doing virtual events. What is good with virtual events is that you’ll be able to save more since you’re not renting a physical space or equipment that goes with an in-person gathering.

But no matter what choice you make, you can be assured that you stay on budget if you strictly stick to the budget.

5) Decide on a date, venue, and possible materials and service you need to hire

This is where the team comes in handy. Listen to their suggestions and recommendations. Decide on the possible date. How long will the event last? Scout for the most suitable venue and event services. The earlier the better. Reserve your desired venue as early as possible while it is still available.

If you are contemplating doing it virtually, you’ll be needing services you are not used to collaborating with like donation software, streaming platforms, and other online tools. You might even want to consider purchasing a WordPress plugin that will help you manage your event. Check out this article for some tech tips for your virtual fundraising events.

6) Construct a tentative program with the activities

You need to consider having a thorough and well-organized program for your fundraising concert, golf tournament, marathon, pet expo, or talent show. How will you start the event and how would you like to finish it? Will there be invited speakers or performances? It will all depend on the event type you’ll choose.

Some organizations prefer fundraising events that are hosted each year. An annual fundraising gala and festival are some of the examples. When this is the case, making it more engaging and advertising it well would be the top concerns. Some of the best golf tournament fundraising ideas are selling discounted foursome ticket packages and offering sponsor options like sponsorship levels, sponsor a hole, or beverage carts.

But if you’re going in a different direction this year especially in your year-end fundraising campaign, then planning for the program might take more effort and more brains. It might be risky but doing something new brings a different kind and level of excitement not only to your prospect donors but also to the whole team.

Part 2: Fundraising event registration, donation, and strategy

In the next stage you’ll look at your fundraising event registration, donation, and strategy.

7) Set up the registration and donation process

Most organizations, if not all, have websites to promote their events. Setting up a registration page and donation options right on your event website will increase not only your site’s traffic but will result in higher conversion rates. This is because your attendees and sponsors can register directly from your website.

Here is where a WordPress event manager plugin can help. Event Espresso is an event and ticketing management plugin perfectly designed to cater to your fundraising needs. Event Espresso helps you automate the registration process. You can set up a fundraising event page, customize your registration forms, sell event tickets, collect the registrants’ details, and receive the payments right away.

8) Strategize how to maximize ticket sales

Most fundraisers collect funds by selling tickets. How many tickets do you need to sell in order to hit the desired amount to raise? How much will a ticket cost? Are there any discounts when participants purchase group tickets?

These are some questions you need to consider. Brainstorm on how to increase ticket sales. One of the most common strategies organizations do is selling brand merchandise and souvenirs.

Part 3: Fundraising event marketing and follow-ups

The next stage is is to plan your fundraising event marketing and follow-ups.

9) Promote your fundraising event

Your fundraising event planning template will not be complete without the event marketing. You may already have loyal sponsors but promotion is very important especially if you’re planning to reach a wider audience. Advertise your fundraising campaign using your event website. Make use of your email contact list and social media accounts.

Add a virtual countdown to build excitement. Encourage loyal sponsors to bring their friends and family with them.

10) Follow up

This step requires polishing the program and doing follow-ups with the staff, crew, and services needed. Make the necessary touch-ups. Secure permits and payments. See to it that everything is in place and ready for the big day.

Part 4: Donor appreciation and fundraising event assessment

The final stage is to consider your donor appreciation and fundraising event assessment.

11. Donor engagement and appreciation

As your event ends, don’t forget to extend your gratitude to the sponsors and the people who made significant contributions. Make the donor appreciation extra special by giving them a customized thank-you gift. It would be extra special if the gifts are made by the people and community the organization is supporting.

When sponsors feel that they are greatly and genuinely appreciated, chances are, you’ll be seeing them again for your next campaign. Remember to always strive for the loyalty of the sponsors.

12) Event evaluation and assessment

This is the final step of your fundraising event planning template. Together with your committee, evaluate and assess the event. Did you hit the target amount to raise? How many new sponsors participated? Were the old donors present?

What went right and what are the areas you need to improve? And as equally important as the assessments, don’t forget to thank the fundraising committee and volunteers. Make sure that everyone is commended for their efforts and commitments.

Are you ready to plan your next fundraising event?

Fundraiser planning is easier and faster when you have a fundraiser event planning template at hand. But you need to remember that this is only a template. Adapt this template to your organization’s needs and preferences.

Event Espresso supports a wide range of relevant charity causes and fundraising campaigns through its partnership with charities, non-profit organizations, churches, and NGOs from all over the world.

They offer quick-to-respond and accommodating customer service, and discounted support licenses for nonprofits. If you’d like to learn more about how they can help you with your next fundraising campaign, see this free demo.

Photo by Ben Rosett