A fundraising event is a powerful and necessary tool for charities, church groups, youth sports, private schools and nonprofits.  Last year Americans gave over $400 billion in philanthropic donations, the largest source being individuals.

Young people, more than ever are getting involved with fundraising events.  Millennials in particular love to be connected to people, events and causes.  As an event planner, you have two challenges: getting people to show up and then making a donation.

Below are fundraising event tips and a suggested course of action for how to plan a successful fundraiser that will exceed your goals and expectations.

Step 1: Defining Your Cause

You must clearly understand and define why you’re raising money and for whom. This will help you create a clear promotional strategy and operational plan.  Defining your cause on paper is a necessary first step.  Start with the filling in these blanks:  We are raising money for ____________ because __________.

Step 2: Setting A Goal

What is a realistic amount of money you should be able to raise. Challenge your team. Consider all aspects of fundraising – ticket sales, retail items, donations, silent auctions, and crowdfunding.

Raising funds is not the only way to help a cause. Creating awareness is important too. Increasing social media following can also be a goal and any other awareness metrics that apply.

Step 3: Create An Event Budget

This is important. You dont want to spend more on your event than you are raising, otherwise the whole event is a bust.  You need to create a budget and revise it frequently as you get closer to your event date and stick to it.  Make sure it includes every single detail — from the venue, catering fees, valet and even babysitting.   Padding these numbers is also helpful for unexpected items.

Step 4: Pinpoint a target audience

Identifying your audience is one of the most important aspects of marketing.  It will also help you create a successful fundraiser as you will have a better understanding of your guests and their requirements for attendance. Consider things like dress code, price points, transportation & calendar dates and times. All of these are factors when people decide whether they are going to attend an event.

Step 5: Secure a Venue

Choosing the right venue for your event is critical.  You want your target audience to be able to attend your event as easily as possible.  The last thing you want is attendees sitting in traffic for an hour on the way to the venue.  Consider the dates and times as well.   Negotiate with the venue as you probably have opportunities to market their venue.  Above all, choose something that will be memorable as you will probably be doing this again and you want people to remember having a good time.  Choose a venue that has something special going on, like a view or big fish tank or some cool history to it.

Step 6: Choose Your Entertainment and/or Theme

People are excited to support a cause, but they also have an expectation to be entertained and/or do something unique and cool.  People want to brag to their friends that they attended a cool event.  Children’s Hospital Los Angeles once held a fundraiser in a super hip bowling alley with rock-n-roll bands. If that wasn’t enough the stage had a runway where fashion models wore clothes from top designers, while bands were rocking out behind them. They hit on all aspects of holding a fundraiser. It was cool, unique,  entertaining and memorable.

Step 7: Use All Marketing Channels

Spreading the word for your fundraiser is crucial. You will not meet your goals if people do not attend. Use all available resources and marketing channels – mailed invitations, social media advertising, email marketing, influencer marketing and more.

Social media is one of your biggest allies here. Use the targeting aspects of Facebook Ads to pinpoint your target audience based on age, sex, location & interests.

Step 8: Decide How To Accept Donations

You will need a fundraising technology partner for this.  Start with an online event ticketing platform, which can take digital and mobile payments in advance and help you track them. Cause Events can also be your payment processor, accept retail purchases, silent auctions and text to donate capabilities.


Fundraising events can be easy and fun with the right approach and right fundraising software platform.  If you have questions or need guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact Cause Events, we’re here to assist you with the entire process – (844) 992-2873 or  info@causeevents.com