Two Easy Ways to Raise More Money at Your Next Fundraising Event

Your non-profit is holding a fundraising event. It takes time. It costs money. You need to raise as much as you can to support your organization’s mission. What’s a non-profit to do?

Focus on the 20% that matters.

We’ve all heard of the 80/20 principle – the idea that 20% of your efforts result in 80% of your successes, and vice-versa. This rule holds up for fundraising, and for fundraising events. If you want to raise more at your next event, you need to focus on the 20% of your event fundraising tactics that will result in 80% of your revenues. Today, I want to talk a little about the simplest of all strategies: focusing your time and energy on what matters most for your event.

Event Focus #1: Sponsorships

When your organization is planning its revenue streams for your fundraising events, where do you focus most of your energy? If you are spending most of your time trying to figure out how to sell more tickets or how to find more silent auction items, you’re missing the largest prospective source of revenue for your event: sponsorships.

Smart non-profits raise 60-80% of their event revenue from sponsorships, and fill-in the rest with ticket sales and add-ons, like auctions and raffles. Sponsors provide more bang for your buck, and more possibilities for your limited fundraising time.

I’d rather find one $10,000 sponsor and have to give away 100 $50 tickets to fill the room than sell those tickets at the expense of finding sponsors. Start your efforts to find sponsors as early as possible, and worry about filling the room after all of your sponsorships have been sold.

Event Focus #2: Event Committee

Your event committee (sometimes called your “host committee”) is a prime example of the 80-20 rule.

Every host committee I have ever been involved with has resulted in 20% of the committee raising 80% of the money for the committee as a whole. If you have 20 people on your committee, chances are that around 4-5 of the members are the ones who are really driving the fundraising by selling sponsorships and tickets.

If you are running the same event year in, year out, capitalize on this fact by constantly (but subtly) dropping the lowest-producing 10% from your committee (perhaps by putting them on a “volunteer committee” that doesn’t do much of anything but also doesn’t take up much time for your staff) and constantly adding top new prospects to the event committee.

Do this year after year, and before you know it, you’ll have a committee full of doers, and be raising far more for your event than you previously thought possible.


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