Nonprofit organizations raise money and awareness for important issues or causes, often through fundraising and donations. Fundraisers can range from events such as formal dinners and auctions to charity art shows and carnivals; guests occasionally participate in raffles and lotteries at fundraisers. Creating and organizing a fundraiser requires time, patience, passion and some creative thinking. If you want your fundraiser to be successful, it helps to be outgoing or to have a large network.
Know your facts before starting anything. If you are creating a fundraiser, you must handle public relations and recruit volunteers. You need to be able to cite important facts about the cause and nonprofit to get people interested and promote your fundraiser. If people see you are knowledgeable about the issue at hand, they will be more likely to participate or volunteer.
Set an overall goal for your event. Establish whether you want to raise money (and if so how much) or awareness, or perhaps even food and clothes. Fundraisers need to have an end goal so that people know why they are making a contribution. Setting a defined goal for what you want to attain with your fundraiser will also help you develop a practical plan.
Choose the type of event you want for your fundraiser. Just about any event or activity can be turned into a fundraiser, including formal dinners, auctions, performances, carnivals or lotteries. Consider your nonprofit and issue when choosing an event; for example, a carnival or circus would be a perfect fundraiser for a nonprofit that helps children.
Itemize your budget. Count alcohol, space rental, entertainment, catering and decorations. An itemized budget will keep you on track and prevent you from overspending. Don't forget promotional tools such as invitations, fliers and ads.
Put together a committee. If the nonprofit is able to provide volunteers, assign jobs according to experience. If you need to find your own volunteers, this is when knowing your facts comes in handy. Talk to people about your cause; engage them and get them interested, then ask if they would be interested in volunteering.
Reserve a venue. Your venue choice should reflect the mood and tone for the fundraiser, as well as the mission and message of the nonprofit. With fundraisers, creativity is often more appreciated than cost; you don't necessarily need to book an expensive venue too raise money. Try thinking outside the box, like hosting your fundraiser outside if the nonprofit is environmental.
Pay attention to detail. It is easy to forget basics such as tables, chairs, napkins and silverware, when you're running around planning a fundraiser. Make a list of all of the essential items that need to be taken care of and delegate tasks to your volunteers. Check items off your list as they are completed.
Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Zlio.com. Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.