Many charities raise their operating capital through fundraising events such as gala events, dinners and fun days. Organizers of these fundraisers tend to look for events that will appeal to the demographics of people who would be interested in financially supporting their specific causes. A fun day appeals to a wide variety of people and gains publicity for your cause. It may not attract "big fish" donors, but it can attract a large number of smaller donors and garner a wide range of coverage that will cultivate good will for your charity.
One necessary key to any good charity event is organization. Surround yourself with dependable individuals who will follow through on their commitments. Split the responsibilities for various duties between a committee of individuals so no one person has more to do than he can reasonably be expected to accomplish. For example, place one person in charge of ticket sales, another in charge of soliciting donations and enlist several people to help with set up and tear down on the day of the event. Provide clear instructions on the duties of each job and who to contact if problems arise.
Types of Activities
Determine what types of activities you want to include in your charity fun day. Consider family-friendly activities such as face painting, balloon artists, races, bounce houses, and arts and crafts. Offering food booths and a variety of performers to entertain attendees can help drive crowds to your event and increase the amount of time--and money--they spend at your fun day. Ask for volunteers to operate each activity. Schedule them in shifts of two to three hours.
Ask area merchants to donate supplies, such as food, balloons, prizes, printing and items for a silent auction. Begin asking for donations at least three months in advance. It helps to make a wish list of wants and needs for your event prior to seeking donations. Think about what benefits you will provide donors in return for their time or donations. You can provide publicity by listing them as donors in your marketing materials and press materials. You can also offer to print their logos or business names on all donated materials like balloons, water bottles or silent auction item descriptions. Contact area service providers for gift certificates to auction in your silent action or give out as door prizes. (Tip: You can make gift certificates donated for your silent auction more inviting by combining them with items, such as a luxurious bath robe with a massage or spa day gift certificate.)
Write a press release that includes all of the relevant information--time, date, charity you are supporting and activities offered at your event--and send it to your local radio stations and newspapers. Ask them to run a free public service announcement for your charity fun day on the air or in their calendar sections. Also, let them know that you are available for interviews to discuss the event and/or the charity it is supporting. Ask area merchants to display flyers for the event. Make sure that you provide clear instructions on how to buy advanced tickets or get involved as a volunteer on all publicity materials. Choose a face for your charity, such as a cancer survivor for you cancer benefit or a physically or developmentally challenged child for your children’s hospital benefit. Tell the stories of the people who benefit from your charity. People support charities that touch their hearts.
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Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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