Guest post: Top 10 tips for holding fundraisers

On Wednesday, July 21st, L.A.’s XAI Verandah Lounge will be the site of an awesome fundraiser called Big Kids Care. Aimed at the entertainment and celeb set, the event will raise both dollars and awareness for the SBC P.R.I.M.E. organization, which works to support at-risk youth with mentoring and community programs. It’s a great cause and a great event, and we were excited for the chance to talk to Christina Williams of ARC Talent Management, which organized it.

Here are Christina’s Top 10 tips for Holding Fundraisers:

1. The most important thing is decide who the target guest list is and what will get them to come to the fundraiser. For example, if the demographic is parents with kids ages 5 to 10 years old, consider doing a family-oriented event. If it is more targeted to adults, consider an event like “Casino night” or “Night out on the town.”

2. Consider hiring a PR rep depending on what type of fundraiser you are having. Some offer great discounts for nonprofits. But always make sure they have a clear understanding of what you expect and what you are paying for.

3. When choosing a venue for the event, always make it clear it is a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization. They may waive room fees or bar minimums.

4. Having sponsors is a great way to offset costs incurred while planning the event. However, be aware of the economic climate and how this might affect the sponsor you are asking.

5. Try reaching out to sponsors 6 months ahead of the event. Sponsorships can still be achieved after 6 months, but it will be very time-consuming with a lot of follow-up calls. Plan ahead! Always ask to send information via email instead of snail mail. The quicker the response, the better!

6. Another way to offset costs: hire an intern to help make calls or plan the event. Obviously this needs to be whatever the organization is comfortable with.

7. Make sure to stay organized and keep notes. When calling sponsors, venues, merchants, you will do a lot of following up, so it is important to keep track of who you talked to and what they told you.

8. Some PR companies will answer questions if you call them, for free. Don’t be afraid to at least ask.

9. Think outside the box. There may be vendors outside your marketplace that will donate product for the event or items for the organization to use.

10. STAY POSITIVE!! There will be some discouraging days when you feel like there is no point to what you are doing. The best thing to do is remember what the organization’s mission is. Remind yourself why it is important to make the fundraiser a success. Take a walk around the block and breathe and then get back to work with a new outlook!