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It Takes a Village

May 26, 2015

Is your fundraising event an up-hill battle? Are you constantly struggling your way to event day securing sponsors, selling tickets and receiving auction items? You are not alone. So many organizations face that challenge. Let’s change that!

 

The Villagers

First and we’ve said it many times before – find the right volunteers to support your endeavors! The key to all of this is the network (the village) you surround the event with. You must surround your event with key influencers who are NOT AFRAID to leverage their contacts. Yes their contacts! You got it – you need volunteers who have contacts AND who are confident in influencing those contacts to support your event. Spend the time to see who is invested in your organizations and event. Who are your board members, who has attended in the past and mostly who is keen and eager to help.

 

Expand the Network

Conduct a webbing exercise – a step by step process to help people realize who they know, in what capacity they know them and where may they fit in with the event. Here is a great example of a webbing exercise developed by Ken Wyman & Associates Inc.  – this is a great brainstorming exercise and reminder for your team on who they should be connecting with.

Once your team has their lists arm them with the materials they need for solicitation – sponsor opportunities at a glance, auction donation letters, event posters / post cards and a well-crafted elevator pitch.

 

Don’t forget the foot soldiers!

You need people to distribute the wonderful promotional materials you have – no sense in having those post cards sit in the office – get them out there! Sponsor offices, Board members’ place of business, the friendly coffee shop your staff frequent, the gym, library, community centres and so on. The more places you can distribute your event information the further your reach.

 

Plan and Prepare

Be clear, be realistic and be organized. When you set clear fundraising goals (budget) with an organized approach on how you will get there (critical path) and who you can approach (prospect list) the mountain becomes a molehill.  Creating a targeted wish list for in kind sponsors, silent auction donations, live auction line up and other prizes will take the guessing game out for your team. Same goes for your sponsor pipeline and ticket sales prospect list – these are vital to the continued growth of your event. With these materials everyone knows who exactly they need to ask and what they are asking for.

 

It truly does take a village of committed supporters to reach fundraising goals and increase awareness for charities and not-for-profits, but it is possible!

 

Ashlee Sorochan

Co-owner & Event Director

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