Hitting Fundraising Goals Start in the Planning Stage – Volunteers and Honorees

There are many reasons that nonprofits do not hit their fundraising goals for their galas, receptions, or fundraising events. In this post we’ll share some tips and tricks on how to make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

Volunteers are an organization’s greatest resource; they know your mission and are committed to the cause. However, we’ve heard over and over from nonprofits that it is like pulling teeth to get their volunteers involved, that they’re leery of the commitment needed. We think the key is to make getting involved as easy as possible. One way to do this is to create template letters or emails volunteers can send out to their contact list telling them about the event, their involvement within the organization and making an ask, whether it be monetary or volunteer time.. It is much easier for a person to tweak a letter to send to their friends than it is for them to develop a letter from scratch. We also typically offer a PBP contact in this letter for their contact to reach out to - this why they aren’t stuck with handling the follow-up and feel like more work is being put on them.

Another great way to achieve your fundraising goals is with the honorees for the event. Typically, nonprofit events bring people together for a cause and to honoree specific individuals who are related to a cause. In the initial planning of the event, nonprofits will come up with a list of prospective honorees, and then they go out with an ask to this person to be honored at their event. Honorees present a great opportunity to generate awareness and buzz for the event and can also be the source of donations. At Powered by Professionals we counsel our clients that there must be a reason for going to an individual to be an honoree that relates back to the nonprofit itself. Before you can make an ask, you must ask yourself, why would we be honoring this person? Do they have any connection to the cause or are they just a big name? Many times, we put big names on a list in hopes that they will generate revenue, which typically they can. The only fault with this, is if there isn’t a direct relation with this individual and your cause and a reason for them to be honored, it is very unlikely that after the event this individual and their following will continue their participation within the organization. Stick with honorees with a legitimate reason to be honored by your organization.

In order to best realize your financial goals, we believe that honorees should know that we as a nonprofit have an expectation from them to help us raise funds for our cause, whether that be from the honorees pocket or from their network. You can make this very clear in a formalized honoree ask letter, so before they agree to be an honoree, they know what their commitments would be before agreeing to lend their name to the cause and be honored. If they have a commitment ask in front of them sooner rather than later, the prospective honoree can make an informed decision on whether accepting this award will be a good fit for them.

We believe that if you take these few easy steps in the beginning phases of planning your next event that you will be that much closer to hitting your fundraising goals and having a successful event that you can be proud of. We at Powered by Professionals are also here to help with all your planning needs for your next event and can share more best practices we learned over the years with helping nonprofits plan and execute their events.

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