How to Plan a Fundraising Banquet
As many of us know, the most common expenses facing nonprofit agencies are in program costs and the amount spent on fundraising and development for the organization. However, effective fundraising keeps administrative costs in check and takes best advantage of donations to collect the largest percentage of profits possible from the event.
A fundraising dinner also offers a chance to make personal contact with donors and establish a one-on-one relationship that may lead to future donations.
Schedule a Date: Research other organizations in your area to avoid crossover event dates and calendar conflicts. Next, contact locations you feel may be a good fit and schedule a walk-thru to see the space. Look to book the location as far in advance of the dinner as possible - many prime locations fill quickly, as do busy people’s schedules. Discuss the date and location options with your organization to explore pros and cons.
Select a Location and a Theme: After researching and visiting available banquet facilities, select a location that matches with your target demographic. Close attention to matching the venue with the theme can also add to the event.
Secure Food & Beverage: Solicit food and drink donations for the event from local restaurants, caterers, and food vendors. Aim to accept donations that match the theme and the event to make a coordinated menu. If some donations don’t match with the theme, such as popcorn for a formal banquet, don’t alienate the donor, but use the donated food for a later event or for another fundraiser planned for a different date.
Solicit Auction or Raffle Items: Auctions and raffles are a great way to raise additional funds at an event. By securing the items to be raffled and auctioned in the form of in-kind donations, all profits from the endeavors will go directly towards your cause.
Assign Tasks to Volunteers: Utilizing volunteer services can equal additional savings on staffing but require organization and management. Prior to the event, volunteers can sell tickets, promote the event through email and social media and assist in soliciting donations. During the event volunteers work can help to serve the food and welcome guests.
Good luck and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.