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Event Planner Notes

September 7, 2009
Fundraising Basics During a Weak Economy

Lately the amount of inquiries for charitable events have not diminished much. Given the obvious state of our economy, recipients of these fundraising efforts are struggling and need help more than ever. And to no one’s surprise, charitable foundation budgets have been pretty tight lately. What makes planning these events most challenging? Guest counts and expectations remain the same…if not more so. But the fundraising must go on!

Our first thought for a successful fundraiser is appealing to the donors. These would be individuals and organizations that frequent social events and expect something special for their support. Not everything needs to be over the top. However a pleasant and stimulating environment with a little creativity can go a long way. The goal is to maintain longtime supporters, gain new friends and make money.

To get the most bang for your buck, follow the best deals instead of trying to create them on your own terms. The date in particular is key to this one. Saturday evenings during the peak months of Spring and Fall seem ideal, yet expensive. You will also be competing with other social and personal events. Avoid local, national and religious holidays too. A great attendance means more donations!

Weekdays are ideal for charitable events on a budget. Supporters will look forward to breaking away from their busy work schedules to attend a festive event for a good cause. Better yet, many event professionals offer deep discounts for weekdays since the majority of their business is on weekends.

Ask a few preferred venues, caterers and other service professionals what their policies are regarding charitable contributions. Mention your organization is flexible and open to all available options during slow periods. This could yield anything from a donation to below average discounts. Compare estimates from your various offers to come up with the most budget friendly date, location and vendor services.

As with all fundraisers, incentives for potential vendors will greatly enhance your negotiating opportunities. First and foremost are tax breaks, free advertising, cross promotion and bartering. Sending event professionals a few client referrals is also a welcome gesture. Tap into relationships you have with your benefactors and encourage them to consider your vendor referrals when booking future events.

Posted September 7, 2009 by Encounters
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