I recently attended a fabulous fundraiser. The event was Kentucky Derby themed to raise funds for a Relay for Life team. The organizers went all out with decorating the outdoor grove to perfection and included little extras tidbits, such as bottles of Champagne and “racing cups” for VIP attendees, that helped to make the afternoon a real pleasure. Between a raffle, silent auction, and “betting” on racehorses (hobby horses whose jockeys were Irish dancers who provided entertainment between
races) there were ample means to draw in the additional cash. Giant dice were rolled with the outcome signaling which horses moved forward in the heat. To add to the fun, attendees were invited to help select the best outfits, hats… It was obvious that much time was spent in preparing for this festive event.
While the event drew a decent crowd, I was saddened that it was not better attended. Like several other recent events, much time was spent in creating a perfect fundraiser, but it could have easily pulled in a lot more funds with very little additional effort had there been more attendees. So what went wrong?
While the organizers were great planners, their strength did not lie in publicity. It is important to make sure that the word gets out about your event. For an event such as this that is not open to the general public, asking friends to help spread the word to their friends through Facebook or email sharing can really pay off with an increased attendance.
Additionally, I learned that this Relay for Life team was very active and hosted at least one fundraiser a month. While it would seem that the more fundraisers you hold, the larger your return, it turns out that it is the same audience that is being tapped for all the fundraisers. So, while this group was very generous, it is most likely that “some new blood,” who was not already contributing regularly to this cause, would have would have made larger contributions. Remember, more events do not necessarily draw in a significant amount of additional funds, especially when it is the same crowd attending all the events. So put your efforts into a couple more profitable fundraisers will truly be the most more productive.