How to keep guests engaged before + after your fundraiser

How to keep guests engaged before + after your fundraiser

Ever feel like planning your fundraiser is like walking 50 miles up hill in the snow (both ways) EVERY year?

Ever feel like all the guests you managed to get last year just don’t seem to be interested this time, and you can’t figure out what happened?

Well, I can tell you that you’re not alone.

So many change-makers feel like putting on their signature annual event is a major undertaking every year.

That no matter how hard they work, they don’t feel like they’re getting any real traction and keep basically starting from scratch.

Here are some proven ways to keep your event guests engaged from the time that they RSVP so that you can build strong relationships with them after the event is done.

How to organize your next silent auction

How to organize your next silent auction

While most of us have seen a silent auction done before or have a basic idea of what they are, silent auctions are one of those things that can be a ton of work or turn your event into a hot mess if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Sounds scary right? Now, I’m not trying to talk you out of having one. Quite the opposite, actually.

Silent auctions are a great way to build new relationships in your community and bring in some extra money for your fundraiser.

Here I’m sharing my top tips on how to organize any kind of silent auction. Whether you’re using paper tracking, credit card swiping, or auction software, here the foundational tips to creating a successful auction.

5 simple ways to give a great guest experience at your next fundraiser

5 simple ways to give a great guest experience at your next fundraiser

Are you struggling with getting people to attend your fundraising event? Or maybe you have plenty of people that show up, but you’re still having a hard time meeting your fundraising goals?

Believe me, I understand. Figuring out how to plan successful fundraising events and attracting the right supporters can take a lot of time and effort.

Sometimes it’s downright confusing and frustrating.

Despite the steep learning curve that can come with learning to plan a successful fundraiser, I really do believe that it’s something anyone can do.

20 fun fundraising event ideas that aren't a gala)

20 fun fundraising event ideas that aren't a gala)

When people think of fundraising events, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a gala. Which makes sense, considering that most people in the nonprofit world have either been invited to or have attended one.

When people think “gala”, they also think of having 200-400 guests and raising multiple six-figures in one night.

The thing that people don’t talk about enough is that galas usually aren’t something you decide to do, and bam, you’re successful right out of the gate.

how to move past fear and explode your fundraising efforts

how to move past fear and explode your fundraising efforts

Do you ever find yourself staring at a super long call list, and struggle to get started? Maybe you tell yourself you’ll start at a certain time, or do it tomorrow.

But more things are added to your plate and before you know it, you've done a ton of work, but never got started on those donation calls.

The list is intimidating. It’s nerve wracking. Your heart beat rises and your palms get sweaty just thinking about it.

My top 10 tips for fast guest registration at your next event

My top 10 tips for fast guest registration at your next event

Today I’m sharing the top tips I use for EVERY SINGLE one of my event welcome tables. In fact, this is the exact checklist that I used to organize a welcome table that checked in 700 guests in 30 minutes! Crazy, right?!

It’s also the way that I organize all of my clients’ registration tables.

So here are the things you need to organize a smooth, easy check in table that will impress your guests and make them love you!

the 3 Things that all successful fundraising events have in common

the 3 Things that all successful fundraising events have in common

I was recently chatting with a friend who is a professional in the nonprofit funder world about events (because what else do you talk about over Indian food?). We got on the topic of how frustrating it can be to see great nonprofits with awesome missions that totally miss the mark when it comes to engaging donors at events.

My friend shared with me three things that they believed every single event should be in order to be successful. And while they were all simple things, and things I definitely help clients to achieve, I’d never actually put them together in that way.

Here are the three things that all successful events have in common, why they’re important, and ideas for how you can incorporate them into your next fundraising event.

Top 5 Signs You Might not be Ready for a Fundraising Event

Top 5 Signs You Might not be Ready for a Fundraising Event

It’s no secret that I love helping organizations put on awesome fundraising events. They’re such a great way for organizations to share their mission and values, grow deeper relationships with their supporters and make new friends that will hopefully jump on the bandwagon in the future.

Let’s not forget of course that you can make thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The epic part- fundraising events give you the opportunity to do all of the above in one go!

So obviously fundraising events are always the way to go and every organization should have one right?

Well, not necessarily.

Questions to ask yourself before planning your next fundraiser

Questions to ask yourself before planning your next fundraiser

Fundraising events are a great way for organizations to build strong relationships with their current supporters, get to know new potential partners, and raise money all in one go!

Having an annual event (or even a few) that your tribe can count on and look forward to also allows you to stay top of mind by having a platform to share the successes you’ve all created together as a community.

Pretty awesome right? Definitely.

But, before you dive right into booking a venue and making invitations, there are a few things to ask yourself first.

How to Get the Attention of Millennials for your Next Fundraiser

How to Get the Attention of Millennials for your Next Fundraiser

I've been hearing a lot of talk lately out in the ether that organizations and businesses all over the country are struggling with a huge problem.

The thing that seems to be flummoxing everyone is the Millennial. Specifically, how difficult it is to get them to engage in well, anything.

I've heard this for many years on the business side, but it’s also become a huge problem with nonprofits, because they don't know how to reach them. 

The Top Positions You'll Need to Put on a Smooth Auction

The Top Positions You'll Need to Put on a Smooth Auction

If you've never done an auction before, it can be pretty crazy trying to figure out all the necessary pieces. How many volunteers do I need? Who does what?

Here is a quick and easy list of the different positions you might need to make up an auction. These are based on best practices, and will vary in detail based on what you're trying to do at your event.

25 Ways to Promote Your Fundraiser + Build Your List at the Same Time

In order to have any sort of fundraising event, what do you need most? A list of people that you can actually invite to join in!

Here is a list of 25 ways that you can build a list for your next event. The methods listed here skip the whole reaching out to complete strangers who aren’t ready or interested in you or your message.

Any of the things listed here will help you to reach people who want to hear from you, people who want to help. They  will also help you to build strong, lasting relationships that you can use well past your first event.

You don’t have to do them all now, or ever. Just start by choosing a couple that resonate with your personality and your mission.

Let’s get to it!

My Top 5 Tools for Planning Fundraisers

Hey beautiful people! Today I want to share my top 5 free tools for planning fundraisers. As a professional event planner, I actually use these for every single one of my events.

These free tools not only save me a ton of time, but help keep me super organized. And they're great for team projects too!

I hope this list gives you ideas of new ways you can really make the most of tools you're maybe already using.

How to Write Sponsor Letters that Connect

How to Write Sponsor Letters that Connect

What is it about sponsorship letters that make some super engaging to potential sponsors, while others just get put (or sent) to the trash without really being read?

Why do some bring in a lot of money, while others seem to be a waste of time, and sometimes paper, creating?

Here are some quick and easy steps that you can do to make your sponsorship letters stand out.

How to Make Fundraising Cold-Calls The Right Way

Cold calling is one of the hardest fundraising activities to get people to do. Why? Because no one likes calling people asking for stuff. They feel like they’re bothering people. And on the flip side, no one likes to be on the receiving end being bothered!

And that’s all assuming that you get someone to answer. In most cases you don’t even get that far because most people have learned by now that if you don’t know the number, then don’t answer the phone!  

So if it’s so painful to do (and a general life-suck of valuable time that we’ll never get back!), why do so many fundraising organizations keep doing it?

A Love Letter to Fundraising Social Caterpillars

Hey, you.

Yes, I mean YOU.

You have such a big heart. You care so deeply for others and genuinely want to make a difference in this world.

You want to do work not just to inflate your own ego and line your own pockets, but to help lift up others. Because you know that the real meaning of life is in building, supporting, and laughing together.

So maybe you’re introverted, or shy, or quiet, or are just still figuring some things out. All of these things can be leveraged in your favor. Skills can be learned. Internal scripts can be rewritten. It’s your love for other people and making the world just a little bit brighter that will always make you shine.

Rewriting habits that keep you from success

A lot of people think that the hardest part of fundraising is getting the money. And yes, that takes a wholllle lotta time, patience, and effort.

But the hardest part is actually that we get in our own way. There are all these scripts and stories we tell ourselves about why we can’t do this, why that is just not us, and why it wouldn’t ever work anyway.

Basically you’ve gone and blown up your rocket ship before you even built it! With that kind of thinking, it’s a miracle we ever even bother leaving the house!

We have to work through the mess in our heads before we can even face tackling anything out in the world.


Networking- You’re Doing It Wrong. + tips to build authentic fundraising relationships.

I often hear people say that they hate fundraising. Well, actually, that’s not completely accurate. People love having more money come in for a cause they believe in. Don't we all?

But the thing is, we hate asking for it. We hate having to go out and meet new people. The word “networking” feels just as gross now as “salesy”.

Why ? Because a lot of us have been taught that in order to be successful you have to:

  • Meet as many people in the room as possible

  • Pretend to be interested in someone, even if you’re not

  • Give out as many cards as you can

  • Push to convince people that they want to work with you

Notice that none of that actually has anything to do with the other person?

That’s right, all those mindsets are just super selfish and Gimme-ey (pretend it’s a word and slide past it, Love).

And we wonder why it feels itchy and gross to network.

How to Win the Race in Fundraising

I think of fundraising as playing the long game. Sure, there are moments that are short all-out sprints to the finish line, but I  think of most of it as a marathon.

Your first year of putting on an event can feel a lot like a sprint.

You have to scramble to find people interested in attending, and often you also scramble to plan and organize the actual event. The whole thing can be exciting stress-tornado just picking you up and taking you along for the ride.

But even in that first sprint, you have to have bigger plans for development. Know that the first year, things probably aren't all going to be perfect. Maybe you're still figuring out how to run the event, maybe the promotion isn't streamlined, or maybe you want more of the community to be excited about it.

But the sprint method doesn’t always work.