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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Let’s take a minute to be super honest here. Fundraising sounds epic. Like you’re saving the world. Like Wonder Woman. Or Beyonce. Yes, you are King Bey yielding a projectile tiara and a lasso of truth! #whoruntheworld
It sounds great and noble, and makes you feel damn good about the impact that you can make. But let’s face it, before the 6-figure events with fancy gowns or that super successful block party where whole community can’t wait for next year, it can be super overwhelming. And scary. And just A LOT.
Sometimes it’s hard to get started.
I hear a lot of advice out there that says you just have to Start. Take Action. Just Do It.
But what do you do when it’s a battle to “just do it”?
Tribe Table is all about bringing people together who want to make a difference. While I started this site as a way to help anyone planning a fundraising event, I wanted to also create resources that connect with introverted, shy, or people just starting out in fundraising. As an introvert myself, I’ve had a ton of personal experiences that lead me to 100% believe that not only is fundraising a job that social caterpillars can do, but that we can be EPIC at it.
When we normally think of introversion in fundraising, often times we think of certain traits as liabilities instead of assets. I’m here to convince you otherwise.
Here’s just a few examples of how a simple mindset switch about a trait can help you be an awesome fundraiser.
So you ever find yourself planning and planning and planning something but never actually doing it? Do you find yourself both frustrated with your lack of progress, but also by your inability to get it done? Maybe its that fundraiser idea you can't seem to make happen, or that new donor campaign that you can't get off the ground.
This is a huge problem for a lot of people.
When I find myself doing this ( which is all the time) normally it’s because I've allowed perfectionism to come in.
I've seen the epic way that someone else achieved something, and for some reason, even if I've never done it before, I set the bar super high because I get it in my head how things should look. Can you relate?
I'm a big believer in self care. Why? Mostly because I've realized over the last few years especially, that when my life starts to feel like a hot mess express, the root of it is usually that I'm not taking care of myself the way I should.
I originally got into yoga because it helped me with back and shoulder pain, and hey, I wanted to be able to do the splits ( you should see my Instagram feed. Its like wanderlust everyday!)
And while I still can't do the splits, I've gotten a ton of other valuable ( and lets face it, more practical) lessons from yoga that I directly apply to other parts of my life.
Here are 8 super actionable lessons that can help you show up with more authenticity and compassion for your cause, your mission, and just be more epic in life.
You ever hear that saying that if anything can go wrong, it will? I’m pretty sure that whoever came up with that wasn’t some mathematician talking about the universe*, but was actually giving some sage advice about fundraising events. They had to be, right?
Let me give you an example. Why don’t we start with a story?
Volunteers hold a special place in my heart. They are pretty much the most important part of pulling off a great event. Sure, you can plan some fundraiser that’s glorious and majestic, but you’ll always be confined by the number of people you have available to make it happen. As people trying to put together epic fundraisers, volunteers are really the only solution we have to that whole pesky “human cloning” problem.