10 steps to hosting a successful fundraiser

There are many ways you can help Edmonton and Area Land Trust continue to do its important conservation work. One of those ways is to organize and host your own fundraiser! Fundraising events can be a lot of fun and you can feel good knowing that the profit is going somewhere worthwhile. Planning your own event can be a daunting task, so we have put together a step-by-step guide on how to organize and deliver a successful fundraising event.

1. Choose the type of event

There are so many different types of fundraisers out there. Choosing the right event for your fundraiser is critical to its success. Consider who your target audience is, how many people you want to attend your event, and how much work the event will be to host. Here are a few different ideas for fundraisers you could hold:

  • Lemonade stand or bake sale – make yummy treats and invite your neighbours to stop by to purchase some
  • Bottle drive – collect bottles and cans and donate the refundable deposit
  • 50/50 raffle – sell tickets and draw a winner for half of the total collected, donate the other half
  • Garage sale – collect items and sell them from your backyard or garage, donate the profits
  • Nature walk – lead an interpretive nature walk, charge an entry fee, donate the proceeds
  • Exercise class – lead an exercise class, charge a fee to participate, and donate the proceeds
  • Birthday or anniversary donations – ask friends and family to donate instead of giving gifts
  • More fundraising event ideas

2. Set your event details

Now that you have an idea in mind for what type of event you want to host for your fundraiser, you will need to decide on some of the details. Here are a few key details you need to work out:

  • The name of your event (catchy names will get people’s attention!)
  • The date and time of the event
  • The location and venue for the event
  • Who will be invited to the event
  • How much the event will cost to hold
  • How much you will charge to attend and what portion of that will be donated to the charity

3. Collaborate

Like John Heywood once said, “many hands make light work”. Teaming up with others will make the preparation for your event a lot easier. Identify people who you know are interested in similar causes and who might be willing to partner with you to help plan and run your event. You never know how other people may be able to contribute to your event – maybe they know someone who has a place you can run the event at, or maybe they think of something that you could change about the event that you never considered. Partnerships are also beneficial because someone else may have a completely different network of people you can advertise the event to. Collaborating with others will have a huge impact on the outcome of your event.


4. Create a project plan

However you choose to organize it, put together a plan that details how you are going to prepare for the event. This project plan should be designed to help keep you on track as you get closer to the day of the fundraiser. You may want to include details about the following in your project plan:

  • A budget
  • A list of supplies and materials you will need
  • A collection of places/people you are going to advertise the event to
  • A calendar with important dates and deadlines to remember
  • A list of tasks you need to get done to get ready for the event (you may need to consider getting others to help you complete these tasks)

5. Work with EALT

Make sure you let us know that you are hosting a fundraiser on behalf of EALT. It’s good for us to know that you are planning the fundraising event so that we can help you with a few details, such as using our logo, getting tax receipts for your donors, helping to advertise your event, and providing you with some  informative brochures about what we do!


6. Promote your event

Now that you’ve established what the event is and the logistical details, it’s time to get some participants. Putting up posters, posting on social media, and handing out flyers are just a few of the ways you might choose to advertise your event. When you are creating promotional material for your event, be sure to include all of the important information such as the name of the event, where and when it will be held, the cost, who to contact for more information, and what the purpose of your event is – to fundraise! Choose appealing colours and images to catch people’s attention and be sure that your font size is large enough that all information can be read quickly and easily. If you are using social media to advertise your event, you might consider creating an Event page on Facebook that people can search to find more information about your event. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to share the event with their contacts too – the more people you who hear about your event, the better!


7. Prepare and Plan Ahead

The countdown is on! As you get closer and closer to the day of the event, there are a few things you should start to do. Ensure that you have all of the materials you might need for the event. Making a checklist that you can refer back to is a great idea for managing the supplies. Also, if participants registered for the event ahead of time, sending out an email to let them know that you are aware that they are attending is a great idea and also gives you the opportunity to let them know what they should bring to the fundraiser and what to expect at your event. Creating a contingency plan, even if it’s not written down, will also be beneficial in running a successful event. Essentially, a contingency plan is just a list of all of the things that could go wrong and how you are going to fix them. By thinking about the hiccups you might have on the day of the event, you can be prepared for situations that might arise and handle them confidently. It might also mean you have to add to your supply list. For example, what if the volunteer who was supposed to bring the pens to your spell-a-thon fundraiser doesn’t? Have some extras just in case! All of the preparation you do before the event will make the day of the fundraiser run a lot smoother!


8. Let your guests know what you are fundraising for

The big day has arrived! Of course, there’s going to be a lot going on and so much to do, but it’s important to make time to explain to everyone at the event what you are raising money for and how much of the proceeds will go to the charity organization. Depending on the type of event you are hosting, you might choose to make a poster with information about the cause on it, or if it is a larger gathering, you could put together a short presentation about EALT (and we can help you with that!)


9. Take photos and videos

This is an event to remember! Get your camera out and take photos! Share them on social media and tag @EdmontonandAreaLandTrust on Facebook and @EdAreaLandTrust on Instagram and Twitter, and encourage your guests to do the same. Distribute photos to your guests after the event so they can remember what a great time they had, and of course share them with us too! If you created a Facebook event page, you might also choose to post them there for followers of the page to see. Capturing your event from behind the lens is also a great idea because if you ever decide to host a similar event in the future, you can use the images you took to advertise it.


10. Thank your guests

Say thanks to your guests for participating in your fundraiser event – you couldn’t have done it without them. You can send them an email, write them a card, or even just say thank you to them directly. No matter how you choose to show your appreciation, make sure you do so that they feel that their contribution is valued. Give yourself a pat on the back as well! Organizing a fundraiser takes a lot of time and effort and you deserve to be appreciated too!


For more information on hosting a fundraiser, click here!