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Step 4 (continued). Special Events

Successful special events do more than raise money; they are also a way to:

  • Increase your organization's visibility in your community and to the media
  • Recruit new volunteers and members
  • Energize your board, staff, and volunteers
  • Thank people who have worked hard for your organization
  • Kick-off a new program or celebrate the successful completion of a project
  • Attract the interest of people who would not normally give to your organization

The key to a successful special event is being organized and planning ahead. When planning a special event you should consider the following:

  • Volunteer and Staff Resources: What talents, interests, and contacts can they bring to planning the event? How much time do they have available? Is there someone to lead and manage the effort? Can you form an event committee?
  • Financial Resources: Have you created an expense budget? Do you have the necessary funds to front the expense? Will this particular event help you reach your fundraising goal? Can you attract corporations to attend or sponsor the events (see "Corporate Contributions" for more information)?
  • Organizational Image: Does the event fit well with your organization's image and personality? Does it reflect or detract from your message? Is it the best way to achieve your goals?
  • Audience: Will this event interest the audience you are hoping to draw? Does it fit well with their ability to pay or donate?
  • Timing: Is there enough time to plan the event well? Will the timing compete against other events or any holidays? Does this event suit the season? Can the event be repeated?

Graphic showing two men and two women talking to each other at a special event.There is a long list of potential events you could organize to raise funds. Some ideas are:

  • Annual dinners
  • House parties
  • Silent or live auctions
  • River festivals
  • Guided river trips
  • Benefit concerts

If your organization is new, you should start small and choose one or two events a year that you can easily handle. Steer away from big concerts or benefits, which are usually more beneficial to established organizations.

Sample Timeline of a Special Event

Additional Resources about Special Events

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