During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 49th International Conference on Fundraising, Jennifer C. Stewart of the Providence Healthcare Foundation offered suggestions to attendees on how they can minimize the pain of planning for a special event. She said that the key to success rests on the following five considerations:
- Setting goals and objectives. Set them one year in advance. Planning is everything.
- Budgeting and cost per dollar raised. Stewart suggested setting the budget before planning even begins. It’s necessary to be specific in creating a budget. Also, lowering expenses and promoting that cost-cutting shows sensitivity to the times.
- Committee involvement. It is good to create a member expectations protocol, and to be clear about fundraising roles. Don’t undervalue or under-appreciate volunteers.
- Being sensitive to the times. It is good to chart all event details on a month-by-month basis. Set reasonable timelines and stick to them.
- Event follow-up. Thank-you notes should be sent to all donors no more than two weeks after the event (preferably sooner). Report event fundraising results and add testimonials in those notes. Announce the following year’s event date.
Following these steps is a good way to make planning your organization's next special event a lot less painful, and a lot more successful. Let us know what you think of Stewart's suggestions in the comments section.