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Below you will find all of our past articles to help you with your fundraising events. It is a long list of articles so don't hesitate to bookmark this page and come back often. If you would like more great fundraising information in the future then please sign up for an email notification whenever we publish a new article.


Fundraising Idea of the Month: Ticket Considerations by Doug Nash

The tickets you use in your fundraising activities need careful consideration as they are a part of your image. AS such they can be used to promote your organisation and play a role in building they way the public perceive you or maintaining the image you have taken care to build. Below are some thoughts on tickets for your consideration.

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Ask a Pro: About Fundraising Holiday Shops by the AFRDS

A fundraising holiday shop is a seasonal "store" at school where students can make holiday purchases, selecting from an assortment of inexpensive gift items sold on consignment by the sponsoring parent group.

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Choose the Right Catering Service for Your Fundraising Event by Deane Brengle

When food is a part of your fundraising event you must choose a catering service wisely. How your guests remember your fundraiser will greatly depend on what they thought of the food and service. Those memories, good or bad, will influence them when it comes time to think about attending your next fundraising event.

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6 Steps to Designing Great Tickets by Brad Leary

Most of us are not graphic designers by trade. I, for example, have a degree in physics, something that is almost in direct opposition to being artistic. Fortunately for those of us who are artistically impaired, it does not take a great deal of artistic talent to design an attractive ticket, so long as some simple guidelines are followed.

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Increasing Event Attendance by Heidi Richards Mooney

Have you noticed a decrease in event attendance over the years? If so, you are not alone. Every day more and more groups and organizations are popping up vying for the attention of specific targeted groups of people. Increasing event attendance is generally the biggest challenge facing meeting and event planners. Many people think that if they plan a fantastic event, people will just show up. Of course, today with all the competition for peoples’ time, this does not happen.

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Security by Doug Nash

One of the major responsibilities of those organising a fundraiser is to ensure as best they can that the workers, usually volunteers are not put in possibly compromising situations. The most common in this regard are contact with and handling of stock and cash. For this reason, you, as an organiser should employ strict control over both these areas. There should be clarity, transparency and accountability.

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Beer Tent by Doug Nash

This can be a very profitable fundraiser, however it must be done right and some very important details must be attended to in a proper and timely manner. If you don't attend to these details properly ,the ramifications will be significant so if you choose to run this fundraiser then make sure your planning and attention to detail is spot on. Please remember this is a general overview, not a detailed plan. The responsibility is on you to get it right!

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Don't Come Event by Doug Nash

Do you ever feel that at times you would rather not go to that function? You feel that you would rather stay at home, grab a quiet night and help out a really good cause by doing so? Then the Don't Come Event is something that you should seriously consider using as a fundraising event.

Imagine how good people will fell towards you for saving them the effort or inconvenience of attending `another' time consuming function with `boring' speeches and people that they might not want to see again quite so soon or at all.

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Hoops by Doug Nash

Hoops is a very very simple, easy, versatile fund-raiser and you need no special equipment. The basic idea is to lay out prizes on a table or on the ground, people win by throwing a hoop over a prize. The prizes can be as simple as a bottle of drink to a voucher for a more substantial prize like a dinner for two. The hoop must completely surrounded to win the prize the prize.

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How to Plan a Car Show Extravaganza and Fundraiser by Tonza Borden

A car show “extravaganza” is a fantastic opportunity to bring a community or special interest group together – for more than one cause. Planning your car show event is not an easy task but the process can be simplified and efficient. The most important steps to planning your extravaganza are as follows:

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The "All About Car Shows" Series by Tonza Borden

Tonza Borden covers all the aspects of producing a Car Show including:

  • Why you need a creative team.
  • How to pick a leader.
  • People behind the scene.
  • How to plan in phases.
  • Why you need sponsors.
  • How to make your car show attractive.
  • How to control logistics.
  • How to plan a car show attraction.

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Dress Day by Doug Nash

Dress days like all good fundraisers are easy and simple to organise and fun to participate in. The point to a dress day is to have a change in the dress code for a day, either dressing up or down depending on the where the activity is taking place. Dress days are great activities for work places or at a picnic type event.

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Turning Tickets and Invites into Low-Cost, High-Impact Marketing Tools (Case Study) by Nancy Schwartz

I recently returned from a trip (part work, part pure play) to San Francisco. I grabbed a cable car ticket before jumping on and found myself enthralled by a strikingly effective marketing tactic – The San Francisco Cable Car Collectors' Series.

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Getting a Flood of Referrals from One Event by Heidi Richards

The second most important thing next to staging a world-class event is the front and back-end promotion. By that I mean, cultivating referrals from your clients/vendors/attendees. Promoting your services for other events to this base of referral business requires careful, strategic, ongoing planning. You could turn one event into many with the right marketing mix. It’s the personal attention, the details and the relationships you build that will create this flood of referrals.

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Creative Posters Draw Attention to Your Event from the Nonprofit Communications Report newsletter

When it’s time to create a poster to promote an upcoming event, some creative brainstorming and hands-on involvement from your volunteers can help ensure that your poster will be noticed, and that people will remember the name of your organization even if they cannot attend the event.

Large printing budgets are always an advantage, but not essential for making a good impression — creativity doesn’t have to have a high price tag.

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Evaluation by Doug Nash

Who benefits from evaluating? YOU DO!

Planning your event helps to avoid or minimize mistakes and so do the best you can, evaluation can help you avoid making the same mistakes and improve the return on your next effort both in the financial and fun departments. Companies and professional organisations use the tool of evaluation constantly to improve their performances in nearly everything that they do. As said elsewhere in this book, if it works for them then it will work for you and your organisation.

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Trivia Nights by Doug Nash

Trivia nights can be a whole lot of fun. They require a little more in the way of organising, however this is repaid by lots of laughs and fun on the night. A great feature of trivia nights is that there is no set ways, no hard and fast rules that to be followed, trivia nights are as flexible as your imagination and situation. To help you I have written about different features you can use, in any order or combination. These segments might trigger a few unique features of your own that you choose to use.

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Anatomy of an Event: Part 1 of 3 by Sylvia Allen

Planning an event seems like a simple enough concept. Start with an idea, hire some talent, put out a little publicity and - voila - you have an event. For any of you who have done events, you already know that it is never that simple.

In this article you will be provided with a simple program for event design and management and, following that, a specific timeline for an event, from start to finish. A detailed presentation of an actual event, Oceanfest '99, a 4th of July celebration that features sand, water, food, crafters, children's games, sports (hoop-it-up, etc.), entertainment and, of course, fireworks, will be spotlighted.

And, although this event attracts in excess of 100,000 people, the fundamentals are the same whether 500, 5,000, or 50,000 people attend.

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Money Making Booths for Summer Fairs by Deane Brengle

Sometimes you need to do a fundraiser, but you don't need all the hassle of throwing an event yourself. That's where the concept of piggy backing a fundraiser on a larger more successful event can work wonders. One such opportunity is a booth at a summer fair.

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Anatomy of an Event Part 2 of 3 by Sylvia Allen

Revenue Generation

How does an event make money? One of the primary ways is to sell sponsorships. Sold in various dollar increments, sponsorships are designed to provide the sponsoring organization with an opportunity to support a worthwhile event while getting its message to its target customers and/or the public. The sponsor's target customers may include ...

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Don't Come Events by Doug Nash

Do you ever feel that at times you would rather not go to that function? You feel that you would rather stay at home, grab a quiet night and help out a really good cause by doing so? Then the Don't Come Event is something that you should seriously consider using as a fundraising event.

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Anatomy of an Event, Part 3 of 3 by Sylvia Allen

Case History Using The Time Line

As stated earlier, this is an ideal time line, allowing you one full year to plan an event. If you plan multiple events, as many of you do, you have a number of time lines going at any given moment. Some activities can be combined for multiple events which creates greater efficiencies during the year; other activities have to be done individually. For example, once you have developed an event calendar you can sell some of your sponsors on multiple event participation; others may opt for a single event sponsorship. At least, when calling on the sponsor, you have options from which they can select. Another example of “bundling” ...

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How Nonprofits Can Strike Gold Using Golf Events by Mike Mucci

Several years ago, National Golf Foundation research revealed that more than 35,000 fundraising golf events are conducted each year across the United States and that these tournaments raise more than $250 million a year for worthy causes.

With this kind of money at stake, it is no wonder that many nonprofit agencies are turning to golf events as the major tool in their fund raising arsenal.

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Debates: Raise Attention and Money for Your Cause by Doug Nash

Where the location allows host a debate or guest speaker night. Debates can feature politicians, either local councilors, state or federal representatives before an election or if there is a community issue that needs attention. You can host specific speakers, such as experts in a particular field i.e., an expert to talk on issues faced by first time mums or an employee from a local financial or investment firm. Anyone on any suitable topic that is of interest to your local community.

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Community Garage Sale Ad

Lions Club community garage sale fundraiser advertisement.

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Conducting a Community Clean-up Fix-up Campaign by Robert "Stan" McAdoo

A clean, attractive community is not only a more pleasant place to live, but the value of the good impression it makes on prospective employers, professionals and others who visit your community should never be underestimated. Clean-up campaigns can involve a large number of citizens and give them a sense of accomplishment. They can even be fun.

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Tuxedo Stomp Fundraising Ad

A newspaper ad for the Tuxedo Stomp Fundraiser.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Dress Day by Doug Nash

Dress days like all good fundraisers are easy and simple to organise and fun to participate in. The point to a dress day is to have a change in the dress code for a day, either dressing up or down depending on the where the activity is taking place. Dress days are great activities for work places or at a picnic type event.

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Guaranteed Sponsors for Any Event by Sylvia Allen

Sometimes it's hard to know where to start when soliciting sponsorships. Here is a list of the top 20 potential sponsors you can approach for almost any event.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Movie Nights by Doug Nash

Going to the movies has really become a popular pastime again in the last few years. This is great news for fundraisers as it means that you could raise funds for a weekend activity and have a lot of fun doing it.

This an activity that can appeal to a wider audience than just your member base. The more you can appeal to those outside your member base then better for your financial bottom line. Also you may attract some new members form such nights.

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Where to Place Sponsorship Dollars (From the sponsor's point of view) by Sylvia Allen

Whether investing in local, regional, national or global markets, sponsors have some basic questions that need answering before they can make a decision on their participation. Here are eight questions that can help narrow the choices of where to place sponsorship dollars:

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Where to Find Sponsorship Dollars by Sylvia Allen

If you are involved in sponsorship sales, you often feel like you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Many times you don't have a contact name nor do you know what department has responsibility for sponsorship, so you start cold calling. Don't despair. You can find sponsorship dollars if you are persistent and consistent.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Fashion Show by Doug Nash

Shopping for clothes can be one of those chores that most people put off until the last minute, a past time rarely placed on the top ten enjoyable things to do list.

Mothers have to struggle to get the kids to come and then hassle them to try on the clothes. To buy clothes for themselves is tough as well, for when do they have the spare time to do it in a relaxed manner, a manner that is very very desirable if not essential. As for the male half of this equation, we won't go into that dark and depressing area, suffice to say that maybe it's a good thing that the women are in charge of the clothes shopping.

So, how can we offer a solution to Mum and make a fundraising dollar at the same time? Have a fashion show. If organised properly, you will be doing a public service, helping the local economy and improving your organisation's bottom line.

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Master Calendar 2000: December Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month. We then cover one event in detail.

Winter Solstice - December 21st
Chanukkah - December 22nd
Christmas - December 25th
Kwanzaa - December 25th
New Years Eve - December 31st

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How to Start Evaluating Your Property by Sylvia Allen

In order to be effective at sponsorship sales, you have to ask yourself some questions before you can prepare a good inventory of "saleable" items. These questions will help you develop sound sponsorship offerings. In many instances these are the same questions your sponsor will ask so going through this exercise will help you be better prepared during the sales call.

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Selecting the Right Fundraiser Incentives by the AFRDS

Answers to the following questions will help when evaluating the quality and appropriateness of fundraiser incentive programs:

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Master Calendar 2001: January Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month. We then cover one event in detail.

New Years Day - January 1
Martin Luther King Jr Day - January 15th
Super Bowl Sunday - January 28th

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Getting Started by Lance Winslow III

As with almost anything, the amount of preparation you do will be in direct proportion to the success of your fundraiser. Pre-planning preparation is the key between just another car wash and an unforgettable experience. In this chapter I will discuss the necessary steps you must go through to insure a successful car wash.

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Sponsorship Sales Fact Sheet by Sylvia Allen

When preparing your material for submission to potential sponsors, keep in mind that they are overworked and understaffed. And, if they are a Fortune 500 company they are deluged with sponsorship requests. The total can be intimidating ... as many as 2,000 a year ... and more! How do you cut through the clutter? How do you get, and keep, their attention? Simply, make your material easy to read and understand. The following page contains a sample one page fact sheet that can help you achieve this objective.

This simple form can be used for events from 100 to 1,000,000 people. It provides an easy way to summarize the highlights of your sponsorship opportunity, offers the potential sponsor a simple, easy-to-read overview, and facilitates the decision making process. Try it ... it works!

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Barter as Part of the Sponsorship Mix by Sylvia Allen

When considering sponsorship, the focus is on dollars - what can be generated and what value the sponsor will receive. Barter, however, is an important element in the sponsorship mix and a good way to offset expenses, particularly in the areas of promotion and media.

Years ago, neighbors bargained over backyard fences -- swapping quilts for homemade preserves, child care for slipcovers. Manhattan was part of a barter deal of land for beads. Today, barter is big business, with more than $1 billion in goods and services exchanged last year in North America alone. Barter can be an important element in your sponsorship mix.

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Focus on Fundraising: St. Patrick's Day by Deane Brengle

St. Patrick's Day is a great day to hold a fundraiser. The theme is already set and all you have to do is provide a suitable event. This upcoming St. Patrick's Day is even better because it falls on a Saturday, March 17, 2001.

St. Patrick's Day is a tribute to Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. His story is pretty much unknown unless your Irish. But we all know about celebrating his day - wear (or drink) something green. St. Patrick's Day is a light hearted affair that lends itself to good time fundraising events.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Animal Lotto by Doug Nash

At first read you may consider this a fund-raiser for those in the country areas only but maybe on reflection this is a fun event for almost anywhere. This is a simple and low cost fund-raiser with heaps of fun and suspense.

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Environmental Concerns by Lance Winslow III

City, county and state governments know that car washing has always been a favorite fundraiser for sports teams, scout troops, schools and other non-profit groups. Due to the low capital investment costs, car wash fundraisers can generate significant amounts of profit. For the last ten years government agencies especially in California have been working with industry to come up with solutions to clean up our water.

Today the waterways of America are significantly cleaner than they were in the past even though many regions are more heavily populated. It's been working great.

Now we are going one step further. No pollution from any source, even mobile dog groomers. Only in the last few years have government agencies decided that the adverse environmental impact is too great to allow car wash fundraisers. Along with strong lobbying from fixed site car wash owners, some cities and counties have actually outlawed these fundraisers unless certain procedures are followed to insure that no waste wash water enters storm drains, ditches or waterways.

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Golf Tournaments Can Be Record Fundraisers by Tom King

Mark Twain once called golf “a good walk spoiled.”

Twain’s jibe at the sport of kings captures the love/hate relationship so many golfers have with their sport.

Charity golf tournaments often inspire the same conflicting emotions among the volunteers and organizers who host them. Yet, despite the work, the headaches, and the risk, golf tournaments are some of our most popular special event fundraisers. How can this be?

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events: Hospitality, Refreshements, and Promoting by Robert D. Espeseth

Organizers of events have a clear moral imperative to design the project so that it is safe, enjoyable, and accessible. This demands an awareness of hospitality. Part of hospitality calls for providing good signage, distributing accurate and helpful information, and anticipating the needs of attendees in terms of restrooms, refreshments, convenient parking and trash cans. In order to keep your visitors happy, there must be someone available to answer questions and eliminate potential problems.

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events: Evaluating the Event A North Central Regional Extension Publication

Evaluation is an important step in planning and conducting a community wide special event. It is the means by which future planning committees can examine the success of each activity within a total event and discover the extent to which the original objectives were met.

Several points should be remembered when planning for and conducting an effective evaluation:

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events: Festival Checklist

The outline for a Festival Checklist.

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Sponsorship Form for a Charity Softball Game

A sponsorship form for a charity softball game.

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Rotary Club Boat Raffle

A newspaper ad for a rotary club boat raffle.

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The Great Wine & Food Symposium

A newspaper ad for the "Great Wine & Food Symposium", an annual food and wine tasting event for charity.

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Publicizing and Promoting a Fishing Derby

Any event, especially a first-time event, can be only as successful as the publicity needed to bring participants to the event.

In one fishing derby in Lubbock, Texas, participants "heard about the fishing derby" from television (37% of participants), newspaper (26%), a friend (15%), radio (10%), and posters (8%). Television and newspaper were the most effective means of publicity, but all methods successfully invited people to participate.

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It's Not Just About Money by the AFRDS

In fact, fundraising, done for the right reason and with the right attitude, has provided countless opportunities for organizations and individuals to grow. Here are a few examples from the nation's newspapers of the tangible and intangible rewards that can result from fundraising.

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A Fundraising Fish Fry Success Story

My community's volunteer fire department does a monthly fish fry - the second Saturday of each month 10 months a year. The fish fry is not held in December due to the busy holiday season or in July due to the vacation season. They've been doing this several years and it is a steady, dependable source of funding.

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A Sample Event Exit Survey by Bill Morris

These general information facts on event surveys and the below sample of a survey is provided by GMMG Events Research Department, Camp Douglas, WI. GMMG specializes in services to the nonprofit sector and to businesses wishing to conduct business with nonprofit organizations.

You are welcome to copy and use any portion of the below sample of an event survey. Every question would not be appropriate for every event. These questions are provided for the purpose of stimulating development of questions appropriate for your event.

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Book Review: How to Produce Fabulous Fundraising Events - Reap Remarkable Returns with Minimal Effort by Betty Stallings & Donna McMillion

From the Preface- "This book could have been entitled Everything I Wish I had Known About Special Events Before I Agreed to be Chair! Very few people who lead fundraising events have ever been taught how to do them well. Done skillfully, events can bring your organization new money, superb pubic relations, potential new donors and volunteers, and/or serve as an opportunity to build team spirit among volunteers and staff."

Skillfully done is what your event will be if you follow the lead of this brand new book. The authors share their hard learned secrets so you can produce an event that not only will meet your financial goals, but is rewarding for all involved.

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Gain Sharing Seminars from the Philanthropreneur Newsletter

The room is crowded with 180 eager people who've paid $99 each for a day-long seminar with a nationally known speaker.

Your net (after speaker's share and expenses of $3,500) would be $7,200.

Popular professional speakers will often consider revenue-sharing workshops and presentations. Sometimes they will do their programs for free if ...

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Eight Traits of Effective Youth Fundraising Programs: Seasonal Events by Jim & Connie Walters

Effective fund-raising programs did not appear overnight. They started small, tried different things, and grew over the long run. They also recognized that a small success can be parlayed into a big success through repetition and improvement.

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JCPenny Have a Heart Fundraising Benefit Shopping Day

The JCPenny Have a Heart Fundraising Benefit Shopping Day newspaper ad.

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events Part 1 A North Central Regional Extension Publication

Communitywide special events are those unique, infrequent, short-term activities which depart from everyday life and involve the whole community. They range in size from the small children's art show that draws a local crowd to the major festival that attracts thousands of visitors.

Communitywide special events are staged for a variety of reasons - to celebrate a holiday, season, or an historical event, to raise money, to provide a cultural or educational experience, or to provide fund and entertainment.

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events: Part 2 A North Central Regional Extension Publication

An important step in planning a successful communitywide event is to write objectives or goals for the project. The list of objectives should basically outline what is going to be done, who is going to do it, who will benefit, and what specific results are desired.

Having a written list of objectives will aid planners in keeping within the boundaries of their goals and will help in recruiting individuals and groups who identify with the planners' specific aims. The list of objectives also proves to be an important evaluation tool -- a yardstick by which to measure the event's success.

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Meijer Community Party Fundraiser

A brochure for a fundraiser dinner or luncheon hosted and paid for by Meijer. All the nonprofit group has to provide is volunteers and they get all the money they can raise.

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Planning for Communitywide Special Events: Part 3 A North Central Regional Extension Publication

Securing Financial Support and Physical Facilities

Among the many areas of concern for the special event-planning team are securing enough funds to get the event under way and arranging for adequate space and physical facilities.

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Cuts for a Cause

A beauty shop fundraiser that benefits ARC Newago County: A local organization that supports those with developmental disabilities.

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Tennis Marathon: Fundraising Event Reference Manual by the Booster Clubs of America

What could delight a young tennis player more than a Tennis Marathon - endless hours of playing at a favorite sport? It's not quite like that but it is a great way to combine fund-raising with a tennis court atmosphere.

Organized along the lines of the walkathons that have already become popular, a Tennis Marathon permits participants to use their racquet skills in a relaxed situation. In brief, they choose one of several tennis-related activities in which to take part and obtain sponsors who pledge donations to the cause for which they are working, based on each youngster's ability in his or her chosen area.

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Fund Raising Operational Goals and Guidelines: Golfing for Gold by the Booster Clubs of America

A quick outline for a nonprofit golf fundraising event.

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Fund Raising Operational Goals and Guidelines: Spring Weekend Springs Up Funds by the Booster Clubs of America

A quick outline for a nonprofit spring time collection of fundraising events to hold on a weekend.

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Four Errors to Avoid When Ticketing Nonprofit Fundraising Events by Colleen Dick

Many times when an organization is throwing a fundraiser or even a for profit event, optimizing the logistics of their ticket sales is not high on their priority list. It is quite natural to prefer to focus on more interesting parts such as the program, the decorations, the food etc.

The sad thing is, if you do not make fundraising ticket sales a priority, you can have the most beautiful awesome program with amazing refreshments, prizes, all singing dancing and bells and whistles; and you will be disappointed by the number of people who show up, or you will have logistics problems.

Here are some mistakes I have seen nonprofit organizations make. You might think some are obvious.

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Sponsors Needs Versus Sponsorship Packages by John Lonergan

There are many outcomes a company can be looking for when spending their marketing funds on sponsorship. Increase brand awareness, new product placement, gaining access to potential customer contact details, and the list goes on. Therefore when a proposal hits the desk of a Marketing manager or CEO of a company, how can they honestly assess the potential value of an offer if it's already been decided what they are going to get and what it costs?

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