Fundraising events don’t plan themselves, nor do they just magically happen. Someone has to foot the bill for each and every aspect of the event whether it’s a walkathon or a gala. If your job has put you in charge of planning a fundraiser, or you’re planning one on your own accord, sitting down to create a budget is an essential first step to making it a success.
Start With The Funding
Where will the money needed to host the event come from? If this is part of a job, then chances are the company is paying for it or you will be reimbursed afterwards. If this is your doing for a cause you are passionate about, then it’s all you.
Either way, you might as well knock out two birds with one stone. Secure some additional funding while spreading awareness about the event via a crowdfunding platform like Plumfund. Not only is this an excellent way to peak people’s interests, it can also show your boss that you are a proactive, outside-of-the-box thinker.
While your funding is coming in, now is the time to establish the event’s financial goals. This will allow you to measure the success of the event and identify any shortcomings later on. Set a realistic idea of how much you can raise from the event in the form of ticket sales, sponsorships, online donations and product sales.
During the event, make sure to monitor donations with a fundraising thermometer. This will make it easier for you to adjust your strategies or sponsorship levels, as well as allow others to see their efforts have helped a good cause.
Estimate And Record Your Expenses
Now that the total budget has been determined, it’s time to figure out what you can and cannot afford. This is where things can get a little tricky, and thrifty decisions come in handy. First things first, set aside a portion of the budget for unexpected expenses. A good rule of thumb is anywhere from 5-10%. Marketing strategies may need to change or additional supplies might need to be ordered, which makes having a safety net worthwhile.
Make sure to shop around for venues and entertainers that will still leave plenty of room in the budget after their cut has been deducted. You will also need to take equipment rental for the venue into consideration, as most charge to use their sound and video systems.
Food and beverages are also a high priority. You will absolutely want to include a sit down dinner for gala type events, while a more casual affair can benefit from simpler food choices available to participants throughout the day.
Aside from the main dishes, it’s also a good idea to include some sort of buffet table with snacks for your guests. You can keep your cost down by buying snacks or horderves in larger quantities. For instance, you could create a colorful display of sweet treats by choosing to buy bulk candy.
As your expenses begin to pile up, it’s highly advised to create a spreadsheet detailing each and every expense. This will ensure you do not go over budget while helping you to eliminate anything that isn’t essential to your fundraising efforts.