There are hundreds of logistical details that go into planning a fundraising event. Here are our top four details that you must pay attention to in order to have a successful event.
Licenses, Permits And Raffles, Oh My!
One of the most critical pieces in planning a fundraiser is applying for the appropriate licensing needed to hold a legal event. The laws vary by state and you should refer to your state’s rules and bylaws to confirm that your event is legal.
In WA state, the Gambling Commission provides oversight on the rules and regulations for raffles and alcohol. As a nonprofit, if you are auctioning off alcohol, you MUST acquire a special occasion license and not rely on your caterer or venue’s banquet permit. If you are holding a raffle, you must apply for and obtain a raffle license if your sales will exceed $5,000. Did you know that you cannot discount a raffle if you don’t have a raffle license? In other words, you can’t offer a ticket for $25 or 5 for $100 unless you have a raffle license. If you are not sure whether you need a special occasion license, raffle license or whether you can have cannabis in your auction, check out this short video created by Nonprofit Association of Washington on Liquor, Cannabis Gambling and Your Fundraising event:
Show Love To Your Volunteers
Your volunteers are the lifeblood of your fundraising event. Some events simply could not happen if volunteers did not participate. Make sure that you are prepared to train your volunteers so that they have what they need to do their job. Provide name tags for volunteers, clear directions, and a job description.
Don’t let volunteer meals and food be an afterthought. If your volunteers arrive early to set up, provide coffee, breakfast and snacks. Make sure you feed them dinner during the event.
Be thoughtful and intentional about how you express your gratitude. A thank you note sent post event is not only a nice gesture, but necessary. Making your volunteers feel cared for and expressing your gratitude will go a long way in making them return year after year.
Know Before You Go
What do I wear? Where can I park? What time does the dinner start? These are just a few questions that guests ask, usually the day before your event. If you don’t want guests and board members emailing you, send out a “Know Before You Go” email at least one week before the event and again the day before the event. This email should include everything from appropriate attire to parking information, a map and any other details that a guest should know before they leave their house.
Everyone loves to set up the decor but when the party is over, who cleans up? This is one of the most often overlooked details of any event. Just as you have staff and volunteers setting up and working during the event, make sure that you have people signed up to help clean up. You must have a clean-up plan in place. Most venues have a checklist of what needs to be completed before you can leave the space so that you are not charged a clean-up fee. Make sure you plan on how your extra auction items, leftover wine and decor elements get from the venue back to your offices. Some venues even require you to remove your trash, mop the floors and put away all the tables and chairs. Be sure to be prepared.
These are just a few of the steps that you should complete before your event. To learn more about what to add in your event planning timeline, set up a consultation call with us.