How to organise a fundraising dinner + October update

October has been a huge month for becoming.change.

So huge that I’m just getting to write about it.

The month culminated in the TRANSFORMING LIVES FUNDRAISING DINNER  for Mates on the Move (Prisoners’ Aid).

Most of you know that becoming.change has been the strategic partner for Mates on the Move for about two years now, creating strategies, designing the business model (we’re still tweaking that one), writing grants and holding strategic relationships.

We decided that we would hold a fundraiser this year, and that we use the support of Westpac to do it.  Prisoners Aid NSW are a community grant recipient and get additional support from Westpac through our Westpac ambassador.

We were very lucky to have the  Hon Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Premier, agree to come and speak at the event, and also lucky to be able to show the first ever screening of this:

So how do you organise a fund-raising dinner?

My first advice to anyone contemplating doing it is to outsource!  There’s a reason why there are people that do this for a living. We quickly learnt how much work is involved.

There are three things that you should know up front for a successful fundraising dinner:

  1. You need lots of time.  Like, lots.  Lots of lead time and many hours of fiddly work.
    • If you invite the Premier and she accepts – you need more time.
    • If you hold it in a corporate building like Westpac, even more time.
  2. You need the contacts.  Between our patron, the board, the staff and the organising committee we got a load of amazing people in the room.  But again this takes time. Almost no one will say “yes” when invited, so expect to contact people four or five times.  And that’s fine – it’s all part of relationship building.
  3. Work out the messages you want to get across and ensure that your speakers cover those messages. No more than three – one financial (what a donation supports), one emotional, and we added one about the cost of doing nothing.

There are of course a lot of other fiddly bits from menus to flowers, a walk through, printing and meetings and everything in-between.

Is it worth it?

Oh, yes.

While we’re still getting around to saying thanks to everyone that attended and donated, we have made some strong allies.  And that’s the strength of a good fundraiser.

Anyway, best get back to getting those thank yous out.

David.

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