Planning Your Fundraising Event


Fundraising events are the most labor intensive and time consuming way for your campaign to raise money.


What They’re About

  • What they can generate:
  • Local media coverage
  • Excitement among your supporters
  • Momentum for your campaign
  • What they consume:
  • Time of your fundraising staff
  • 10-20% of what you raise
  • Yield only a 15-25% response rate
  • Events can be designed for all donor levels (the higher the donor level, the more exclusive the event)
  • Tailor the type of event to the attendees


What They Need

·         Revenue projection

  • Total Invited Donors  x .15 Response Rate  x  Ticket Price

  = Projected Revenue

·         Timeline

  • Begin approximately six to eight weeks out with:
  • Finalization and announcement of the event date and location and
  • Recruitment of a host committee
  • End after the event, when:
  • Thank you notes are sent
  • Calls to attendees who did not write checks are logged

·         Budget

  • Must account for all projected expenses, like:

—Space rental           —Invitations & postage

—Catering               —Decorations

—Tables, chairs and linens   —Banners & podium signs

—Nametags               —Staging, podium & microphone

  • Determine your anticipated revenue as outline above
  • Keep costs under 20% (preferably closer to 10%) of projected returns


General Tips

  • Ask a statewide official or local celebrity to headline the event
  • Recruit a host committee responsible for selling or purchasing 5-10 tickets each, and plan on them meeting 40% of their goal
  • Ask local progressive organizations to sponsor the event and to mail your invitation to their membership lists or provide lists for you to mail to
  • Keep costs downby designing the invitation in-house and asking for in-kind contributions of food, wine, decorations, printing and event space
  • Support local laborby securing union-friendly event space and hiring a union printer to design your invitations
  • Mail invitations four to six weeks out and include a response envelope
  • Secure a teamof volunteers to work all aspects of the event
  • Have staff take pictures that can be used on your website and in your campaign lit