5 Ideas for hosting a successful fundraising dinner

So, you’ve agreed to make money for a good cause or to help highlight an issue that is of importance to you. We’ve got some ideas that will help you whether you’re trying to host a charity event or thinking about supporting your local politician. Fundraising is a skill many of us never pick up but it is a useful one to have. So, with that in mind, let’s get started!

1 – Think about the income levels of your friends. What can people afford to give? Not everyone can shell out hundreds to buy a table for your dinner. Let’s say for example that you are helping to raise funds for your pal who is running for local office. A relaxed BBQ where people can mingle with the prospective candidate might be better and more effective than a sit down dinner.

Start off by thinking about how much money you want or need to raise. This will help you think more about which of your friends and might want to attend. I’m not saying that you should only invite your more financially comfortable friends. However, you probably want to ensure that people aren’t feeling stretched or obligated.

READ MORE: Check out these top ideas for raising charity funds

2 – Find a venue for the fundraising event. If you plan to have a lot of people over, you may want to warn – or even invite – your neighbors. Finding an affordable venue doesn’t have to be hard. Think about local bars, pubs or restaurants. Could they donate space for you to use? Is there a local organisation with rooms for rent?

Look for spaces that allow pop up venues. If the weather is good, consider a park. I’ve recently been to an event held in a derelict hotel. There is space everywhere. Hiring (or hopefully getting a donation for) a venue might be better. Some friends might feel weird paying to hang out in your home and you are not stuck with cleanup afterwards.

+5 Ideas for hosting a successful fundraising dinner. #getMOREGIVEback

3 – Plan a menu and activities. Ensure that you have enough food and think about how it will be served. Do you want people to mingle? Is this a seated dinner? Will you provide food but guests pay for booze? I recently held a dinner at a private club for a charity I am involved with and preordered home house wine and meat and cheese platters. I let people order their own desserts and tea after dinner and hard my card held at the bar so that the guests would not have to pay.

If you’ve been to Vegas, you know that there are attractive cocktail waitresses who walk around giving away free drinks and revving up the crowd. Casinos do this to ensure that people are having a good time. People who are feeling happy are more generous! I’m not saying that you need to get your guests drunk but you do want people to feel comfortable.

Further to the ticket prices, or as a central way of making money, it’s also good to plan a few extra activities at the event to raise funds. Can you hold a raffle during dinner? I saw one really great idea where you gave £20 and got a ticket number. There was a corresponding bag and inside was a surprise beauty gift. It was almost like an advent calendar and it was fun. I found a tree similar to the one they used, which would be great for hanging gift items.

4 – Speakers and making “THE ASK”. You will want to give someone from the charity or the politician a few minutes to speak because it helps people make a connection. It’s even better if someone who has been helped by the charity can share their experience. Ensure that there are some brochures and financials on hand so that people can get a sense of the good work they’ll be supporting. Overall you want to help create “warm fuzzies”.

Next, you need to think about making “the ask” for something. Maybe you’re hoping people will give a bit more. Maybe you need them to commit to doing a couple of volunteer days. Make the ask and highlight that you are giving too. One of the best examples I saw was at a political fundraising event where the hostess got up and committed an extra £500 to a candidate she supported. It really felt like she was putting her money where her mouth was and I was able to get behind what she was doing.

If you have a few extra minutes, I would encourage you to take a look at this awesome post from a really cool fundraising blog that I follow. This will help you make “the ask” once you’re ready.

READ MORE: Check out this 30 Day Challenge

5 – Follow up with your guests. Your event is finally over and it’s the next morning. Sit down with the recipient and deliver a handwritten note to people who gave really big donations. Either way you need to send out an email. Share details about how people can continue to get involved or give donations. Maybe they forgot their wallet the night before or needed to double check on the dates for a volunteer activity. You’re more likely to boost your fundraising efforts this way. Most importantly, don’t forget to say thank you to people who showed up to help you. Your fundraising efforts will be a success as a result of their donations.

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Joy Adams

Founder & CEO

This blog is written by Joy Adams under the pen name Alexandria Pompadour. Years ago she began clipping articles and reading blogs about charity, the arts, the best things to do and see, career advice, lifestyle ideas and tips for getting the best deal. After sharing them with friends and family for years, she decided to branch out and begin sharing them more widely online! Luxeha is a lifestyle website for budding philanthropists and socialites.

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