Dos and don'ts of fundraising event planning

Organizing a charity event is fun and exciting, but nonprofits have to be smart about how they plan, promote and execute their festivities. Live auctions, galas and other such events take a lot of time and energy, and organizations will want to make sure they do it right. A successful collaboration will engage attendees, raise money for a worthy cause and encourage people to become life-long supporters of the mission. People will enjoy donating money to charity if they have a good time and connect with the cause. In order to make the event a success, here are a few dos and don'ts to follow during the planning process:

Do: Lay out the details ahead of time. The more organized nonprofits planners are, the more they will be able to make adjustments, secure a location and supplies and get volunteers involved in the process. Think about what type of event to hold, where to host it, how to promote it and who to invite.

Don't: Promote too much. Exercise tasteful marketing behaviors for the event, and develop a strategic approach that will attract people online and offline but not annoy them. Over-the-top advocacy can be frustrating and deter people from attending, says npENGAGE.

Do: Encourage volunteers to get involved. Make sure to have a solid plan for when volunteers show up to help prepare and encourage them to ask others to lend a hand. This will not only encourage more people to come to the event, but it will make sure there are enough people to help set up.

Don't: Forget about the website and social media. If nonprofits offer online donation forms and want to increase giving on the Internet before, during and after the event, they need to design their website appropriately and share links to event and donation detail pages on social media.

Do: Invest in point-of-sale payment processing machines. Attendees will be moved to give at the time of the event and will want to do so with their credit or debit cards. Nonprofits should have a way to accept their donations, and point-of sale donation technology will make this happen.

Don't: Fail to offer a mobile experience. It's important to understand that donors and attendees will want to give to, promote and connect with nonprofits online with their smartphones or tablets. Offer a solid donation experience with mobile-optimized sites in preparation for the upcoming event.

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