Holding a fundraising event: Part 2

Your nonprofit can benefit greatly from hosting a fundraising event. You can connect with benefactors and reach out to potential donors and educate them about your cause. Your organization has the ability to raise a great deal of money and improve your nonprofit's efforts substantially.

If you are unsure about hosting a live event, you can harness the power of the Internet and have an online auction. This is another great way to raise money and awareness regarding your nonprofit's cause.

Prepare for your event
When preparing to host a fundraising event, there is a great deal of preparation required. You may consider inviting speakers to discuss their experience with your nonprofit or the cause that you are passionate about. For example, if your nonprofit wants to eliminate hunger and homelessness, it may be beneficial to have someone affected by these issues share his or her story. It can help your nonprofit reach more people and inspire an emotional reaction, which may lead to more donations.

Contact anyone you would like to share a story. If an individual does not wish to speak in front of a crowd, ask if he or she would be willing to write his or her story to be shared in a pamphlet, slide show or handout.

Nolo recommended getting all necessary materials prepared for the event ahead of time. If you are hosting a charity auction, have bidding instructions clearly outlined, bid or recorder sheets ready and pickup receipts available. Any other items, such as programs, donation forms or brochures, that you may need during the duration of the event should also be ready for use.

Holding an auction
There are a few different types of auctions. If you are planning on hosting this type of activity at your event, you can decide to have it be live or silent. A live auction requires an auctioneer to monitor the event. If your nonprofit is looking to save money and optimize donations collected, a silent auction may be a better choice.

When your nonprofit decides to have an auction, you need to collect large items or gift baskets that your donors will be interested in bidding on, according to BidPal. Ask local businesses to donate items and advertise your need for prizes. Form a team that goes out and communicates your needs with restaurants, boutiques, salons and other operations.

Note that it may take a couple years to successfully hold a silent auction where you see a high volume of money coming in from various bids. Be prepared to hold a number of events of this nature before you are able to get into a groove and become comfortable.

Alternatives to silent and live auctions.
Also, consider hosting an auction using the Internet and accept donations online. This may be a great alternative if people cannot attend your event.

An online auction can also be less costly than a silent or live auction. There is no physical venue, you don't have to pay an emcee or auctioneer, and you don't have to worry about food, drinks, or other incidental costs.

However, if you choose to host an online auction, you have to make sure that you have great auction software that does most of the work for you! Take great pictures and write clear descriptions of the items that you're auctioning off. The software will manage all of the bidding, reserve amounts, and check-out processes.

Showing gratitude 
One of the more important parts of hosting a fundraising event is letting your donors know that you truly appreciate their contributions. Ensure that you are keeping your donors, employees and board members happy by telling them how much of a difference they are making.

For loyal supporters, you might choose to send them handwritten cards or give them a phone call to thank them for their donations.

For auction attendees, make sure that you send out thank you letters or emails and let them know how they can get even more involved with your nonprofit!

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