I was recently inspired by a veterans fundraising event that took place at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia which I spotted on the brewery’s Instagram page. They raised over $2,000 for wounded warriors through a cornhole (bean bag toss) tournament. I decided to partner with Old Ox as well as the Fisher House Foundation to raise money for veterans going through treatment. This was not only an incredible way to raise funds for a good cause, but an opportunity for my firm to network with their customers and industry partners in the government arena.
The wave of excitement, anxiety and anticipation came over me as I set out to plan my first fundraiser. If you’re thinking about doing the same, here are some critical steps you may have missed if you’re planning your first event:
Get some feelers out. Send out a survey to see how many people would be interested in the event given the event goal, ticket price, location, etc. This will give you a sense of what your costs and fundraising goals should be before the invitation goes out.
Watch out for hidden fees. With every credit card transaction, you may be required to cover the fee. Sites like Sparxo are very transparent about how they process tickets online. Make sure you do some thorough research before selecting your ticket sales platform.
Test your registration form more than once. Test your registration on different browsers and email platforms. Some email distribution platforms like Constant Contact offer previews in various platforms. Be sure that more than one person registers for the event to make sure your settings work correctly.
Promote prizes within your invitation. Nothing says “Sign me up!” like a free Amazon Echo, am I right? Promoting your prizes within the invitation is a great incentive for participants.
Leverage event partnership pages: Provide partnership organizations with the text to put on their promotional channels. You may want to recommend they make your fundraiser an official event on their website and social media channels as soon as your registration page is live. Make sure their event page has a clickable link for buying tickets - this will increase your mobile traffic to the registration page.
With many lessons learned along the way, I’m proud to say we raised over $2,000 for U.S. Veterans during my fundraiser at Old Ox Brewery this year. I can’t wait to see what we will have planned for next year.
Do you have any lessons learned from your fundraisers? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below.