In theory it is simple. The goal of a fundraising gala is to raise funds. To raise funds you invite the most likely donors to your event. But what happens if the donors you invite are not the right ones and they don’t give? How could that happen? So, just who is the right guest? And how do you encourage them to attend?
Your ideal guest is someone who cares about your cause, is perhaps personally connected to it, who has the means to support it financially and has friends or family who will join them in contributing. Importantly, though, they have to be the kind of supporter that likes going to events. It might not be that the person who donates to a written on online appeal is even vaguely interested in coming out. If you are in a position to research records – do that. Which of the guests who attended an event – comparable to the one you are planning – gave the most money; brought the most guests or made contributions on the night. The guest you don’t want is the one who thinks that their donation starts and ends with the purchase of a ticket. They have no intention of participating further.
As hard work as it is, it may prove to be far more profitable if you look to individually invite those supporters you really want to attend. By identifying and personally inviting the right guests you make them feel special and are more likely to get them in the room. If your research is accurate you will identify that these donors probably care a lot about helping out, have been involved in the charity for quite some time and may have a vested interest in the cause.
If you are conducting an auction think about what these major donors might be interested in; what kind of exclusive items might tempt them to open their wallets and purses? Make it so that they are happy to attend and not obliged. If people are giving up a night they want to have fun – the more fun they are having the more they are likely to donate.
Then you just need to put on top notch event and offer unique and interesting auction items that people will want to bid on. Simple !!
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