Revenue, expenses and not screwing up

Special events can go so well, or oh so badly. During Fundraising Day New York 2013, sponsored by the New York City chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP), a variety of tips for increasing revenue, decreasing expenses or miscellaneous items were offered and discussed.

Increasing Revenue:

  • Engage the committee in setting revenue goals.
  • Use local networks and contacts to help get things donated.
  • Give a lot of visibility and attention to in-kind donors at events.
  • Squeeze board members to use their contacts.
  • Offer “payment plans” for larger sponsorships.
  • Ask corporate board members to open doors for corporate sponsors.
  • Set a minimum value for donated auction items.

Decreasing Expenses:

  • Get stuff donated.
  • Cut deals with in-kind donors (e.g. “Give us free wine, we’ll give you a nice ad in the journal”).
  • Don’t spend money on giveaways if they’re not expected by guests.
  • Do an on-screen journal instead of paper.
  • Segment the mailing list instead of sending huge mailings.
  • Ask for bids from new vendors — don’t assume “our guy” is still giving the best price.

Do Not Get Cheap on:

  • Anything to do with the organization’s image or branding.
  • Items that need to be high quality, such as music and food.
  • Audio/visual or other technology.