For board members,
volunteers, staff, and other folks focused on putting on a spring fundraising event, I offer a few tips to ensure your getting
the best result for your efforts:
set some goals. Start by determining how much your organization wants to raise (net) from your event. (If yours is a spring event, hopefully, you have already done this already.)
Do not settle for a goal of “as much as possible,” a decision that can result in a variety
of unfortunate consequences, such as this: “As much as possible” means $10,000 to board members Ted,
Terry, and Tess; and $50,000 to board members Barb, Barry, and Bertha, who bust their butts because they
want to reach their goal. Ted, Terry, and Tess work a lot less to attain their more modest goal than do Barb,
Barry and Bertha, whose goal demands more effort (at least for this event). There is bickering. Boycotting of board meetings. Backing
off of fundraising commitments, and other bad stuff.
Here’s an example of another unfortunate consequence: Your board doesn’t
decide how much revenue it wants to have raised after all expenses (including staff time!) have been paid. As a result,
it is hard for members to agree on how much money they are willing to invest in the event. Problems ensue. (See above
Second, determine your other goals. You do have at
least one other goal, don’t you?
In general, for most organizations, there should always be another goal. That goal should be more friendship,
by which I mean:
-making more organizational friends (donors, volunteers, people who recommend your group to others), and
involvement in your organization of current friends.
Side note: I am going to use the term “friends” to refer to donors,
volunteers, and other supporters of your organization; it suggests a more reciprocal relationship between the donor/volunteer/other
and the organization than do the terms “donor”
Why care about reciprocity?
I care about reciprocity because in my experience, it promotes a relationship that is more equitable and more effective in
serving the interests of both your organization and its supporters.