SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

Fundraising & Development

Special Events

While special events can be quite time-consuming, they can also offer great benefit—both in terms of proceeds and public awareness for your organization. Great special event ideas include dinner/dances, walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, golf tournaments, scavenger hunts and auctions. If you are undertaking a special event for the first time, we recommend the following seven key steps:

  1. Make Key Decisions Early. Many factors will have to be considered before the commitment is made to have a fundraiser, such as what type of event you would like to have, how many volunteers can assist, how much time you have to dedicate to planning an event and what are the potentials for garnering publicity and raising money.
  2. Develop a Timeline. Once you have made the decision to move forward with your special event, the planning stage begins. Organization is vital during this process and we recommend that you create a timeline, which will be invaluable to you and your team. Your timeline should contain various tasks and task deadline dates, and 9 it should delegate those tasks to various members of your planning team.
  3. Develop a Budget. With a first-time event, budgeting can often be difficult. Keep in mind the type of event you are holding, the expenses you will incur and the resources available to you. Be realistic when creating your budget. We suggest that you overestimate your expenses while underestimating your income.
  4. Seek Corporate Sponsors. Special events provide opportunities for publicity to companies in your community. Be bold. Be sure to make it clear that by sponsoring your event, the company will receive a tremendous amount of exposure, as well as a chance to demonstrate its position as a good corporate citizen and even an opportunity to garner new clientele.
  5. Create Supporting Materials. Developing a few simple communications tools to introduce your event to potential sponsors or attendees is ideal. Consider developing a simple letterhead, which will convey a professional look and feel to your fundraiser. Also, a one-page fact sheet to have on hand when approaching potential donors or sponsors is vital. It should contain the basic information about your fundraiser: who, what, when, where, how and why.
  6. Promote the Event. Building exposure for your event can seem daunting, but with some organization and persistence, it can be quite painless. Call television and radio stations in your area and ask for a PSA to promote your event. Create colorful flyers to circulate within your community as well as posting an ad in the Community Events section of your local newspaper.
  7. Don’t Forget the Wrap-Up. Not all of the work is done when the event is over. Be sure to thank your donors and volunteers, especially your larger sponsors. Provide some photos of the event (and which include their logos) to your corporate sponsors to show them how much of a difference their support meant to your event. Send copies of any newspaper articles on the event to your sponsors, too. Last impressions can mean the difference of their supporting your fundraiser next year.