Fundraising Events: A Focus On Human Resources
by Liz Glover Wilson
Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our non-profit guru Liz Glover Wilson, CMP, CSEP discusses human resource needs for non-profit events.


Fundraising events not only bring awareness to the community about important social, health, and economic issues, but they also often generate funds to continue carrying out service work. However, in the world of fundraising, events are one of the most time- consuming and laborious ways to raise funds so often organizations hesitate to take the first step.

We know that lack of money, human resources or time are the biggest reasons non profit organizations choose not to host or grow existing events.

In our last blog post, we focused on money often being a prohibitive factor. Equally discouraging can be a lack of resources. Even if you are ready to take the financial risk that is sometimes required, before you put all your effort into a great event, you often need to assess your resources.

Do you have not only what, but who, it takes to pull off a successful event?

The question is how do you determine what support team is needed and furthermore, ensure that they are in place in a timely manner to guarantee fundraising success?
While each organization is different, here are some quick tips on how to strengthen your resource base.

1) One Chief - So you are the Executive Director, Director of Development and Accountant for your non-profit and there is just no way you can be in charge of an event as well. Well here is good news; you want to select one person to actually be chief over all details and then report to you. This will allow you to manage and see big picture, instead of being bogged down by the details. This also will allow you to, most importantly, raise funds.

2) One More - But... you don’t have anyone on your staff that can do this and plus, they are all way too busy. Thankfully, there are lots of wonderful event coordinators/planners whose profession is to do just what you don’t have the time to do; run around and get all the little details together. We recommend adding one more staffer to the team to be the key coordinator. This will help you and your staff focus on all the donor communications, fund raising and media outreach needed. The return on investment will be evident if roles are clearly defined and all involved are empowered to do their jobs.

3) One Team - You still don’t feel like you have enough support. There is so much to do; calls to donors, acknowledgement letters, outreach for silent auction products, working with speakers, reviewing printed materials and so on. The most financially friendly way to expand your support team is by adding a solid volunteer base to support your paid staffers and coordinators. As much as volunteer management can seem like a lot to take on, remember that volunteers are your connection to your community. Create event specific volunteer positions (i.e., “Event Committee”) that allow local community members to get involved, be given attainable goals and feel fulfilled . . . and good about your organization. It is sure to be a “win win!“

4) One Day - Give yourself six to ten months to prepare. When the day of your event comes, experience tells us you will be only as good as you have prepared to be. With adequate time for all parties to cross T’s and dot I’s, you should be able to walk into your event feeling confident that you have done all you can to make it a success. That one day event can have a great impact on your organization for a very long time, so make it count.

ERC TIP: Events evolve... so don’t expect perfection, but instead embrace the journey, learn from experiences, surround yourself with professionals, get advice and keep moving forward.

For more information on how to improve your non-profit event, you can contact me at Liz Glover Wilson, CMP, CSEP

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