Sarah Halfpenny Events

Case Study: The Fundraising Event, 4 event objectives, 10 positive outcomes

by Sarah Halfpenny

In this blog, I shall provide a short case study focusing on the objectives and outcomes of delivering an event with the purpose of raising money, the fundraising event. Now, a fundraising event can come in all shapes and sizes from midsummer balls, family fun days and festivals, music and comedy nights to a huge variety of challenge and sporting events. What I hope to demonstrate here is that a fundraising event can be a tool to leverage so much more than just bringing in the money

During the event planning phase, I became involved with a charity who knew they wanted to deliver an event that would bring in much needed funds to purchase a piece of medical equipment. Working alongside the charities fundraising team, a set of event objectives emerged that would make the most of every element of the event, whilst delivering it on a carefully considered budget.

The core objective of course was to raise money, a target of £20,000 was identified as a figure which would be both achievable and a measure of a successful fundraising event.

The team felt it would be an ideal opportunity to connect with key donors and supporters. Indeed, it could provide the opportunity to specifically thank them for their support and to update them on key priorities.

In addition, it could provide the perfect opportunity to invite influencers and prominent business figures not yet involved with the charity and use it as an opportunity to obtain fresh support.

Similarly, the event could provide a platform to capture content that could be packaged in a way to help promote the charity to a wider audience. So from filmed interviews, podcasts, photos, event reviews and social media activity. Relevant press contacts could also be invited and given private access to some of the VIPs and spokespersons to encourage further positive press coverage.

To deliver an event that allowed for these objectives to be met, it was decided that the format would take shape as an evening dinner and auction. One of the key challenges with any fundraising event is that it’s imperative that the costs of running the event are kept low whilst opening up opportunities to generate income. I believe one of the key’s to achieving this is through building connections with local suppliers who may donate facilities, equipment and offer prizes. This is exactly what we focused on here.

The event was held in a luxury hotel. After some negotiation, the hotel signed up as the main event sponsor and supplied the facilities for free. Other sponsors also donated prizes to the main auction and to the high-end raffle.

On event day, guests were greeted to a drinks reception where they could create their own unique cocktail. They also got given samples of wine and beers from local producers. They were entertained by a jazz band and a magician, both of whom entertained as part of a sponsorship offering. Giant lawn games also added something fun alongside the raffle and other fundraising games.

Guests were seated for dinner and a formal welcome and introduction set the tone for a video of current projects being undertaken by the charity. Sharing platters were served to start followed by an impressive main course. Dessert was then served from an ice cream van where guests could create their own ice cream sundae.

As guests settled down to coffee the auction began with 10 desirable experience gifts donated by local businesses. A live band and bar enabled guests to carry on into the night!

The event was a great success; did it fulfill all the objectives though? In simple terms, YES. The event enabled relationships to be formed and nurtured and content to be produced.

In short the event:
1. Raised over £23,000.
2. Reconnected with 64 existing supporters / ambassadors
3. Gained 73 new charity supporters
4. 5 new corporate sponsors committed to sponsoring future events
5. 11 guests signed up as new volunteers to support the deliver of new community
6. An event round-up video was made with lots of positive quotes included
7. Interviews with the key charity figures and ambassador where captured as a series of
podcasts and video’s
8. A photo gallery of the event was published accompanied by an event review on the
charities website and social media pages.
9. The local press covered the event in print and online
10. An article focusing on recent projects was also featured as a case study in an
industry magazine.

The library of content gathered fed into the charities PR schedule for the following year. An event promo video was also produced to help promote the next charity dinner and auction, something which is now an annual event in the calendar and growing from strength to strength!