Having an event for your non-profit is an excellent way to gain exposure for your cause and to raise significant funds while throwing a great party that everyone remembers. When you successfully implement some of the 10 ways to maximize the donations at your non-profit events, you’re creating an event designed specifically for the types of supporters that will give generously to your cause.
We’ve supported events all over greater Milwaukee with audio-visual and production for non-profit events. We want to share what we’ve seen be successful for the organizations we have partnered with.
Here are 10 great tips we know work well to plan an impressive event that maximizes donations.
Choosing the right vibe and tone is critical for putting your guests in the right frame of mind right at the start.
When your guests enter the event, they should feel impressed and fully immersed in the event.
Also, be thoughtful of the flow of the event space when your guests arrive.
People love being involved and entertained. The more that happens, the happier they will be, and the more they will be willing to contribute to your event. They might even become ambassadors and encourage friends and colleagues to attend future events.
Keep the goal or mission of the evening simple, and crystal clear for all attendees. Having a great name helps too! We’ve partnered with The Wisconsin Humane Society for their gala called “Paws & Claws,”. Such a clever name for animal lovers who want to support lifesaving services for animals with nowhere else to turn.
Let them know how and where to register, check out, and maximize their bid opportunities.
We are big proponents of easy-to-use digital bidding software. The most popular being OneCause, Qgiv, and Snowball. You may need to pay a fee to use these services, but the ease of use for your guests will pay off many times over.
You may consider having ambassadors available to help them with signing up. Confused minds never buy! The more direction, signage, and easy-to-use ways to bid and pay that you have, the better.
Whether it’s a signature drink created especially for your event or a more casual bar affair, having drinks included in the package is a perk for your guests. It could be one or two drinks included with their ticket, or if you have the budget for it, an open bar. When the drinks are flowing, so is the cash. And don’t forget about beverage options for the non-drinkers, too!
If your guests will be going to the bar to get their own drinks, make sure you have enough bar stations in relation to your guest count. There’s nothing worse than standing in line at the bar way too long and getting FOMO while everyone else is having fun.
To keep everyone safe and happy, make sure that you abide by the venue bar service requirements and be sure to have food available, so people aren’t drinking on an empty stomach. If they don’t provide one, they may require you to hire an outside agency to serve liquor.
All non-profits have a mission and making that the focus of the event is an essential component to share with your guests. Make sure the presentation is entertaining, informative, and fun, as well as thanking the key players who helped make the event possible!
Consider incorporating a well-produced video that tells the story of what you do and what your organization stands for. We help many Southeastern Wisconsin companies create campaign videos that they can use for promotion, their website, or events such as this.
A great presentation also means having killer lighting, a great sound system, and a professional stage set-up. No matter the size of your organization or what your needs are, we can help design your event to perfection. We have helped hundreds of Milwaukee non-profits design successful events that resulted in profound and life-changing donations for their cause.
Fun fact, MC is short for “Master of Ceremonies”. This person is generally responsible for introducing the speakers, making announcements, and keeping everyone informed of what’s going on throughout the event. This person really “drives the bus” for the event, and a skilled MC can make a massive difference in the event’s success both in terms of money raised and of your guest experience.
At Events By Design, we have many excellent and highly experienced MCs, and we can match you with the perfect person! Having a professional MC means that your board members get to run the event and do what they do best without worrying about being behind the microphone.
Being specific about the impact of donor dollars makes people feel good about their contributions and more willing to give generously.
Explain how donation dollars have helped the organization in the past. Have some great testimonials and heartwarming stories to share. Telling people how their money will be spent helps them get connected to your cause and makes them want to be a part of the story.
Let’s go back to our friends at The Wisconsin Humane Society. Instead of saying, “Your contribution helps animals in need,” they tell people a very specific dollar amount. “Every X dollars contributed saves ____ number of animals” or “Every X dollars we take in for cats provides ___ days of fresh food for kittens who have come in off the streets.” These real-world examples of how the money donated is put to work in the community is one of the 10 great ways to really help to maximize the donations at your non-profit events.
Having silent auctions or ticket drops for winning smaller items is fun for people because it’s a game of chance. They are willing to drop a bunch of tickets in a bucket on the chance to win a gift certificate for a massage or a barbeque gift basket.
But for the higher-priced items, consider hiring a professional auctioneer to maximize the room’s energy and donations. A skilled auctioneer makes it exciting and gets those paddles flying!
This is similar to the silent auctions, but mystery boxes add in the excitement of getting that fantastic item for a great deal.
Give them a general idea of what is in the box and an approximate value, but don’t let the cat out of the bag. For example, a vacation could be promoted as “An amazing all-inclusive getaway somewhere tropical for two. Get out of the Wisconsin weather in February!” A smaller example could be a fancy bottle of scotch, or some sort of ‘date night out’ dinner package.
If an auctioneer isn’t a possibility, another great way to maximize those high-end donations is to make the bidding open-ended until the end of the event.
You might be surprised at how people will incrementally raise the amounts bit by bit as the event goes on! The more fun you make the event, the more those numbers will tick up, making it one of the easy 10 ways to maximize the donations at your non-profit events!
Having everyone in the room working towards a common goal encourages the ‘hive mind’, drives excitement, and inspires people to contribute. Announcements throughout the night by the MC and visual goals like a big thermometer or a spinning wheel showing the amount raised can be very effective in getting you to that “next level” in donations.
We can help with all of the parts that help make your non-profit event run smoothly, from live event production, stage design, overall event design, event videography, and even Zoom live streaming.
When non-profits work with us to plan their event, we offer a 20% discount as a way to pay it forward. We live and work in Milwaukee, and we’re proud of this town!
Events By Design takes 20% of your total package cost and donates that amount back to your organization to support and sponsor your event and mission. We want to be your go-to event team to help you plan a successful, profitable, and entertaining event that people can’t stop talking about!
Are you ready to partner with us to take your non-profit event to the next level in both donations and wow factor? Get in touch and let’s start designing your next event!
So, which of these 10 ways to maximize donations are you going to use at your next non-profit event?