Planning a Successful Fundraiser

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Cindy Edwards

I recently had the great honor of chairing the Telfair Ball, the largest annual fundraiser of Savannah’s beloved Telfair Museums.  Because the gala is a 34-year-old tradition, it has an established plan that works.  Still, each year there is that push to make it better and, of course, to raise more money for the museum.

Whether your charitable event is new or old, I hope that the following ideas will help you be successful.

1. Seek a worthy cause
This is certainly the most important part.  It must be a great cause, and one about which you are passionate. An enthusiastic leader will easily enlist support from others.

2. Compile the best committee
Work with great people.  While you can always ask your friends (and I do), it is best to gather a committee of people who share your interest in the organization.  Do not take it personally if someone turns you down: You want volunteers that are committed to the cause.
   
3. Organize
Create a timeline. Create a budget. Delegate goals and tasks to your committee.

4. Keep detailed notes
Keep a notebook with everything that you do and every person that you contact. Not only will this help you plan the event, it will also provide your predecessor with much-needed information of what worked and what did not work. 

5. Find a hook
Add an interesting element to entice your audience.  Because our museum was in the middle of a Spanish exhibit during the time of the gala, I went with a Spanish-themed party. I invited His Excellency Ramón Gil-Casares, the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, to serve as the honorary chair.  He accepted, and then the planning took on a whole new level of excitement.

image

6. Make your event appealing
You want it to be as beautiful and fun as possible.  Therefore, create a great atmosphere and do everything that you can to make it visually appealing.  Delicious food and interesting people are a must!

image

7. Plan for unexpected occurrences
Yikes!! Unfortunately, things happen that create “interesting situations.”  Have a rain or snow plan. Anticipate last-minute cancellations. Roll with it!

8. Share your financial goal
Make sure that your audience knows how the organization will use the funds it raises.  During the Telfair Ball, we gave everyone the opportunity to donate either through auction items, a raffle or through a pledge to our education program. 

image

Throwing large-scale events requires planning, people and a great cause. Build upon the foundation of your organization to bring in more people and more funds.  A successful event is one that is a financial success, but also one that is fun for your committee and your supporters. 

As always, thanks for reading. 

Properly yours,
Cindy

Photography courtesy of Randy Thompson.

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Cindy Edwards.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • Spinach and Strawberry Salad Spinach and Strawberry Salad
    54321
    View Now
  • The Deen Bros. Enlightened Chocolate-Almond Fudge The Deen Bros. Enlightened Chocolate-Almond Fudge
    54321
    View Now
  • Hot Spiced Tea Hot Spiced Tea
    54321
    View Now
  • The Lady and Sons Okra and Tomatoes The Lady and Sons Okra and Tomatoes
    54321
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

As always, you have written blog that is full of valuable information. Congrats to you on the successful Telfair fundraiser!

By Viki on March 19, 2014

54321

Excellent article with great information!

By Linda Parton on March 17, 2014

54321

Quite a daunting event to chair! Cannot even imagine the amount of time required to put it together. Obviously, the right person was in charge! Thanks for your tips and advice that can be used on any size event. They are a great benefit to anyone planning one. You did a great job, Cindy!

By Sandra Creech on March 17, 2014

54321

Great advice Cindy. I know the gala was an amazing event. I will keep these tips handy for future events. Thanks again for all the great advice.

By Michelle on March 14, 2014

54321

I found this post to be very interesting. The photographs were beautiful! A fundraiser should be fun and enjoyable to be successful and this one was definitely a special event. Including entertainment was a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing--I enjoyed this post!

By Anne on March 13, 2014

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm