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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


Fall is here, which means that it's time for the next round of annual fundraising events to start. Depending on the person, some nonprofit people love them and some people hate them. It really all depends on your point of view, especially when it comes to your definition on Return on Investment (ROI).

Now at this point of time it might be a little late to start planning a major fundraising event for this fall but now IS the time to start planning for next year. Before you say YES or NO to having a fundraising event next year, there are three MAJOR questions to ask your team before moving forward (and a bunch more after that):

Question 1 - What is the potential net profit for the event? Don't just say you are going to do an event that is going to raise XXXXXXX dollars. Actually take the time to put together a budget, that is REALISTIC in the number of tickets, sponsorships, tables, auction items, etc. Who knew so much strategy went into thinking about an event (Hopefully you said, ME)

Question 2 - What is your goal of the event? Not just the financial goal but really, is the goal to raise money, make new friends, or both? This is where your viewpoint of ROI comes in. Yes, staff hours does count towards if an event is worthwhile, and if money is the only driver for your event, then you really need to think on that. However, if making new friends is the goal, that changes things because those new relationships could turn into future potential donors, and could be a great "win". Basically finish this sentence. I think this event would be deemed a success if


Question 3 - Is your event unique enough and exciting enough that people will want to be there? What's your draw to get people there? What's going to be different about your dinner or golf outing to make someone say "I need to go to THAT one" this year.

If you feel good about the answers for those three questions, then there are a multitude of other questions for you to consider:

- Are you putting together a committee

- When and where is the event

- How many people will be there

- What should sponsorship packages look like

- Who should emcee this event

- How do I get our auction items

- Do we need an auctioneer

- How is the board going to get involved

- And so many more . . .

Again, there are so many questions you need to figure out as you start putting together your event but before you focus on the details . . . consider those three main big picture questions first, as that will save you a lot of time and energy.


To learn more about strategic and fundraising plans, feasibility studies, planned giving studies, need assessment studies, and capital campaigns, visit us at

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