Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising Ideas


The main purpose of this article is to present an analysis of a fundraiser’s numbers, but we also learned some good lessons along the way.

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Get the Support of Others to Build a Good Foundation

We were fortunate to have the support of much of our town for the benefit concert. In addition to the mayor, we also enjoyed the support of the borough’s schools (principals) and PTA. Even more importantly, we were able to get the help and support of a few key members of the school community. All of these people played a huge role in making the event a success.

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Easy and Usefull Fundraising Ideas

The mayor was helpful in opening doors and was gracious with her experienced advice. As important, was the huge help from several families and individuals who got involved by lending a hand at the concert. Their help was more meaningful than they will know – and their word of mouth helped with attendance.

When people feel part of something, they really get involved and help on a personal level. The support of others builds a strong foundation for an event – and makes it more appealing to others, who may see the event as a broader cause, and not a one-man-show. It was heart-warming to see people pull together for a good cause – and we are grateful for everyone’s help.

TIP: Ask for help from others. More people will feel a part of the event.

Corporate Analytics Applied to Non-Profit Fundraiser

With our business and corporate analytics backgrounds, we were interested in learning more about how the various decisions panned out. We wanted to gain knowledge for our next event’s planning process. In particular, here is some information about pricing and donations.

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Price of tickets: From the start, we wanted decent attendance – for the performers as well as for the cause. Pricing for each event should be determined on a case-by-case basis. It depends on the venue, performers, locale, other similar / related events, and other key factors.

In our example, if we charge too much per ticket, it would hurt attendance. But if we charge too little, we wouldn’t raise very much. We studied other events in the area and decided to charge $15 for an adult, $8 for a student, and $35 for a family ($20 / $10 / $40 at the door). This was slightly lower than we wanted to charge, but we didn’t want the ticket price to detract from attendance.

TIP: With pricing, try to hit the “sweet spot.” If anything, err on the side of pricing too low. Some people will donate in addition to purchasing a ticket — so the first goal is to increase attendance.

  • Family Ticket Pricing: we believe the “volume discount” worked well, as there was a decent turnout of families. It was nice to have children attend the event to benefit one of their classmates – with another classmate performing at the concert. One of our goals is to provide a venue for young artists to gain performance experience and it is particularly nice for both the performers and their schoolmates to be a part of the event.
  • Donations: One interesting category that we didn’t fully utilize in our areas of distribution was donations. Partly because the community was engaged with the cause for the concert, a relatively large percentage of people donated to the cause.
  • Donations above and beyond the recommended ticket prices made up 40% of total proceeds.

TIP: If appropriate, make it easy for people to donate a little extra for the cause.

  • Donation amounts – and the probability of a donation – are higher for checks than for cash, as would be expected.
  • We were fortunate to have use of the town’s information center to sell advance tickets. Donation percentages were higher at the information center, as people who wanted to give to the cause came in and left higher amounts than the value of the tickets they purchased.
  • At the event, we thought it would be appropriate to have donation boxes available for those that wanted to give additional amounts. We didn’t know if many people would give, but more than 33% of the total walk-ins proceeds were in the form of donations (above ticket prices).
  • Afterwards, we realized that our online ticket purchasing set-up may have been too rigid. In the future, we will make sure that when people purchase tickets, it will be easy for them to donate as well.
  • One other tidbit: people are procrastinators and often plan their free time at the last second. For our event, more than 60% of the tickets were purchased the last few days before the event. And, about one-half of the tickets were purchased at the door!

Fundraising Ideas Made Easy For Throwing Profitable Fundraisers

TIP: Do what you can to market the event (flyers, cards, word of mouth) — and realize that people often decide what to do at the last second.

Rose W. Chin is the founder of “Play It For Good,” a 501(c)(3) non-profit that plans concerts to benefit good causes and other non-profits. It combines Rose’s business skills with her interests in character development, education, and volunteerism. Rose is a finance professional with more than 15 years of corporate finance and business planning experience. Rose held various positions of leadership within Fortune 100 Companies: Head of Beverage Finance at Campbell Soup, Executive Director of Business Planning at Avon Products, and VP of Strategic Development at Avery Dennison Corporation.

She is currently a Board Member, advisor and consultant to non-profits, small businesses, and corporations. Rose holds an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, and serves as a member of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Secondary School Committee which interviews applicants.

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