Nonprofits like ours wouldn’t exist without the commitment and support of our fundraisers.
Each year hundreds of Davis Phinney Foundation Victory Crew® members participate in various athletic events and other activities in their local communities to raise money for Parkinson’s. From a six-day and nearly 500-mile cycling adventure to a nine-day sufferfest, a dance-a-thon, a 5k walk, a summer concert and even a boxing match, there’s something for everyone – no matter your age, physical abilities or interests.
We recently had a chance to talk to some of our most inspirational fundraisers. We asked them what made them want to raise money for the Davis Phinney Foundation, how they chose their event, the biggest wins and challenges they experienced when it comes to fundraising for a cause and what advice they’d offer others who are considering jumping in the pool.
If you want to know how to raise money for Parkinson’s, or you just want to make your next effort even more successful than the last, this three-part series is for you.
In today’s post, you’ll learn successful strategies for hosting your own fundraiser. In the next two posts, you’ll learn how to ride for a cause and make your fundraising a family affair.
Host a Fundraising Party for Parkinson’s
Beth Ann Chard loves to throw a party. When her husband turned 60, she threw a big birthday bash for him and it was a huge success. So when her husband was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she decided to throw a party again, only this time she made it a fundraiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
In preparation for the party, a dance-a-thon, she secured 55 items for the silent auction. She hired a caterer and DJ. And she sold tickets that covered the cost of the event while leaving plenty left over to donate.
To keep all of the attendees in the loop, she sent them an email prior to the event explaining how much from each ticket would be going to the charities. After the event, she thanked each attendee and shared the final amount to be donated. Her goal was $10,000. She ended up selling close to 80 tickets and raising $14,000.
The best part? The event itself was such a success that people continually ask her when she’s doing it again.
When I asked what advice she has for someone considering hosting their own fundraiser, she had this to offer.
- Create an event that people will also benefit from. We had a silent auction, a great DJ, fabulous food and a fun night hanging out with all of our friends. That made it an easy sell, even for those who had no connection to Parkinson’s.
- If you’re going to do a silent auction, consider separating the auction items from the party area. We had the party outside; however, we displayed all of the silent auction items in the clubhouse. When they entered the clubhouse, we offered them a complimentary glass of wine and enough distraction-free time to check out all of the items and bid before heading outside.
- Make it BYOB. This keeps your costs down and everyone gets to have fun sharing what they bring.
- Give yourself enough time to plan. Calendars fill up quickly; so, if you’re having an event, make sure you let people know at least six weeks in advance. And don’t be afraid to send reminders to people who haven’t responded yet. Sometimes plans change at the last minute and no’s turn into yes’s.
- On the invitation, allow people an easy way to share the event with their friends. Email invites make this especially easy.
- Take flyers everywhere you go.
- Send thank yous to everyone who donated to the silent auction, tell them how much you raised and say you hope they’ll consider donating again in the future.
- Send thank you’s to all of the attendees. And, if you know you’re doing it again next year, tell them to save the date now.
If you’re interested in hosting your own fundraiser, you’ve now got a proven template to follow. Whether you want 100 people or 10 people, to host a dance-a-thon or a wine night, there are ways for you to combine something you love with your desire to support a worthy cause.
Want Tools and Templates to Help Ensure Your Fundraising Success?
After hosting hundreds of events over the years and coaching a wide variety of fundraisers, we’ve come up with a kit to help you achieve your fundraising goal in less time and with less stress. With sample letters, timelines and a long list of fundraising ideas, you’ll have everything you need to raise money and help people with Parkinson’s live better today.