Event Planning

How to Organise a Charity Event for Your Nonprofit

Reading time: 19 min

Planning an unforgettable fundraising event has the power to create awesome experiences alongside raising money and support for a great cause. In this guide, we'll dive into the essential steps for planning and executing a successful fundraising event for your nonprofit organisation. Now, let's get ready to embark on a journey that'll empower your team to make a bigger impact on the world!

1. Establish your nonprofit's fundraising purpose

A nonprofit event's success hinges on establishing a clear purpose. After all, the event's objectives will serve as the foundation for your promotional strategy, which in turn will guide your decision-making to raise money and attract supporters. Start by asking yourself important questions about your fundraiser like what target audience you hope to resonate with or what ways you want to build a buzz for your cause. By incorporating this knowledge into your strategies, you'll be well on your way to creating a charity event that resonates with that audience and helps raise awareness.

For example, if you're organising a flag football tournament to raise awareness for a children's hospital and collect donations, consider additional efforts like a raffle to boost excitement and encourage people to donate, even if they aren't sports fans. Additionally, incorporating peer-to-peer fundraising strategies (such as having participants set up fundraising webpages and asking for donations ahead of time) can help increase engagement and your overall fundraising success.

Identifying your event objectives

Whether your aim is to inspire people to take action, reach a new audience, or grow your nonprofit, having clear objectives will guide your decision-making throughout the nonprofit event planning process.

You'll want these event objectives to be as specific and quantifiable as possible (aka, SMART goals). For example, rather than have your goal be something general like raise awareness for the homeless in your community, your goal could be to reach a realistic fundraising target towards building a new homeless shelter. Or, if you're raising funds for a sporting event, you should have a specific dollar amount to shoot for. That way, you'll be able to track your fundraising target alongside your donors, and use creative options to present your benchmarks like a huge thermometer or themed roadmap to show your progress.

Aligning your event with your nonprofit's mission

To align your event with your nonprofit's values, consider how all the activities leading up to, during, and after your event day will both engage donors and raise more money. Choose fundraising ideas for your event that resonate with your attendee demographic, like a marathon for fitness enthusiasts or a charity concert for music-lovers. You may also want to live stream your event to make it even more accessible.

By connecting your event to your mission, you'll not only create a consistent message but also draw in supporters who are passionate about your cause.

2. Build a comprehensive event budget

Your charity event (and reaching those fundraising goals!) is made possible with a comprehensive event budget. By mapping out your expenses and securing sponsorships, you can ensure that you're raising more money than you're spending, ultimately contributing to your event's success.

Mapping out your expenses

When creating your event budget, you'll need to consider expenses such as:

  • Venue rental

  • Staff

  • Marketing materials

  • Catering

  • Entertainment

  • Transportation

  • Security

  • Utilities

It's important to leave some wiggle room in your budget to account for unexpected costs, ensuring that you have enough funds to cover all your expenses. By listing all your expenses and estimating their costs, you'll have a clearer picture of the financial resources needed to host a successful fundraiser. With a thorough understanding of your expenses, you can set a fundraising goal that's both achievable and ambitious, maximising the impact of your nonprofit.

Determining your revenue streams

Mapping out where your revenue will come from is the next piece that's crucial to reaching your fundraising goal. These may include:

  • Charitable donations

  • Ticket sales

  • Sponsorships

  • Live auctions

  • Silent auctions

  • Raffle tickets

  • Crowdfunding

Having reasonable benchmarks for each revenue stream will help you determine how much money you'll put towards your ultimate fundraising goal after covering the event's expenses. This will also help you determine the best ticket price for your event for reaching your revenue goals. You can also use TicketLeap's platform to solicit additional donations!

Securing your sponsorships

Seeking sponsorships from businesses and individuals can help cover event costs and increase your fundraising potential. By reaching out to local businesses for sponsorships, you can reduce costs and allocate more of your budget towards engaging donors and raising money for your cause. As another option, you could have multiple vendors from local restaurants onsite to show their support to your cause and offer free food to your event-goers.

To find sponsorships, start with people and businesses you know and work your way outward. Ask your board members and other people involved if they know anyone who could help, and explore companies that sponsor similar events in your area.

When negotiating the terms of your sponsorship package, be prepared to explain the value of your event and be open to negotiating the terms. By securing sponsorships, you'll be one step closer to hosting an effective fundraising event.

3. Create memorable experiences for your target audience

Planning a successful charity event necessitates reaching your target audience. This means you'll want to put together a lineup of activities that resonate with the people you're trying to reach. Tailoring your event experience to that audience will help you engage attendees and encourage more participation.

By selecting the right venue, theme, and lineup of entertainment, you'll create an unforgettable experience that'll leave a lasting impression on your attendees. And don't forget to showcase all these details on your event page to attract more participants too!

Selecting your venue and theme

Choosing a venue and theme that aligns with your mission and resonates with your attendees is crucial for creating a successful event. The venue and theme should be inviting and engaging, reflecting the values and goals of your nonprofit.

When selecting a venue and theme, consider the preferences of your audience and the objectives of your event. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on environmental conservation, you could choose a local park as your venue and incorporate eco-friendly practices throughout the event. Or, if your nonprofit supports the arts, consider a community theatre or somewhere with a stage for you to showcase local talent. You could also orient your charity event's theme around an upcoming holiday like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween.

Your venue is often one of your greatest costs, so choose wisely! You may consider using a space your organisation already readily uses or looking into places that may donate their space in support of your next fundraising event. You'll also want to verify the accessibility of your venue to ensure it's more inclusive to all your attendees. Offering a live stream or other virtual event could expand your fundraiser's bandwidth of attendees as well. By selecting a venue and theme that resonates with your audience, you'll be more likely to attract attendees and encourage their support for your cause.

Incorporating entertainment and activities

Putting together an agenda jam-packed with engaging activities tailored to your audience is essential for creating a memorable event experience. By offering interactive elements, such as games, raffles, and auctions, you can encourage donations and keep attendees entertained throughout the event. Invite speakers to share motivational stories and testimonials about the work of your nonprofit. You could also incorporate musicians or local celebrities into your lineup of activities to both advocate for your cause and entertain your guests. Or, your nonprofit could organise a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses or individuals. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box!

4. Recruit volunteers and staff

Volunteers and staff play a vital role in your event, from assisting with registration and collecting donations to providing support and guidance to attendees. Lean on your organisation's current roster of employees and volunteers for support, and assess whether you need additional help for your event. By effectively recruiting your staff and event volunteers, you'll be better equipped to handle any challenges that may arise and ensure a positive experience for all your attendees.

To help enlist volunteers, spread the word through your nonprofit's network, post on social media, and reach out to local groups and businesses. You should consider using an event registration page for volunteer candidates to sign up. Make sure to provide volunteers with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and offer training materials, videos, or webinars to help them prepare. By investing in volunteer recruitment and training, you'll be better equipped to handle any challenges that may arise during your event and ensure a successful outcome.

Coordinating staff responsibilities

Defining staff roles and responsibilities is crucial for maintaining organisation and efficiency during your event. By assigning tasks based on staff skills and experience, you can ensure that each role is filled by someone qualified and capable of doing the job.

Figure out where each person's strengths and weaknesses reside, then do your best to assign them to the role that suits them the best. By effectively coordinating staff responsibilities, you can rest assured your event is set to run smoothly.

5. Implement donation collection methods

Maximising your fundraising potential depends on implementing effective donation collection methods. By choosing the right platforms and encouraging donor engagement, you can increase the funds raised for your cause and create a lasting impact.

Choose user-friendly donation platforms that cater to your audience's preferences and ensure secure processing, such as TicketLeap for online nonprofit ticketing, GoFundMe, Bloomerang, or PayPal for on-the-spot payments. Make use of interactive activities and clear communication of your nonprofit's impact, which will motivate attendees to contribute to your cause and help you reach your fundraising goals.

By offering multiple donation options, you can accommodate the preferences of your target audience and make it as easy as possible to donate, so you can reach your fundraising goals even faster.

Encouraging donor engagement

Offering interactive activities, such as games, raffles, and auctions, can help create a fun and memorable experience for attendees while also encouraging them to contribute to your cause. In addition to interactive activities, clearly communicating the impact of your nonprofit's work can inspire donors to contribute to your cause. By sharing stories, data, and the successes of your nonprofit, you can demonstrate the results of your organisation's efforts, which may motivate donors to contribute more.

6. Develop your marketing strategy

Creating a multi-channel event marketing strategy is essential for effectively promoting your event and attracting attendees. By utilising digital channels such as email and social media, as well as traditional methods like flyers, direct mail, or radio ads, you can maximise your event's reach and sell more tickets to your fundraiser.

To promote your charitable events, consider the following strategies:

  • Tap into your nonprofit's network of friends and supporters

  • Send out email invites to current donors

  • Post flyers in popular venues around town

  • Engage with local businesses for sponsorship or partnership opportunities

  • Put out a press release and appear on local news stations to build publicity

  • Share the link to your event page as much as possible! (on social media, email campaigns, websites, etc.)

By implementing these strategies, you can spread the word about your awesome fundraiser events!

Leverage the power of social media

Social media should play a significant part of your nonprofit's marketing strategy. Create a Facebook event that you, your sponsors, and your followers can share to help spread the word. Be sure to link to your event's website or ticketing page to get the full event details and sell tickets to your fundraiser.

To encourage attendees to share your event page with their friends, host a ticket giveaway for your next event that they can enter by tagging a few people and resharing your post. Create short-form video content on TikTok and Instagram that highlights all the exciting things your charity event has to offer and how your nonprofit is impacting the community. You could also start a challenge or trend using a branded event hashtag on your posts and encourage others to do the same. If you have some extra room in your budget, you could boost event-related social media ads to your target market as well. There are plenty of unique things you can try to promote your event, so don't be afraid to try something a little out there!

7. Prep for your big day

All your plans have finally come together, and now the big day is here! Get to the venue early to ensure everything is in order. Touch base with your event staff and special guests so everyone's on the same page about how the day's agenda will go. You'll want to do a test run of any sound equipment or other technology you'll be using too.

There are a lot of details that go into those final moments of preparation before everyone arrives, so we've created an event day checklist to help you! Ultimately, the key to a smooth event day is extensive preparation. That way, once your charity event starts, you can enjoy it alongside your attendees!

8. Follow up after your fundraising event

Congrats! You've successfully planned and pulled together your event. But you aren't done yet! Maintaining your relationships with those attendees, volunteers, and sponsors are dependent on conducting post-event follow-ups and evaluations. By expressing gratitude to all those who contributed to your event and measuring its success, you can ensure that your nonprofit continues to grow and thrive.

Evaluating the success of your event involves measuring key performance indicators, such as the amount of funds raised, attendee satisfaction, and social media engagement. By analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into what worked well and what could be improved for future charity events.

Expressing gratitude

Sending thank-you messages to attendees, volunteers, and sponsors is an important part of your post-event strategy. By expressing your appreciation for them you can maintain relationships with those who contributed to your event's success and foster a sense of community around your cause.

Personalised thank-you messages can help strengthen your connections with attendees, volunteers, and sponsors. By including their name, mentioning the event they attended or supported, and expressing your appreciation for their contribution, you can show your gratitude and encourage their continued involvement with your nonprofit. You should be as detailed as possible in letting attendees know how their support is helping your cause too, sharing videos and testimonials of how the money raised is impacting people in your community. That way, not only will they be glad they attended your event, you could turn them into recurring donors!

Measuring event success

Evaluating key performance indicators, such as ticket sales, attendee satisfaction, and social media engagement, is a crucial part of measuring the success of your charity events. In your follow-up email, send out a survey for attendees to share what they loved about your charity event and where it can improve. By analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into what worked well and what could be improved for future charity events.

Applying the results of your event evaluation to future planning can help your nonprofit to grow and thrive. By identifying areas for improvement and building on your successes, you can create even more impactful events that raise additional funds and awareness for your cause. By continually learning and adapting, your nonprofit can make a lasting difference in the world.


There you have it! Now you're ready to kick off your latest fundraiser and any future events you may host for your nonprofit. By following these steps and continually learning from your experiences, your nonprofit can host impactful events that raise funds and awareness for your cause.

As you embark on your journey to plan your fundraising events, TicketLeap's user-friendly ticketing platform is here to help empower your organisation and your events to make a bigger impact on the world. With careful planning and execution, your fundraising events can become a powerful force for positive change in your community and beyond.

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