Fundraising events are a powerful tool for charities to collect lots of valuable donations, as well as get their message out to the public. In Australia, there are around 54,000 registered charities so making your fundraising event standout from the rest is crucial, getting people to show up is only half the battle, you also need to maximize the amount of money you raise. So what are the things you should consider if you’re an event creator?

Set a Realistic Budget

Every fundraising event needs a realistic budget that clearly lists all of the expenses that will be required to run the event, this should include staff, invitations, venue hire, catering, entertainment, security and anything else that will be required to host a successful event. Importantly, take into account your fundraising goal, as you will need to ensure that you can raise that amount above all expenses.  Determining the costs of holding an event against the potential funds expected to be raised is key, as this will allow you to identify where you can minimise expenditure and maximise revenue.  

Seek Sponsorship

Finding sponsors is one of the most important steps in the organisation process as the more costs that can be funded by sponsors, the fewer the costs that will need to be funded by your donors. You need your donor’s money to go straight into the cause. Seek out past sponsors if you hosted events before, if not you can look for sponsors who have helped out at similar events. You can also ask companies that have aligned with your mission, and seek out specific prize sponsors. Many companies are willing to donate raffle or auction items due to the advertising they will receive from the event. The more sponsors you can find, the better!

Location, Location, Location

It’s imperative you get the venue right as it can significantly impact guest attendance. The right venue also creates the atmosphere and contributes to the theme of the event. Also consider what the venue has to offer in terms of discounts or special promotions in order to assist with the event’s fundraising efforts. The venue should be the right size, having the event in too large a space can make a successful event feel like a failure because you didn’t fill the room, similarly you don’t want your guests to feel squashed in to a small, cramped space. Choose a place that is elegant already and requires minimal extra decorating, as this will help with conserving your budget for more important aspects. Traditional venues work really well as they are generally stylish and come with experienced, competent staff, as well as an event manager to ensure your event runs smoothly.

Speakers and Entertainment

The key is to put on a program that is both fun and memorable as well as inspirational, this will ensure you get the right guests attending and willing to spend money once they get there. Speakers should have a connection to your cause and be familiar with your organisation. Celebrities are a great addition, just be sure to find one that will donate their time and is aligned with your charity or cause in some way. Live music creates a fun, party atmosphere and is another great way to entice people to attend. Raffles, silent auctions and live auctions are all great ways to raise money that are also fun for attendees. You’ll want to get all raffle prizes and action items donated. Be mindful to recognize the donors and sponsors, and ensure you recognize the donors of expensive, luxury items a little more than someone who donates a small gift basket. Keep in mind that auction items should match the demographics and lifestyles of the guests, also try finding truly unique experiences for auction, things people can’t buy anywhere else. You want to create an atmosphere that leaves people glad they attended and looking forward to the next event you host.


A fundraising event needs to be aggressively marketed to the target audience. After all, the aim is to entice as many people as possible to attend so you will need to convince your supporters that your organization and event are worthy of their time and money. Create a marketing plan for the event and brainstorm ways of getting the word out about your event. There’s many avenues you can use including social media, which is a cost effective way of reaching a large audience.

Follow Up

Ensure you make time during the event to thank the volunteers and staff who helped with the organisation. In the days following the event, it’s important to send out thank-you notes to all contributors and vendors. You need to keep your donors and sponsors happy as you will likely ask them for another donation sometime in the future!

Are you planning a fundraising event in Melbourne? Merrimu is the perfect function venue for your gala ball, cocktail party, garden party or even high tea. Our expert event staff can help you plan the perfect day or night. Contact us today to find out more.

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