As advocates, fundraising can be a very important aspect of what we do.  Whether you want to do a fundraiser specifically for a family or if you want to support research, it is important that you have a plan in place that will help you be successful.  All proceeds of any I Refuse or Pioneering Unique Cures for Kids Fundraiser benefits the research being done at the University of Minnesota.

Here are some helpful tips to guide you in this process:

Ten Steps for Hosting a Successful Fundraiser

1. Goals:

What is your goal? Determine if you are merely trying to raise money or also trying to promote awareness. This will help determine the appropriate activities for your event.

2. Committee:

Create a committee and choose a leader for the committee. Determine how
often you will meet and how you will keep in contact in between meetings. Using virtual
tools like dropbox is a great way to share documents and information among committee
members. The committee leader should track and communicate action items from each
meeting to all committee members, and follow up to ensure tasks are completed on time.

3. Budget:

Set a budget. This includes anticipated expenses as well as how you will bring in
revenue from the event. You should try to keep expenses to less than 30% of anticipated
revenue. Be conservative about how much revenue you will bring in. This will help ensure
you don’t go over the 30% expense mark. Assign one of the committee members to
maintain the budget.

4. The Plan:

Either the committee leader or other committee member should create, in writing,
a detailed master plan for the event that is regularly updated and shared with the committee
members. This will help keep everyone on the same page. The plan should include: high
level budget info, details about activities and food, volunteer needs, marketing, target
audience, schedule and/or map of the actual event, list of donations/donors, and checklist of

5. Target Audience:

Determine the target audience for the event. Is it geared toward a
specific group of people or is it open to all?

6. Marketing:

Marketing the event is extremely important in reaching your fundraising goal. Create a marketing plan for the event and assign a committee member to manage the plan.
Marketing can include social media, TV/print media, direct mail, word of mouth, etc.

7. Sales:

Determine the procedure for accepting ticket sales or donations for the event. Will
you require tickets to be purchased in advance? Will there be different pricing levels?
Consider offering discounts for early registration and/or for purchase of a large number of

8. Site Visit:

Schedule time for you and the committee members to visit the venue of your
event. Use this time to map out things like placement of tables & chairs, power supply,
location of signage, access to storage, location of restrooms and other key amenities.

9. Volunteers:

Volunteers are an important part of running a successful event. As part of
your master plan, determine how many volunteers you will need and begin recruiting early.
Don’ just rely on your event committee to run the event. You’ll need others as well. Most
high schools have clubs that require students to do service work. Reach out to your local
high school to help recruit volunteers.

10. Follow Up:

Don’t forget to plan for follow up after the event. That includes mailing thank
you notes, ensuring donors/sponsors get recognition for donations, what to do with “leftover”
supplies or food, etc.

Other Event Specific Tips

Remember – You are trying to raise money! 

Don’t fall into the trap of charging too little in order to try and get more attendance at your event.
If raising money is your primary goal, you’ll need to budget and price accordingly.

Requesting in-kind donations & sponsorships:

You’ll need to gather all sorts of donations in order to keep real expenses to a minimum for your
event. Create a standard letter, describing your event and what you are in need of. (See sample
letter in Appendix). Make sure all committee members have copies of this letter as they venture
out to request donations. This letter should include:
o A description of the event
o Information about EB and where to learn more
o Description of the item(s) you are requesting to have donated
o What the business will receive in return for their donation
o How the item will be used at the event
o Approximate attendance of your event
o Federal tax ID for PUCK
o Where to send the donation

 If you are requesting an event sponsor, you’ll want to use that businesses name on all possible
printed collateral (signs, flyers, programs, etc.) so they will receive recognition of their

Food & Concessions:

 Don’t be afraid to price concessions and food consistent with what people would expect to pay at
a similar public event, or even a little more. This is a charity event and people understand you are
trying to raise money. However, don’t charge exorbitant rates that would prohibit people from
spending money at all.
 If you are preparing food or serving food at a location not licensed to do so, check with local city
or county authorities to see if you need to apply for a permit. Some counties will waive fees for
non-profit organizations.

Silent Auction & Opportunity Drawing/Raffle:

 Create a letter requesting silent auction items and mail or drop off at local businesses from whom
you’d like to receive donations.
 Keep in mind your target audience and try to find items that will appeal to this group.
 Generally, starting bids for auction items should be approximately half the value of the item. You
may adjust this if the starting bid is too high for your starting audience. Choose bid increments
that allow for easy math depending on your starting bid and value of your item. For example, if
you have an item worth $500 you may want to start the bidding at or slightly below $250 and do
bid increments of $25 or $50. Doing bid increments of $20 may make it more difficult for bidders
to “do the math” when inputting bids. If you have an item worth $50 you can start the bidding at
$25 and do $5 bid increments. The bid increments should be consistent with the value of your
 State laws vary about the legality of raffles and opportunity drawings. Check the laws in your
state to ensure your drawing/raffle does not violate any of these laws.


Provided by Pioneering Unique Cures for Kids

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