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Fundraising Event Management

Fundraising events provide an opportunity for non-profits to secure essential income but also help to educate donors, guests and volunteers of the organizational mission. Whether a gala dinner, cultivation event, walk-a-thon or benefit concert, this course will examine the fundamentals of fundraising event management. Through this course you’ll learn who the key players are within a non-profit, event budgeting, income projections and ticketing, marketing outreach, food and beverage, logistics management, as well as how to employ strategic tools such as silent and online auctions, live appeals, video components, etc. to help increase the financial success of a fundraising event.

Learn From Industry Expert Michelle French

Michelle French is a story teller at heart. Every event she produces tells a tale, delivers a message, and has an effect that continues long after the tables are cleared and the last attendee exits the venue.

The insights and skills that go into creating meaningful events had their beginnings when Michelle was a student at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business where she majored in marketing and international studies. After working for American Airlines as part of the sales team and being present for 9/11, Michelle considered how she might use her talents to make a difference. Heading West, Michelle became the Event Manager for the California Science Center, and within six years the company experienced rapid growth.

In 2009, Michelle founded Sunday Sol Events, where she applies the principle that her work isn’t complete with just one event, but must fit into a client’s long-range plans. As Michelle works on telling the story of each organization, she focuses on the audience. Are we sending a clear message? Is there a call to action? Are we inspiring them? This unique approach is what sets Sunday Sol Events apart.

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Learning Outcomes

1. Gain an understanding of the similarities across fundraising events and the key elements that can make them successful.

2. Create a working budget for a fundraising event, develop income projections, manage ticketing and incorporate tools onsite/online to help raise additional income

3. Learn how marketing plays an important role when influencing donor/guest experience pre- during and post event

4. Learn how to select honorees, and create a leadership structure for your fundraiser.


Earn Your Digital Certification

A Digital Credential from ELI can be placed in your email signature, website, Linked In, Facebook, etc. Anyone who clicks on it sees your accomplishments on our Verification Page.

How does the course work?

Participants will log into our private Learning Management System, where each week approximately 2 hours of new lesson content will be released. Lesson content will usually be in video format, broken into digestible chapters of approximately 5-10 minutes each, and may be supplemented with PDFs or links to external articles. The lessons may be viewed at any time once they are released, and you can complete the lesson videos at your own pace. Short quizzes and assignments may be given to help reinforce learning outcomes.

What if I’m busy one week and can’t get to the material?

At the end of this 10 week online course, we provide participants an additional four weeks to catch up if they were unavailable for any portion of the course (hey, we know planners are busy). New lessons will be released each Monday at 7:00 pm EST, and can be viewed at any time thereafter.

When/how can I contact the instructor during the course?

The instructor will be available to answer questions and provide feedback at set times each week. Outside of those hours, the instructor will make every effort to respond to emails within two business days. (Keep in mind our instructors are subject matter experts who are actively working on events.)

Tell me about your learning guarantee?

The Event Leadership Institute stands behind all of its content. If you feel you didn’t learn what you expected to in this course, just let us know within 30 days of the final lesson and we’ll give you a full refund.

  1. Why Host A Fundraising Event
    1. When events make sense, and when they don’t
    2. Understanding what resources need to be committed
    3. Measuring success
  2. Leveraging the Psychology of Philanthropy
    1. Why donors give
    2. What sponsors look for
    3. Why volunteers participate
    4. Converting attendees into evangelists
  3. Successfully Utilizing Committees
    1. Types of Committees and their roles
    2. Formation and structure
    3. Profile of the ideal committee member
    4. Tips for managing committee deliverables
  4. Landing & Keeping Event Sponsors
    1. What elements can be sponsored
    2. Creating a sponsorship packet that sells
    3. Delivering value for sponsors
    4. Exchange of goods and services
  5. Budget & Regulatory Issues
    1. Setting achievable goals
    2. Fixed vs. variable costs
    3. Developing an integrated fundraising plan
    4. Setting ticket & sponsor pricing tiers
    5. Fair market value + IRS regulations
    6. Are you certified to fund raise? What planners need to know
    7. Comps: when and how to utilize strategically
  6. Galas – Strategy
    1. Leadership structure: honorary chair, event chair, honorees, committees
    2. Honoree selection and expectations
    3. Ticket and sponsor level pricing
  7. Galas – Logistics
    1. Securing the right venue
    2. Negotiating tactics
    3. Selecting food & beverage that reflect the organization
    4. Dealing with donated alcohol
    5. Program development: timing of awards, dinner service, auctions & speeches
    6. Seating logistics: who should sit where, and why
  8. Auction
    1. What makes a successful auction item
    2. How many items should you have
    3. Keys to securing quality auction items
    4. Calculating fair market value & tax deductability
    5. Setting minimum bid levels and increments
    6. Consignment items: pros, cons and advice
    7. Silent auction logistics
    8. Live auction logistics
    9. Registration, close out and cashiering
    10. Online auction logistics
  9. Other Fundraising Event Concepts
    1. Golf outings
    2. _____-A-Thons
    3. Keynote speaker events
    4. Arts, wine & music events
    5. Other creative ideas
  10. Alternative Methods of Fundraising
    1. Social media
    2. Video or live appeal (balloon auction, straight ask, etc.)
    3. Tabletop appeal (envelope, bid cards, etc.)
    4. Mobile platforms (Text-to-Pledge, BidPal, iML, etc.)
  11. Marketing Outreach
    1. Invitations & RSVP tracking
    2. Website
    3. Social media
    4. Press and media relations
    5. Event journal
    6. Socialite magazines & photography
  12. Onsite Branding
    1. Step & repeat photo ops
    2. Utilizing wire images and hashtags
    3. Tabletop & bar educational signage, journal
    4. Staging & set design
    5. Photo/video: shot lists, post-event marketing usage
    6. Thank you gifts
  13. Volunteers & Staffing
    1. In-house staff: roles & responsibilities
    2. Tips for securing quality volunteers
    3. Orientation & training: where many non-profits fall short
    4. Skills placement
    5. Managing volunteer teams
  14. Post-Event Responsibilities
    1. Keeping honorees engaged
    2. Thank you notes, acknowledgment letters
    3. Expense tracking & final budget
    4. Surveys and tracking guest experiences
    5. R.O.I. analysis & event debriefing
“I learned so much from this course, and am proud to put having taken it on my resume. I would absolutely recommend it to others.”
Libby Richardson | Events Manager, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

“When evaluating new candidates for full time or freelance staff, one of the first things we take into consideration is the person’s legitimate, industry-specific education.  A certificate from E.L.I. tells us they are on the right track.”
Rob Hulsmeyer | Partner, Empire Force Events.

“A credential from the Event Leadership Institute carries a lot of weight with us. Given the quality and depth of their content, we know they train people for the rigorous demands of our industry, and come to work ready to hit the ground running.”
Adam Sloyer | Managing Director, Sequence Events

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