Whether you're looking to raise money for a small organization or a large charity, fundraising can be difficult if not planned correctly.

Whether you’re looking to raise money for a small organization or a large charity, fundraising can be difficult if not planned correctly. Many people avoid hosting a fundraiser because the tasks seem too daunting. However, you can successfully host a fundraiser by following these tips…

Pick a theme. Before you even think about invitations, choose a theme for your event. It doesn’t have to relate to your cause but it can. If you’re raising money for an international adoption, bring in food and decor from that country. If you’re trying to sponsor an after-school program think about setting up games or activities in a fun or engaging way. After you’ve picked a theme, plan to take it throughout your marketing materials – invitations, email blasts, fliers, etc. should reflect the theme of your event.

Create a budget. Setting limits on spending is of utmost importance. Remember that you’re trying to raise money, so you’re going to have to work within a pretty tight budget – the less you spend on your event, the more money that will go directly to your cause. Ask vendors in your area if they would be willing to donate food, beverages, decorations, raffle prizes, auction items or other necessities for your fundraiser. Some may not have anything to donate but may give you money towards your cause, instead.

Prepare a menu. Depending on your anticipated crowd, the time of year, and your access to food resources, you need to choose between a casual set-up or something more formal. Some great fundraisers simply have passed h’ordeuvres, while others have a buffet spread or plates of food on tables. Many successful events include a 5-course sit down meal. Since you are working within a limited budget, your menu will depend largely on what you can afford to spend, how many food donations you can secure, and how much you can charge for tickets. Don’t forget, you can have an elegant meal on a small budget just by shopping around at warehouse grocery stores.

Plan the entertainment. You should have something planned besides just a dinner. What’s a party without the music? Exactly. A DJ, a band, or a really great playlist is a perfect way to set the mood for an event. Another way to raise even more money for your cause is to have a silent auction or live auction or even a raffle during the event. You can ask local vendors & businesses, organization members or friends & colleagues to donate items. When planning entertainment try to do something that ties into the evening’s theme, if possible.

Rally your supporters. With all of the planning for your fundraiser, don’t forget the main ingredient – donors. Prepare a compelling fundraising page to accept donations, send out email and Facebook invitations and keep your supporters posted on progress through social media channels.