Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Should you shake up your annual fundraising event?

As I started working on this blog post, I realized that it was getting tl;dr to deliver in one shot, so I decided to try to be more considerate to the reader and write multiple posts.

I am working on my kids' school auction again, and I have come across an organizational attitude about annual fundraising events that I thought deserved a bit more exploration. The organizers of the event have chosen for many years (estimating 10 years at least) to throw the same party for the auction. They change the theme, the graphics and the decorations, but it is the same party, the same format, the same, same, same.

Some organizations have been crazy successful with revisiting the same format year over year for fundraising. A wonderful example is the (formerly Jerry Lewis) MDA Labor Day Telethon. They do the same deal year upon year and have a tremendous following. Success!

What is great about their format? It goes on for hours casting a wide net of prospective givers, varied entertainment and celebrities again pulling in a variety of people, and watchers can pop in and out of the broadcast as needed. The format has changed a bit in the past couple of years, but largely they are still working the same operational plan.

It is considerably more difficult to come up with a new idea, format, food plan and beverage plan yearly for this type of event. I leave you with an important question today  why wouldn't an organization want to stick with a tried and true format for a fundraising event that has been very successful? I have a couple of ideas why to share with you tomorrow, but would love to hear your thoughts on the subject matter! Please share them below.

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