Host an Event
Christian Life Resources continues its work to change hearts with God’s Word and protect lives from life’s beginning to life’s end. It’s an important, life-affirming ministry that many - like you - have supported during your lifetime. Have you ever thought about helping in a "different" way? A great way to spread the word about our ministry and do a little fundraising in the process is to host an event (of any kind!) on our behalf. We have put together several pointers below that we have found helpful when planning events of our own. Contact Christian Life Resources and let us know of your plans - we may even be able to help! Feel free to use these tips and plan an event for one of our affiliates as well.
Decide on a purpose
- What do you want this event to accomplish? Is it simply a meet and greet, do you want to raise awareness about our cause, or is the goal strictly to fundraise. Once you have a purpose in mind it is easier to plan the event around it.
- When choosing an organization other than CLR, be sure to know the address and check the eligibility of the agency (use GuideStar for example).
Select type of event
- Your options are only limited by your imagination - wine tasting, chili cook-off, car wash, brat fry, bake sale, margarita and nacho night, spaghetti dinner, movie/TV marathon, themed music/dance party, golf tournament, Oscar party, garage sale, web-based auction, karaoke, used book sale, game night, baby shower, banquet, mow-a-thon, dog walker, softball tournament - search Pinterest for even more ideas!
- Be sure to keep in mind your locale and do not choose any event that wouldn't work well.
- Click the following names for examples: Wine Tasting, Walk/Run, Bowling Tournament, Ice Cream Social, Golf Outing
Form a committee
- Hosting events - whether big or small - can require a lot of work, so it is important to have a team of individuals to help.
- Give everyone a specific task, for example someone can be in charge of acquiring sponsors (see below), obtaining the food, etc. You can get really formal and appoint a chairperson (the highest officer of an organized group) and secretary (supports the committee and ensures smooth functioning) if you feel that is necessary
- The size of the committee is dependent on the size of the event, smaller events such as a carwash require far less people involved than say a 5K.
- Doodle.com is a great resource for scheduling meetings.
Identify your target audience
- Who do you want to attend your event - donors, church members within your fellowship, teens, general public, or multiple audiences?
Have a fundraising goal
- Always have a goal of what you want the event to bring in - and then try to exceed it!
- Keep in mind the "gross" receipt is different from "net" - basically meaning you need to account for any expenses, such as paid staff or mileage, and subtract them from your goal.
Make a checklist
- Have a list of everything that needs to be done and check items off once they’re competed. This will not only keep you on track, but will give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Click here for samples.
Select date and time
- Check conflicting activities with local organizations (we suggest a search on the Internet of the month/year you are looking at holding the event and your city/state to see what pops up).
- If members of your planning committee belong to different churches be sure to check their calendars.
- Identify highly competitive events, such as sporting events, hunting season (in some parts of the country), graduation time, etc.
- Also keep in mind certain events do better at certain times of the year (i.e. an ice cream social wouldn’t be the best in January in some parts of the country).
Determine the budget
Find a venue
- Different events require different venues, but good examples are a church, recreation center, home, park, restaurant or hall.
- If you know anyone who works in the industry they may even help you out by donating the location!
- Click here for more ideas on choosing an event venue.
Contact potential donors for sponsorship and material donations
- Local businesses/organizations are the best – focus on letting them know about the cause they’d be helping and also the free advertisement to the number of people you expect to attend.
- When asking individuals to sponsor be sure to let them know the organization they work for may participate in a corporate matching program - all you have to do is ask!
- Sample letter: DOC | PDF
- Sample sponsorship form: DOC | PDF
- Click here for more information on finding sponsors.
Silent Auctions and Raffles
Choose menu/drink selections
- Word-of-mouth - tell all your friends and family about the event (call, text, email and talk about it in person)
- Social media is a very powerful tool for getting a large number of people to see your event (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Area churches or church organizations – create a bulletin announcement and/or insert (you can email each local church with attachments of the insert)
- Local newspaper/radio ads - some will even offer discounts for non-profits
- Local newspaper community service announcements and/or community websites – often free
- CLR will gladly include your event in our e-newsletters as well as our events website
Send invitations/sell tickets
- There are a number of different ways to handle invitations: email (e-vites), mail (postcard, invitation with response card), social media, etc. If you're looking to mail out invitations, contact a local printer, CLR or use a website like www.overnightprints.com.
- When sending invitations, be sure to maximize exposure for sponsorship opportunities and including other donations, such as a diaper or gift card drive at the event.
- Decide if you’ll have actual tickets or if people can simply give their name when they attend (for some events you'll need a headcount ahead of time - you'll also have to figure out the deadline you'll need for things such as food/drink).
- A few other things to think about: Will you sell tickets at the door? Can people pay by credit card? (The Square device/app will allow you to take credit card payments via your phone. You could also use PayPal.)
- Don’t forget to have the option for additional donations when people buy tickets - you'd be surprised how many people will give an extra amount for a cause they really support.
Create an atmosphere
Day of the event
Follow up with participants and donors
- Send participants home with something concrete if possible (such as wrapped candy or a small trinket with CLR's information on it).
- Create an email survey and sent it to participants to see what everyone thought of the event – click here for a sample. This is a great way to improve the event in the future.
- We have an email service they can then subscribe to for future CLR and New Beginnings - A Home for Mothers events.
- ALWAYS thank your donors after the event as soon as possible to ensure they'll be willing to donate again in the future. Sample letter: DOC | PDF
Pat yourself on the back for a job well-done! When the event is finished send all checks (if you have cash donations, deposit them into your account and write one single check if possible made out to CLR) to our office at Christian Life Resources, Box 56, Richfield, WI 53076.