Q: I’m planning a fundraising event to help get my name out there as an events co-ordinator, party organizer. However, I don’t have much of a budget to pay for a team to assist me. What kinds of incentives would you recommend I consider since I can’t pay them out of my pocket at this time? I think it’s important that while the cause is a good one to support, they’ve also got to feel appreciated and their time acknowledged.
A: Patrick, the good thing about fundraising events and having a faithful team of supporters is they aren’t usually in it for the financial gains, especially since you are just starting out. They are there for the exact same reasons you are — to volunteer their time and to demonstrate their commitment to whatever cause your event is supporting.
Since payment is not an option right now, I’d recommend you to consider writing reference letters for your volunteers.
Do this on your company letterhead and remember to give them each a title: for example, volunteer stage manager or volunteer graphic designer.
The idea behind a title is ‘volunteer’ often sounds too ambiguous and really doesn’t express the complete professional skill set the volunteer brings to the table.
Part of planning any fundraising event is approaching sponsors for either financial or product donations. Part of these proceeds are expected to go towards the development of your event and can often serve as incentives for your volunteer team.
Donated foods and beverages for volunteer meetings and rehearsals, transportation and parking reimbursement.
Another great thing, make sure you’ve got a printed program (with all of your sponsor logos) for your event: It looks very professional, and it’s an item volunteers can take away from the event and include with their portfolios.
You should also be working really hard to gain as much publicity surrounding both your event and the cause/ charity you are partnering with.
All this serves to raise the visibility and the credibility of your event — therefore heightening the volunteers’ excitement and belief in the project.
I think the best incentive you can provide is a safe and rewarding environment where your volunteers feel proud to be donating their time.
Make sure you acknowledge each of them by name at your event and most importantly remember them.
You are in the beginning stages of building your career so instead of getting new people if/when you make it, remember those who started off with you for free and book them again when you can afford to pay them. Good luck with your event, Patrick.
- Visit the website for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Toronto Chapter) at www.afptoronto.org. Membership Services: email@example.com.
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.
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