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6 Budget Friendly Tips for Running a Fundraiser

Not all organizations are given a huge budget for their fundraising events. Many organizers need to make do with the limited resources they have to put together a successful campaign.

Additionally, although most organizers are given a budget they can work with, they are under strict instructions not to go beyond it. This monetary limitation can affect various elements of the entire event.

However, a tight budget shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals of raising money for your organization or cause. With the right tips, you can still run charity auction events and any type of fundraiser productively.

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Below are some tips for running a fundraising event within your budget:

1. Choose which areas you need to invest in

Raising money is always your primary goal when planning a fundraising event. Because of this, you need to invest in areas where you are sure you will see some returns.

Start by covering the basics first. If the event includes cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre buffet table, make sure you deliver.

Creating a list of everything you need to purchase for your event will help you select which areas to allocate your budget towards. You can then think about what you can do for the other elements that also require money.

2. Enlist as many volunteers as you can

Whether you work for a private company or non-profit organization, you can minimize staffing costs by finding volunteers to help you organize your fundraiser.

When planning a fundraiser, you will end up assigning numerous menial jobs to your employees or co-workers. Since they have other things to work on during the day, they will likely work overtime to complete these additional tasks. This, in turn, will drive up the total event cost.

To avoid or reduce this additional expense, enlist volunteers that can do these tasks. Ask your friends to lend a hand and have your employees or co-workers ask others to spare a few hours to help out as well.

3. Offer different sponsorship packages

When looking for sponsors, increase the chances of getting a nod by presenting different value-driven sponsorship packages designed specifically for each business.

For instance, if you are asking support from restaurants, include in one (or all) of your packages that their company name will be mentioned in all media advertisements.

Also, add opportunities for them to showcase their products or try culinary experiences such as wine tasting or a visit to a farm.

Additionally, when presenting to companies, make sure you explain what your cause is, who you are helping, and why they should support you. Moreover, provide clear details about how your recommended sponsorship packages will benefit them.

You can also add relevant details about your supporters, committee and board members, and potential attendees. Be prepared to tweak the packages based on the company’s request as well.

4. Look for in-kind sponsorship

If your fundraising event comes with a free dinner or meal, you can stay within your budget and keep your costs as low as possible by getting as much in-kind and pro-bono sponsorship as you can.

By getting freebies or even discounts from ingredients and beverage suppliers, you can ensure that the cost of your meal will be extremely low or even free of charge.

In case you are short on time, prioritize the biggest expenses, such as wine or champagne and meat for the appetizers and mains first and work downwards based on costs.

Also, try getting discounts, sponsorship, or pro bono support from companies that you need for certain services, such as print ad designing, printing, and transportation. If you are renting a venue, ask the staff if you can get any provision that will help you save money.

5. Host a pre-event online auction

If you are holding a grand charity gala or event, consider hosting an online auction beforehand. By doing so, you can get some extra funds which you can use for various purposes.

You can run this side event at little to no cost by using your website and other free platforms. If you are auctioning off clothes and footwear, take a page from fashion auction sites to come up with an interesting channel that will bring about higher bids from bidders.

You can also use the site to continue soliciting donations and promoting auctions and other activities that will take place at the main event.

6. Provide opportunities for other people to give

Lastly, you can raise more funds without spending more on marketing by finding ways to make it easy for people to donate.

Start by adding an option on your website that allows visitors to donate a certain amount. This extra feature enables people that won’t be able to attend the event to still contribute to your cause.

If you are sending out invitation emails, add a link to the page where the recipient can make a donation even if he or she can’t join the event.

As an additional tip, consider working with an auction management company in planning your fundraiser. By discussing your goals and budget with them, you can host a successful event without spending more than you have to.


Darran Brown is the CEO and Founder of Go Charity. A graduate of UMASS Amherst, Darran has spent the last 20 years managing auctions across the United States. Having run some of the most successful live and silent auctions in the US, Darran has the insider know-how to every aspect of the industry. From memorabilia to trips and experience hospitality to fundraising 101, Darran is the leading expert on auction management and fundraising success.

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6 Budget Friendly Tips for Running a Fundraiser
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