Worst Case Nonprofit Fundraising Scenarios & How to Save the Day

February 19, 2019
5 minutes

Have you ever noticed that nonprofit people always have the most (hilariously) shocking, (ridiculously) outrageous event horror stories? And y'all always make it work at the last minute. Always.

Here's a few of the worst-case-scenarios and creative ways to save the day.

  • What if... your guest of honor doesn't show?! Maybe you have a screen. And you can pull up your Netflix account. And show episodes of The Office. That's probably what everyone would rather be doing anyway.
  • What if...your centerpieces explode?! Assuming no one got hurt, less is more anyway. And too often, centerpieces get in the way of cross-table talk. If you really want something in the middle of the table, make it useful! See if your caterer can place water jugs or baskets of bread on each table. If it's not a food-based event, grab a vase or a bowl and put some swag in there!
  • What if... a guest shows up in a (real) fur coat and someone protests by throwing all the cocktail sauce on them? If there's a dress code, this would be the perfect time to use your text-to-give solution. Imagine sending all of your guests a text message with event updates, like parking info, dress code, entertainment teasers, and, yes, donation asks.
  • What if... someone has too much fun (i.e. waaaay too much to drink)? Wow, this is never easy to deal with. Whether it's your Uncle Joe at your cousin Jamie's wedding or a VIP guest at a gala or a fun runner at your annual marathon, the answer is always the same: take away their keys, get them to a safe, quiet spot, and get. them. home. safely.
  • But what if... your overly-inebriated guest gets into a fistfight?! Holy moly, is everyone ok? Follow instructions for drunk guests and get the other person treatment for any cuts or bruises. Keep an eye on them, and if they want to go to urgent care, don't send them alone.
Abstract red circles and green squares on white background
  • What if... the fistfight is with your CEO or a major donor? Beg. Beg and plead for their mercy and pray to the deity of your choice.
  • What if... your biggest sponsor doesn't get to give their entire speech? These things never run on time, we all know that. So if your event sponsor gets up to the mic and is cut off so the fun run can start, bring a mic to the finish line and have the runners celebrate with your sponsor as they finish the 5k. Similarly, if you're at an indoors event, you can give your sponsors their own special shout out moment as everyone is ready for the next phase of the event. Maybe announce that they've sponsored the conga line and hand out swag to everyone dancing.
  • What if... someone starts a conga line and a person in the back trips and hits the person in front of them, who knocks down the person in front of them, who smacks into the person in front of them... and so on? Well, let's hope it wasn't the sponsored conga line...
  • What if... your DJ gets stuck in a Macarena loop? Your only options are to have a Macarena dance-off or to pull the plug. Not sure which one we're rooting for, tbh.
  • What if... there aren't enough shirts in the right sizes? Well, the answer to this one is to nip that in the bud before it even happens. When you use Funraise's Events & Ticketing, there's none of the guesswork because you can keep track guest-by-guest and loop in your vendors at any point.
  • What if... the food makes everyone sick? Like, a tidal wave of nausea? We mean, there's definitely cinematic precedent for this happening. Anyone remember Stand By Me or Problem Child 2? (Note: we didn't link to those scenes for fear of losing our own lunch.) The heroes of the day, in this case, are the cleaning crews. If everyone's sick, you're all gonna be headed home, so there's really no saving the event itself. The stand-up thing to do in this case would be to hire rideshares for those really sick guests, but make sure you hand out plastic bags or you're gonna be paying to have the car cleaned. And get to the bottom of that food poisoning once you're past the worst of it!
  • What if... you lose money! Negative ROI is a fundraising killer, and many nonprofits forget to include their own time as a cost when they're planning their events. If you find yourself looking down a slippery slope of sunk event costs, events & ticketing is just the ticket. It saves you time, both before and after the event, and ensures smooth nonprofit fundraising for this and future scavenger hunts, costumed bowling dances, and lunar landings.

With a little brainpower and good old-fashioned behind-the-scenes willpower, you can save pretty much any nonprofit fundraising event, no matter the disaster. To help you out, Funraise has tools and strategies to make the catastrophe of your nightmares into the fundraising event of the century. Obviously, it's easier to save an event before it goes wrong, so get Events & Ticketing now and you won't regret it later.

Start For Free