Admit it: planning events is fun. Most of the time. Unless your annual event is set in stone, you get to come up with an event idea that you think will bring in bookoo bucks, a rockin', on-trend theme, and you get to treat people to a fun experience that benefits a cause near and dear to your heart.
The only thing that can make the process better is having it all go smoothly, on-budget, and on time. (Yeah, we're laughing, too.)
If you're looking for those special ideas and resources to help you do just that, read on!
First up, food. Because everything else can go completely cattywampus, but if your food and drinks are plentiful and delicious, a lot will be forgiven. Start by being realistic about the amount that you need—if it helps you, remember that food waste is a huge problem and calculating food and drink ahead of time is a small way to contribute to the planet.
Resource #1: Event Calculator by EventForte
Don't forget the swag! Whether it's small stuff everyone can take or a few big things that are up for raffle, you need to have some branding, somewhere! If you're prioritizing inclusivity—and of course you are—think in terms of unisex garments, items that don't exclude teetotalers, and steer clear of holiday-themed items.
You can still get creative, though! If you need something eye-catching and cheap, light and portable, branded and ubiquitous, you can't go wrong with stickers. (This resource is our favorite crew; over at Sticker Mule, they custom print vinyl stickers like complete bosses.)
Resource #2: Stickers by Sticker Mule
As you plan your event, you'll need to lean on your support system, friend. And if you don't have anyone to vent to or to relay your successes to, things can get real lonely, real fast. Join a group or two for event planners like yourself and remember that whatever got bungled, someone can relate to (and probably one-up) your story.
Resource #3: Facebook groups for event planners
Now that you've got a date set and a venue booked, it's time to start selling tickets. Ok, so you've got to get your ticketing page connected to your donation page, linked to your database, hooked to your payment processor, wired to your email sending provider... It's a pain, we know. Or you could just use Funraise and have all that and more set up with a few clicks.
Resource #4: Funraise Events and Ticketing
Starting on the event too late to get *good* auction items? Think again, we've got the resource to end all resources for you. Click on the link below, choose a few R A D I C A L auction items, and anticipate the oohs and aahs. Yes, we're sure that you won't lose a buncha monies on fancy trips or experiences because you only pay for the stuff that you auction off.
Bonus: Eventually, you'll be known for having theee most amazing auction items, building your returning attendees.
Resource #5: Winspire
Make it a fun event for everyone, including your attendees who are carers. Our recommendation is that you find a place at or near your venue where you'll have a babysitter or two keeping the kids entertained. Depending on your attendees, you may want to arrange for special needs or companion carers in addition to or in lieu of childcare.
Yes, we know it's an additional cost. But in our experience, attendees who would otherwise have to pay for a carer are happy to donate extra, especially when they're able to check in on little Taylor.
And we're sure you're already thinking it, but obv, shop local when you can. Even better, find those small businesses that are owned and run by marginalized populations (maybe including your constituents?) and let them work some magic spinning up your swag, food, programs, and more! There are lots of directories for businesses owned by POC, queer, and other communities, so get to Googling.
Resource #7: A good place to start is Official Black Wall Street, both the app and web version.
Finally, if you're looking for a tip-to-tail toolkit, jump in with both feet and grab our Plan, Raise, Engage 10-Day Event Strategy Course—with tips, strategies, and downloadable worksheets, it's exactly what you need to put on the classiest, funnest, fun-draisiest event ever.
Resource #8: Plan, Raise, Engage 10-Day Event Strategy Course by your friends at Funraise.
So, there you have it! Some of our favorite resources to help you manage your events with ease. Now, go forth and fundraise! Funraise has your back.
*None of these resources are affiliate links or purchased mentions with the exception of the Sticker Mule mention. They are friends of Funraise and provided us with some stickers as a token of their friendship and because they were stoked we mentioned them. The honest truth is that we would have recommended them anyway because they're just that awesome and we use them all the time.