Sara Brown of Team San Francisco hosted a raffle and Christmas party fundraiser – check out her tips on how to host a successful event!

WORDS OF ADVICE: The best things that I did for this event were…

1) Social media posts and links: We posted pictures, reminders and announcements frequently, and every time included the link to my page

2) Have your page ready at the event. Make it convenient. Don’t give them a link – show them your page. Make it simple to donate and they will.

3) Think hard about your product. What made our baskets successful was that people actually wanted what was in them. They absolutely wanted to support me, but what really got people to donate hundreds of dollars was that the baskets were well thought out and very desirable.

4) Don’t. Do. This. Alone: I am terrible at events; I’m not a good entertainer. It’s way too much to do this and the rest of your life at the same time, so get help. My event was successful because I sought out people who knew a lot of other people and who were good at event planning. Use your network and include others in the process!

5)  Have a dialogue about why you care. During the event we stopped everyone and had an open floor discussion on the 4K, my motivation, and what the program was. I followed this list: Educate people about what you’re doing, tell them about the program, and tell them why you’re doing it. It hits them with the adventure of the trip, the transparency and ethics of the program, and then finally take it home with why you’re doing it. Show your strength, your determination, and your selflessness to work hard for them. I had majority of guests donate initially, and after that dialogue donate again.

6)  Have a dedications bin/basket/box: This allows people to connect their donation with a cause that affects/benefits them. I had a box next to my computer and our raffle baskets with strips of paper that let people write down names of their loved ones. This increased donations and got people really interested. Guests started asking more questions, getting involved and contacting other people for me. Make this about them and their loved ones, and show what you’re going to do to honor them. 

...Want to learn more about Sara’s fundraiser? Check out the interview below:

What was your fundraiser? It was a raffle for two gift baskets. We held a Christmas party and had the baskets at the party. People could purchase raffle tickets for $5 by making donations to my fundraiser page. Because of this, people didn’t have to go to the party to get tickets, so we invited literally everyone we knew, out of state or not. I had my girlfriend and her sister help me, so I was able to get 3 people’s contacts – increasing the pool of people exponentially. In total we raised $1,000 from the event over a course of 2 weeks. Our baskets were geared towards males and the other females, and we worked hard to include what people really wanted. We included a basket of bottles of wine and craft beer from local wineries and breweries. We included LulaRo female leggings and high quality men’s pajama pants, gourmet holiday snacks, favorite Christmas classic movies, and much more.

If you could do it again, would you change anything? 
I would put the announcement out a little closer to the time frame. We started early, and maybe starting too early made people who were invited forget about the event.

How long did it take to plan? It took a couple weeks overall. Since we started early, and I had a fantastic team to help me, the individual work wasn’t too bad. We broke down what we needed to do into steps. We had to get the baskets, clean and decorate the house, get food and drinks for the party, and maintain our social media presence to keep people invested.

How did you advertise it and how many people showed up? About 15 people out of the 135 we invited showed up. That’s not a crazy amount, but we did it the day everyone came home from college, right after work, and during the holidays. So, plan your day wisely, think about what people do with their lives and make sure it’s not at an inconvenient time.

Facebook Facebook Facebook! The event page was great; we could invite everyone we could think of with minimal effort. We also reposted and reminded people in the weeks before using Instagram and Facebook, revealing what was inside the baskets and details of the party to keep people excited.

How did you make the money? Social media and having a computer set up at the basket table. We had the link on every post we put on FB and Instagram, enabling quick and easy access. People would donate in increments of $5 and could get the equivalent amount of tickets.

Great work Sara!!