Guest Blog: How Small Charities Can Leverage Events to Attract the Attention of Major Donors

18 September 2019

Pro Bono Economics helps charities understand and improve their impact. An event can be a effective means of showcasing your impact, once understood. In this guest blog, marketing consultant Michael Deane gives his views on how a well-organised event can capture the attention of donors.

Small charities find it difficult to attract the attention of major donors because their budgets are modest and they don’t have enough resources.

But these obstacles don’t have to be unsurmountable – a well-thought-out and organized event can help you a great deal and turn heads of big shots.

Get Your Donors More Involved

For some donors, it’s not enough to simply write out a big fat cheque and get it over with. They want to show how engaged and passionate they are about helping their community or contributing to a certain cause.

That’s why it’s a good idea to ask them whether they want to participate in your events on a different and more meaningful level. You can ask them to sponsor tables or booths and have members of their team volunteer at the event.

This way they will be able to show their true commitment to the cause and more willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Tailor Your Events According to Different Types ​of Donors 

It’s logical that not all people are attracted to the same kind of events, and you need to carefully research your contact database and make sure that you invite the right people to the right type of event.

In other words, it doesn’t make much sense to ask someone to participate in your 5K race if the person in question isn’t exactly a sports aficionado just like inviting a person who’s a bit on the conservative side to an event celebrating a liberal cause won’t press the right buttons.

You want to make your donors feel comfortable both with the cause you’re supporting as well as with the event itself, so make sure to find out as much as possible about the donors you want to target.

Plan Your Event Carefully

Every single element of your event should be carefully planned in advance in order to avoid potential roadblocks and glitches.

After organising a successful and well-attended event you’ll start building your reputation and it will be much easier for you to attract some bigwigs ready to put their hands in their pockets.

In order for your event to run smoothly like clockwork from the moment your guests sign up until it’s time to actually donating money, you should hire an event planner who will pull all the strings and make sure that everything is taken care of properly so that you can focus on more important things.

Team Up With Talented People

In order for your event to be attractive and provide value which would attract big donors, it’s a good idea to look for partners among creative and talented people from your community – dancers, painters, or chefs can be a great addition to your team, and will ensure that your attendees have a great time.

It can significantly cut your costs as it’s a win-win situation since your partners will have an opportunity to promote themselves for free and you’ll get something valuable in return.

These simple tips can help you bring your charity on major donors’ radar and secure financing for your causes.


Michael Deane has been working in marketing for just shy of a decade, and has yet to stop loving his job. He writes for Kevin Rowe, and tries to make sure his writing never slips. A huge basketball fan, avid runner and former tie collector, he believes our passions drive us day in and day out.

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