Leverage a Host Committee to Raise the Most Money

Even if you organize an outstanding charity auction, your turnout may fall well short of your expectations if you don’t make key decisions.

Meeting or exceeding your fundraising goals should be at the top of your priority list. You can have good success if you form a host committee, which is also commonly known as an event committee.

It’s not a committee of people who set up or work at an event. Host committee members play a significant role before the event by selling sponsorships and tickets.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Don’t select just anyone to be on the committee. You’re looking for people who have influence and many contacts, including friends, neighbors, co-workers, customers, vendors and others.

2. The committee size can vary depending on who would be appropriate and the nature of your event (a few people or dozens).

3. Some overlap will be inevitable. In other words, committee members may know at some of the same people. During strategy meetings, names may surface and members can sort out who will reach out to which person.

4. Keep committee members involved in the event itself. Be open to their ideas even if they’re not involved in the details like event entertainment or catering. Offer committee members free tickets for their participation. If you’re having a silent auction, for example, encourage them to find items to sell.

5. Support them with the promotional materials they will need, including flyers, invitations, tickets, e-mail messages they can modify, etc.

6. Track their efforts. You can’t afford to form the committee and walk away. Let the committee know about your fundraising goals. Be specific about different types of sponsorships, expectations for ticket sales and how much money you hope to generate from a silent auction. Set a calendar and determine when you will check in with committee members to get a handle on their progress.

7. Besides the free tickets, look for other creative ways to reward committee members for leveraging their networks. Small gifts may be appropriate. You can even recognize them in part of an event program you produce.

Overall, planning is essential. Even if you don’t have many meetings before the event, you should still stay in touch with committee members. With each conversation, you may get new ideas or other feedback that you can share with the whole committee or others affiliated with the event.

Don’t put all of the fundraising pressure on the host committee. Everyone involved in the event can help with sponsorship and ticket sales. As a team, you’ll have a better shot at surpassing your goal.