If you had asked me to host a fundraiser a year ago I wouldn’t have known where to start. I probably would have gone straight to google in search of a how-to guidebook. This all changed when I joined the fundraising experts at GroupRaise. As much as I learned here, the old saying “you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk” kept coming to mind. I decided I needed to host a fundraiser myself, and here I’ll share my GroupRaise review plus everything I learned.
The reason I was looking to fundraise
I am from Australia and while we’re compassionate people it’s just not as common to regularly host fundraising events as it is in the United States. US college students, NGO’s, PTA’s, and high school clubs all spend a lot of time and effort raising for their organizations. They go above and beyond to actively participate in their local communities. When I started working for GroupRaise I saw how many people are regularly so involved and having a positive impact that I was inspired to do the same. While writing this GroupRaise review and re-playing everything in my head, I am so glad I did!
My experience supporting a charity
What started as a work assignment quickly turned into a very personal experience. I got in touch with a local charity that built a centre to provide treatment for children with cancer. The mission of this center is to ensure that kids can continue to be kids even under these extreme circumstances. So in addition to the traditional medical treatments, the centre provides music and art therapy sessions for the children and their families, as well as clown care to make them laugh and help entertain them during the long hours of treatment.
After sending an email to let them know they had been chosen to receive the funds from my fundraiser, the centre’s co-ordinator called me and told me she was truly touched by this proposal and she wanted to invite me to visit the centre to better understand what they do. I went the next day and within minutes I could clearly see the impact this centre has on the lives of so many. They also made it very easy to understand exactly how my fundraiser would be able to benefit the centre. This changed everything, now I had a personal goal to reach.
What I learned about promotion
Once my fundraiser date was confirmed I reached out to my closest friends to save the date. I spoke to them individually and I sent some messages in group chats where we regularly plan activities. All of this was before creating a Facebook event and sending out mass invites, because I wanted the people closest to me to receive the invitation personally and individually, it shows people they are important and makes them more excited!
My next step was to share my GroupRaise RSVP link with my work colleagues and people from the offices next door that I see everyday. Instead of asking for a favor I sold this opportunity as a dinner where everyone from the office could be social and spend time together outside the usual 9-5. They loved the idea!
After all my personal invitations were done I created a Facebook event, here it’s really important to have a clear plan and communication so people understand exactly what your event is about. I also made the event public and published it on some Facebook groups for foreigners like me. A lot of them showed up to seize the opportunity to meet and hang out with people from this community.
Not only did I invite all of my friends, but most importantly, I invited some of them to be event co-hosts and this made all the difference! Through engaging with my co-hosts circle of friends the event went from 8 RSVPS (on my GroupRaise meal page), 18 going, 10 interested, and 50 invited (on Facebook) in the first 24-48 hours, to 40 RSVPS (on my GroupRaise meal page), 68 going, 81 interested, 618 invited (on Facebook) less than two weeks later.
In addition, myself, friends, and friends of friends, were super active in sharing the event – 56 Facebook shares! This helped the fundraiser gain traction in different social circles. We shared the event on personal pages and in community groups with similar interests.
Learning: By engaging with my core group of friends, encouraging them to invite their other friends and empowering them to feel excited and ‘responsible’ for the event, my promotion efforts skyrocketed as they helped me promote, invite, and share. You can learn more about the promotion techniques I used here!
A night to remember
The day of the event I was definitely nervous but I had nothing to worry about, the hardest part was done! People turned up a lot earlier than I expected, which was great because they spent more time at the event. We had a section designated for us but there were so many people that guests were eating wherever they could, a great atmosphere to socialize.
The restaurant staff were on the ball, making sure everyone was attended to promptly and all the receipts were being collected. This really took the stress away from me because I didn’t feel like I needed to be reminding people to leave their receipts or make sure their sales were recorded, I could simply relax and enjoy spending time with a great group of people.
Tips: GroupRaise recommends you arrive 15-20 minutes before your event, and I agree! The last thing you want is for your guests to arrive and there be a last minute issue with your restaurant. Plus, by arriving early you can feel confident that the staff are properly informed of your fundraiser and will make sure everything runs smoothly so you can enjoy yourself.
My GroupRaise Review
All in all I had an amazing time. I was overwhelmed with the turn out, the fun everyone was having, and the amount we raised: $300+. It made me even more inspired to share these fundraising opportunities and continue to help organizations using GroupRaise host awesome events for their causes. If you’re interested in seeing a GroupRaise review written by other organizations, check out the featured posts here!
This was such a wonderful experience for me and one I wish everyone could have. The great thing is that you can 🙂