In the philanthropic Coachella Valley, fundraising is an art form. Page through the monthly Sand to Sea section of Palm Springs Life and you’ll see the abundance of charitable events hoping to raise money and honoring those who have supported them all along.
Peggy Cravens of Rancho Mirage has extensive experience chairing and otherwise organizing and executing local benefits, so we turned to her for the secrets of a successful fundraiser.
1 Selecting a venue: I try to select a venue that is centrally located, has good parking facilities, and a banquet room that has a pleasing configuration.
2 Securing sponsors: The nucleus of your committee members should be well connected and have been sponsors themselves. If the person you’re asking knows that you’ve been one yourself, it’s very hard for that person to turn you down.
3 Décor on a budget: I try to persuade venue owners to include as many décor items they have
on property as possible.
4 Food on a budget: The most important “ingredient” is starting with a gifted executive chef who understands the need for outstanding presentation.
5 Keeping an annual event fresh: Try to make each event “unique.” If you’re engaging talent for your event, try to find someone who has not appeared before.
6 Working with volunteers: Show them how very much you appreciate them. And thank them — again and again along the way. After the event is over, give a little thank you luncheon and some small memento to show your appreciation.
7 Maximizing revenue: Keep your event costs down.
8 Handling the pressure to top funds raised last year: Try to encourage more major donors to become interested in your charity. And be sure your event and your charity are getting all the PR exposure they can get to make people want to support you.