Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tips for Planning a Fundraiser

WIB-Interview---Caroline-Kay600Fundraising events are a tried and true way to raise funds for your organization. Most non profit groups don’t have event managers on staff and rely on volunteers to manage the planning of their event. While most contract out some of the work to professional event planners, having a good understanding of the elements involved in a successful event will ultimately lead to a more successful event.

We spoke with Caroline Kay, COO and Event Planner Extraordinaire at BECAUZ, about the most important things to consider when planning an event that is successful, productive and memorable. The objective is to create an event that people will be willing to pay to attend AND contribute to the cause during the actual event.

Theme. Selecting a theme is key in making your event come together. The theme should be included in all aspects of the event. Decor, invitations, and table layout should all reflect the theme.  How about having your waiters dressed in attire to match the theme?  Have fun with it.

Team. A good team can make or break your event. Just remember the phrase – too many cooks… Each committee member should have a specific role in the planning process. Communication between each member is crucial to ensuring all team members are on the same page.   

Budget. Net proceeds are the ultimate goal for all fundraising events. Figure out what you are going to offer your guests, what the cost will be and how many tickets you plan to sell. Sponsors are a great way to increase your proceeds without blowing budget. Entice sponsors with signage, social media and marketing mentions and announcements at the event.

Negotiate. When working with vendors, ask them for their non-profit rates and be prepared to share 501c status documentation. Not only will you be getting the most bang for your buck, but they will get a tax break, too! Who doesn’t love a good deal?

Contracts. These legal documents protect both the vendor and you. Read through them carefully – and don’t be shy about asking for help from a contract specialist or getting clarification from the vendor on terms. You don’t want to get caught off guard when the final invoice arrives.

Agenda. Creating an event that is fun and engaging will ultimately lead to success. Nobody wants to attend a boring event! Auctions, wine tasting and photo booths are popular interactive activities. Be careful not to over plan!

Communicate. Provide clear information to EVERYONE. This includes your vendors, planning committee and even your guests. Everyone will appreciate it! Guests will especially thank you for sharing pertinent information. Share location specific details with them. They will appreciate knowing the room has a draft and to  bring a sweater or that the outdoor location is all grass and flats are the best option for footwear.

Final thoughts….as the event date nears, do a walk through of your entire event as if you were a guest. Ensure there is ample parking for all, signage for coat checks, activities are well marked and seats are easy to find. It’s much simpler to make changes before the event than to discover an issue the day of.

Have you planned a successful fundraiser? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

CarolineKay (1)

Caroline Kay

Chief Operating Officer at BECAUZ

A seasoned operations leader and an international convention and event management consultant, Caroline Kay directs BECAUZ’s international operations, the BECAUZ Accelerator Program ™  and the firm’s global team of facilitators, coaches and consultants. Caroline joined BECAUZ in 2010.

To enable BECAUZ to meet the expanding demands of its global client base, Caroline blends big ideas and creativity with meticulous operational management. Excellence in execution is balanced by ingenuity and energy—enabling BECAUZ to deliver tangible, measureable business results for clients.

Much of Caroline’s career has focused on the creation and management of large-scale international leadership programs, conferences, and events for multinational clients including British Telecommunications, HP, Avanade, Microsoft, GSK, Lexus and Compaq. With deep cultural understanding, she has directed nearly 1,500 events and conferences across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East that were exciting, memorable, and delivered measurable ROI for her clients and partners.

Prior to joining BECAUZ, Caroline was Chief Operating Officer and Director of Conference and Events for a high-profile international training and development organization. She received her education in the United Kingdom at the Southampton University in Hampshire, England.



Stand Out Subject Lines

subject-lines1The main objective when sending an email is to have the intended recipient click to open and then read the email. No matter how fabulous the content of the email is, if it doesn’t get opened, you’ve wasted a whole lot of time preparing it.

A solid subject line will increase the likelihood that your message will be opened and read. Think of the subject line as the first impression. We all know that a first impression is important – and so is an email’s subject line. Did you know that 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone?*

We’ve compiled 6 strategies to help you write subject lines that get noticed — and opened!

Be Unique

Change up your subject line each time you send an email out. Your recipients are intelligent — they will remember if you reuse a subject line — even if it is great! Take the time to craft a new one. Your recipients will thank you!

Short and Sweet

A good rule of thumb is 50 characters or 5-7 words. Emails with fewer than 50 characters have an open rate that is 12.5% higher than those with more than 50 characters. Save your thoughts for the body of the email!

Include a Call To Action

Giving a command in your subject line will let recipients know they need to act. Using action verbs easily conveys to the reader what you are expecting. Here are some examples of words to use:

  • Donate
  • Join Us
  • Enroll
  • Share
  • Tell Us
  • Discover

Avoid Using all CAPITALS

Your subject line should attract attention from your readers — but the use (or overuse) of capitals is not the answer. Using all capitals is the digital equivalent of yelling – and nobody enjoys being yelled at. The use of dashes or colons to separate your thoughts and attract the reader’s attention is a much better (and appreciated) alternative.

Be Clear

Using jargon and acronyms within the body of your emails is perfectly acceptable — but not in the subject line. If a reader doesn’t know what you are referring to in the subject line, they are less likely to click and read your email.

Ask a Question

Pique your recipient’s curiosity and inspire them to open your email with a question. Creating a closed ended question as your subject implies that a reader will find the answer once they click to open your email.  Avoid writing a question that will overwhelm or make a reader have to think too much. They may opt to “delete” rather than click.

Invest the time to develop a strong subject line. You will win more opens and give your content a fighting chance at being read.

What types of subject lines have yielded you the greatest open rate?


* Source:

6 Ways to Market Your Fundraiser

6-ways-to-market-fundraiserYou’ve worked so hard to plan a fundraiser for your non-profit and now it is time to fill the room. Ready to raise awareness of your organization and promote your event? We’ve got 6 simple marketing strategies that are sure to make your event a success!

Press Release

Share the news of the event with local newspapers, radio stations, television networks, and magazines. Let them know that you would like coverage of the event before, during and after the event.

Make it easy for the journalist by including plenty of information, not just about the specific event, but your organization as well. Including a eye catching photo is a plus!

Direct Mail

It’s no secret that even a standard direct mail campaign will positively affect your event attendance, but with a little creativity, it can fill your room! Rather than just a single page flyer, think outside of the box and create something compelling and relevant to your cause. For example, if your organization supports a sustainable environment, include a seed packet as part of your campaign.


You don’t need to break the bank, but a small investment will pay off! Target local attendees with ads inviting the general public to your upcoming event. When creating your ad, be sure to include answers to the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When and Why.

Facebook Event Listing

Creating an event page on Facebook is free and easy.  Utilize this page to share information about the planning of the event to create a buzz among potential attendees. Post pictures, sneak peeks and other pertinent details regularly. Don’t forget to check the page regularly to engage and respond to comments left there.


Write a blog post about the event! It is a great way to share the specifics of your event. Share a link to it on your social media pages as well as in any email communication you send out before the event.

Although the event details are not evergreen and will need to be removed from your home page after the event, the blog post you write can remain.


Create a compelling video about your event. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Having members of your organization talking about yur event is a great way to humanize your organization.

Good luck with your event!

What marketing strategies have you successfully used to promote a fundraiser for your non-profit organization?

Direct Mail and Social Media

perfect-partnersWhen it comes to marketing your business, product or nonprofit organization, social media and direct mail are 2 very strong, yet different options. Many people believe that direct mail is dead. They are incorrect – nothing could be further from the truth. According to Entrepreneur Contributor, Mike Tinz, Direct Mail response rates are 3.4% while email is just .12%.

Now that you know both direct mail and social media, including email, are each viable marketing strategies, you may be wondering which of the two works best. The truth is that each strategy uniquely engages your target market. Using the two in tandem will get you the best results.

Ready to develop your integrated marketing strategy? We have some tips to help you create a strong, multi-channel promotion.

#Hashtags. You know that the use of hashtags is important when posting to your social media, but did you know that it is equally as important to include it on printed promotional materials as well? Absolutely! Using them on all of your marketing materials helps to build brand recognition.

Cross-Market. Linking your messaging is another great way to increase your brand recognition and grow your following on social media as well as your mailing list. Include links to sign up for your newsletters on your social profiles. Additionally, link your direct mail pieces to your social channels by adding phrases such as, “Join us on Facebook” or “Love us on Yelp” into your direct mail piece.

Consistent Content. Whether you are writing a 140 character tweet or copy for a postcard, keep your message similar. There is no need to redesign promotions. Strong branding across all channels will be less confusing for your readers will ultimately improve your brand recognition.

Landing Page. Point readers, from your social channels and direct mail pieces, to a landing page rather than your home page as your call to action. Your landing page should include easily accessible forms to join your mailing list, share content and engage with you. Sending them to your home page could overwhelm your readers and have them clicking off the page quickly.

Teamwork. Keep your team, including staff and volunteers, in the know about what promotions you are running and where. Get them involved! If they are online, have them share your social promotions. If they meet with your target face to face, give them copies of your postcards or other direct mail pieces to share.

How have you successfully integrated the two in your marketing plan?