Five ways to maximize your volunteer efforts

There’s nothing as rewarding as pulling off a successful fundraising event—knowing you’ve helped a cause close to your heart while fostering business and personal relationships in your community.

But let’s face it, putting on fundraising events can take a lot of time, money and energy.

Here are my tried-and-true tips for REALTORS® to make the most of your volunteer efforts at your next fundraising event:

1. Create a fun and memorable experience

We’ve all been to countless car washes, bake sales and galas. It’s possible to make your event stand out with a little extra effort. Think outside of the box and organize something unique, like a basketball tournament, a cook-off or a themed costume gala/party. The key is to organize an event that people will connect with and remember. If you choose to have a more traditional event, you can enlist a special service or entertainment piece that people can interact with—and if you find a way to tie it in to your cause it will make it that much more memorable!

 2. Share your story and event on social media

Social media, blogs and email newsletters are a great way to let your community know about what you’re planning and how they can get involved. Share your “why” in an authentic, compelling way and watch as others get excited about it too! Unique event-specific hashtags will also encourage engagement and help spread your message even further.

3. Leverage community contacts

It takes a community to put on a successful event. Making use of your community contacts not only keeps your expenses low, but it also helps others build their own platforms. When possible, only use local vendors for food, beverages, decorations and entertainment. They’ll feel a connection to your event, and you can bet they will bring their loved ones to your fundraising event!

4. Make it easy for people to donate

You’ve put your time, energy, money and contacts into this event, so don’t be shy to ask for donations, but make it easy for people to give. Whether you’re collecting money by cheque, PayPal, cash or Stripe, make sure you have everything on-site or nearby so people can donate with ease.

5. Remember to show your appreciation!

Fundraisers are all about relationships. At the event, give donors (unless they wish to remain anonymous) time to shine in the spotlight. After, a heartfelt “thank you” and a personal note can go a long way in making your donors feel appreciated. This simple gesture will set the tone for a healthy relationship down the road, whether in charity, business or in friendship. Including pictures of the event (or of them attending the event) can be a great addition to your note or email to them.

While it can be tempting to focus your efforts on attracting donors to your event, it’s worthwhile to remember that creating a successful fundraising event—one that will repeat for years to come—is best achieved by playing the long game. Building relationships and helping others leverage their own platforms, services and talents is all an important part of the process.

One last thing. Be sure to have fun—when do you do good, you feel good!

Do you have a favourite volunteer or fundraising tip? Tell us about it in the Comment section below.

The CREA Café team is responsible for the official blog of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The CREA Café is a cozy place for CREA to connect with our valued members and friends by sharing our thoughts and insights over a virtual cup of coffee.

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