Third Party Fundraising 101

Philip Manzano • May 02, 2017

Getting started with a third-party fundraising effort? Here are some things to remember! The post-Third Party Fundraising 101 appeared first on Keela.

There are so many ways to engage with potential donors. And the wider your net, the better your chances of landing a big fish!

We wanted to learn more about third-party fundraising, so we sat down with Tania Grafstein-Ho, Manager of Corporate Events and Sponsorship at United Way of Peel Region to chat about what makes these campaigns successful.

Q: What is third-party fundraising? 

A third-party event is an independent event, program, or initiative undertaken and executed by a corporation, local business, community organization, or individual for the purpose of raising funds in support of a charity!  These are essentially volunteer-driven initiatives that can range from large-scale initiatives such as a golf tournament or gala to small-scale initiatives such as a car wash, bake sale, or a percentage of proceeds from the sale of an item.

Q: What are some of the Benefits?

One of the major benefits would be that third-party initiatives can be an excellent fundraising tool with a high return on investment (ROI) as it doesn’t require many resources from the charity’s side. Smaller, more community-based events are also beneficial as it provides great PR opportunities.   Who doesn’t like to read about that heartwarming bake sale hosted by a local neighborhood child in support of a cause they are passionate about?

This also serves as a way to encourage others to host their own third-party event which is great for those who do not necessarily have the capacity/desire to simply write a cheque.

Q: What are some of the Drawbacks?

Some organizations/volunteers hosting an event for your organization might not be experienced with event logistics and will require more assistance than your charity is able to provide! This can result in a lower ROI than originally expected due to the number of hours invested in this event. Another drawback can be that some organizations/individuals assume that a partnership with your cause will result in higher attendance/ticket sales for their event. Unfortunately, this is often not the case!

However, both drawbacks can be negated by providing these volunteers with a third-party events package that clearly outlines the charity’s capacities as well as limits will help ensure that these volunteers are not misinformed about what a charity partnership looks like.

Q: How can I find these opportunities for my organization?

Start with your lowest-hanging fruit. Who do your board members know? Do they know the owner of a local restaurant who might be willing to give a portion of sales for the day? Do they belong to a ski club that already hosts a ski event in support of local charities? Brainstorm with your team and get a better sense of what community events already exist in your neighborhood and find out if they are looking for charitable partners!

Q: My organization lacks resources – Can I still attract third-party?

Absolutely! If you are a service-based organization, find out if there are any grateful clients/patients who are looking to give back in a meaningful way! Oftentimes, local businesses want to host/are already hosting events and would be happy to give back to a local cause. Get to know the businesses in your area and start networking with your local community groups.

Q: From your experience, what are some best practices for managing third-party events?

It’s such a big topic that there is so much that you can talk about. I’ll just focus on some of the things I always try to remember whenever engaging with a third-party account.

Develop a third-party events package so that if you come across a potential opportunity, you have a package that outlines all the benefits of supporting your charity (Some examples include: social media presence, logo placement, and local media presence).

In addition, be transparent about this partnership and what you can do from the charity’s end along with your limitations. You don’t want the event organizers to make assumptions about what the charity can do for the event. Remember that true third-party events are supposed to be relatively hands-off from the charity’s side!

If there is collateral being promoted for their event, ask them to send you a copy first before it gets published. Even though it is their event, you want to make sure that the branding of your organization is not being compromised with unapproved logos or other branding elements.

Tania is the Events and Sponsorship Manager for United Way of Peel Region-an organization committed to reducing and preventing poverty in the local community. She has spent the last 8  years in the non for profit sector specializing in event management, communications, mid-level giving, and corporate sponsorship.