Brewer Direct

ASK THESE QUESTIONS to make your next event a SUCCESS

Shellie Speer helps you untap the potential of the BEST fundraising events! Hint: It involves your friends.

ASK THESE QUESTIONS to make your next event a SUCCESS

When you’re planning your next big fundraising event, it can feel overwhelming to even know where to start. Pressure mounts as you’re tasked to come up with a new idea that will engage your community and motivate them to give like never before… What would really send their generosity over the top?

Year after year, event planning for many Rescue Missions can feel like trying to reinvent the wheel. Where do you draw fresh inspiration when events you’ve hosted in the past start to feel stale, and attendance numbers are dropping with each iteration?

Collaboration is key!

Not only is it important to join forces with others in your community providing similar services as you, but Rescue Missions can be stronger together when they share with each other about successful events they’ve pulled off in the past.

A story of success

Many years ago, a woman on the board of her local Rescue Mission wanted to hold a fundraiser to help those in need in her community. She knew firsthand from her involvement with the Mission how critical their work was. If others could only hear about it, she was sure they’d be eager to get involved. So, she invited her friends over for tea and a talk about the Mission to raise awareness for their cause. And it worked!

Over time, more Rescue Missions began using her model, and it morphed into a stellar women’s event that many have adopted across the US with great success.

I often share this story when I sit down with Brewer Direct’s Mission clients to assist in planning their annual events. Every Mission is different… every community different. And each Mission I’ve shared the idea with, from introduction to execution, ends up hosting something that takes on a life of its own. They all turn out differently, but they all turn out successfully.

Phone a friend!

In all cases, when I share a tried-and-tested idea like this tea time/luncheon event, I also share the names of those already doing it well and encourage Missions to talk to others who’ve experienced success with it. It reminds me of a verse from Proverbs… “in an abundance of counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, ESV). That couldn’t be more true, especially when you’re investing a significant portion of your annual development budget to throw one of these events. You want to make sure you’ll see a return on your investment, and the best way to ensure “safety” in this regard is by drawing from the wealth of knowledge and experience of those who’ve gone before you.

But a note about inspiration! It’s a fine line between your event being inspired and from it becoming an imitation. That’s why it’s so important to call other ministries, develop relationships with them and ask for their counsel. Just as you don’t want to duplicate their services, you don’t want to duplicate their events. Instead…

Ask yourself these questions to discover your unique spin on an event with proven success.
  • Objectively, what do you feel are the event’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Who would attend an event like this in your community?
  • What time of year would this event have the greatest attendance for you? (Consider local weather, school schedules, vacation times or other local events that might interfere… or that you could leverage.)
  • What staffing or volunteers needs would you have for an event like this?
  • Are there any notable local figures who could spearhead or endorse your event?

Taking the time to evaluate others’ events will help you pinpoint tweaks you can make to really make them your own!


At the end of the day, it’s not a competition to see who can raise the most funds. It’s about sharing our knowledge so together we can raise up and serve even better those who’ve fallen on hard times. Who will you inspire and help today?


Want more? For this month’s “Need to Read” on why you should be regularly collaborating with other nonprofits in your community, click here.



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