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Pros and Cons of Special Events

Special events are an important part of fundraising for nonprofits. Having one or two signature events can be an effective way to attract new donors and raise dollars. But events are just one tool in your fundraising toolkit.

What is the purpose of the event? The answer may seem obvious, but it’s not always simple. Yes, you want to raise money. At the same time, other answers may be just as important, such as raising awareness of your mission, cultivating new donors, and honoring volunteers. Or is the answer, “We’ve always done it this way?”

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of special events:


  • Raises awareness of mission

  • Pipeline for new donors

  • Deepen relationships with key donors

  • They are fun

  • Social event for the season


  • Time-intensive for staff and volunteers

  • Expensive

  • Deflects funds from other efforts

  • Competing events

  • Detailed planning

  • Fickle weather or celebrity guests

An analysis of the event, including a return-on-investment calculation will help determine if the costs of time, money, and energy are worth it. Or at least be clear-eyed about the cost of a good party.

Click HERE for an excellent resource from AFP on fundraising costs:

A diversified fundraising plan including a broad base of support from individuals is critical to your organization’s success.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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