Turn Excitement into Action--Lead a Fundraising Event
Written by Mike Schleyhahn, JA board member and president & CEO of San Diego Fluid System Technologies
I was introduced to Junior Achievement of San Diego during a tour of JA BizTown with my executive group, and I told myself, "I need to be involved in this." JA BizTown itself and the children we met that day really struck me. The kids were so proud and impressive as they talked to us about what they learned—I could feel the impact that this program had made on their lives.
Kids are taught in the classroom, then come to JA BizTown to put what they've learned to use. At JA BizTown, they get a job and a checking account, learn about and manage businesses, and make financial decisions like investing and donating to charities.
Confidence plays a key role in a person's success in life. And JA works very hard through a variety of programs to build that confidence.
That’s why I became a member of the board of directors soon after my first visit.
For several years, I wanted to hold a charitable golf tournament benefitting JA. It was a natural fit for the organization as there is strong backing by the San Diego business community—people who play golf on the weekends and participate in charitable tournaments regularly. The excitement was there, but the JA team just needed someone to help get this idea off the ground.
It's not an easy road to get the fundraising event going. But here's some advice if you want to lead one:
- Nail down the basics early.
Establish the date, location, attractions and budget early on. Besides the cause itself, what will excite your target audience? Deciding these early on will make it easier to promote sponsorship and participation opportunities.
To provide a truly unique experience at our event, we set our location at The Grand Del Mar and are featuring a Million Dollar Shoot Out, the Travis Mathew truck where players can choose their own gift, the chance to qualify for the Randy Jones Invitational and much more.
- Build your committee carefully.
Every event needs a team of people who are trustworthy enough to bring the big picture to life without missing any details. Look to people you trust to help keep things moving. Delegate as much as you can to people with community connections and other unique strengths to achieve success.
- Get the word out.
As you look for sponsors and participants, anyone and everyone that adds value to your event is an option. Think about each of your contacts: What might they contribute? What do you specifically need from them? Specifics may help them reach a decision quicker. Don't hesitate to ask three times! After all, it's for a great cause.
Leading an event will take your time. It also has great rewards when it's a cause you are passionate about. I am honored to work with the Junior Achievement team. Championing this event will allow them to impact many, many more children in 2014. I look forward to bringing it all together for a memorable, exciting day for everyone involved.