Money for the Cause: A Complete Guide to Event Fundraising by Rudolph A. Rosen (Texas A&M University Press, 2012) is a comprehensive guidebook intended for novice and veteran event planners seeking to raise net revenue through fundraising events. Rosen, who also writes a blog on fundraising and nonprofit management, covers the gamut of special event ideas, from black tie affairs to balloon-pop raffles. I'll summarize the book here and also point to some other event fundraising books available at Foundation Center libraries that can help you through the process.
In the opening chapters Rosen outlines the characteristics of a successful event, explaining that "the secret [to a good event] is to present attendees with merchandise or services that they truly want or need or can afford." However, he stresses that the event must occur in an effective setting for fundraising (Part Two covers this), and needs to offer so much fun and excitement that absolutely "everyone" must attend.
What follows is an in-depth discussion of event fundraising planning and execution. Part One teaches the basics, featuring a planning and management timeline and instructions on how to negotiate with service providers; Part Two gives tips on creating the perfect setting, including the use of entertainers; Part Three covers the details of live and silent auctions, raffles and other moneymakers, and putting it all together; Part Four discusses risks and liabilities, tax matters, and ethics/security; and Part Five looks beyond the event, such as how to say thank you to donors, sponsors, and underwriters and using newer technologies to bring your event online.
Each chapter begins with an anecdote that introduces a major area of fundraising. For example, at the start of the "Creating the Perfect Setting" (Part Four) he writes about the kickoff of an auction in dramatic fashion:
Then it began. It was barely perceptible at first. Music. The theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Also spach Zarathustra, began. With sound from scores of speakers the music built until it rumbled through the room at untold watts of power. Then ever so slowly, from out of the immense nothingness that was the stage vague shapes began to arise. The entire auction room rose out of dark empty space ... as the music grew into a deep thundering force, the world's largest moving stage rose to is full height--the stage was advertised as large enough to hold a commercial jetliner. The invited attendees were caught in mid-motion as the scene unfolded ... awestruck, they watched ... they were right where we wanted them.
One side note: as Rosen's expertise is in fundraising for wildlife conservation causes, the book is extensively illustrated with birds, mammals, fish, and flora by artist Katie Dobson Cundiff.
Here are some more recent titles on event fundraising/planning available at Foundation Center libraries. Click on the title for locations and call numbers:
250+ Fundraising Ideas For Your Charity, Society, School and PTA: Practical and Simple Money Making Ideas for Anyone Raising Funds for Charities, Hospices, Societies, Clubs and Schools
by Paige Robinson. Chorley, Lancashire, UK: Nell James Publishers, 2011.
This handbook focuses on special events and provides numerous fundraising ideas including raffles and lotteries, collections and donations, games and activities, and things to sell. Also suggests different events and themes you can organize around, and covers online social media and Internet fundraising. Includes a diary of national days, international awareness days, and important historical anniversaries to link to for maximum publicity.
The Volunteers' Guide to Fundraising: Raise Money For Your School, Team, Library, or Community Group
by Ilona M. Bray. Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press, 2011.
Provides advice on fundraising methods for volunteer-led efforts and small groups, and shows how to fundraise without running afoul of the law or getting into financial trouble. Chapters cover strategy, sponsorships and business support, selling goods or services, requesting donations, event-planning, dinners and food events, auctions, fairs and festivals, benefit concerts and lectures, home and garden tours, walkathons and related sporting events, and foundation grants.
365 Ways to Raise Funds For Your Nonprofit: Practical Ideas For Every Not-For-Profit Organization
by April R. Jervis.
Boca Raton, FL: Universal-Publishers, 2011.
Intended for smaller nonprofits with limited resources, this book provides numerous ideas, tips and legal pointers needed to raise funds for any cause. Describes a wide range of techniques, from traditional bake sales and canned food drives to podcasts and using Facebook pages.
Foundation Center--New York
Here is a Google Books preview of Money for the Cause: