It doesn't take much money to make an event look special. You might be a top flight organization whose donors have high expectations, if so you'll likely have a budget to match. However, if you are with an organization that has a tight budget, you'll need to get creative to make your events sparkle.
I like to create "vision boards" with pictures from the internet put together as a collage so I can pitch my ideas about how I want the event to look and feel. Here's one I did recently as an example.
This shows many of the actual materials I planned to purchase and the colors I wanted to work with as well as the way I would deploy the decorations at the event. My budget was only $500 and I had to make these decorations work for 4 different events and they would end up being shipped across the country 4 times.
One of my favorite websites for party decor is Shindigz. Amazon also has some great deals and their Prime shipping is great when you need something for an event last minute.
I like to start with gossamer from Shindigz, which can be used as table runners or to tie up tablecloths around highboy tables. Gossamer comes in a 40 foot roll and can often be used for more than one event. Usually I pair it with some other material with some texture for variety. Burlap would work or tulle or in the case above, I used a shiny, fuzzy black material. Everything I bought was interchangeable variations of the school's colors, so I could switch up the way I used the materials at different events.
Flowers cost lots of money and cannot be reused, so paper lanterns with LED lights are a good option with candles on the table too. Confetti also adds budget sparkle to a table but check with your venue before using as it can be difficult to clean up.
I'll be returning to donor events as a regular topic on Real Deal Fundraising. Future posts I have planned include creating playlists for donor events, what should be on your donor event planning checklist, working with event vendors and several others. Subscribe today if you don't want to miss a post.
Here are some pictures of how the materials above actually looked at one event:
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.