Nothing brings people together quite like a fundraiser. Hosting one of these events is a great way to get together with your friends, loved ones and fellow parents to raise money for a good cause. In my case, I enjoy organizing fundraisers because it gives me a chance to meet new parents while raising money for my daughters’ school.

While organizing a fundraiser might seem like a task suited only for someone with too much time and money on their hands, putting together one of these events is really quite easy. I’ve learned from experience that all you need is a little creativity, a little Internet savvy and a good planner. For instance, here are four simple tips that you can use to ensure that your next fundraiser is a winner.

1)      Get the community involved. No mother is an island, especially when it comes to organizing a school fundraiser. That’s why it’s important to get your community involved. Organize a committee made up of well-connected people who are willing to help you out and also willing to get their own friends and family involved. Then, come up with an event that speaks to your
target audience. For instance, when we were organizing money for the girls’ soccer team we raffled off tickets to an MLS game. This appealed to both sports fans and the parents of athletes.

2)      Set a timeline. It takes a decent amount of planning to pull off a good fundraiser. When you’ve got to delegate multiple people with multiple responsibilities, it’s crucial that you keep your team organized and on-target. The best way to do this is to establish a firm timeline and stick to it. Plan backwards from the date of the event to give you enough time to accomplish all of the necessary tasks associated with planning and organizing it. Then, set a schedule and deadline for each task, allowing a few days of leeway to account for unexpected “surprises.”

3)      Get sponsored. If you’re running a fundraiser for the public good, then there is someone in your town that will be happy to sponsor it – even if it’s only for tax purposes. Contact your local stores and vendors and ask them to donate prizes, food, event supplies or even a few bucks towards your budget. Ask anyone you can, because you never know just how generous a business might be for the right event. For extra help, check out this guide on securing donations over at Info Barrel.

4)      Market it like a pro. A successful fundraiser is a well-marketed fundraiser. Use all of the resources at your disposal to get the word out about your event. Advertise in the paper, over local radio, the school website and anything else you can think of. Try to make it look like a professional event that’s worth attending. To that end, you might consider securing printed banners and signs and even ordering Tyvek wristbands to give your event that “professional” feel.

You don’t need to be a debutante to organize a successful fundraiser. Use these tips to ensure that any event you plan is a winning event. It might take a lot of work, but in the end you’ll be able to bring your community together, meet new friends and raise a significant amount of money for a worthy cause.