Fundraising Events for Your Association: 5 Pros and Cons

Fundraising Events for Your Association: 5 Pros and Cons

Fundraising events are a fun and exciting way to bring in extra funds for your association. These events give your members and supporters the chance to get together for a good cause. Not only do fundraisers expand your association’s budget, but they can also boost member engagement.

On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about hosting a fundraising event. Particularly, in-person events tend to require much more effort and higher upfront costs than the virtual events we’ve grown accustomed to during the pandemic. 

In this guide, we’ll explore both the positives and negatives of hosting a fundraising event with the following sections:

  • What are the cons of hosting fundraising events?

  • What are the pros of holding fundraising events for your association?

While there are negative aspects of hosting fundraising events, your association’s board members may be out of sync with what those drawbacks are. For example, some members might be concerned about the logistical aspect of accepting donations at an event fundraiser. However, fundraising technology like online donation tools and platforms can take care of donations virtually, making cash donations, checks, and paper forms a thing of the past.

What are the cons of hosting fundraising events?

Fundraising events can be costly.

If you’ve ever hosted an event, whether it was a small birthday party or an extravagant wedding, you know how quickly costs add up. Compared to something like a virtual watch party that’s hosted over a video call, fundraising events can be financially daunting for associations. 

For example, before you raise any money, you may need to pay for:

  • A venue

  • Equipment rentals (tables, chairs, etc.)

  • Catering services

  • Vendors

  • Decorations

  • Other supplies

  • Permits or licenses

If your association is operating on a tight budget, it may not be feasible for you to host a fundraising event due to the expenses you’ll need to cover before the event kicks off. Without proper planning and budgeting, the funds you raise might not justify the time, effort, and money spent organizing the event.

Events require a lot of planning.

As with event expenses, there are various planning tasks associated with organizing a fundraising event. Once you start planning the event and reaching out to vendors, you’ll see just how many moving pieces there are in a fundraising event.

For example, you’ll need to organize the following logistical details:

  • Finding volunteers

  • Finding a space, date, and time

  • Performing set-up and clean-up duties

  • Selling tickets and registering attendees

  • Managing donations

Juggling so many logistical tasks and details can be overwhelming, especially if your event organizing team is on the smaller side. However, you can take care of these details with a fundraising tool that streamlines the process. According to Donately’s guide to online fundraising, choosing the right fundraising tool can take a task like sending supporters donation receipts off your shoulders.

What are the pros of holding fundraising events for your association?

While there are some downsides to holding a fundraising event, don’t let these limitations deter you. The benefits of fundraising events, like increasing member engagement, can far outweigh the cons of organizing one. Abiding by fundraising event best practices can help your organization reap these benefits without letting obstacles like costs and planning slow you down.

Fundraising events expand your reach.

An exciting fundraising event has the potential to grow your reach beyond your current membership base. Attracting new supporters and members to your association is a vital part of growing as an organization, and fundraising could be the push you need to get there. 

Expanding to wider audiences is a primary goal in most successful marketing strategies. When your association hosts a fundraising event, it can capitalize on the excitement of the event to attract new faces to interact with your organization. With the proper pre-event marketing efforts, you could reach people who never would have heard of your association otherwise.

To make the most of the opportunity to expand your reach, implement some of these strategies:

  • Build out your mailing list. Launch an event or activity that requires a form of contact information. For example, have participants that enter your raffle fundraiser input their email addresses at registration. By the end of your fundraiser, you’ll have up-to-date contact information for each participant.

  • Make signing up easy. Set up a booth with additional information about your association, sign-up forms, and a knowledgeable volunteer. Stationing someone who can answer any and all questions prospective members may have is key.

  • Send attendees home with more information. Not every participant will be ready to join your association immediately. For more hesitant attendees, send them home with materials like brochures that inform (and remind) them about your organization. Be sure to include contact information like business cards so they can reach out if they decide to join.

Expanding your association’s membership through traditional marketing efforts like social media promotions can be difficult and time-consuming. On the other hand, hosting a fun event gives potential members an incentive to attend one of your association’s functions. Events can also take some of the pressure off of attendees who aren’t sure about joining your association immediately.

Events boost excitement and member engagement.

Throughout pandemic restrictions, individuals across all industries and organizations often felt disconnected from others due to the necessary reliance on virtual events. As the remaining restrictions lift, associations, nonprofits, and other organizations are in tricky situations when it comes to member engagement. 

For many associations, their members might be feeling disengaged or stagnant. However, high engagement levels are necessary to maintain a thriving association. According to Fonteva’s guide to association member engagement, “engagement secures your association’s relevance and fuels healthy member retention.”

So, how can fundraising events help? Let’s look at an event like an auction. Auctions get people excited about buying shiny new items and engaging in the suspenseful fun of bidding. The excitement and anticipation of an event like this can spark new enthusiasm among your members.

Unite members with a common goal.

If your association struggles with member retention and making members feel connected to the organization’s goals and values, consider giving members a common goal to pursue. 

There are a few ways you can do this, including:

  • Setting up concrete goals so members know what they are working towards. Try using a tracking system like a donation thermometer to visually demonstrate fundraising progress.

  • Partnering with a cause your members are passionate about like a local nonprofit organization. This partnership could even grow to be a long-term relationship.

  • Asking members to collect donations for your association with a percentage of those donations going to a cause of their choice. The opportunity to give to their favorite organizations can motivate members to secure donations.

Giving members the freedom to choose a cause they’re passionate about while raising funds for your association can improve their fundraising experience. Positive experiences mean that more members will get excited about volunteering for future events for your association.


While there are pros and cons to hosting a fundraising event, your association should look at the positive results that can happen when a fundraising event is successful. With plenty of helpful donation tools like fundraising websites and donor management software on the market, it’s easier than ever to launch a fundraising event. Don’t let potential drawbacks keep your association from reaping the major rewards of a successful fundraising event.

About The Author


Author: Jacob Spencer, Customer Success / Account Manager

Bio: I strive to make every step of our customer journey as enjoyable as possible. My goal is to turn everyone that trusts Donately into a raving fan! Raising funds can be daunting, but we know that with the right tools, it can and should be easy.

Throughout my career, I've been able to help sales and success teams tackle new markets, grow and expand.
Leading with empathy, listening to actually solve problems, and remembering that we are all human are the key elements to growing any business in a meaningful way.

When I'm not working you can find me spending time with my wife, 2 boys and our Border Collie, Abbie. Family>Everything.


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