Since 2007 I have been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association, first through the Boston Chapter, then Austin and now the Greater Dallas Chapter. I have participated in walks in all three cities but over the past few years I have challenged myself to become more involved and motivated myself to hit high goals for my walk teams. This year, I set my personal goal to hit $1000 and my team goal as $2000. I can happily say that we have surpassed both goals and our team is currently sitting at almost $2500 and we still have three weeks until the walk.
My fundraising tactics up until now were mostly social media, which has been amazing. Social media is the fastest way to reach a large audience, I’m actual not sure how people raised money before facebook, twitter etc. I wanted to do something different this year and decided to host a fundraising event…but where to start? I’m pretty sure I googled “How to host a fundraiser” and spent a few hours sifting through the results. Eventually I came upon an ad for GroupRaise.
This was taken directly from their website- www.groupraise.com
“Have a deliciously awesome group meal where the restaurant donates back a % of sales to your cause”
Um…perfect. Basically GroupRaise does the negotiating for you and lists out a bunch of restaurants that they contract with. You can skim through and see what type of restaurants they have and which are offering the highest percentage back. I decided that I did not want to do a meal and wanted a more casual approach where people could come and go as they please. I chose a wine bar that stated they would give 20% back for all total sales from that evening.
In order to get started you select your place and submit a request for a certain date and a time frame for which you would like your event to take place. You need to give an estimate of how many people will be at the event and how much you believe each person will spend. GroupRaise will send your request to the venue and within a few days you will receive an email letting you know if you have been approved. Once that email has been sent, GroupRaise will send you an email with a link to your invitation page. At this point use social media, word of mouth or email to invite people to your event. The amount of people that you promised the venue is the amount of people you need to have RSVP on your GroupRaise page. You can end up having more or less but this way it holds the fundraiser accountable and promises the venue a certain amount of sales. On the day of the event, GroupRaise sends the venue a box where your guests can put their receipts. At the end of the evening the venue collects your receipts and tallys up a total. Within 48 hours the venue notifies GroupRaise the amount you will receive.
Seems pretty simple right? Here’s a few pros and cons and suggestions for you to look over if GroupRaise is something that you want to do:
- Easy to use
- No negotiation with the venue, GroupRaise has done all the work!
- Personal GroupRaise web page to easily send to your guests
- Quick turnaround time, I received the amount coming back to us within 48 hours of my event
- GroupRaise cannot hold them to the amount agreed upon. Our venue decided to only give us 10% on several items. Normally there would be a contract holding the venue to a certain amount but not with GroupRaise.
- Similar to the above statement, GroupRaise cannot hold the venue to much. Our venue booked a band filming a music video at the same time as our event. We were told to not talk several times….it was weird.
- If you cannot get the amount of people you promised to RSVP, your event will be cancelled.
We did have several issues with our event but I can honestly say that it was probably the chosen venue and the owners and not GroupRaise. I can see myself using GroupRaise in the future for simple fundraising events. Everything has a learning curve though so here is what I learned for next time:
- Meet the owner or manager of your venue ahead of time.
- Discuss your vision and ask how other events have gone off in the past.
- Go over the percentage they agreed on through GroupRaise and ask if there are any stipulations.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY- Ask if there are any other events scheduled for that evening
- Low ball the amount of people you promise through GroupRaise to attend the event. I promised 20 and we ended up having 25 however it was tricky to get people to commit to RSVPing through the site.
There you have it! GroupRaise promised a deliciously awesome meal where the venue would donate back a certain percentage and that is exactly what happened. We did have some slips and trips along the way but I was told by most of my guests that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Have you ever used GroupRaise? How was your experience?