Editor’s note: All this month we’re publishing tech tips for nonprofits. Keep a look out for a new tip each day and let us know what you think in the comments. -Dan 

Organizing a team or peer-to-peer fundraising event, such as a walk-a-thon, is a complicated process—not unlike planning a gala. Fundraising events are a lot of work, require a lot of planning and logistics, and can be very expensive. While some expenses will be fairly obvious and expected—such as food, beverages, port-a-potties, and the venue itself—there are many unexpected considerations, including:

  • Permits and security for the event
  • T-shirts for staff, volunteers, and participants
  • Overtime costs for hourly staff members
  • Cost of trash and cleanup for after the event
  • Cost of goodies to hand out to participants

While these costs can add up and can sometimes become prohibitively expensive, many can be offset through in-kind donations from local businesses or your own donors. Many nonprofits solicit donations for:

  • Food and beverages
  • Paper goods
  • Press coverage and advertising
  • Photography
  • Entertainment

In fact, events can create whole new revenue streams through the sale of event sponsorships and advertisements in the program book. These will take considerable work and staff time, but can more than cover the cost of the event itself, or even raise more money than the campaign itself.

You could also consider registration fees as an additional source of revenue for your event. You’ll need ticketing or registration software, but registration fees are a good way to establish a baseline of revenue that you can build on throughout your event as your fundraisers bring in donations from their networks.

Event fundraising can be a lucrative fundraising strategy on its own, but keep in mind that events require a lot of staff time, logistics, planning, and skill. Event planning can be an art, but it also requires a keen awareness of costs. Balancing the excitement around your peer-to-peer fundraising event with a budget you can manage is the key to a successful day.