The Ultimate Conference Planning Checklist For Nonprofits {2023}

Conference planning checklist


With time, you may realize that the execution of a nonprofit event requires significant planning, effort, and time. Turning to fundraise events is how nonprofit organizations raise a large sum of money to meet their financial goals. This process assists in generating a significant amount of money that contributes to meeting various beneficial causes.

Precise preparation and planning are most crucial for conducting a successful fundraising event. After taking thorough suggestions from professionals, we have gathered some tips and tricks to help you carry out the process with ease. These points of the conference planning checklist can assist you in planning an effective event.


Benefits of Effective Nonprofit Event Planning

An appropriate conference planning system offers various benefits, such as bringing resources and money. Successful events can help you build meaningful connections, and the main purpose of fundraising is to build relationships. To help you understand the concept in-depth, we have gathered some benefits of conference planning for a nonprofit organization.

1. Elevates Awareness About Your Cause And Organization

Even major nonprofit organizations worldwide need to be strategic about enlightening their audience, clearing confusion, and battling misinformation. So if you are trying to make the potential donors learn about your cause and participate financially, then fundraising events can help you do so.

2. Link With Potential Volunteers And Donors

Many people analyze the fundraising events before giving their time and money to the cause. Therefore, precise conference planning can help you establish an opportunity to showcase the nonprofit culture and establish meaningful relationships.

3. Enhance Brand Recognition And Trust

A conference planning checklist helps conduct a successful fundraising event that provides brand recognition to the nonprofit organization. The advantages of being a well-known nonprofit organization lead to enhanced trust among society.

4. Gain More Corporate Sponsors

The process of gathering generic sponsors for your nonprofit event becomes quite challenging. But the process of inviting a business to sponsor your fundraising event is comparatively easier. When done correctly with a precise conference planning checklist, it can help you gain corporate sponsors to invest in your cause and mission for the betterment of society.

No matter the size of your nonprofit organization, the benefits mentioned above can be availed if you conduct an orderly fundraising event. However, ensure that your conference planning checklist includes a relevant planning process, as a poorly planned event can cost you time, money, and resources.

5. Safety Considerations For Conducting A Fundraising Event During A Pandemic

As we all know the current COVID-19 situation around the globe, we suggest you check in with local safety and health authorities before planning the event. This step assists in taking all the necessary measures to ensure the health safety of your volunteers, staff, and participants during your fundraising event.

7 Essential Steps to Plan a Nonprofit Conference

A successful fundraising event requires a lot of elements in the conference planning checklist. The process of securing a vendor, hiring relevant volunteers, and keeping track of each objective is essential. Therefore, numerous core elements must be secured to ensure a fortunate fundraising event.

So read up the eight steps to include in your fundraising conference planning checklist to start your event planning journey.

1.  Determine your goals

The first step includes determining the goal of your fundraising event and planning its objectives accordingly. These objectives will assist you in specifying the target and mission of the conference. Further, the goals will also help you analyze the conference’s success when it is over. So before planning the conference, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my fundraising conference purpose?
  • What cause are we promoting with this conference?
  • What kind of conference is this? (round table, seminar, workshop)
  • What is our mission for this conference? (Fundraising or raising awareness)
  • What conference expectations should we try to set for the audience?

2.  Create a budget

After determining the conference goals, you should now set up the conference budget. It is essential not to set a constant budget as many factors keep evolving until the conference. Therefore, set up your conference budget in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to keep details of all expenses in your conference planning system. Further, you can also avoid worst-case scenarios such as loss or shortage of money.

While deciding on a budget, include the following expenses as

  • Catering expense
  • Venue expense
  • Cost of food and drinks
  • Rental cost
  • Decoration expense
  • Entertainment expense

3. Line up essential sponsorships

After a thorough analysis of the budget, it is time to include relevant sponsors in your conference planning system for funding the event. The fundraising targets can be met efficiently if funds for verifying costs are available to conduct a successful event. Therefore, consider asking yourself a few questions such as

  • Should I use crowdfunding?
  • Will I get relevant sponsors for this conference?
  • Will I sell tickets for this conference?
  • What software will I utilize to determine the data, donations, and information being collected?

4. Gather your planning team

The secret lies in the team you curate for effective nonprofit event planning for the event. As famously said, “teamwork makes the dream work,” bring on a group of people who are well-versed in the field that you operate in.

Ideally, it is suggested to start making the team four to five months before your event to get the maximum amount of time for finding skilled and dedicated resources. Before the event, you can also take the time to create sustainable bonds with the team, further assisting you in any future event planning sessions.

It is advisable to have a team who can do it all, from dealing with the marketing front to people who can handle entertainment, planning, logistics, etc. Make sure to set apart an individual responsible for leading the team. Once the roles are clarified, the chances of smooth proceedings are higher.

5. Identify your target audience

Now that you have gathered the relevant information regarding your budget and sponsors, it is time to identify an ideal audience for your fundraising conference. As we know, fundraising events do not target many demographics; therefore, it is essential to predetermine your ideal audience characteristics. This conference planning checklist step will enhance the success and attendance of your overall event.

For instance, if your objective includes gathering new donors to provide financial assistance to your organization, you first need to focus on the cause’s education. However, if you want to strengthen the bond with existing donors, then the theme of celebrating accomplishments and achievements can help to achieve the goal.

6. Design your event

Now comes the moment of designing your conference. This step includes all crucial points of the conference planning checklist that helps you decide and finalize everything. The important point includes finalizing your fundraising conference’s theme, location, and decoration.

Making a precise checklist can help you decide the features of your conference. Some vital factors to consider include:

  • What venue will be most suitable for the conference?
  • What theme will be incorporated into the conference?
  • What will be the time and date of the conference?
  • What kind of décor will best suit the conference? (including decoration, visual background elements, music, guest speakers, and entertainment.)
  • What roles will be specified to the staff and volunteers?
  • What will be the process to handle security and registration during the conference?
  • What are conveyance and transportation options available?
  • How will the itineraries be specified?
  • How will an emergency such as power outrage or medical conditions be handled?

7.  Start planning specifications of the event

The answer to the questions mentioned above can help you lay the foundation for your fundraising conference. Now comes the time to initiate your plan. So what are some crucial details to consider before getting started? Here is a list to help you begin:

  • Choosing the conference date – We suggest you pick 4 to 6 months before the conference. This provides plenty of time for strategic planning of the conference.
  • Book your conference venue.
  • Ensure to obtain important licenses or permits before the conference takes place.
  • Finalize a theme and start creating marketing and promotional materials.
  • Gather individual or corporate sponsors for the conference by preparing sponsorship packages,
  • Invite guest speakers beforehand as per the conference type to avoid mismanagement of time.
  • Advertise the details of your conference on social media and include important information to attract new donors. Send personalized invitations to current or existing donors and your ideal audience if feasible.
  • Create a customized online donation page for people who cannot attend the conference but still want to donate to the cause.
  • Whether the conference is free or requires the attendees to buy tickets, make sure the tickets are available online. In this way, you can gather accurate guest information to include in your conference planning checklist.
  • Organize a training session for your staff and volunteers. This step can assist in making the staff understand their responsibilities at the conference.


⚠️ Follow-up plan for your fundraising conference


  • The essential conference planning checklist points are not finished after the completion of the conference. The job is still unfinished as you need to get feedback from the audience send thank you notes to essential guests and speakers.
  • Further, you need to maintain a relationship with the potential donors and determine the funds raised. Adding this step to the conference planning checklist ensures a steady follow-up and efficient team preparation.
  • Various nonprofits perform follow-up strategies such as gathering feedback from the audience through surveys. This helps the organization determine what the audience enjoyed for future fundraising conferences.
  • Not only this, but it is important to gather feedback from your staff, volunteers, and planning committee. This step helps gather potential future volunteers and improve the upcoming conferences’ planning process.
  • Planning and executing a successful fundraising conference can be quite overwhelming and exhausting. However, by following the seven steps mentioned above, you can execute a fortunate event to meet your cause.


👉 Tips to further enhance the fundraising strategies


  • Write a precise event description for your fundraising conference – If you want to attract a relevant audience to attend your fundraising event, then writing a good description is the step to begin with. With a thorough understanding of your cause and the ideal target audience, you can write an exquisite conference description to attract people.
  • Host a virtual fundraising conference – Even with the ease of COVID-19 restriction over time, you can opt for a virtual fundraising conference. A virtual event can cost you less money, time, and resource. Further, it will help you record every minute detail of the conference.
  • Essential online guide for a fundraising conference – The internet has various guidelines available to conduct a successful fundraising conference. However, not all suggestions and guidelines are relevant to the conference planning. Therefore, you must ensure efficient and effective strategies with the right online guide.

Using a platform like Dryfta will make it easy for you with all the necessary event management tools you require to conduct a successful conference. From a cohesive marketing strategy to an essential event designing process, Dryfta makes it easy to run and manage university and nonprofit events.