Your Fall Event: Planning for “What If” by Focusing on What Works

Written by Glen Fladeboe

Though it still feels like summer outside, the planning for fall events is in full swing. The first fall event for our team is less than three weeks away! And, of course, the big question on our minds right now is “how will the Delta variant affect fundraising events for the fall of 2021?”

So many things can change in a month, a week, or even a few days. At the time of writing, most of our fall clients are staying with an in-person event, yet some have concerns. We never assert that we have all the “right” answers, but the one thing we are confident about: fundraising events – regardless of the format — can (and will) still be successful this fall. Here are our tips for the how and why.

Many fundraising elements work both in-person and online

The pandemic of 2020 taught us the core set of fundraising best practices for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events is essentially the same:

  • Use a campaign model for fundraising

This model focuses less on a single event and more on a period of giving. Efforts are made to raise a significant amount of funds ahead of any “capstone” event, which can then be used to motivate others to reach a final goal.

  • Make sure your message is strong and inspiring

Whether spoken live from stage or via video, the message motivates. Boil it down to the key elements and make sure it is delivered in a heartfelt manner.

  • Rally “advocates” to encourage attendance (or viewing) and giving

This group is critical for sharing their passion and creating excitement for your mission. Their energy and support builds trust and influences the actions of others.

Supporters believe in your mission

People are ultimately motivated by the mission, not the event itself. They want to see you succeed and continue doing your great work. Don’t be afraid to ask supporters if they will commit to supporting you no matter what the format ends up being. My guess is most people will say, “Yes, absolutely!”

What you should be doing, no matter what

Keep supporters updated about your mission throughout the year. When someone gives of time, talent, or treasure, part of the “reward” of doing so is knowing those efforts made a difference. Thoughtfully updating your supporters on the outcomes of the organization’s work should be done on a consistent basis. Then, as you move into future campaigns/events, supporters know what has been accomplished and are more likely to support you again.

Let our team guide you on options

Though we can’t make the decision on what type of event to hold, we can offer ideas for, and feedback on, the options you are considering. Our job is to help you fundraise, whether in a ballroom or online. Fundraising shouldn’t stop. You can do it! Reach out to learn how we at Fladeboe Advancement can help.



Glen Fladeboe, Principal Partner and Auctioneer, has been the driving force in building Fladeboe Advancement into a premier benefit auction and donor engagement consulting company. With nearly 25 years of experience as a professional auctioneer and fundraiser, he is proud to be part of a second-generation, family-owned business. He holds a degree in communications from Hamline University and lives with his wife, two young daughters, and dog in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enjoys marathon running, hunting, driving tractor, and spending time at his cabin on the south shore of Lake Superior