Whether your charity is affluent or not, there is always an onus upon those working for the cause to ensure that every penny donated or raised is spent responsibly. The less that is spent on marketing, fundraising events or even administration, the more that can be spent directly on frontline services. So being a ‘budget-aware-marketeer’ is an essential ingredient of guaranteed success.

The first step for anyone running an event for charity should be to ‘work’ your contacts. Contacts are the life-force of any charity; it comes down to the old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. A strong charity is built upon the solid foundations of its supporters. It is certainly not solely about generous donations of money but willing donations of time, resources, services and products.

Whether your event has been launched out of the offer of support from a celebrity (always a good starting point) or from a need to raise funds, a checklist of who you know who can help is the first tactic. This list may include key people from hotel owners who can provide a venue through to company directors who can provide donations for the auction or raffle. It can include volunteers who can help on the night through to a friendly catering company willing to put on the food.

Once you know from what base you are starting then you can work out what your unfulfilled needs are. The resultant ‘wish list’ will reveal what you may have to pay for – or better still appeal to sympathetic companies for. This will then lead to determining the budget required.

But before you start writing cheques in the charity’s name for the very best champagne and the rider for the hippest band around, give your spending plans some extra thought. Not only will your supporters and attendees have just as much fun with a cheaper band (especially once the alcohol starts flowing) but they might also think more favourably of your charity if it is seen to be spending wisely and shunning frivolous investments just to keep up appearances. In the world of charity it is not always wise to be seen as the biggest spender – unless it is on frontline services.

And remember – not all donations are altruistic in origin. Companies have CSRs (Corporate Social Responsibility policies) that they aim to meet with their partnership charity working activity while celebrities will have their own agendas for working for charities, many of them ethical and genuine. Both of these approaches are justified in the business and celebrity world and should be used to the advantage of a charity looking to raise its profile and, ultimately, raise funds.

This article was written by Jane Dyer of  www.thebudgetmarketeer.co.uk who offers more ideas on how to make the most out of your marketing budget whether you are a charity or indeed a SME.