Guide to Third-Party Fundraising Events for Nonprofit Staff

What is a Third-Party Fundraising Event?

myRollCall refers to a third-party event as any event hosted by volunteers or board members on behalf of a nonprofit. The event is organized by the individual host, who is also responsible for the guest list. Third-party events are sometimes known as “volunteer-led” or “do-it-yourself” (DIY) events.

Why offer third-party events?

  • Opportunity to introduce your mission to a new audience of donors and evangelists.
  • Expand and build your base of corporate and small-business sponsorship.
  • Expand your geographical breadth of giving.
  • If you don’t do them, you’re leaving money on the table!

First, affirm the following…

  • The volunteer organizer can guarantee a mutually agreed upon minimum amount of donated funds.
  • The volunteer organizer personally aligns with your nonprofit’s mission.
  • The third-party event aligns with the mission.
  • There is little-to-no staff time required for the event.
  • And, you have the option to speak at the event in order to thank guests or answer questions about the mission of the nonprofit.

DOs and DON’Ts

DO …

  • Protect your brand.
  • Assure effective messaging & communications.
  • Create your third-party event policy document and ensure both parties agree to all the terms before committing to the event. Your policy document should include:
    • a set of requirements the volunteer organizer must meet.
    • a set of requirements the event itself must meet.
    • a list of what is legal and what is not in your city or state.
    • a mutually agreed upon fundraising goal.
    • an event checklist (we’ve provided one below) to review with your volunteer organizer.


  • Give up complete control.
  • Do the event if it doesn’t feel right.
  • Do the event if the volunteer organizer can’t guarantee a minimum amount of monetary donations from the event.
  • Do the event if you sense the volunteer organizer lacks communications and organizational skills.
  • Do the event if the volunteer organizer will not grant you online oversight through myRollCall.
  • Do the event if the volunteer organizer denies you the opportunity to speak at the event.


4-6 Months Before the Event:

  • Sit down with your volunteer organizer and complete your third-party agreement, including fundraising goals. Click here for a template agreement if your organization does not already have one in place.
  • Volunteer organizer creates event page at, with your organization selected as the “Group.”
  • Discuss pre-event vendor payments & requirements.
  • Assign “Organizer(s)” & “Checker(s)” under the “Roles” section within the event page in myRollCall. Make sure you are personally designated as an “Organizer,” so you have full oversight of the event.
  • Review the venue details with the volunteer organizer.
  • Confirm that the volunteer will have at least one Wi-Fi hotspot in addition to that provided by the venue. NEVER DEPEND UPON A VENUE’S Wi-Fi FOR ANY FUNDRAISING EVENT… EVER!
  • Review the volunteer organizer’s list of prospective and current donors, corporate sponsors and any in-kind sponsors.
  • Review and approve sponsorship solicitation letter(s). Click here for a template sponsorship solicitation letter.
  • Discuss promotional strategy with the volunteer organizer – invitation, email, community calendars or social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), etc.
  • Stay in contact with your volunteer and be sure to thank them for their work.

3 Months Before the Event:

  • Review and approve email invitations for integration with your organization’s master list. We recommend your volunteer organizer uses MailChimp, Emma or Constant Contact if it’s a list larger than 100 invitees.
  • Monitor the activity on myRollCall for sales and donations updates.
  • Reach out to your volunteer and thank them for their continued support.

1 Week Before the Event:

  • Review the final day-/night-of event schedule with the volunteer organizer.
  • Confirm your volunteer organizer sends a final pre-event communication to monetary and/or in-kind sponsors, volunteers, the entertainment, etc.
  • Ensure the volunteer organizer updates the myRollCall event page and sends any last-minute updates regarding parking, attire, etc. This is a good time to submit the non-profit’s W9 to myRollCall to facilitate vendor or group disbursements.
  • Remind the volunteer organizer to test the required Wi-Fi hotspot at the venue!

After the Event:

  • Volunteer organizer sends an email to all of their guests, volunteers and sponsors, sharing your mutual success (an uplifting, short and to-the-point email).
  • Volunteer organizer writes hand-written thank you notes to major donors & sponsors.
  • Volunteer organizer makes any final vendor payments (with your approval if that’s how you’ve set up this event within myRollCall).
  • Volunteer organizer disburses funds to after all final vendor payments have been made.
  • Start planning for next year!


Download a PDF version of this document here (4.1 mb)


Click here to watch our “Third-party Fundraising Events” webinar, featuring Sam Swaim of Swaim Strategies.