Events, whether they’re endurance-based, a-thons, or even dinners and galas, are often the cornerstone of nonprofit fundraising strategies. And for good reason. They’re a powerful way to bring supporters together for your cause. But when you take your event online and focus on a fundraising first mentality, these events can take on new life.
Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic of event fundraising and how you can incorporate it into your event strategy.What exactly is nonprofit event fundraising?
Event fundraising is when you use a live event, such as a 5k, dinner, gala, run, cycling event, or even a roller skate-a-thon to rally supporters (donors, volunteers, board members, fundraisers) around your cause. By integrating fundraising into your event, you’re able to take the action of an attendee and increase their impact. You can add fundraising leading up to an event, during an event, and even after an event.
Everyone’s talking about bringing events online. What does that mean exactly?
Since events are usually held at physical locations, sometimes it’s difficult to see all of the opportunities that can be taken online that will maximize your event.
Hosting your ticket sales and registration online, using text-to-ticket or text-to-give functionality, incorporating social sharing engagement online, and offering peer-to-peer fundraising pages to registrants, can really take your event to the next level.
What are some ways to use ticket types to help attract attendees?
Get creative with the types of tickets you’re offering. Maybe you want to offer an early-bird special at a discounted rate to drum up excitement. Or, think about combining another offer with a ticket such as included parking or a VIP experience. You could also include merchandise along with a ticket purchase, such as a tee shirt or branded laces.
What if my event attendees have to raise a certain amount to participate?
No problem. You can predetermine fundraising minimums for your registrants. Not only does this encourage your attendees to fundraise, but if for some reason they don’t hit their goals, their credit card is automatically charged ensuring your supporters raise the full amount they pledged for your cause.
What are some ways I can modernize my next event?
We live in a world where answers are at our fingertips. Without even realizing it, we demand quick results and the ability to do what we need to do on our mobile devices and on the go.
The best first steps are to make sure your event is online and that you’re set up to be mobile-responsive, but after that, create other opportunities for your supporters to engage with your cause in a way that works for them.
Text-to-ticket is a newer tactic you can add to your fundraising strategy. When you use text-to-ticket, your supporters are given a code to text to a number that takes them directly to your mobile-responsive ticketing page. It works a lot like text-to-give, yet lets them easily purchase a ticket, and share with their network that they’re attending your event.
You can also use the exact same functionality for text-to-donate at your live events. If you’re trying to hit a goal during your event, your attendees won’t even have to leave their table to make a donation in real-time.
And don’t forget about that fundraising first mentality. You want to make sure your attendees don’t stop at their ticket purchase. Encourage fundraising as a part of the event and make sure to show recognition to those supporters who are crushing their fundraising goals.
How can my attendees become more involved, other than registering or buying a ticket?
We’re big believers in the power of social fundraising. Social fundraising is the act of getting fundraisers and their supporters to post to their personal networks about the actions they take with your cause. They share with their friends and family, in their own voice, how they give back. And, they do all of this through the megaphone of their social networks and mobile devices.
Using a fundraising platform with baked-in social sharing prompts and features is key to creating an modern event experience that goes beyond the ticket purchase.
Additionally, you can encourage attendees to set up their own fundraiser for your event. Maybe you can even create some healthy competition by having teams of attendees fundraise in order to get a premium dinner selection or the best table at the event. Creating a little competition can help to encourage attendees to do more than just register and make a one-time donation.
How do I build excitement around my event?
Like we mentioned above, offering various types of tickets can give your event a boost. Your supporters are not a one-size-fits-all group and some might jump at the chance to have a VIP experience at your event, while some might be looking to check all of their ticket purchases off at once, so a parking pass inclusion could seal the deal for them. Think of your supporters as individuals and try to customize options that will cater to different groups within your network.
Your board members are, or should be, some of your most passionate supporters. Get them on the fundraising train early and require them to set up fundraising campaigns for your event. Then, ask them to spread the word on their social media channels that they’re not only attending, but they’re fundraising for the event as well. Now you’re tapping into a network that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Are you having a local celebrity or well-known emcee or musical act? Educate them on the power of the share and encourage them to share their love for your cause on their social media accounts.
How do I get my supporters who do start fundraisers for our event to raise more?
There are a few things you can do to encourage fundraisers to do even more.
First of all, make sure you’re adding a level of recognition into your communication strategy. When a supporter is ‘rewarded’ with recognition, they’re more likely to continue to fundraise. Contact them when they hit the $50 raised mark, the $150 raised mark, and so on. Not only are you opening up the lines of communication and showing your sincere appreciation, but you’re encouraging more fundraising as well. Use campaign update tools, shout outs on social media, and direct communication with your supporter to show praise.
Create tangible amounts that resonate with your fundraisers and also their supporters. If $50 can provide meals to 10 families, make sure you educate your fundraisers on these facts. They will have a message that connects more with their family and friends when they set out to ask for donations and support.
Once a fundraiser hits their goal, don’t be shy to ask them to do even more. If their goal was $500, reach out to them and let them know how much you appreciate their support, and make a clear ask to see if they can do $100 more. Sometimes coming out and saying it makes all the difference instead of just hoping someone will go a little bit further.