Webinar recap: 6 nonprofit event fundraising hacks

on August 27, 2018

Nonprofit fundraising events can be a great opportunity to bring the support of donors, volunteers, and fundraisers together in real life to rally around your cause, whether it’s through a nationwide 5k or a local bowl-a-thon.

But unfortunately, as nonprofits evolve their event strategy to enable important functionality like event registration, ticketing, merchandise, and mobile donations, one core part of the process typically becomes an afterthought — fundraising.

In reality, rather than burying fundraising at the end of a registration flow or in a follow-up email to a participant, your entire nonprofit fundraising event should be designed with the idea of ‘fundraising first’ in mind.

That’s exactly what we’ve done here at CrowdRise by GoFundMe. Our seamless fundraising integration puts the opportunity to fundraise front and center for your supporter, whether they are registering or buying a ticket for your event. The result? The most thoughtfully integrated registration and fundraising solution on the market.

To help nonprofits get started with maximizing a fundraising-first mentality, we recently hosted a webinar, 6 nonprofit event fundraising hacks, where we outlined 6 hacks that will immediately boost your next fundraising event.


Weren’t able to attend the webinar? No worries. Here’s what you missed…

Hack 1: Creative ticket types1_TicketingThere are a number of different ways that your nonprofit can utilize ticket types to help drum up excitement with your supporters, and even increase revenue for your cause.

For example, reduce the risk that comes with offering event-specific inventory, and sell merchandise in advance during check-out. By allowing attendees to purchase merchandise before your event, your nonprofit only has to worry about ordering the inventory that you need to fulfill, and you’re not faced with storing extra shirts or bags once the event is over.

Merchandise isn’t the only event purchase that you can pre-sell. Also consider offering tickets for things like concessions or contest entries, and even tickets for rides or activities ahead of time. Each of these things can easily be offered as add-ons to an attendee’s main event ticket.

You can also expand the ticket types that you sell by offering discounted rates to early bird registrants, or discounts for last-minute registrants to help bring in more attendees.

Hack 2: Fundraiser and team creation

2_create fundrasierGive your event attendees the opportunity to do even more to support your cause while they are already in the mindset of giving back.

By allowing your supporters to create their own peer-to-peer fundraiser (or to join a fundraising team) right within the registration process, you are taking the first steps towards turning event attendees into evangelists for your cause. Plus, you’re also asking for support while they are already showing interest in your cause, rather than making them switch platforms or start at a later time.

When peer-to-peer fundraising is worked into your event ticketing and registration process, you also reduce the burden on your own staff by eliminating having to work on two different systems. With CrowdRise by GoFundMe’s integrated peer-to-peer fundraising, your valuable attendee and fundraiser data is collected in one secure place.

Hack 3: Use gamification and leaderboards

3_gamificationGamification is the idea of adding game elements like points, competition, or rules of play into something that already exists in order to encourage engagement or participant. (Think of it like the age-old trick your parents used to play on you when you were young… when you only had 10 seconds to pick up as many toys as possible, cleaning became a lot more fun.)

In the world of nonprofit fundraising, gamification is great for encouraging both individual fundraisers and team fundraisers to raise more, through things like incentives or competition. For instance, the most money raised in a set amount of time, or the most individual donations to a fundraising team.

The best part is your incentives don’t have to cost anything — winners could choose what color their team represents, what table they sit at, what type of special dinner they eat, or even what time their tee time is. These special incentives can easily be offered to top teams and top fundraisers, and can get as unique as you make them.

Hack 4: Add social fundraising

4_social fundraisingSocial sharing acts as a megaphone for your cause when someone donates, registers, or buys a ticket to your fundraising event. This is because, when a passionate supporter embraces your nonprofit’s story as part of their own, it strikes a chord with their networks on a personal level, and makes it nearly impossible to ignore — increasing awareness for your nonprofit and cause.

But it’s important that the ability to share is optimized throughout the donation, ticket-buying, and registration process, so it’s easy for your supporters and it happens when they are already taking an action on behalf of your cause.

CrowdRise by GoFundMe’s built-in Social Amp™ functionality takes your supporters down a highly-optimized social sharing path that encourages them to share with their networks at pivotal moments during their experience. This includes the sign-up page, their confirmation and follow-up emails, and even in the reminders leading up to your event.

Hack 5: Use ‘Text-to-ticket’


Another great way to sell tickets both ahead of the event and while you’re on the ground is with text-to-ticket. This 100% mobile experience is a simple way for anyone to sign up for your fundraising event, whether it's a supporter wanting to purchase a ticket upon arriving at your event, or a registrant encouraging their friends and family to sign up for the event when they are out and about.

Text-to-ticket is ideal because supporters don’t need to log on their computers, or find their way to your website to sign up for your event. They just text a custom code word to a pre-set number, and they are are given a link to your nonprofit’s optimized mobile ticket or registration experience… it’s as easy as that.

Hack 6: Think strategically about campaign updates


Sending out strategic campaign updates surrounding your event fundraiser can go a long way towards creating momentum and a sense of urgency among supporters and potential attendees. The following campaign update messages can help to spike registrations and donations in the days leading up to your event:

  • Update based on time: “Only 1 week remaining until the event”
  • Update based on limits: “We only have 50 spots left in the race - sign up now”
  • Update based on goals: “We’re at 90% of our goal. Help us get the last 10%”
  • Update based on changes: “More VIP tickets have been added. Get yours before they’re gone”

It’s also helpful to share your campaign updates via video, as campaigns with video updates raise on average 5.7x more than campaigns without updates.


At CrowdRise by GoFundMe, we’ve rethought and redesigned our event fundraising functionality — from ticketing and registration to team fundraising — with a focus on the registrant experience and flexibility for our nonprofits.

Gary Wohlfeill

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns, and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.