When you’re planning a fundraising campaign for your nonprofit organization, it can feel like there are a million details to take care of. Nonprofit fundraising events are a great way to cultivate support and attract new donors. But great events take a lot of planning, financial support, and hard work. Fundraising strategies are not abstract concepts or thoughts locked away in your head – they are explicit instructions, goals, and processes put down in a document for all to see, including your staff, supporters, board members, and the public. Think of your fundraising strategy as your financial roadmap to success! Your fundraising strategy can have many parts and will consist of tried and true methods you repeat each year and others that might be new to your organization’s outreach.
The key to successful fundraising is to find the best way to engage your donors and spark them into action. Understanding what sparks them to action is where the work comes in. To help you ensure that your fundraising event is a winner, here are some major strategies that you must incorporate into your event plan, regardless of the specific fundraising event ideas you use.
Purpose of Your Fundraising Event
Before doing anything else, you must decide what the purpose of your event is. Here are a few questions: Is this truly a fundraising event? Or does it have other goals? Perhaps your organization may be hoping to raise money at the charity event, but the main function of the event is to gain publicity or reach out to a new network. Does this fit into a larger effort or campaign? Set ONE goal and focus on that goal only. It needs to be a goal that is measurable and specific.
Launch Donor Recognition Programs
The best way to engage your existing donors and turn them into recurring donors is to thank them. Patron recognition programs call attention, both publicly and privately, to the people who help your organization realize its impact. Donors, especially major donors, love being publicly recognized for their philanthropic efforts. The problem is that most organizations don’t have donor recognition programs in place to adequately recognize their contributors. Smart engagement technology makes it easy to acknowledge your donors with donation thank you letters that go out immediately after a gift is received.
Create a substantial and powerful leadership
As part of your fundraising efforts, your event will most likely have a “host committee” and one or more “host committee chairpersons.” These people are responsible for contributing substantial amounts to the event and encouraging other attendees to do the same. The host committee is generally composed of wealthy donors, leaders of local businesses, or local celebrities. The host committee and chairpersons are not responsible for actually running the event, but are integral to ensuring that you reach your guest and fundraising goals. The host committee helps with peer-to-peer fundraising and follow-up.
Flexible Payment Options
Research affirms that the payment options you offer can make or break a donor’s decision to complete their gift.
Set up of the event
Your event staff should plan the event set-up well in advance. The set-up includes all of the particulars of the actual event: Where will it be? Will food be served? Will there be entertainment? What kind of dress will be required? What is the itinerary for the event?
Virtual events have things to set up, too. The first decisions involve online services, what fundraising or streaming services do you plan to use. Do some supporters need special privileges on the day of the event? What graphics need to be prepared. Do auction items need to be photographed
Use Video to Inspire Action
Studies show that if a person hears information without seeing any accompanying visual elements, they only remember about 10% of it after three days. However, if it’s paired with a photo or video, they’ll recall about 65% of the information.
Without a doubt, video is an incredibly powerful tool to snare your audience’s attention, bring your cause to life, and make a compelling ask to donate, fundraise, or sign up as a recurring donor.
Create a grassroots level of fundraising
To grow your audience you need an army of grassroots supporters that is well-equipped to spread the word. One of the best ways to increase grassroots support is through Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. This type of grassroots fundraising is an effective way to reach the friends and family members of your supporters. By mobilizing your existing donors to fundraise on your behalf, you are gaining an introduction to people who might not have otherwise connected with your organization.
Fundraising is absolutely critical to your success as a nonprofit. We hope that you learned some new tips to try out to improve this for your upcoming nonprofit fundraising campaign.