Fundraising Events: 4 Ways Nonprofits Can Raise More Money
As a nonprofit leader, you know that fundraising events are a vital piece to the fundraising puzzle. Not only do events bring in much-needed funds, but they can also help organizations interact with their supporters in-person, which can lead to long-lasting relationships with loyal supporters.
With that said, fundraising events are huge endeavors that require a lot of time and often a significant budget to run. It’s important that your nonprofit make the most of all the events you host so that you can raise more money for your mission.
To help your nonprofit raise more money, we’ve created this list of indisputable tips that can maximize your fundraising event potential:
- Use fundraising event software to organize your event.
- Provide guests with more than one way to donate.
- Ask for corporate sponsorships.
- Promote your fundraising event online and offline.
Keep reading to learn more!
1. Use Event Fundraising Software to Organize Your Event
From choosing an event to picking the date and time to managing RSVPs, there is a lot of components that go into creating a fundraiser.
Luckily, your nonprofit doesn’t have to manage all the planning on your own.
With event fundraising software, you can create marketing plans to help keep donors informed on your upcoming event or provide fundraising solutions that nonprofits can implement during the event such as giving kiosks.
Additionally, your nonprofit will have access to powerful tools to help you manage various operations, such as:
- Tracking RSVPs and ticketing — Create event registrations pages where donors can purchase tickets to your event and learn pertinent information like the event date, time, and location.
- Creating seating assignments — If you’re hosting a gala, benefit concert, or another event where seating plays an important role, fundraising event software can help you assign seats and determine the guest count.
- Collecting donor data — Track your guests’ contributions and transfer data to your donor profiles. Additionally, you’ll be able to manage donor thank-yous and follow up with guests after the event.
- Managing volunteers and staff — Assign roles and responsibilities to your volunteers and make sure that you have enough people available for every shift.
No matter what type of event you’re planning, these tools will help streamline the event planning process so that you can focus on what’s most important: interacting with donors and making money.
There are a plethora of event fundraising tools on the market and each one will offer your nonprofit something different. Before you make your choice, consider the types of fundraising events you normally host and which tools will best fit your needs.
For a more in-depth guide on the top fundraising tools, read Double the Donation’s full list of fundraising event software providers.
2. Provide Guests With More Than One Way to Donate
As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to accepting donations at events.
In other words: if you only accept donations via text message (a popular event fundraising tool), you could be missing out on a whole host of potential donations.
While text-to-give is a convenient donation method, the reality is that some donors won’t feel comfortable using their phones or won’t have cell service to access your donation forms.
Giving your guests more than one to way to contribute to your cause means that they can choose the method that’s most convenient for them.
Let’s dive into two other ways you can accept donations.
Donation Kiosks — Great For Fundraising During the Event
You’ve probably heard of card readers like Square for nonprofits that allow donors to give in person using their credit cards, but there are even better donation kiosks available.
Look at how the nonprofit MassChallenge used donation kiosks at one of their events:
MassChallenge included a raffle in their event to raise additional funds. However, instead of asking guests to enter via their phones or online, this nonprofit used donation kiosks.
A donor can easily dip their card into the device and write his or her name on a ballot to enter. Plus, these tools don’t have a complicated set up; once they’re plugged in, they’re ready to start accepting donations.
Crowdfunding — Great For Fundraising Before the Event
Setting up a crowdfunding campaign can generate interest in your event in addition to raising more money. Your nonprofit can launch a crowdfunding campaign a month or two before your event.
Encourage your supporters to contribute to your crowdfunding campaign and share the page with their networks.
Additionally, use your crowdfunding campaign to encourage supporters who can’t attend your event to make a donation.
From online donations to text-to-give to donation kiosks, your nonprofit should take advantage of every giving method to accept even more donations from your event.
3. Ask for Corporate Sponsorships
Fundraising events cost money; everything from the venue to equipment to food will need to fit within your nonprofit’s budget. Luckily, nonprofits can cut some of these costs by recruiting sponsors for the event.
Afterall, many corporations have philanthropic programs in place to help support organizations that support similar values.
In addition to covering some of the expenses, corporate sponsors can also provide in-kind donations and other tools to help you raise more money.
First, you’ll need to identify potential sponsors so you can determine the most likely businesses that will respond to your request. Look for companies that are:
- Local or tied to your community.
- Connected to your nonprofit through board members, staff, or volunteers.
- Supportive of your cause.
- Capable of providing the support you need.
Once you’ve created a list of potential sponsors, you need to determine your sponsorship levels. Generally, organizations outline their sponsorship levels in a document that details your fundraising event needs and the incentives businesses will receive if they meet those needs.
Sending off your sponsorship letters is the next step. To make it easy for companies to have all the information they need, include your sponsorship levels document in the letter. Furthermore, you can call the companies in advance, preferably with someone connected to the company, to personally ask them to sponsor your event.
If the idea of writing a sponsorship letter has you nervous, Fundly has a list of sponsorship letter templates for practically every situation.
4. Promote Your Fundraising Event Online and Offline
One of the most vital factors to a profitable event is marketing. Spreading the word about your organization and generating overall excitement is the best way to encourage donors to attend your event.
Organizations have to adapt their marketing strategies to accommodate supporters who are using multiple channels to stay up-to-date. With that said, nonprofits can’t focus their efforts on one communication method or forget about traditional outreach.
Let’s go deeper into three ways you can promote fundraising events using online and offline methods.
It’s no surprise that social media made it on our list of ways to market your event. With over a billion users on Facebook alone, your organization has plenty of opportunities to get in front of your supporters.
Use these best practices when posting to make your content stand out in your donors’ newsfeeds:
- Alway include a visual—photos, videos, graphic elements, etc.—in your post. Visuals will draw supporters in and provide additional context.
- Keep your message concise. A Facebook post or Tweet isn’t the place to include in-depth information on your event.
- Include a link where donors can learn more. Link to your fundraising event page so donors can learn and potentially register for the event.
Post about your fundraising event every couple of weeks up until the big day. The consistent reminders will help donors remember your event and encourage them to participate or at the very least share it with their friends.
Reaching out to donors via email is also an effective way to promote your event. With emails, you have plenty of space to describe your cause and tailor your message to specific supporters.
If you’re using fundraising software, you may have a feature that lets you manage your event communications and segment your donors to send more personalized emails.
However you decide to send your emails, make sure to:
- Explain why you’re hosting an event. This could include information on your overall mission and how the funds will be used to support your cause. Write your description in a way that appeals to donors’ interests.
- Suggest ways for your donors to get involved. Not every donor is able to attend your event. As a result, you should always include other ways for donors to show their support, whether it’s through volunteering or making an online donation.
Just like you would in your social media posts, include links to where donors can learn more information.
Your nonprofit can send out invitations to your event using direct mail. This is great approach if you’re trying to reach out to major donors. Since sending out direct mail requires more time, your donors will appreciate the thought that went into your invitation.
In your letters, you can include details about the event, how the funds will be used, and information on how the donor can attend.
End your letter with a strong call-to-action that asks donors to support your cause either by attending or making a donation to your nonprofit.
Using a multi-channel approach when marketing your event will ensure that you reach as many supporters as possible and encourage them to attend.
Now that you have these four tips, you can start raising more money during your fundraising campaigns. Best of luck!
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