If you’re like me, the pressure starts to mound as you begin to spend your non-profit’s resources for an upcoming fundraising event. Whether it’s a gala, sporting event, auction, or concert, fundraising always seems to come with a price tag. For some, the excitement of the opportunity to invite others in far outweighs the concern of the event spend. For the rest of us, here are some tips to help ensure your fundraising keeps you in the black.
Rally The Troops
Don’t just get the volunteers and prospective attendees excited about the event, share the passion of the organization’s mission and how it’s supported by the event. Be it clean water initiatives for rural communities or re-integrating returning soldiers into civilian life and careers, communicate the “why” as much if not more than the “what” for your event.
The Follow-Up Matters
Have a plan in place ahead of the event to follow up with attendees. Segment your audience and assign individuals or teams to communicate with a particular segment. My college sends me alumni fund letters a few times per year, and I pretty much never respond. Roughly once per year I receive a phone call from a grad student to ask about my college experience, memories flood back, and they invite me in to make a small contribution, and they’ve got me. Hook. Line. Sinker. A personal call and “thank you” for attending goes a long way.
Invite Them Along
If you can get a volunteer, that’s wonderful, but more than likely an appropriate invitation is asking for them to receive your email newsletter or sign a simple petition or pledge. While the ask isn’t financially beneficial for your organization, but it can build into future donors. This is a big step for some, creates buy-in, and builds into the final tip:
Walk With Them On Their Journey
Some future donors fall into this category; they’re not fully bought-in to your cause, or have questions about how their donation will be spent. Don’t let their hesitation be disheartening or a turn-off, but view it as an opportunity to cast a vision and build credibility. This is someone who, once on board, will not likely be a single-time donor, but thinks more strategically and long-term. While too many of these journeymen make for a difficult budget year initially, acquiring them on an ongoing basis will ensure a bright and stable financial future for the cause you care most about.