You know time can move fast if you work in the nonprofit industry. Organizations that don’t come up with a proactive plan often find themselves scrambling at the last minute. So, it’s never too soon to build your outreach strategy for your next fundraising event.
And your event communications leading into the spring are a great way to keep donors engaged after the year-end appeal season.
You’ll want to send your initial save the date at least eight to 10 weeks ahead of the event itself. So, you’ll need to build your brand, determine your audience, and plan your communications well before then.
So, it’s time to get started if you’re hosting your next fundraising event this Spring!
Be proactive, not reactive.
As we mentioned up top, nonprofits that don’t plan well ahead have a harder time reaching their audiences and inspiring them to act. And the reasons for this are endless. After all, how often is it a good idea to just “wing it” in any part of life?
Being proactive will help you be more targeted with your event outreach.
It will help you prioritize which donors receive what messages and which should be suppressed from these communications altogether.
For example, someone who gave $10 once two years ago and lives 700 miles away probably isn’t coming to your gala. Sending them a direct mail invitation is a waste of your nonprofit’s resources that can be reallocated to make an impact on your goals.
READ MORE: Can you be more strategic with your mailing list?
Keep it relevant and personal.
You’ll also want to personalize each message for your next fundraising event based on how a donor has engaged with prior communications.
And this gets harder the more you have to be reactive rather than proactive.
Can you imagine the horror of sending a “last chance to register” email to a major donor who sent back their “yes” RSVP right away?
Planning for your next fundraising event now will save you that embarrassment and give you the time to leverage your data to be more personal in your outreach.
READ MORE: Are you keeping good data hygiene?
From save the date, to see you next time.
So, now that you know you need to plan the outreach for your next fundraising event well ahead, let’s look at some of the key touchpoints you should include.
Every event, organization, and audience is different. So, there’s no boilerplate approach we can share that will work best for you. But while the content of each of these touches will vary, and you may work others in, these are the key touchpoints you can’t leave out!
- Save the date email.
- Direct mail invitation.
- “Heads up” email about the invitation.
- Reminder email for those attending.
- Last chance email to those not registered.
- “See you tomorrow” email for registrants.
- “Thank you” email for attendees.
- “Sorry we missed you” email for registered non-attendees.
- Follow up email to highlight impact and open doors for future engagement.
So, at the minimum, that’s nine touches you need to prepare for your next fundraising event!
But nonprofits that don’t think ahead often don’t realize how much work goes into each of these messages before it’s too late.
And this isn’t even considering the work that goes into building an effective event brand and applying it to each of these communications, as well as at the event itself.
READ MORE: Enhancing the experience with effective event branding.
Are you ready?
Don’t forget you will spend more and more time on logistics and details as the day gets closer. It will feel like there are fewer hours in every day leading up to your event. So, planning your communications early is the key to getting ahead and staying there.
Fundraising events are a huge undertaking. So, don’t wait! It’s never too soon to start planning.
And let’s chat if you’re looking to go in depth about how to build an effective event brand, find new ideas for the day of the event, or learn how to create an engaging follow up strategy!