Creating Engagement Opportunities During Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event

Oct 11, 2018

So, you’ve built an integrated strategy to promote your nonprofit’s upcoming fundraising event. You planned months ahead, so you could reach attendees and sponsors with multiple targeted messages. Don’t throw that work away by not having a plan to captivate your audience during a nonprofit fundraising event. It’s the day of the event, but you’re not in the clear yet. Hopefully, you’ve already hit your fundraising goal through ticket sales and underwriting sponsorships. However, you can still raise more money if you look at your event itself as another touch in your marketing strategy. You can incorporate several opportunities to raise additional funds by getting creative at your event. Naturally, some strategies will be more effective than others, depending on your organization and the nature of the event.

Online and Mobile Giving

Mobile giving is one of the hottest new trends in fundraising. Use it to your advantage and raise some additional funds at your next event. We recommend using a platform like Qgiv to handle the technical aspects and facilitate your mobile and online giving program. You may be surprised how many people kick in a few extra dollars just to see how a mobile giving platform works! Consider making an announcement in between speeches, presentations, or meal courses. If everyone at a table pulls out their phone to donate at the same time, others won’t want to feel left out. Even if most people only throw in an extra $5, that number can add up quick if everyone in the room contributes. Include your fundraising thermometer on your event’s microsite or webpage so those who give online can see how they are helping you move closer towards your goal. You can even display this page on a projector while you encourage additional gifts online, so attendees can see the thermometer rise as they give online during a nonprofit fundraising event.  

Tables and Booths

The people at your event came because something about your organization’s work relates to their personal goals and motivations. You can gather support for your organization’s specific programs by setting up a table with pledge cards dedicated to particular needs. This also gives you a powerful data point to use in future communications. This way, you can raise additional funds now and build a stronger relationship with donors moving forward. For fancier galas and dinners, consider hosting a silent auction for a big-ticket item, like a week vacation on an island! Other options can include a gift certificate for a fancy restaurant, concert or sports tickets, or even one of the latest smart devices. Gift baskets are always a great idea for giveaways and raffles too. If you are hosting a less formal event, like a street fair, you can encourage sponsors to set up a table where they can sell their merchandise and promote their brand. Let’s say a local bakery signed on as a sponsor for your 5K run. Encourage them to set up a table in the rest area at the finish line so they can sell some of their baked goods to runners. You can ask them if they would be interested in contributing a small percentage of their proceeds to your cause.

Get Social

You probably know a few people who seem to document every activity they participate in on social media. Well, these people can become advocates for your organization and event with the slightest push. You will want to create a hashtag dedicated to your event. For example, if Action Graphics were to host a gala, we could use something like #CelebrateAG. Encourage attendees to use that hashtag in any posts they make about the evening. Social media also gives you more opportunities to engage with your supporters. You can post pictures during your nonprofit fundraising event and tag whoever appears in the photos. The individuals and organizations you tag are likely to share any posts that you mention them in. This will increase your social reach and engagement. People who did not attend the event may see your posts on social media throughout the night. They won’t want to miss the next event your organization hosts when they see what a great time everyone is having! Include links to your event’s microsite and encourage them to support your organization with a monetary donation in lieu of attendance.

Creating Content

While it would be great to collect some extra money at the event itself, one of your most effective strategies for additional fundraising is setting up attendees to give again soon. Consider hiring a photographer to work the floor during your fundraising event. Remember when we stressed the importance of a digital sponsorship journal that can be updated after the event? Fill that publication with lively photos that capture what the event was all about. This creates a more personal experience for the user when they look for more information about the night or for future events and giving opportunities. You can also use these photos in follow up emails, future social media posts, blogs, and much more! You may even want to have a videographer on site for the event. If you are honoring someone, get a video of their speech! Walk through videos of attendees having a great time at your event can be great b-roll for future video projects. You can use your footage to make an event recap video, or a promotional video for next year’s event. Remember, short videos preform better than single images or links on social media, so leverage them, especially in sponsored posts. You may also designate a member of your team to walk around, talk to attendees and ask them questions about the event, the cause you are supporting, or your organization as a whole. Collect these anecdotes and testimonials and use them in your post-event communications. Or, use them to advocate for next year’s event or your organization’s work.

After Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event

The night is over, and your event was a huge success! You met your fundraising goal, everyone who came to the event had a great time, and now you can finally head home for a night of solid rest after finishing what felt like a marathon. However, when you wake up, you realize that your work is still not done. Imagine if a Super Bowl winning team didn’t prepare for all their “World Champion” memorabilia to hit the shelves the following day? Fans would be in an uproar! Think of a successful event like winning the Super Bowl of fundraising. Your organization and supporters want to keep the celebration going even after the big day is over. Your fans need their championship gear in the form of post-event follow up communications. In this post, we mentioned some of the materials you can curate to extend the life of your event communications. Next week, we will guide you in creating a comprehensive campaign to follow up with sponsors, attendees, and other supporters in the days and weeks following your event.

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