Spring is the perfect time of year to plan and host a fundraising event for your nonprofit. The weather is starting to get nice, and people are looking for opportunities to get out and participate in fun activities. Your supporters are mostly recovered from holiday spending and year-end giving, so they’ll be ready to support your nonprofit again, too! There are tons of events that can help raise funds for your mission, but some of our favorites include: marathons, walk-a-thons (and yoga-thons or read-a-thons), 5Ks, bike races, golf tournaments, galas and auctions.
Whatever type of event your hosting, consider how you can build peer-to-peer fundraising into the strategy. P2P fundraising will help you amplify your success, by building a team of extra supporters out there spreading the word, engaging new donors and bringing in donations. Are you considering bringing a new event into your fundraising plan for the year ahead, or looking to bring your annual event to the next level?
Check out the top fundraising event tips from Mightycause below!
Our Top Fundraising Event Tips:
Set Reasonable Goals
Take the time to define the purpose of the event, and the key audience you are hoping to engage. Allow those answers to help set goals that you can measure progress against throughout your planning process. Also, allow these goals to serve as a checkpoint to keep you focused on the fundraising. As yourself if the cumbersome activity you are planning, or the high-cost entertainment are really key to achieving your main goals for the event.
Join an existing event
Just because you are hosting a Fundraising event, doesn’t mean you have to manage everything in house. Especially if you are a small nonprofit, you can really maximize the efficiency of a fundraising event by finding a larger local event to tie yours too. Perhaps a local marathon, triathlon, or 5k. Let the race coordinators handle the logistics and volunteers, etc and you can focus on creating a team fundraising campaign that allows your supporters to participate in the existing race while fundraising for your nonprofit. Follow the lead of Team HUM that makes a huge impact every year by joining in with the Baltimore Marathon.
Identify & Support your Participants
It may be the first time you are asking an individual to fundraise on your behalf, which means they might need a little extra convincing and hand holding to understand what you are really asking. Plan to identify p2p prospects and reach out personally to invite them to fundraise. Once they are an onboard, make it as easy as possible for them to succeed (remember they are not full-time fundraisers like you!). Prepare a template fundraiser page they can use to get up and running quickly, prepare a welcome kit with onboarding information, along with sample email and social media templates. Finally, stay in touch with them throughout the campaign with regular emails with tips and encouragement to keep going!
Inspire Friendly Competition
This is what often makes fundraising events FUN. By nature, people enjoy a little competition, so use that to your advantage. Consider adding incentives for your top fundraisers, like restaurant gift cards, swag, lunch with your CEO. Use the leaderboard on your team fundraising page to promote the competition and track the standings among participants.
Engage Corporate Sponsors
Corporate donations can make a huge impact on your event success. One large corporate donation can replace tons of individual ticket sales. Create a benefits package and an ask that will appeal to the corporate donors you are speaking with. Add their logo to your Mightycause Team Fundraiser page, and link back to their site for extra promotion. Get creative with how they can support your event:
- Ask for a Matching Gift
- Ask for in-kind donations
- Engage their employees and customers with your event for added buy-in
Recruit Volunteers & Staff
You don’t have to do it all yourself. Whether you have an internal staff to rely on, or have to fall back to volunteers and your board. An event should be an all-hands activity, so identify a committee of supporters and delegate some of the more time-consuming tasks, like planning event activities or securing in-kind donations to cut costs. Make sure they each have a goal of a number of tickets to sell or individuals to bring to the event!
Market your Fundraising Event
Create a multi-channel communications plan to get the word out about your fundraising event. How will you use email, both segmented and targeted outreach along with blast emails and newsletters? Where will info about your event be hosted on your website? Can you engage local businesses or event sponsors to help you spread the word? Can you pitch local media to share the event?
Amplify with Social Media
Prepare a series of posts about your fundraising event, and schedule them ahead of time to keep a consistent focus in the lead up to your event. Consider engaging content like videos and event countdowns, and make sure to create CTAs in every post (sign up, share, donate, attend, etc). Include an event hashtag on all your posts to create a cohesive message, and create a facebook event to allow the engagement to happen digitally too!
Make Giving Easy
This might seem like a no-brainer, but after all your work to host this fundraising event, and get attendees involved, you have to take the time to review your donation experience to make sure its as seamless as possible for your donors. Mightycause donation forms are mobile friendly, and allow you to customize what data you want to ask of your donors. For example, do you really need/use their physical address or can you let them skip that step of their check-out?
Also, make sure you have plenty of opportunities to give at your event, have a kiosk with laptops or ipads set up, and have volunteers ready to make sure donors know how to find and give right from their mobile device. Lastly, don’t forget those who can’t attend. Include an opportunity and CTA for those who can’t attend the event to donate online to show their support virtually!
Follow Up After your Fundraising Event
The event is not the end. Take advantage of all the relationship building that happened throughout the event and build on it. Follow up with volunteers and sponsors to let them know the impact they had on the event. Host a happy hour for peer to peer fundraisers to award any incentive prizes and thank them for their help. Finally, share impact and photos from the event with all donors to encourage them to stay involved throughout the year.
Get started with your next Team Fundraiser today!
Looking for more tips and tricks? Download our Team Fundraising E-book and really dig in!