Let’s call it like it is – planning a solid fundraising event can be complicated and time-consuming. But what if we told you that you could skip the logistics, avoid finding volunteers, bypass coming up with a theme and securing a venue, but still meet your event donation goals?
Well, that’s exactly what Go Endurance did! For their Elkhart Lake Triathlon fundraising event, 15 fundraisers blew past their $50K goal. From Hawaii to Florida to New York, they received donations across 21 states raising $52,225. Talk about spreading a wide net.
Not to be outdone by last year’s success, Go Endurance is poised to host at least 2 event campaigns this year with 21 athletes already participating. And all without hosting a single event. This means a total fundraising goal of well over $100K but no logistics, volunteers, or event organization headaches.
How is it possible to make event fundraising that easy?
Go Endurance created their entire campaign based around a community-hosted event, the Elkhart Lake Triathlon. Therefore, Go Endurance was free to focus on fundraising, not orchestrating an event.
Who is Go Endurance?
Founded by Brad Prunty, Go Endurance started with a personal goal to be fit and healthy. What began as one man and a triathlon, soon became a crew of athletes competing for a cause. Brad participated in his first triathlon alone, then recruited friends. What could be better than racing with friends? Racing with friends for a cause.
These athletes decided to train together, get healthy together, and do good together. And so, Go Endurance was born.
Making the event an easy reality.
Choosing the community event.
The Elkhart Lake Triathlon was an easy choice. Not only was it local and fun, but the event was going to be professional and well done.
Deciding on the cause.
GO Ministries is a nonprofit Brad has served with for several years and felt athletes could get behind. GO Ministries, referenced as GO, serves some of the most impoverished children in the Dominican Republic with access to health care, education, and sports activities.
Finding a platform.
Next up was finding fundraising technology. After some research and a phone call with Mightycause, Brad knew he found the perfect platform with the event, teams, and individual fundraising pages he needed.
Better yet, Mightycause would take care of processing donation payments, donation disbursements, tax-deductible receipts, and the campaign page technology. Once again, Brad was letting the professionals do their thing.
Recruiting the athletes.
Brad chose a personal touch for recruiting athletes. To start, he approached everyone with the WHY. It basically went like this, “I want to do something with friends, I want to be healthy, and I want to do good. If any of these things interest you I would love to talk with you more about what we are doing.” If someone was curious he would share the benefits of joining Go Endurance.
“Being a part of Go Endurance is the opportunity to be a part of a team that trains together to improve and sustain your health, while raising funds together for something greater than ourselves. All the while learning that you can do hard things.”
It didn’t take much convincing before athletes were asking about the resources they would have to help them fundraise successfully. Not only did the athletes jump on board to provide for the needs of children in the Dominican Republic; but Brad found that the health journey and being in this endeavor as a team were also very compelling. It was truly a win-win before the triathlon even began.
Setting up fundraising pages.
Go Endurance’s Elkhart Lake Triathlon event campaign hosted five teams of three athletes. Each team had a team goal of $10,000 and each athlete a goal of $3,500. Brad created the event and team pages. He then laid out the steps for the fundraisers to customize their own pages with pictures, a custom URL, and personal stories of why they were competing and raising funds with Go Endurance to support GO Ministries.
Raising the funds.
At this point, the event was handled, the mission selected, and the fundraiser webpages set. It was time to raise funds.
Conversations with donors were less about the athlete’s health journey and more about the cause. Some fundraisers used email or text messaging, while others used social media and/or in-person conversations. It was up to each athlete to engage donors in whatever way they felt comfortable.
Keep in mind that not all the athletes were seasoned fundraisers. To help, Brad provided fundraising tips, email and social media post ideas, as well as a “Did You Know . . .” template explaining to donors what their dollars would do for the people of the Dominican Republic. Moreover, being true to their own mission, Go Endurance made sure to encourage and help fundraisers throughout the campaign. The team and community aspect was important at all levels.
Since the triathlon hosts handled everything event-related, Go Endurance didn’t need to do anything except show up, compete, and celebrate.
“It was, for sure, the most rewarding time.”
Instead of running around doing event things, Brad was able to focus on the experience of the athletes. This included providing each athlete with a gift of custom embroidered Go Endurance gear, water bottles, and other race items.
For athletes, it was a grueling culmination of mental and physical training. But the Go Endurance teams carried something other competitors didn’t. They weren’t competing for themselves alone, they were racing to do good for the children in the Dominican Republic.
What made this event fundraising so easy?
No event logistics!
Go Endurance took advantage of an existing event already in their community. Since the event was not hosted by them, they weren’t bogged down with details like logistics, volunteers, event stations, registration, or payments. Brad’s responsibilities were focused on fundraising and triathlon training as opposed to event planning.
Using Mightycause pages and donation processing technology.
In addition to processing donations, the Mightycause event and team fundraising pages showcased to donors the real-time progress and totals of the campaign. The event and team fundraising pages also displayed real-time leaderboards that helped spur competition among participants. Meanwhile, each athlete had a customizable fundraising page that included a goal bar to share with friends and family. Through the fundraising goal and thermometer, Go Endurance was able to provide donors and participants an easy way to see to track the campaign’s progress.
“Mightycause has been perfect for our needs.”
How can I apply this to my nonprofit?
Any nonprofit can make event fundraising easy!
Utilizing a community event doesn’t require special skills or connections. Anyone can utilize existing community events to make event fundraising easy.
Easy event fundraising step one:
Skip the event setup by finding a local event or activity.
How do you find local activities? Most cities, counties, towns, or affinity groups have websites you can utilize to find local events. For example, Running in the USA posts an online directory of races throughout the United States.
As you search, think about activities that will resonate with your supporters. For example, if your organization has a focus on preserving nature, consider joining an Earth Day event. You can find a local baking, bowling, exercise, or music event. See what’s already happening in your community and become a part of it!
“The event could really be anything that’s local and close to your heart. Something that is well run and a draw to your supporters.”
Easy event fundraising step two:
Focus on organizing your fundraising. Since you’re joining an existing event, you automatically have an event date and details. With that in hand start setting your fundraising goals, preparing information, and recruiting your fundraisers.
But before you start talking to potential fundraisers, arrange the event information, fundraising expectations, and perks in a presentable, exciting format. Don’t rush through this part. Being organized creates a greater appeal and sets the tone for your fundraising event.
Part of being organized is having your Mightycause event page published and live and ready for teams and fundraisers to create their pages. The Mightycause Advanced plan allows you to conveniently create unlimited, event, team, and individual fundraising pages. Through event and team fundraising pages, create fundraiser templates to help make the setup process easy for participants. Then encourage your participants to personalize their own fundraising pages.
Hint: If your supporters are willing to raise funds but are intimidated by technology, no worries! An administrator of your organization page can create fundraising pages for participants. Then the fundraiser simply sends out the page link to friends and family.
Last but not least, be sure to provide fundraising suggestions and content to your fundraisers. Just like Go Endurance had a “Did you know “ sheet, create a list of talking points, email templates, social media post suggestions, etc. By providing your participants with a toolkit, you’re setting them up for success.
Easy event fundraising step three:
Cultivate your relationships with your supporters.
- Your donors are your lifeblood. Mightycause provides the first thank you page and takes care of sending out the tax-deductible receipts. But that’s just a starting point of your relationship. So be sure your Thank You emails are in place and you’re poised to engage with your community before, during, and after the event.
- Your fundraisers have agreed to partner with you in a major way. Take some time to consider how you can show your gratitude. Since you aren’t financing a full event, it might mean gifting gear from your nonprofit, taking your top five fundraisers to lunch, or posting a special shout-out on social media. It doesn’t have to be monetary but it should show your gratitude for their participation. Whatever it is, be intentional to show appreciation.
“I want to do anything I can to generate a sense of community and team; also to show my thankfulness and gratitude for all the effort they put into raising funds.”
We’ll leave you with a few Pro-tips from Go Endurance.
- Use the fundraiser template. Not only does it save time, but you can include important information on each fundraiser page.
- Make the impact of your fundraising clear. Take advantage of the customizable Donation Suggestion amounts in the donation checkout flow. Give each suggested amount an impact. Then reiterate this on your campaign pages.
- Personally ask for specific donation amounts. Go Endurance found a direct correlation- the most successful fundraisers were those that asked individuals for a specific donation amount.
“These fundraisers were way more successful.”
- Take care of your fundraisers. If a fundraiser feels supported they will raise more and return in the future to fundraise again.
- Texting is great! Mightycause pages are mobile-friendly, look amazing, and donors can donate anywhere and anytime.
- It’s simple! Brad sent text messages with the link to his fundraiser and included a short ask, “I’m participating in the Elkhart Lake Triathlon to raise support and awareness. Would love to have you join me in doing good.”
Fundraising events bring attention to your cause, take your organization into the community, and raise much-needed funds. Don’t waste time starting from scratch!
Hear more about how Go Endurance raised over $50,000 without putting on an event – check out our webinar with Founder Brad Prunty!
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