With live fundraising events likely to return by the middle of 2021, tremendous opportunities lie ahead for small nonprofits to engage supporters who can’t wait to get out and see people again. As difficult as 2020 was, many of the activities that nonprofits were forced to embrace during the pandemic can be used to rally support for fundraising events in 2021.
Here are a few ways to get your fundraising events locked into donors’ calendars and generate excitement!
1) Treat your Fundraising Event like a Campaign
Fundraising events throughout the year typically don’t get the same kind of attention as year-end fundraising. The initial invitation is sent, followed maybe by a couple reminders. Plenty of effort goes into planning the event, but not enough goes into building anticipation and getting people excited!
Treat every fundraising event like a campaign. Just like advertising, the goal should be to stay top of mind, offer people multiple ways to participate, and get people to commit to attending the event.
This requires repetition and ongoing engagement – not just an invitation and email reminders. Make phone calls, develop social media posts, share teaser videos. You could even create a series of mini-virtual events, leading up to the main event itself. From virtual trivia to prize drawings for free tickets, make your mini-events short and fun!
2) Expand Your Committee
Fundraising events are too important to leave to the fundraising chair and a volunteer. Build a full-fledged committee, assign responsibilities for each member, and coordinate activities.
When you have more people involved with your fundraising event campaign, you’ll be able to engage supporters on a more personal level. It gives you the resources to make individualized phone calls or schedule one-on-one video chats. Ask supporters to share short videos about why they plan to attend your event.
Now more than ever, people want to feel welcome, included, and valued.
3) Use Donors’ Newfound Familiarity with Technology
If there is a silver lining to come out of the pandemic, it’s the comfort people have developed with everything from Zoom to Facebook to TikTok. This is especially true for older generations who also happen to be major donors.
Continue to use your online space and advancing technologies. Plan a series of fun Zoom events leading up to your fundraiser. Invite people to join and engage with your social media communities. Ask them to create videos and enter them into a contest.
Use these platforms to create more touchpoints with your donors, build stronger relationships, and get people buzzing about your fundraising event!
4) Update Communication Preferences
As supporters learned about new technology in 2020, their communication preferences may have changed. Perhaps a major donor who preferred phone calls and physical letters has fallen in love with Zoom.
Before, during, and after your fundraising event campaign, always be sure to update communication preferences in your donor management software!
5) Don’t Forget Post-Event Activities
The best way to start the process of getting people excited for your next fundraising event is by following up about the event you just had!
Spice up your “thank you” letter with a fun insert. Add a personal video greeting to your “thank you” email. Share event videos and stories of impact on social media. Send a survey and ask for feedback. Show people who didn’t attend what they missed. Have organizational leadership and board members participate in this outreach as well. And always, always, give people the chance to donate, after the event has ended.