For those lucky planners who find their way into the non profit or fundraising side of our sector, you know that raising money is a big business within the event industry. Thousands of dollars are regularly spent on lavish galas, exclusive golf outings and fun-filled community events all with the purpose of fundraising for a charity or community group. Finding new and creative ways to bring in more money and differentiate your event can take years to master. Start out with the six secrets below to start increasing your income for a fantastic cause.
1. Share Powerful Stories
Stories can truly connect your audience’s emotions to the cause you are fundraising for. Without a face or story to represent your fundraising need, your donors won’t be able to envision or feel exactly how worthy your cause is. People are inclined to give when they connect on an emotional level with a speaker or a personal journey. By sharing these types of heartfelt stories with your audience at an event, you are much more likely to increase your charitable contributions.
While your event is taking place, set aside a time to educate your audience about your cause and show them the impact they are making. Utilize creative storytelling through things like photographs, videos, quotations, and artwork.
You should always be looking for the chance to show your donors what their gifts are accomplishing. Providing your donors with actual examples of where the money raised is going and the impact it is having, will provide gratification to your donors and encourage them to continue giving during future campaigns.
2. Cater to Your Donor
Everyone loves to feel special at an event, especially a high-level donor or top tier sponsor. You should try to make each one of your guests feel like the most important person in the room, in order to provide a great customer service experience and make them more inclined to open their pocket books for your charity.
Simple things like calling your guests by name upon arrival and recognizing them for their generosity at every chance you get, will go a really long way in providing a positive and lasting impression. By making attendees feel special, they will be much more inclined to give to your cause or spend some extra money while attending your event. Everyone enjoys feeling like a VIP, so do your best to show all of the guests attending your event that their dollar truly matters.
3. Provide a Memorable Experience
When events linger in our memory, so do the causes or businesses associated with the gathering. Building a charitable event that has a sticking power creates the possibility of keeping your guests engaged for years to come. If your guests enjoy the event they are much more likely to return in future years, donate to future fundraisers and encourage others to do the same.
You can really create lasting impression by creating a powerful event or company brand. Consistent brand messaging will give you the power of recognition and provide your audience with a sense of familiarity in your cause. If your brand represents something positive and a cause that your guests enjoy being associated with, they will share this with their friends and become ambassadors for your cause.
4. Make the Ask
One of the main reasons that people don’t give to charity is because they were never asked to donate. Without scheduling an opportunity to make the hard ask during your event, your group may not feel that they necessarily need to contribute. Thus, your charity and you as the planner, miss out on a chance to raise more money.
If you avoid this direct way of approaching your donors you are most certainly missing out on a big fundraising opportunity. When you can confidently show your audience the charitable need and convey your message through real heartfelt stories, making the formal ask for donations should be a natural and sincere follow up. People expect that this type of request will happen at a fundraising event, so do your best to make the most of the special platform you have to present to the group and request their support.
5. Stay Connected
Being connected to your donors and supporters during the event is easier than ever with social media and digital devices. You can follow along with your group through event hashtags, apps, along with pre- and post-event surveys.
Be sure to spark the conversation and see what your attendees are enjoying about the event. Being tapped into the vibe of your outing will give you a good perspective on the impact your event has had and perhaps the likelihood of your fundraising success.
Are people sharing information about your cause or event with their network? Fundraising is a very social project in this digitally connected world. Almost every day we see someone online who is raising money or awareness for a cause they care about. By making your events more socially connected you will increase your visibility and build upon your potential fundraising income.
Once your event has come to a close you should look for ways to stay in touch and front of mind with your supporters. While you don’t want to badger them with constant requests for support, you should keep them informed and connected to your cause. This will make them more likely to attend your future events and to keep you in mind for their charitable giving or community support efforts.
6. Build a Community of Support
Fundraising is not a one person job; it takes a village to raise money for charity! Create your community of support by connecting with supporters and influencers in your niche or local area. By making them a part of your committee or event board, they will have a sense of ownership in your event and the cause that you support. Recruit your ideal supporters carefully and find people you can rely on.
Having a team of local supporters that serve as your event planning committee will connect your event to people throughout the community and can help take some items off of your to do list. Having a team of individuals that are well connected and respected will increase your event participation and ultimately the amount money you are able to bring in.
This team of event supporters can assist your efforts in fundraising as well as provide cost savings and event logistics help. Encourage them to help you in finding donations and in-kind gifts, along with corporate sponsorship leads and volunteer support. Never underestimate the value of a support or hospitality committee for your event.
Another forward thinking idea would be to have a well-connected online community who can connect with your target market and influence them through social media platforms. Because you can fundraise from both in-person and remote supporters this could be an idea that works well for a digitally connected event.
Fundraising events can give you a beautiful opportunity to merge your love of event planning with a cause that you care about. More and more people are finding ways to connect their companies and events to a charitable cause. By having experience in fundraising you will elevate your skill level and bring something new to your clients. The more you can use the topics above to improve awareness for your cause and increase your charitable giving, the more successful your fundraising events will ultimately be!