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Event Fundraising Best Practices


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Events are not only a great way to raise funds but also awareness and community support. Unfortunately, many events fall flat, usually due to lack of clear goals and preparation. In this educational webcast, Richard Dietz of Nonprofit R + D and Jamy Squillace of Sage will show you the tried and true way to pull all the pieces together for your next fundraising event.

Published in: Self Improvement, Business
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Event Fundraising Best Practices

  1. 1. Event Fundraising BestPractices
  2. 2. Our Speakers Richard Dietz Founder of Nonprofit R+D - Technology Training for Nonprofit Professionals Richard has over 20 years experience working in and with a wide variety of nonprofit, political, and government organizations. You can find Rich on his website or tweeting @nonprofit_rd 2
  3. 3. Our Speakers Jamy Squillace Sr. Product Manager Sage Nonprofit Solutions Responsible for Sage Fundraising 50, Sage Fundraising Online, Sage Nonprofit Online and Sage e-Marketing. Jamy has 16 years experience in product planning and management. Her goal is to create and evolve solutions that fulfill customer desires and exceed expectations. You can find her blogging at or on Twitter @jrsquillace. 3
  4. 4. Agenda• Event Fundraising – What and Why – Examples• Event Fundraising Best Practices – Planning / Timeline – Setup – Publicity – Running the Event – Follow up – Evaluate• Q&A 4
  5. 5. Introduction• Make sure to download the E-Book – “Event Fundraising Best Practices” –• The E-Book goes more in-depth than we are discussing here and includes templates and worksheets.• Our goal today – Get you to think about events in a different way – Get you to spend more time planning your events – Get you to take action and test some new ideas 5
  6. 6. Text Heavy Slides… Oh My.• I promise I do not just read the slides – Boring!• Why text heavy slides – You don’t have to take notes – the info is there for you later – You can focus on the “ah-ha” moments – They will still make sense 6 months from now• Let me know what you think 6
  7. 7. What isEvent Fundraising 7
  8. 8. What is Event Fundraising• The planning, managing, and execution of an event designed to raise money for a nonprofit organization. – Fundraising is the key – The purpose of the event is more important than the type of event being held. 8
  9. 9. WhyEvent Fundraising 9
  10. 10. Why is Event Fundraising Important • Nonprofits are doing them all the time • Many are not doing them very well or efficiently • Many people are willing to “spend” more for events or items when a portion of that money will go to a charity • People are different – Your organization needs different kinds of appeals to encourage as many people to support it as possible. – Event fundraising is just another channel or tool to help you raise funds 10
  11. 11. Why Event Fundraising Is Important 890%You need this… EVENTS But spend your resources on these. 11
  12. 12. Examples ofEvent Fundraising 12
  13. 13. Examples of Event Fundraising Run/Walk/Rides Luncheons/Galas Concerts No shave month Birthday/Anniversary Giving Memorials/Tributes Pledging Dancing with the Stars Sponsorships Ticket sales Use forms to collect votes for an event - votes equal donation amounts Golf tournaments Classes/symposiums/ educational meetings Camp registrations Rapid response campaigns 13
  14. 14. Event Fundraising Best Practices 1. Planning / Timeline 2. Setup 3. Publicity 4. Running the event 5. Follow up 6. Evaluate 14
  15. 15. Planning / Timeline• Sample Timeline included in the E-Book• Covers all the major phases of an event cycle• Focused on best practices• Adapt to your needs and timeframe 15
  16. 16. Sample Timeline Printable version included in the Appendix16
  17. 17. 1. Planning / Timeline • “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” – It’s a cliché for a reason – The plan / timeline helps keep everyone on track and “on the same page” • Select Event Type – Don’t just do what you have always done – Test some new ideas (start small) – Ask your supporters – The Type will impact many other areas – Try this on a smaller event – Signature Events – How can you make it unique? 17
  18. 18. Rebuilding Together “Even though some might consider our first year afailure, we had to start somewhere. Now our donors are comfortable using the system but it’s raised our profile among our peers. We can now say that it’s as easy to donate with us as it is American Red Cross.” -- Lee Berkeley Shaw, Director of Development at Rebuilding Together Montgomery County 97% improvement from 2011 to 2012 18
  19. 19. 1. Planning / Timeline • Review Previous Events – What went well, what did not? – What can be improved? – What can be scrapped? • The event itself? • Set Goals – Will be key when we get to evaluation – Quantitative – money raised, number attended, etc. – Qualitative – awareness, education – May be hard, but need to make educated guess 19
  20. 20. 1. Planning / Timeline • Set the Date – Get on calendars early – save-the-date cards, etc. – Avoid other major events – Submit event notices everywhere • Mid-Campaign Check-In – Schedule this as part of the timeline – Identify tasks that are behind schedule – Identify goals that are behind schedule – Still have time to address them 20
  21. 21. 2. Setup• Online Registration Process – Make it easy to complete – Make it easy to find 47% of donors give up before they have made a – Capture data donation because the • Add to email list, important for follow online journey is not up / cultivation intuitive and engaging ( /news-items/charities-fail-make-• Create Fundraising Systems online-impact) – How will you solicit funds before, during and after the event? – What will you need based on your event type? • Gala, auction, raffle, etc. 21
  22. 22. 2. Setup • Optimize Registration Forms – Form must be specific to that event – Make registration page easy to see – Strong call to action – Shorter is better – Form should be embedded on your website – Ability to set-up peer-to-peer • Sage Fundraising Online – Unlimited forms – Can handle registration, fundraising, and more – Peer-to-Peer Fundraising – Communicating progress – Leverage social media 22
  23. 23. Prominent Call To Action 23
  24. 24. 2. Setup • Select and Confirm Vendors – Based on event type – Walk through event and create list of needs • Will location dictate food and entertainment? • Will the keynote speaker influence the auction items? – Ask your vendors to become sponsors! • Get Sponsors – Sponsors can make or break an event – Not just about money – in-kind, publicity, discounts, etc. – Think Win-Win – How can you help the sponsor? 24
  25. 25. 3. Publicity • If you build it…… they may not come after all – Marketing principle – 7 Touches • Create Marketing Plan and Calendar – Plan within the Plan – Week by week plan of what, who, how and when – Like an editorial calendar • Create Marketing Materials – Multiple channels – email, postcard, advertisements, etc. – Goal is to drive traffic to the event website 25
  26. 26. 3. Publicity • Promote to Past Participant and Supporters – Most likely to attend and more inexpensive to market to – Special invitations – VIPs – Tell A Friend • 71.7% of millennial donors willing to reach out to friends and family about ways to get involved with an organization they support • Promote to New Prospects – Bulk of marketing budget (and time) is spent here – Much harder to do – Remember, multiple touches and multiple channels 26
  27. 27. 3. Publicity: More Marketing Ideas• Pre-event Communication – Give supporters an update on progress – Ask them to tell-a-friend• Promote your Cause, Then the Activity – What makes your event different?• Use Storytelling to Make Personal Connections – People give to people – Individual stories are best – Childhood hunger vs. 4-year-old Marie – Emotional connection 27
  28. 28. 4. Running the Event • Now for the easy part ;-) • Set up Location and Registration Area – Think through the “flow” – Online registration can really help here • Speeds up the registration • Have separate line for “online registrants” • Encourages them to go online next time • Conduct a Full Run-Through – Have volunteers or staff pretend to be guests – Like a wedding rehearsal • Run the Event 28
  29. 29. 4. Running the EventAsk for Donations at the Event• Its not just an event... It’s a Fundraising Event – Don’t be afraid of the “ask”• Plan the Ask – Concrete definition of organizations mission and need addressed – Clear description of how funds will address the need – Clearly stated request for donations• Idea: Have someone else do the ask – Celebrity, past client, major donor – Individual story about why they support you – Clearly stated request for donations 29
  30. 30. 5. Follow Up • Right after the event is the best time to follow up – Still excited about the event/cause – More likely to respond to further requests, so ask! • Create a Follow-up Plan – May be more important than the overall plan – Long term, ongoing dialogue with your supporters • Don’t forget sponsors too! • Follow Up Calendar – Post-event thank you – Attendee / sponsor survey – Thank them again throughout the year – Update them on progress – Add them to your fundraising campaigns – Donor Funnel 30
  31. 31. 6. Evaluate • Evaluation is really Step 1 – Remember back to the planning phase – Wrap up flows right into planning for next event • What Worked / Did Not Work – Survey staff, attendees, sponsors, volunteers – Example surveys in E-Book – Was it all worth it? • Begin Planning Again – Think of events as cycles, not one-time events – If you wait you may not remember the details – Time heals all wounds 31
  32. 32. 6. Evaluate Return on Investment (ROI) Funds Raised – Total Expenses ROI = ---------------------------------------------------- Total Expenses – Not just money.. Time is an expense too – Evaluate the true ROI for the event – Was it all really worth it? • Do this again or something else? 32
  33. 33. Q&A Download the Event Fundraising E-Book Learn about Sage Fundraising Online Contact Richard Dietz: Contact Sage: 800-811-0961 Jamy Squillace 33