I’m not a huge fan of event fundraising. First of all, they’re a lot of work, and when your staff is working full-steam at your mission, the added stress of planning an event isn’t helpful. Second, they don’t usually generate that much income, especially when you take out the expenses of the event. And finally, you don’t build strong relationships with your donors through events.
If you do them at all, do them well. Let me give you two examples: one good, one not-so-good. I’ll start with the not-so-good. One of my clients put on a dessert banquet a few years ago. It was a lot of work finding a venue, putting together client stories, decorating, sending invitations, catering the desserts, and training volunteers to be servers. Altogether, it was at least fifty hours of work (though I’m sure it was much more). The event, minus expenses, raised about $3,500.
While it was a pleasant enough event, it had the feel of one of those time-share presentations where you have to listen to the spiel in order to get a free weekend away. The event missed a personal touch that develops a relationship with donors.
Here’s a good example: The same client also does a walk/run fundraiser in the fall. People register as walkers and then get others to sponsor them for the event. The top three walkers raised together about $7,000, and that was just through calling and emailing friends (let’s say an hour or two of work). It also gave them a one-on-one opportunity to talk with friends and family about the mission and why it is important to them. Through one person doing relationship fundraising, four more families decided to participate and raised money of their own. Two decided to volunteer at the walk, and another wanted more information about volunteering at the nonprofit itself. Not only did this event raise more money, it strengthened the ties with donors by empowering volunteers and staff to build relationships.
Is your event building relationships with your donors, or are you just trying to raise money? Donors are more loyal and more generous when they have a personal connection. Relationship fundraising makes events more effective and really helps your publicity. Evaluate your event fundraising plan today. See how you can reach donors in a more personal way.
Don’t know where to start with donor fundraising? Dickerson, Bakker & Associates can provide you with a plan for High-Impact events and train you how to approach your major donors. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.