4 Tips for Planning Nonprofit Fundraising Events
Summer is upon us and multiple event-based nonprofit fundraising initiatives are occurring on a regular basis. Recently our staff had the opportunity to participate in two team based events, the WWF CN Tower Climb and the Boy & Girls Clubs of Toronto Race for Kids. Having been the team leader for both fundraising events and a regular contributor to our blog on various aspects of nonprofit fundraising I participated with a keen eye tuned into observing what it takes to run a successful fundraising event. As the Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Event Fundraising Benchmark Study revealed, Peer-to-Peer event fundraising has grown over the past year making it an increasingly viable fundraising strategy for nonprofits. The following are 4 tips will help when developing plans for your future fundraising events.
- Purpose & Demographic – It’s important to determine the purpose of the event and understand your target supporter demographic. Although raising money is generally the primary reason to hold an event, other benefits are increasing cause awareness and acquiring new donors. Events should be carefully tailored to your community’s likes to optimize the probability of participation as more participants increase the likelihood the events will meet its desired goals. Each example of the events we participated in were team-based, which can easily multiply the number of participants as it only takes one team leader to take the initiative and recruit new team members. A team size of 4-7 participants is generally ideal for most.
- Corporate & Public – Through Miratel’s participation of both events, I found it interesting that each ran two identical events on different days – one was aimed at corporate supporters and the other was for general public supporters. Dedicating a day specifically to the corporate sector was a win-win situation for businesses as it promoted and added to their CSR business initiatives while engaging employees. Having said that, running one event is challenging enough and two may not be logistically possible for many organizations. However, targeting and catering to the corporate sector in a public event is a great strategy that will help increase participation.
Miratel Solutions Panda Bears Complete Canada Life CN Tower Climb for WWF
- Prizing – Some events are structured as a competition offering prizes to those who rank highest or those who raise the most money or to both. Often prizes are donated by sponsors and can range from gift certificates to airline tickets. Although prizing can certainly be a great incentive for participants to generate more donation revenue it’s important to ensure that it does not overshadow the purpose of the event and the participant’s intentions in garnering support for their participation. A balance between cause and prize promotion is key when developing an event’s strategies.
- Not Stand-Alone – Although many organizations rely on events as the cornerstone of their fundraising initiatives, it’s important not to view the event as a stand-alone yearly initiative only to collect donations. It should be integrated as part of an overall strategy to engage supporters, create increased awareness and ultimately raise money. Marketing leading up to the event should be incorporated into all communication avenues including the website, blog, newsletters, email alerts and all social media initiatives.
Last year alone 28,000 events were held across Canada and the US which raised over $1 billion in donation revenue. The popularity of peer-to-peer fundraising events will certainly continue to grow, however it’s important to ensure that it is properly planned and executed to maximize results.
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.