The event’s over. Everything went smoothly, everybody left smiling, AND you raised money and gained new supporters for your nonprofit. Cheers!
However, successful fundraising events are only one component of a bigger strategy that builds long-term support for your organization. So now that you’ve held this memorable event that brought your cause to life for your attendees, how do you maintain that feeling of connection, purpose, and philanthropic pride and turn it into recurring support and subsequent donations?
While there’s a variety of ways to do so, the most important thing is to craft a clear fundraising strategy to implement before, during, and after your event. This will equip your team with everything they need to make your event go hand-in-hand with your fundraising strategy and build deeper relationships that generate more donations after your event.
Here’s four key tactics to make your fundraising events an integral part of your fundraising strategy and increase your donations post-event.
Pre-plan your fundraising event follow-up
The week before your fundraising event, start preparing thank you emails to a curated segment of attendees, including major donors, special guests, and networks of any honorees.
While it’s great to include a few anticipated event highlights and a statement from the head of your organization, make sure to give a heads up about future communications from your major gift officers—you’ll be surprised at how planting the seed that someone from your organization will be in touch impacts future donations.
You can weave this idea into your thank you email with either a little humor such as “don’t be surprised when we give you a call in a couple weeks!,” or something more sincere like “we are very excited to keep you updated on all of our work in the near future.” The goal is to avoid surprise calls and instill confidence in your frontline fundraisers.
With letters ready to go prior to the event, all you need to do the morning after is verify the information and start signing. Bonus: consider cc’ing honorees—with their consent, of course—as another way to add leverage, urgency, and a personal touch to your thank you email.
Personalize additional follow-ups
Once those thank you emails have landed in supporters’ inboxes, your frontline fundraisers are up to bat. With the idea already seeded, this is an easy phone call for your major gift officers. You stated that you would call, and now you’re calling.
Before your team dials that number, make sure that they take a moment to review the supporter’s file and are ready with a specific reason for your call. Don’t waste your supporters’ time with small talk or an in-depth review of the event (unless they’re doing the talking!). Instead, make it clear that you know who they are, you value their support, and your organization would greatly benefit from any additional or ongoing financial support they can provide.
Ask your honoree to make a few introductions
Honorees are chosen for a multitude of reasons, but one that directly benefits your organization in the long term is their network. A personal introduction from your honoree shows their confidence in your organization and evokes instant trust with a prospective donor. To make the most of their time, ask your honoree for introductions to a short list of people such as someone you briefly chatted with at the event or someone you’d like to get to know better.
Publish an engaging event recap with a specific call-to-action
Share a post-event recap on your organization’s website and social media channels as soon as possible. People love to see themselves and each other—especially at philanthropic events—and these are always widely shared assets.
This can be done in a variety of ways: post a picture gallery and tag as many familiar faces as possible, share a highlight reel, or if you filmed the event, showcase the full-length version on your website and YouTube.
Regardless of what you post, make sure that it has a clear call-to-action that outlines how supporters can still get involved. Whether that’s driving people to your donation page or directing people to sign up for your next fundraising event, including a call-to-action will expand your event’s reach to both attendees and those who couldn’t make it and provide them with additional ways to support your cause.
Looking for more information?
Check out our Fundraising TLC podcast to learn about more fundraising event strategies—Season 2 is dropping in just a few weeks, so be sure to listen and subscribe here.
And for additional information or assistance with your fundraising strategy, contact us at email@example.com.