Your Key to Year Over Year Fundraising Event Growth

Your Key to Year Over Year Fundraising Event Growth

If you’re in the middle of planning a big fundraising event, you’re probably already dreaming of that day where you can put it to rest. A lot of times I see nonprofits do the event and then send out the thank you notes and they’re done. They don’t think about it anymore until about three or four months before it comes around again on the annual calendar. I encourage you to spend a little bit more time on that event right afterwards and save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Plus, you’ll be more likely to take that event to the next level the following year.

How do you do that? An event recap. Not a giant report, but a one page overview of the event. It contains a little bit of background information about the event (in case somebody has to recreate it next year) and then some comparison data. It answers questions like: What’s the purpose of this event? How did this year compare to the year before? Which way are we trending?

The final two components are what helps to take the event to the next level in future years. You need to answer: What went really well this year? and What do we need to work on for next year? If we document that, then when it’s time to get started the following year, we can pick up right where we left off and not have to recreate our previous work. So I encourage you to spend an hour or two to do an event recap, put in your files, then forget about the event. Go take a rest, go take a spa day, go take a hike, get some “me time” and really recover. Give yourself that self-care that we need after these big gigantic fundraising events and rest assured that next year’s event is already on the path to success.

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How to Make Things Easier for Your Event Sponsors

How to Make Things Easier for Your Event Sponsors

I know that a lot of us always go back to the same event sponsors. We go back to the same deep wells of generosity. Why? Because it’s easy! They’ve already shown that they’re good and faithful supporters, and we want to renew those contributions. Hopefully we are trying to get new players in the game, but we have a tendency to go back to the same places.

Donor fatigue is real. This is especially true with the big companies that are most likely to be our lead event sponsors. At these companies there is usually just one or two people who’re responsible to meet with all of the charity officials. So, what are we going to do? How are we going to make their life easier?

We need to be become one of their favorites. We need to build the relationship and give them exactly what they need. Don’t be the appointment that inspires thoughts like “Oh, they’re coming in again. What are they going to want this time?” Instead let’s make sure you’re met with excitement. And you do that by making it easy for them.

I recommend you meet with your corporate sponsors just once a year, and at that meeting you outline your plans for the entire year. So, in a way, you present them with a menu of giving opportunities. You outline exactly what your major events are, what you need, and how they can help. This menu has all of the sponsorship options for each of your events listed. Maybe they want a table here, a foursome there, whatever the case may be let them do it all at once. Make it EASY. They can do it all in one payment or they can spread out their payments throughout the year.

Besides an easy and pleasant meeting, what else do our major sponsors want? What are we giving them in return? You should come up with some year round recognition opportunities for them. They don’t just want one day or night of recognition, they want to be able to show that they are a corporate supporter of X, Y, Z non profit. They really want that ongoing engagement and ongoing branding. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but the ongoing throughout-the-year rather than just one night recognition is really powerful with them. So consider that when you’re creating the recognition opportunities on your sponsorship menu.

You know, why don’t you just ask your corporate sponsors if they might like this approach? Right now. Pull up your email and ask your top five sponsors: “We’re thinking about going to a once a year event sponsorship request where we would outline all the opportunities for the year and just meet with you one time. What do you think about that?” I guarantee you you are going to get two or three responses right away that say “Oh, that sounds incredible. I have so many meetings I have to do. We love you guys, but if we could streamline things that would be wonderful.” Guess what? That’s a great way to show some #donorlove. It really shows that you care about what your donors think and you’re trying to make their lives easier. That makes this a true win-win.

Check out our free resource — a Sponsorship Menu Template. It’s a pretty simple item, but it gives you a sense of how to get started and maybe streamline your efforts to create one of your own!

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Donor Relations Guru: A Treasure Trove of Event Collateral Samples

We don’t all have access to a high level graphic designer who can guide our choices in event collateral. Yet we all know that an eye for vibrant colors and thoughtful layout can make a difference in engaging donors and sponsors. But there are so many items to consider! Donor relations collateral can include your program branding, signage, impact reports, event photo books, campaign case statements, and more. We all want to make the boring look more interesting, but how?

Lynne Wester, the Donor Relations Guru, and her team just completed their annual Event Collateral Swap. 

They’ve amassed an amazing collection of nearly 1,200 pages of samples from nonprofits in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. They hope you’ll use these FREE samples for benchmarking and to inspire new ideas for your organization’s events. Including Invitations and Save-the-Dates, Programs and Menus, Email Communications, Sponsorship Samples, Signage, Photos and Decor, Videos and Websites, and Miscellaneous ideas. You’ll find page after page to get the creative thoughts of you and your team flowing. The event collateral files are downloadable and have comments giving specific details on the work shown.

So, check out this treasure trove today …

GO TO THE SAMPLES

Evaluation Sheet for New Fundraising Ideas [free download]

Do you have more ideas than you know what to do with?

Or does your board of directors have more ideas for you than you can possibly act on? Are they all for new fundraising events? (don’t get me started on this … that’s another post)

How do you evaluate fundraising ideas and decide which ones to pursue?

My friends Alice Ferris and Jim Anderson at GoalBusters Consulting have simplified this process with their great “Evaluation Sheet for New Fundraising Ideas.” This tool lets you evaluate new fundraising ideas along the following criteria:

  • Potential revenue
  • Effort
  • Likely success
  • Uniqueness
  • Mission match (my favorite one)

You end up with a simple score for each idea and can quickly see which idea makes the most sense to pursue.

My bonus tip is to score your current fundraising ideas at the same time. This works really well if you have a committee that is change averse … once they see the numbers they are typically more open to a discussion.

Give it a download today and put it to work in your shop.

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How to Raise More Money at Your Fundraising Event

Would like to raise $5,050 more at your organization’s next event?

Are you tired of running all over town picking up donated gift cards for your silent auction which don’t even sell for face value?

Then try a wishboard at your next event and raise more money with less effort.

So, what’s a wishboard?

A wishboard is a stand alone donation board. It consists of 100 spaces where event attendees can make a donation to the organization in any amount from $1 to $100. Once a board is filled the organization has raised $5,050 in contributions.

Typically, wishboard supporters will also support other event fundraising opportunities (e.g. silent and live auction). The wishboard amounts are small. Because of this, wishboard support is often given in addition to other contributions.

Wishboards are an easy way to get more revenue from your event with minimal effort from staff and volunteers.

Here’s a sample of what one looks like …

How does it work?


Adding a wishboard to your next event is quite simple. Here are the steps …

1) Select a specific project or program for which to fundraise (this works far better than unrestricted operating support as it’s something your organization is “wishing for” but does not currently have the funds to purchase);

2) Have a wishboard designed (we can help with this);

3) Decide how the board will be displayed/featured;

4) Assign staff or volunteers to the wishboard at the event and make sure they are trained on what to say (“Would you like to sponsor a few spots on our wishboard? It’s funding ______________.”);

5) Make the purchase process as seamless as possible (Are you using names or bidder numbers? Can they pay instantly via credit card?);

6) Capture contact information so you can follow up after the event to say thank you and keep in touch with them.

How do I make it happen?

You now know everything you need to know in order to add a wishboard to your next event.

Your designer and printer can easily create a wishboard for you.

But to make it even easier, we offer custom wishboards shipped to your door in 3 weeks for just $150 plus tax. If you fill the board that’s $4,900 for your organization after the expense of the board.

5 Steps to Smarter Fundraising

5 Steps to Smarter Fundraising

Are you confused about where to start with fundraising? Are you overwhelmed with all of the options out there? Are you ready to focus and see better results?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to use every possible fundraising technique. In fact, you will do better if you don’t. But where should you focus your effort?

Download this FREE GUIDE by @fundraiserchad: “Five Steps to Smarter Fundraising” for the answer.

Auction Item Wishlist Template

Do you ask your board or event committee to bring in silent auction items but nothing happens? Is it like pulling teeth to get them to even round up gift cards from their favorite stores? You need to paint a picture for them and tell them what you actually want. Create some ideal auction packages and pass out the list. Then they can say “Oh yeah, I know the owner of that store. I can probably get that.” Otherwise they might not think of it.

What’s the tool here?  An auction item wishlist template.  Give @fundraiserchad‘s free template a download, tweak it for your organization, and make your event committees more productive!

Guide to the Best Charity Auction Items

Guide to the Best Charity Auction Items

Here’s a another great FREE resource for you.  Every year pro auctioneer and charity auction expert Sherry Truhlar of Red Apple Auctions puts out a guide to the best auction items that she saw the previous year. 

She just released her 2019 list and it is chock full of great ideas for your next auction.  Sure, the standard stuff is in there (wine, trips, etc.) but there are always a few innovative items that can inspire you to create something truly unique for your next auction. 

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The 6 Best Charity Live Auction Money Makers

The 6 Best Charity Live Auction Money Makers

Tim Keller,  of the H.K. Keller Fundraising Auction Team, joins @fundraiserchad to share the 6 best live auction money makers… 

#1 Unique Experiences

The first category is experiences that are unique to the organization. We work with a theater that’s able to sell a trip to New York to be there for the audition.  The theater fans, they love it, and spend big money to be able to sit there with the producer. That’s a unique experience that the organization is able to provide. Unique experiences are the number one seller in a live auction.

#2 Food & Wine

Second is food and wine. Right now, food and wine is very, very big. That could include trips and experiences. We have found that providing a trip for groups of people, for two, three or four couples have been big sellers with food and wine experiences.

#3 Travel

The third is travel. People love to buy experiences, so when we can create a travel experience for them, something that’s a little unique, a little different than just something they can buy, it sells for big money.

#4 Entertainment & Sports

The fourth item is entertainment and sports. Anytime we can get people backstage, behind the scenes, into the locker room, they are willing to pay big money for that.

#5 Pampering

The fifth item is pampering. This could include shopping sprees, spa trips, anything that people can do to relax and have fun together.  Again, we’re back to experiences.

#6 Stuff

Sixth and lowest on the list is stuff.  The people coming to your events already have all the stuff they need. They don’t need your stuff.

One of the things that we do to help organizations find the right things for their auction is to conduct a brainstorming session, and it starts with this question, “Who do you know that knows someone?.” Because there’s people within your board, people within your team that have connections to amazing things, not just all over the country, but all over the world.  And all it takes is a simple ask and you have a fantastic auction item.