Fundraising events are the lifeblood of many non-profit organizations. Whether it’s a gala dinner, casual cocktail or wine tasting party or an ongoing raffle or auction, getting your donor and volunteer base on the ground in the face-to-face interaction is a necessity for positive and effective engagement.
Too often, however, having a weak follow-up plan after an event seriously hampers any gains made. So to make the most of your fundraising efforts, follow these three tips and ensure your event is successful—even long after it’s over.
1. Gather Feedback and Capture Information
What worked, and what did not? Having this information as soon as possible is one of the best ways to analyze the success and failures of the recent event and help plan for even greater success for the future. If an event was a first for you non-profit, start by gathering data from internal sources—staff, volunteers, board members etc. Gather suggestions, listen to compliments or detractions and prepare a detailed report. And of course include an analysis of the financials: how many people attended, who donated, how much did they donated etc.
Then, send a survey, along with a genuine thank you email (see below) to all the donors and attendees. The survey should ask for honest feedback on the event, seeking opinions on what went wrong and what went right. With the thank you and survey email, include items from your internal report on monies raised and level of interest for new volunteers. This shows immediate appreciation to supporters, and that appreciation is more likely to encourage repeated support in the future.
2. Disseminate the Information
Another cardinal sin of a post-event wrap-up is sitting on the information you’ve gathered rather than getting it out to those who can most help you use it effectively. So show your audience what the event accomplished in clear detail.
Highlight the positive aspects such as dollars earned or volunteers recruited—but don’t shy away from the challenges your organization is facing. Chances are your event wasn’t a one-time thing, so getting the wrap-up information to anyone and everyone keeps the lines of communication open and lets donors and supporters know that you value their involvement and input. Remember always: you’re in this for the long haul, and as such communication is of paramount importance.
3. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
Non-profit insiders are constantly pushing the importance of the “thank you.” It’s beyond polite—it’s just smart. Industry gurus note that one of the top reasons donors don’t continue to give is because they never received a note of gratitude. Large non-profits can easily generate automated thank you emails from non-profit software platforms such as Raiser’s Edge from Blackbaud, but if you’re a smaller organization consider really personalizing the thank you process with hand-written notes or even a phone call. And no matter how large or small your non-profit is, major donors should always receive more personalized attention.
And lastly, don’t forget to thank all the others who may not have donated money but gave in other forms such as time and talent. This means a hearty dose of gratitude to volunteers who helped make the event a success—it will help you build a core, dedicated volunteer base.
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Our non-profit clients consistently tell us their biggest challenges are improving donor engagement and promoting their mission online. At Byte Technology, we understand that creating a successful online presence for non-profits isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” undertaking. By choosing the right tools for your organization, Byte Technology can help you create online strategies that foster engagement with your volunteers, patrons and donors specifically—allowing you the capability to build stronger relations with the people that matter to your organization most.
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