Blog Post by: Kim Perry
It seems like everything’s getting higher these days: gas prices, weather temperatures, Kardashian wedding bills.
But you know what’s also on the rise that has us crying tears of joy?
Individual donor giving. In a BIG way.
Last month, our STUDIO 4Forty nonprofit teams hosted seven of our signature events across three days that raised an astounding $1.7 million (net). What is particularly noteworthy about that sum is the fact that many of those events had reduced attendance, but as we witnessed through incredible event day giving, this clearly is the year of quality over quantity when it comes to donors. Less has proved to be so much more at smaller events with the right people in the room. Even with smaller crowds, we’ve seen revenues increase over prior years, and in some cases, we’ve seen major increases.
From various raffles selling out, to the live auctions and paddle raises absolutely crushing previous years’ totals, these smaller crowds are mightier than ever with an eagerness to give.
What may be perceived as a ticket revenue loss ultimately proves to be a meaningful gain when donors spend more on event day than in years past.
So how do you get the “right” people in the room? Based on the trend of our spring events, we can’t stress enough the importance of taking the time to comb through your donor base and analyze your data. Who were your big event-day donors and bidders who attended pre-COVID events? Have any of those donors returned to your events last fall and this spring? If not, why? Has your development team done personal outreach to past and present top donors inviting them to upcoming events? Spending time to make a personal phone call or sending a text to those you have a close relationship with feels more inviting than just receiving an invite. A personal handwritten note or email paired with the invitation conveying something appreciative like, “we are so grateful for your support at our past events and hope to see you at our upcoming fundraiser – your presence is truly a gift!” A gesture that simple moves the needle emotionally when donors have as many choices as they do with in-person events back in full swing in their communities.
Something else to keep in mind with regards to attracting the “right” guests is how many new people may have moved into your community over the past year and making a marketing and PR effort to get your event on their radars. With so many people moving state to state and suddenly finding themselves transplanted in a new community, we want to encourage you to do something creative to make your event seem compelling. A cute mailer that says “Are you new to our AMAZING city?! We can’t wait to welcome you at our party of the year! Make new friends and learn how our organization is making a BIG difference in your new backyard.”
We can’t stress enough the importance of putting in the time to do this research, legwork, and outreach to get the right people in the room for your event.
It’s so easy to get distracted by the event itself and become overwhelmed by production to pull it all off. So, take the time to pause and put a plan in place for the people you want to see who can truly make a financial difference for your organization.
After all, what good is a fundraiser without the funds?