You’ve been planning out your year-end fundraising campaign, and it’s almost time to kick your coveted campaign into high gear. In your campaign-planning process, there’s no doubt that you’ve built in donations forms and websites, peer-to-peer fundraising, and social marketing into your overall fundraising and communications plan. But have you also considered including fundraising events as well?
With complete access to GiveSignup | RunSignup, nonprofits have all of the tools they need to create an event to drive their year-end fundraising campaign. With our innovative tools, nonprofits have the option to create an endurance event (walk, run, or ride), a ticket event (gala, auction, or networking event), or a virtual challenge (complete an endurance fitness goal over several weeks), plus gain access to our free next-generation email marketing and array of fundraising tools — like donation forms, fundraising campaigns, and so much more.
While this time of the year is mainly focused on promoting online giving, with hallmark dates like Giving Tuesday, there’s no reason you shouldn’t also consider fundraising events in your planning. First and foremost, events are an incredibly versatile fundraising tool because they can be tailored to meet the needs of both your nonprofit and your supporters. Thanks to the incredible advancement of technology, events can now be held in-person, online, or in an hybrid environment — a mix of both in-person and online. Embracing technology and creating hybrid events is an opportunity to expand your reach and create more inclusive opportunities to engage your supporters.
Read on to learn more about how simple fundraising events can help your nonprofit raise more this year-end giving season, enabling you to do more good this holiday season.
Events Strengthen Community
Peer-to-peer fundraising is becoming a common strategy for nonprofits to utilize, as it helps these organizations simultaneously raise money and strengthen relationships with their key supporters. Events are an opportunity to engage those who care about your organization’s cause in a fun and interactive way, while also getting them excited about fundraising!
Fundraising events enable nonprofits to bring their supporters together to network with one another, collaborate to spread the word about the nonprofit’s mission, learn more about the nonprofit and the impact its making on its community — all while participating in an activity they enjoy (like competing at golf tournament or enjoying local brews at a beer festival).
With GiveSignup | RunSignup, your nonprofit can create a free website for any of its fundraising campaigns and ticket events. The best part is that you don’t need to be a web design expert to create a professionally designed website. With a simple website builder that is equipped with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop tool, you can add custom content sections, like images, videos, playlists, call-to-action buttons, and so much more.
Especially during the holiday season, people are looking for ways to connect with one another and give back to their community. Hosting a fundraising event as a part of your year-end campaign will not only raise awareness for your cause, it will activate giving, fundraising, and volunteering at a unique time of the year when your supporters are hungry to help. And what better way to bring people together than by hosting an event in the name of social good?
Events Raise Awareness for Your Year-End Fundraising Campaign
Hosting a fundraising event is a great way to spread the word about your campaign, raise additional funds for your campaign, and activate your most loyal supporters. Plus, there is so much flexibility in how and when you can host your fundraising event. While hosting an in-person event might sound a little daunting right now, especially as it’s already October, the good news is that modern technology has opened up a new window of opportunity for fundraising events. Nonprofits are no longer limited to just in-person events! Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- A hybrid event. While “hybrid” is a buzzword that has been born out of the pandemic, this type of event doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple idea to help promote your year-end campaign can go a long way. For example, if your mission is to provide meals to those in need, a way to kick your year-end campaign into high gear is to hold a volunteer event at your local soup kitchen. This meets the needs of your supporters who are eager to give back this holiday season. Plus, you can encourage them to share the message of what your organization is doing to make a difference this year-end — getting more people signed up for the event and driving more fundraising revenue. For those who aren’t able to make it, you can set up a livestream and encourage people to tune in virtually and support your organization through donations.
- A fun and engaging virtual event. In order to combat the struggle of “virtual fatigue,” you need to create a fun and unique event that your supporters will connect with and look forward to. Most importantly, theme your event around your cause. For example, Ballard Food Bank’s Hope Beyond Hunger Capital Campaign spiced things up by offering a virtual cooking class, where attendees learned new culinary techniques and best practices in the kitchen. The best part is that each ticket included everything the attendee needed for the cooking class: a meal kit, an ingredient and recipe card, along with a bottle of wine.
- A virtual challenge with fundraising goals. The creative fundraising ideas that came from the pandemic proved how successful virtual challenges can be. Hosting a virtual challenge is a low-effort way to boost fundraising among your supporters. Plus, your supporters from all over the world can participate in a virtual challenge. For example, Paterson Music Project raised $20,000 — an increase of 368% — by adding a virtual challenge, which took place over a course of an entire month.
Events Incentivize Fundraising Among Supporters
Hosting a fundraising event is an engaging way to give your supporters the opportunity to take on a bigger role with your organization. People sign up for your event and fundraise on your organization’s behalf because they truly believe in the mission of your organization. So, by rewarding fundraising, you’re incentivizing people to raise even more for your mission.
Common fundraising incentives, like swag, can get people motivated to fundraise because they’re getting something tangible in return. However, like many for-profit companies, offering monetary rewards for getting more people signed up for the event can be an even more enticing incentive for your fundraisers. Our referral rewards program allows nonprofits to give supporters money back if they hit a certain referral threshold (e.g., $20 back for getting five people registered for the event).
Another way to level up your rewards program: incentivize and reward your fundraisers for surpassing their fundraising goals by automatically giving them a refund of their registration fee when they hit a set goal. For example, if you want fundraisers to raise more than $500, GiveSignup | RunSignup lets you set up an automated refund reward of their registration fee when they raise $500.
Events Gamify the Supporter Experience
Fundraising events are one of the most powerful ways to engage supporters and raise more money for your organization’s mission. And gamification only helps elevate your mission to get people more involved in your event, either by participating, by fundraising or both! We have seen this firsthand at GiveSignup | RunSignup — our nonprofits have had increased engagement, fundraising, and recurring participants through these tactics. By gamifying the experience, you can help incentivize your supporters to raise more funds through friendly competition and to be a part of an engaging community that is driven and dedicated to your mission.
To further incentivize fundraising, give your fundraisers milestones and badges, a fun game-like tactic to get them to raise more. A milestone for fundraisers and event participants can be getting halfway to their goal (e.g., raising $500 or running five miles). GiveSignup | RunSignup also offers customizable milestones and badges for virtual challenges that allow nonprofits to track their participant progress. In addition to giving participants badges for each milestone achieved, nonprofits can even award them milestone certificates. For fundraisers, we offer nonprofits the ability to celebrate milestones with confetti notifications every time a participant hits a fundraising milestone.
Plus, as supporters become more and more immersed in your organization, you can further engage them by encouraging them to share their journey on social media or through a testimonial. Then, you’ll have valuable user-generated content to use in your upcoming marketing materials!
For your upcoming GivingTuesday and year-end fundraising campaigns, GiveSignup | RunSignup’s purpose-built technology can help elevate your fundraising with a next-generation email marketing platform, along with access to free tools to build simple and easy-to-use fundraising events and campaigns. Click here to learn more.