December 17, 2013 \ Rachel Jellinek
5 Tips for Event-Based Fundraising

December 17, 2013

I recently attended an event hosted by Women in Development of Greater Boston entitled, “Event-Based Fundraising: What’s Hot and What’s Not?”  Here are a few takeaways that I wanted to share:

Despite their best efforts, many nonprofits leave “money on the table” at events by:

  • Putting too much energy into acquiring too many auction items that people don’t want.  Channeling that time and effort into promoting the event and getting more people to attend would be a better investment.
  • Planning their “fund-a-need” appeal too late in the program when people are already ready to leave the event.  The “ask” should follow right after an emotional first-person testimonial or compelling video.
  • Having expensive entertainment that seems random and isn’t connected to the mission of the organization at all.
  • Hiring an auctioneer who isn’t well prepared or fully educated about the cause he/she is trying to raise money for.
  • Trying to describe the value of a donation in ways that are confusing for the donors to understand.  Keeping the information simple and tying gifts to a tangible benefit is important (e.g., “Your $5,000 gift could go towards opening a new play space for children in our program”).

I’ll be going to another WIDGB event next month on “Fresh Ideas for Annual Giving,” so stay tuned!