Event fundraising curves: a helping hand
(Header image by Smit & Co)
First published in 2016
Event fundraising in the Netherlands is ever on the rise. Some events raise a lot of money; others don't. Fundraiser Online and Kentaa have analysed a series of fundraising events to determinate what the success factors are for a fundraising event. What can you expect, and how can you substantially improve your results?
The 3 phases of an event
The foundation of an event relies on planning and structure. Every part of the event needs specific accents to come to a better result. You can distinguish three phases during a fundraising event. An example is in the chart below:
This post is about the most underestimated part of event fundraising: the engagement phase. The Kentaa platform offers a lot of information which we will also use in this article.
Every campaign has its ups and downs
After a good start in the first few days, the number of donations will drop. Every campaign has an inevitable lull. But how long will this last? Are you going to get out of it?
The engagement phase is when the participants are preparing themselves, usually with the mindset: "The event is in a few months, I still have a lot of time!" This doesn't mean you should do the same. You can't just sit back, because there is still a lot to do if you want to optimise the results of your event fundraising campaign.
Preparation is everything! Make sure your communication for this period is well-devised; it's named the engagement phase for a reason. Success won't happen through radio silence. You can handle the communication peak times by planning your emails and social media posts before you launch your event fundraising campaign.
A blog is also a handy tool to provide relevant information and news for all involved and one of the most efficient ways to approach a lot of people with the same information. In a hurry? Think about starting a Whatsapp group for quick updates!
Identification and segmentation of the diverse group of participants
Some information isn't essential for everyone. Especially the way you approach your participants about their fundraising results. You don't want to discourage people when they see that they are doing 'an average job'. You don't want them to feel attacked because of their lack of results. Negative communication can discourage your fundraisers. The first thing you need to do at the start of the engagement phase is to segment the participants. Not everyone is the same, and different people require a different communication strategy.
The inactive participants
Distinguish the 'active' and the 'inactive' participants. In other words: who is raising money and who isn't? Activate the 'inactive' participants with a 'activation program' with 'tips & tricks' emails. Send these emails on the regular, one or two times a week. These emails will encourage them without looking like spam.
Tip: Mention the amount of (decreasing) 'inactives' in every email. The people who haven't done anything will feel encouraged to do more.
The moderately active participants
Distinguish the group of active participants (one donation or more) further. Start with the group with a limited number of donations. Congratulate them immediately! Make them aware of the importance of those first donations and stimulate them with enthusiasm! Remind them to thanks their donors. You can also send them weekly 'tips & tricks'.
Tip: Inform them of the current 'average contribution per participant'. This contribution will be higher than their current result. It's a subtle way to introduce an intermediate goal.
The active participants
This group is on a roll and knows what's expected of them. They need to be stimulated by stories (for the effort they've put in) and regular campaign updates. The critical word is 'we'. We work together to achieve something beautiful. Treat them as equals, because they are part of 'the team'.
Tip: Send them a video message during the campaign, from an ambassador or your CEO to confirm once more how amazing and essential their actions are to the common goal.
The fourth group are the best, most successful, fundraisers. These are your heroes. They are the most important because they form an example for other participants. Approach them personally and ask them to share their personal 'tips & tricks' and success stories to inspire other participants.
Tip: Think about how you can give your heroes a prominent role in your event fundraising campaign. They could send video messages to other participants. Another good idea is to let them temporarily take over the social media channels for your campaign (Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.).
Besides personalised communication, we've accumulated a lot of great ideas in the last few years:
- The temporary multiply donations: Company x will double all online donations this day/week. Participants! Get to work! Ask your donors for an extra donation!
- Incentives: Your highest earning supporter this week receives an exclusive T-shirt, a stuffed animal, a meet and greet with our ambassador or other rewards.
- Challenges for participants: Give participants a challenge, for example, 10 donations of 10 euros in 10 days. Challenges give your participants and your donors a much clearer goal!
- Mention milestones that are (about to be) hit during your campaign.
- Begin early with counting down to the date of the event, especially in emails. A countdown will increase 'the sense of urgency'.