5 Ways to Avoid a Fundraiser Flop

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You believe in what you do. Why else would you be putting your blood, sweat, and tears into a charity event? You’ve been there before. The event promotion succeeds, people come, the night passes, and attendees leave remembering the beautiful evening. But have you ever looked at the donation jar at the end of the night and saw you only raised a fraction of what you hoped?

Creating and promoting a beautiful event is only one obstacle to overcome, prompting attendees to pull out their pocketbook and give is another. How can you make your fundraising event a true success?

These 5 tips will help you maximize donations at your fundraising event and avoid a fundraiser flop.

1. Be loud and make the pitch.

The closed mouth never gets fed. The pitch needs to be the focus of the event. The pitch needs to be given by someone who is confident and passionately believes in the vision of the charity. I once helped at a charity event where the pitch was last on the agenda, given by someone who nervously communicated that they needed funding.

If I’m donating, I want to donate to a cause that isn’t afraid to spread their vision and ask for help. I want to trust the people who are receiving my money. If you don’t ask, you’ve already failed. If you don’t ask confidently, you lose half your audience. Passion spreads. When you believe in what you are supporting, others will too.

2. Consider the content.

Many people get caught up highlighting what they’re doing and they miss the most important piece that will actually move someone to reach into their pocket and give… the why. I can talk about what my organization does, who is involved, and what impact it has, but what really connects people to the vision is why are you doing it.

Why are you passionate about this organization? Why are you involved? Why have others been impacted?

The why connects to the heart of the audience. Vision is contagious and will catch the hearts of those who believe in your vision. I guarantee if you focus on your why, you won’t just get donors, you’ll get loyal followers to the cause.

3. Plan for action.

When goals are not specified, action easily becomes inaction. It’s easy to have a generic message – “We need your donation! Help us raise money!” But how? In what ways? Laying out tangible steps and goals will help eliminate any apathy roadblocks. Some people just need clear direction.

Tailor your message from a generic message – Let’s feed the world!

To a specific message – In order to feed the world, we need to raise 50,000 by December. Tonight if we just raise $10,000 that will take us one step toward our goal. We can reach this if each of you donates $50 tonight! You can pay by cash, check or card at the front desk or online now.

As our co-founder Eric Knopf says, audacious goals attract generosity. So don’t be afraid to express fundraising goals for your vision.

4. Diversify the means of donating.

It’s surprising how many events forget to utilize all means of collecting donations at their event. Don’t be one of them. Keep in mind most people don’t carry around cash or checks anymore, so make sure you have some means of accepting payments online or capturing card payments onsite.

New funding features such as text-to-give help your donors donate right from their phone, in their seat, without the feeling that people are watching them. Make sure you have a way to collect donations before, during, and after your event. You don’t want to miss out on a donation because you didn’t have a system in place to collect donations.

5. Have a follow-up pitch.

You can’t settle for the first pitch. Statistically, the first round is not the most successful.

80% of donations are made on the 5th – 12th contact.

There are funds that can only be tapped if you ask more than once. The most successful fundraising events make more than one pitch and give more than one opportunity to donate. They also will follow-up with their attendees via phone, mail, or email inviting to them donate. In short, persistence pays off.

Have you experienced anything else that has helped your fundraising events become a success? Share below for others to use!