Events continue to be a one of the most popular fundraising methods and they most likely will be for some time to come. Lets face it; it’s hard to beat the “good feeling” present in a philanthropic atmosphere–so many people are united through meaningful conversation, inspiring company, and great food. There may even be an auction for a grand prize that generates excitement. Both fundraisers and donors love events; it’s easier to facilitate donations when members are all in one place, and members enjoy the opportunity to dress up, socialize, and feel connected to a good cause.
From a nonprofit’s perspective, in person events represent a major source of revenue. According to @Pay’s fundraising statistics, 34.2% of nonprofits surveyed said that greater than 50% of their fundraising will be event-related. Clearly, there would not be such a heavy emphasis on events if they weren’t successful.
It makes sense though, doesn’t it? Events contain a high concentration of already motivated givers. Hearing a real life person present an argument with life-size visuals projecting in the background is even more compelling when an attendee already feels an incentive to give. Why else would a person choose to attend the event if she didn’t already feel drawn to a cause?
When individuals read an email and a direct mail pamphlet, giving to a charity is not necessarily at the forefront of their minds. However, when donors decide to attend a fundraising event, that’s the ONLY thing on their minds. Effectively appealing to donors is all about knowing their state of mind. For this reason, those who attend the event will find in person presentations very emotion provoking–they’re already at least halfway committed to giving, just based on the fact that they showed up to to the event.
Organizations (rightly) have concluded that this human interaction involved in events triggers the compassion in people’s hearts and has them reaching for their wallets to give. Plus, it’s much harder to say no in person than it is to click “delete” on an email. But even once you’ve compelled people to give at an event, there are still distractions or inconveniences that stand in their way. Don’t test their patience. Make sure it is as easy as possible for a member to give. How? Capture personal and credit card information BEFORE the event and use express payments to facilitate giving.
By requiring donors to register online ahead of time, you will improve the event experience for your donors AND your organization. Donors will spend less time giving, and organizations will bring in more money; both parties leave the event with smiles on their faces.
Prior to the event:
- When an individual buys a ticket to the event–which will most likely be online–provide the option of saving member information for “easy giving” at the event. Explain that they can always opt-out later.
- Provide some incentive for creating a member profile. This can be something as simple as entering his or her name multiple times for a raffle drawing.
- Educate members on how they will be able to give easily and securely using express donations. Once their information is saved, they can give directly from their phones, without leaving their seats.
The day of the event:
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- Now that you’ve recorded member information, asking for donations at the event is the easy part. Walk donors through the two step process of giving; present them with a Text-to-Give number and walk them through sending a message. If they have their information saved, they will simply have to text an amount to your Text-to-Give number — no additional steps necessary.
- Another express donation method to provide is mobile donation buttons. For this option, make sure your website is mobile friendly. All a donor must do is visit your site, click a button with a desired donation amount, and again confirm via email.
After the event:
- Not only did you just provide members with a very quick and seamless donation experience at the event, but you have given them a hands-on demo for how easy it is to give using express donations no matter where they are. This encourages future giving and will most likely convince many members that it is valid to entrust you with their card information.
- Capture payment information before the event as much as possible to make giving during the event as easy as possible. Once you are at the event and you have your members all in one place, you can walk them through a step-by-step tutorial on how easy it is to give.
- Using Text-to-Give or mobile donation buttons at fundraising events helps facilitate impulse donations. The second you present your need for donations, your members will be equipped with all they need to give directly from their seats. There is hardly any time for a distraction or inconvenience to stand in their way.
- Not only have you increased giving at the event itself, but you have planted seeds for future fundraising success. Once donors get a taste of how easy the process was, they will be more likely to become repeat donors. Now, they can give to your cause no matter where they are — not just at annual fundraising events.