Giving event fundraising doesn’t have to be hard! There’s actually a formula for successful giving event fundraising. Learn how to make your participation in a giving event a smashing success!
A giving event can be a fantastic opportunity for nonprofit organizations. The event’s host puts their marketing might behind promoting the event, which means your organization gets a boost from participating. Giving events can provide networking and training opportunities to help your organization grow. And giving events are great for donor acquisition. But how does giving event fundraising work? Are there best practices, and tips for success?
Of course there are! And of course we’re going to break it down for you. These four keys to giving event fundraising will help you unlock fundraising success.
#1: Understand the giving event’s structure so you can use it to your advantage
Each giving event is unique. There are lot of kinds of giving events (like university giving days, community-based giving days, cause-based giving events, and so on) but they all have their own goals, structure, and culture. And understanding that is essential to tapping into giving event success.
Prizes are a big part of giving events. And giving events use these prizes not only to encourage nonprofits to participate, but to build in some structure that will help nonprofits plan their campaign and get donors excited about giving. Here’s a look at some common types of prizes:
- Golden Tickets: These are random hourly prizes that are more common in 24-hour giving days. The giving event site pulls one donor who gave during the previous hour, and a small cash prizes is added to their donation.
- Power Hours: A Power Hour is an hour-long fundraising sprint, and at the finish line is a substantial cash prize for the winner. These are also most common during 24-hour giving days.
- Leaderboard prizes: These are cumulative prizes that award a prize grant to the top fundraisers in a giving event. These are tracked on a live leaderboard on the live event site.
- Challenge grants: These are common in multi-day events. Challenge grants are similar to Power Hours, with nonprofits competing to win a prize grant by either raising the most about of money or bring in the highest number of donors in a pre-determined amount of time.
Some giving events may also have some special prizes unique to their event, such as pre-event giving challenges, prizes for social media activity, and so on.
Prize structure and campaign planning
Giving event prizes are great because they build in marketing tools for nonprofits. “Donate now to help us win an extra $1,000 for our work!” is a compelling call to action for donors, and combined with good storytelling, can be a powerful way to get people engaged during a giving event. So, it’s important to make sure you understand the prizes the available, when they are available, and how they work so you can take full advantage of the marketing spin they offer… and win the prizes!
When you’re getting your giving event fundraising plan together, the prizes act like bullet points. Send out emails, post on social media, and even consider doing some personal outreach when you’re competing for a prize. To become familiar with the prize structure, make sure to attend all webinars and training opportunities offered, and spend some time on the event’s Rules & Prizes page!
Understand the giving event’s culture
Your nonprofit’s giving event fundraising is ultimately all about your work, your mission, and your goals. But it’s helpful to understand the culture of the giving event to participate successfully. For instance, university giving days are all about pride in that school, and community-oriented giving events run on enthusiasm for living and working in that community. Tapping into these core values that drive the event will help your campaign feel like part of a cohesive story, and help donors connect to both the event and your campaign.
#2: Plan ahead
Even though giving events do give nonprofits that participate a little boost, it’s not true that nonprofits can just lie back and watch the donations roll in with no effort. Organizations that do well make giving event fundraising an integral part of their fundraising calendar — some even build their whole year around a giving event. They plan ahead, and throw all their weight behind doing well and winning prizes.
Strategically reaching out to your nonprofit’s supporters is a key part of giving event fundraising, and you’ll need to do a little planning to make the most of your communications. Giving events on Mightycause provide resources to help out. (More on that in a minute!) But planning out what you’re going to say, to whom, and when, it essential to getting donors giving when it counts most.
We recommend coming up with a communications plan where you outline your key messages, how you plan on contacting donors, and scheduling as many communications as you can before the event begins.
So, communication with donors is important, but there are also some important logistics to figure out! Do you need volunteers to help you with giving event fundraising? Is there any personal outreach planned? Do you have staff available during the event to respond to emails, phone calls, social media comments and posts? Are you doing any media, or live events? Think through the possibilities, how your nonprofit can boost your campaign, and come up with a plan!
Start promoting your participation in the giving event early
Giving events last for a limited period of time, sometimes they’re just 24 hours! But the promotion begins well before the event. As soon as you’re registered for your event, start getting your supporters to save the date. Put it in your newsletter, send emails, put it on your nonprofit’s events calendar, and start planting that seed!
Use the resources available to you
Giving events on Mightycause offer a Nonprofit Toolkit to help participating organizations make the most of the event. The toolkit typically contains logos, checklists, templates for social media posts and emails, and more. These resources are totally free to use, and nonprofits that take advantage of them go into their event well-prepared to fundraise hard and reach their goals.
Events also offer free training in the form of webinars (and sometimes in-person training). The training is free, and designed to help nonprofits navigate the Mightycause platform, understand the giving event, and build a winning strategy, so it’s no surprise that nonprofits that are engaged in training activities tend to raise more money.
#3: Leverage partnerships
Giving events are a fantastic opportunity to engage your donors, but they are also perfect opportunities to engage community partners. Whether those partnerships are tried and true or brand new, giving event fundraising is an ideal way to cultivate those partnerships and use them for mutual benefit.
Here’s a hot tip: There is a guaranteed way to get more donations during a giving event. And that is matching grants. A matching grant is a large donation that your nonprofit leverages as incentive for donors by offering to “match” donations for a specific period of time. It’s basically a BOGO deal for donors, and it’s very effective. (Who doesn’t love getting more for their money?!) The matching grants tool on Mightycause has a lot of cool ways you can leverage your grant to achieve your fundraising goals.
Make matching grants a cornerstone of your giving event fundraising plan. Start approaching existing and potential partners early, and keep the conversation going. Using your matching grant money strategically (such as having an active grant during a Power Hour) can help your nonprofit climb to the top of the leaderboards!
Enlist your board of directors
A nonprofit’s board of directors act as custodians of the organization’s mission and financial well-being. And that means it totally appropriate to ask them to help with giving event fundraising! Fundraising is part of their responsibility to the nonprofit. Here’s how they can pitch in to help out during your event:
- Providing a matching grant
- Creating peer-to-peer fundraisers
- Utilizing Events for a Board Fundraising Challenge
You can get creative with how you involve your board, but looping your board into your fundraising effort will help build your network of support and raise more money during the event. Using the Events product on Mightycause can make coordinating your board for a fundraising challenge easier — it allows you easily invite them to participate, create templates to help them published faster, get them competing to raise the most money, and manage them through the platform’s tools.
Giving events are like catnip for sponsors. And it’s not hard to see why: these events are very visible ways for businesses to show their support for nonprofits and their communities. So, when you’re planning your giving event fundraising, make sure to include outreach to existing and potential sponsors. There are so many ways for sponsors to get involved:
- Providing a matching grant (and with Mightycause’s tools, you can add your sponsor’s logo and make sure they get full credit!)
- Helping your nonprofit promote your campaign
- Doing a social media takeover of their accounts to help you reach a wider audience
- Creating a fundraiser just for employees to encourage employee giving
There’s a lot you can do to get sponsors involved in your campaign. Starting the conversation early and being able to explain the benefits to giving your campaign a boost.
Utilize peer-to-peer fundraising
There’s an easy way to increase your impact and reach during a giving event: peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a technique where nonprofits enlist their supporters to create fundraising pages and solicit donations for their organization. Each fundraiser has their own unique page where they can tell their own story about their connection to your cause and ask their social network to donate. The donations your peer-to-peer fundraisers get are batched into your totals for the day, so it’s a great way to get supporters engaged beyond just donating and reach people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach about your giving event fundraising.
In most cases, getting some peer-to-peer going is just a matter of asking! Sending out an email, posting on social media, and asking for help. It’s an easy way for people to get involved and help your cause, while allowing fundraisers to bring more funding in than they would if they just donated. Mightycause’s peer-to-peer tool makes it easy as can be to create a fundraiser. And you can even create a template to help make it even easier for peer-to-peer fundraisers!
#4: Take advantage of early giving
Giving events take place in a finite period of time. Many giving events last just 24 hours. But the actual giving usually starts well before that! Most giving events open up for donations weeks or even a month before the event itself, to allow nonprofits time to build momentum and get running start on the big day. And nonprofits that take advantage of this early giving period tend to raise more overall.
Save the date
Make sure you read through the FAQs and Rules on the site to understand when early giving begins! Plan the date early giving begins as your launch date for your campaign.
Don’t be afraid to ask twice
Something that might surprise most nonprofits about early giving is that many people give multiple times. You see, your most ardent supporters are likely to break out their credit card and give during the early giving period and during the event itself. And the early giving period can be an excellent time to target these supporters, by sending them personalized emails and letting them know you’re counting on them.
Asking board members, volunteers, and staff for a boost during early giving can also be an effective strategy. These engaged supporters are likely to give more than once, which will help you leverage early giving to increase the amount you raise overall.
Get more giving event tips
We’ve got even more tips and tricks to help you craft a successful giving event fundraising campaign! Download our free ebook, How to Run a Winning Giving Event Campaign, to get the full scoop on how to maximize your giving event participation.