Recently I was reading an article written by my good friend, Brooke Battle, founder of SWELL Fundraising titled 5 Signs You Are Throwing a Party Instead of a Fundraiser.
Brooke has an amazing company that has cracked the code on Event-Based philanthropy. If you don’t know her yet, make that your homework.
Our mission at Alexander Haas is to help clients develop fully functioning Development Offices. This includes having an Event strategy in place. Much of our work involves strengthening the ability of our clients so they can secure major gifts. Brooke’s article highlights the importance Events play in this process.
One of my clients recently hosted an Event that marked its 10–year anniversary—quite a run for a single event. This same client is currently involved in a major Capital Campaign—the biggest in the company’s history. In fact, at completion of this year’s Campaign, the organization should be prepared to move onto a national and international stage.
As usual the Monday after the Event, I followed up with the Development Team. Typically, this is a hectic day. It’s also the day when a collective sigh of relief resonates throughout the team. I was told the Event was a great success: goals were surpassed, more attendees participated than ever before, and for the first time in 10 years, registration went smoothly!
Then I asked the question consultants are paid to ask: “How many new donors did you identify?”
Events play a crucial role in gathering new donors. For many organizations and more times than most care to admit, Events like this one are crucial to meeting annual revenue goals that support the mission.
Far too often, clients are tempted to look at Events as free-standing entities—separate from the overall fundraising strategy. This is not new information, but I want to underscore the fact that the real magicof an Event like this one is new donor acquisition.
Remember Events place your team in a venue—room, a golf course, or a museum, etc., half-full of friends and acquaintances. This equals new prospects!
The day after the event:
- Check who attended
- Have a plan in place to engage those attendees immediately.
- Develop the discipline of keeping great records, gather crucial contact information, and bullet-proof post Event communication.
My clients’ team got right on it. They scheduled follow-up visits with several new participants, who are excited to learn more about the mission and how to support it.
You never know when your next major donor prospect will show up! Take the right steps toward donor acquisition, and you won’t be surprised when they do!