Last updated on September 8th, 2019 at 10:09 am
Organizing special events remain one of the best opportunities to rally people around your cause, keep loyal donors invested and, of course, raise money.
However, with the costs of booking the venue, catering, entertainment and more, fundraising events can end up costing more than they produce.
So what can you do when the money you get from ticket sales barely cover the event’s costs? Well, you need to get creative and come up with strategies to ensure your events are bringing in a steady revenue stream.
To make your job easier, we’ve gathered a few practical ways to raise more money at your next fundraisers. Keep reading.
9 Things You Can Do to Double Your Fundraising Event’s Revenue
Doubling your fundraising revenue may seem like a bold goal. However, when you think about it, such a threshold may be within your reach.
Ambitious efforts require aggressive tactics, right? So to effectively double your revenue, you will have to capitalize on the successes of your previous experiences and also come up with a set of new tricks.
1. Start Fundraising Early
Depending on whom you intend to get the donations from, either sponsors or guests, it will take some time to communicate with everyone effectively and to convince them to donate.
By starting early, you have enough time to send out invitations and donation requests. And, if it’s a tactic which makes sense in your case, you can send renewal letters to previous partners asking them if they are willing to support your current event.
After this initial first wave of invitations, you can follow-up with another request – asking the donors if they have considered your proposition.
As an added benefit, starting early means you have some extra time to focus on getting new potential donors to consider your event.
2. Provide Early-Bird Tickets
Building the premises for a successful event starts well before the day of the actual event.
You want people to be marking their calendars and committing to your fundraiser as early on as possible. That’s because there are many fundraiser events throughout the year that your potential donors could attend instead of yours.
To deal with all that competition, start promoting your event as soon as you have a date in mind and offer discounted prices for tickets.
Depending on the size of your event, you could offer ticket discounts to the first 100 guests, free raffle tickets maybe or other incentives to make donors want to RSVP right away.
3. Promote Your Event on Social Media
Using social media is an excellent way to get more eyes on your cause and expand your base of supporters. You could create a free Facebook event page and share exciting updates and news there.
However, don’t limit yourself to just Facebook.
Use well-crafted posts across social media to generate buzz around the event. This can boost attendance, which will positively influence your fundraising’s event’s revenue.
What’s more, you never know who will come across your post, maybe your next major corporate donor will learn about your organization via Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat.
4. Offer More than One Way to Give
The most straightforward and most efficient way to boost your fundraising event’s revenue is to provide attendees with multiple opportunities to donate.
Here are a few fundraising ideas to consider if you want to create a more complex, more versatile giving experience for attendees:
- Branded merchandise. T-shirts, mugs, headphones with the logo of your organization; these can all provide an additional incentive for guests to spend money to support your cause.
- Add a raffle. It will not only make the event more interactive and more exciting, but you’ll get to raise more money from selling raffle tickets.
- Go digital. Make sure your organization’s online donation page is optimized for mobile and makes it easy for people to give on the go. Don’t forget to encourage people to use their mobile phones to support your cause during the event.
5. Make Better Fundraiser Asks
Making the ask is probably one of the most challenging things to do as an event organizer. However, if you want to turn your fundraising goal into a reality, you will have to do it.
One of the first things you should do is to do thorough research on your potential donors. It helps if you are knowledgeable about the person you are contacting, as it shows you’re serious about your proposition.
If it’s a company, you can do some “detective” work and, for example, research the company’s history and past activities.
Also, when getting in contact with a potential donor, be sure to always provide them with a briefing about your organization, its members and what your objectives are.
Lastly, try to make an ask in person. Being face-to-face when you’re asking for a sum of money shows commitment to your cause. Also, it is also reassuring for the donor.
6. Invest in High-Quality Entertainment
Entertainment builds excitement, it puts people in a good mood and enhances their experience at your event. It also helps generate buzz (through pre-event communication) and increase the chances of more people showing up for the event.
Finally, it shows you’ve put some extra effort into creating a memorable experience for attendees and elevates the perceived value of the event’s ticket.
Also, when people are relaxed, feel entertained and appreciated, they are more likely to reach deeper into their pockets.
That said, here are a few of our top recommendations to ramp up the entertainment at your event.
- Live Event Painting. If you want to surprise attendees with something unique, you can’t go wrong with a live painter who can turn your fundraiser into a work of art. If you want, you can auction off the final painting and further boost your fundraising event’s revenue.
- Clean Comedians. Even fundraisers who deal with heart-rending issues, such as illness and natural disasters, can benefit from a comedian who can warm up the crowd and bring a hearty dose of optimism.
- Magic. Magicans are interactive, fun and they bring that exciting element of surprise to a fundraising event. What’s more, a magic act is extremely flexible in terms of size, format and stage presentation. So, regardless of whether you’re planning a smaller fundraiser or a large gala, you can make it work.
7. Put Together a High Energy Fundraising Event
The way you organize your fundraising event plays a big part in attracting revenue. If you intend to gather funds from attendees, then it’s essential to put more effort into the organizational role.
What you want is to offer your guests something they can look forward to by turning your event into a worthwhile experience.
You could add something special to your event’s programme, such as some moments of entertainment.
After all, entertainment serves as an excellent platform for you to make a donation plea.
A magician, a high-energy musical act or a comedian are all excellent picks to set the right tone for the event. For more entertainment options, make sure to check out the other amazing artists, speakers, and performers in our portfolio.
8. Use Visuals to Tell Your Story
Anyone who’s been in the fundraising industry for a hot second knows potential donors will always respond better to storytelling than to hard, cold facts. But you can further maximize the impact of storytelling by adding a visual component.
As people, we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data.
You can use that to make a lasting impression on your event attendees and tell your story in a way which will inspire donations. How?
- Put together a video featuring testimonials from those your nonprofit serves. You can also include animations of statistics and snippets from community events. Play the clip at the event; it will act as an emotional trigger, making more people want to donate.
- Use live Sand art. Joe Castillo’s powerful Sand Story art goes beyond words and has an emotional power which is indeed one-of-a-kind. Learn more about it by watching the video below:
9. Put Together a Fierce Follow-up Strategy
A strong follow-up strategy can help keep donations pouring into your organization long after the event has come to an end.
The primary goal here is to turn attendees into recurring donors and here are a few pointers to help with that:
- Take the time to thank everyone for taking part in the event. In-person interaction is essential, but you’ll most likely won’t be able to shake everyone’s hand. So make sure to send attendees a heartfelt email, no longer than three days after the event.
- Keep guests in the loop. Send them updates about your organization, the status of your cause and the impact their donations have helped make.
- Ask for their input regarding the event. Any feedback can help you plan better, more effective fundraisers in the future.
Ways to Make Your Fundraising Event Unforgettable
It may be a challenge to come up with an unforgettable fundraising event these days. The standards event planning has gotten to are high and increasing. That is not a reason to feel discouraged.
There can still be ways to create memorable experiences for your donors to get them on your side. Here’s a list of three things you can do:
1. Use the Fundraising Event as an Opportunity to Share
Charities have an advantage that most profit-based organizations lack: The emotional impact. Charities do not focus on themselves. They do not raise money to increase their prosperity. At least, that is the case for real charities. Their story is more about others and their needs rather than themselves. So, look at this fundraising event as your best chance to share “the heart and the soul” of your efforts. For instance, you can:
- Tell the beginning story of your work. Share bits of the experiences, causes or things that made you want to fight for that cause.
- Share your mission. Put all the effort into building up a mission statement that reveals your exact goals. Make it short and inspiring.
- Explain the needs your charity is striving to meet. Use personal stories or photos to show the impact of your efforts. Statistics should only occur as a small reference intertwined with real situations.
- Reveal the impact of specific donations. That is an excellent way to show recognition of your donors’ generosity and to motivate new donations.
2. Engage Donors- Don’t Just Ask for Money
There’s an aspect many charities tend to miss when trying to stimulate donors’ generosity: The process. Are you hoping to plan a fundraising event that will get you the necessary money for the following five years of activity? You should think again.
Look at such an event as a starting point for some of your donors. Alternatively, as a milestone for the ones who’ve supported your cause before. Consequently, you should set up a donation system that goes beyond that particular moment:
- Create personal profiles of beneficiaries and invite people to become their sponsors. People may be more willing to donate on a regular basis when they connect to the recipient. Sponsorships trigger commitment in the long run.
- Showcase the impact of a certain amount of money. Most donors have strong financial awareness. They value every dollar spent. So, it could be a good idea to show numbers along with the social impact. Just point out that the more they donate, the greater the influence they have in changing things for, the better.
- Collect email addresses to send follow-up information about how donations have made a difference. That may be a good re-starting point for people who may have stopped donating.
3. Make It Fun!
Fundraising events are great opportunities to share sad realities that need a solution. However, this is no reason to exclude fun from the experience.
On the contrary, use a bit of humor to loosen up the atmosphere. No matter how dark life is, catching the blues will not fix it. Feel free to lighten up the event by adding a note of fun:
- Amusing setting – no written code says charity events need to take place in a ballroom. Why not go for an outdoor picnic, for instance? It saves you money and gives your occasion a bit of a playful touch.
- Fun food – Fundraising dinners are not all about caviar and silverware. The food you serve may come in the shape of funny sandwiches. Alternatively, they may have unusual tastes that relate to the area where your charity intervention unfolds.
- Great entertainment – Some professional entertainers can take you from laughter to crying and all the way back. Moreover, they can do this with just a few touches of their vocal cords. Why not hire one? It is a sure ticket to making your event truly unforgettable.
Let’s Get the Show Started
Doubling your Fundraising Event’s Revenue is no small feat. However, if you follow the tips we’ve showcased in our article, it will be much easier for you to achieve this goal.
If entertainment is your weapon of choice to fight off event boredom and possibly boost donations, then we can help you book some of the best performers out there.
Need a hand with choosing the right entertainers for your next charity event? We can help you make the choice that will wow your attendees.
Turn Your Fundraising Events into a Smashing Success
We hope you enjoyed reading these tips and you’re already thinking about using some of them to increase the revenue of your next fundraising event.
Come back to our blog whenever you need some new ideas and fresh inspiration to make your events the best they can be. Also, sign up for our weekly newsletter and get top resources and hacks delivered right in your inbox.