CHAPTER TWO: EVENT FUNDRAISING
Engaged Supporters Equals a Successful Fundraising Event
In fact, with the right technology, getting people involved and excited about your charity event can be easier than you think!
No matter what type of fundraising event you’re organizing, this in-depth guide will provide key cross-channel marketing strategies that will help you maximize attendance and participation to set your organization up for event fundraising success.
This guide can help you organize and market any type of fundraising event—everything from runs, walks, and rides, to galas, golf tournaments, and more.
See how you can engage donors and boost fundraising event participation through different types of mobile and online solutions:
Sell Tickets Online with Just a Few Clicks
Online tickets take the hassle out of event planning
Mobile and online event fundraising software allows participants of all ages to sign up for any type of event in seconds from the convenience of a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
Getting the word out about ticket sales is one of the first things you can do to market your fundraising event.
In addition the standard date, time, and location information, you’ll want to include a brief explanation as to what your event is and who or what it’s supporting, as well as a keyword and shortcode that gives supporters a simple way to buy tickets by simply sending a text message on their mobile device.
Be sure to feature your organization’s name or logo on the payment form for those who may not be familiar with your cause. The more people who attend, the better!
Only Selling a Limited Amount of Tickets?
Be sure to include how many tickets are left or if the event is sold out in email, text message, and social media updates about your event. This will motivate your supporters to buy their tickets sooner rather than later.
Event Fundraising Tip: Once the event is sold out you can direct supporters to a waitlist form or a page for upcoming events.
Nearly 20% of event registrations come from mobile devices. Keep this in mind as part of your event fundraising strategy so you don’t miss out on potential RSVPs and donations by ignoring your mobile audience!
Simplify RSVPs to Maximize Attendance
Boost participation with mobile and online invitations, registrations, and reminders
Step 1: Fundraising Event Invitations
Invitations are the first step in your fundraising event marketing plan, which create the excitement and buzz around your event. In addition the standard date, time, and location information, you’ll want to include a brief explanation as to what your event is supporting, as well as a keyword and shortcode that allows supporters to RSVP from their phones. Be sure to include your organization’s name on the invite for those who may not be familiar with your cause.
When marketing your fundraising event invites should be promoted on all channels including email, social media, direct mail, and text message. For marketing channels that support images it’s best to include the event information in both the image and message text to make it shareable.
Event Fundraising Tip: Create a public event on Facebook with instructions on how to RSVP, buy tickets, and donate. This gives you the ability to invite those who “like” your page. Invitees can then invite people in their network, increasing your attendance.
How to increase RSVPs for event fundraising success
- Upload phone numbers and send text message reminders
- Have your supporters subscribe for updates by texting your keyword
- Ask for registrations and out-of-towner gifts
- Tell supporters who do not prefer texts to reply STOP to opt out
Make sure your invitation emails are mobile-friendly and include a clear call-to-action button to RSVP as well as an explanation as to what the event donations will be used for. You can even include a donate link for those who can’t attend.
Bright images and bold colors increase shareability and engagement regardless of channel or media type. Include event information on the image itself so supporters can share with their social network.
There is still a place for traditional invites sent by mail, especially for black tie events like dinner galas. However, you can still incorporate mobile and online capabilities by including QR codes and a keyword/shortcode that links to your event sign-up page in order to make it easy for recipients to simply go online and RSVP to support your cause.
Step 2: Event Registrations
Here’s the most important part for a successful event fundraising strategy: turning your invitees into attendees!
RSVP forms need to be easy to fill out, but should capture all the information needed by your organization to stay in touch with supporters both before and after the event. Your RSVP form must also work on any device—PC, tablet or smartphone—or else you may miss out on valuable attendee support and donations.
To guarantee the most form submissions, stick to the bare necessities: name, email, mobile number, and donation/ticket information.
If your organization needs extra information, such as a mailing address to send direct response mail to, or shirt size for a run/walk, this is the place to include it. Just remember to keep it simple!
Event Fundraising Tip: Include your event branding and benefit statement on the RSVP form to keep invitees reminded of the good they will be supporting by attending your event.
Send automatic email donation receipts to thank donors for their ticket purchase and supporting your organization.
Send automatic text message donation confirmations as an instant reply when donors submit a form. Don’t forget to thank them here too!
Step 3: Fundraising Event Reminders
Your supporters are busy people. Perhaps they see your email and forget to respond, or accidentally toss out your direct mail invite.
Fear not! Text messages are a great way to boost the success of your fundraising event registrations, as well as remind those who have already RSVP’d about your event in the weeks leading up to the big day. This can be accomplished easily by dividing invitees and attendees into two separate lists.
Event Fundraising Tip: It is best to couple event reminders with compelling storytelling about your event or cause. Tell recipients why the event is important, how they are helping propel your mission, and who or what will benefit from their attendance. This is your chance to tug on those heartstrings and inspire your supporters!
Tip: Engage registrants with compelling stories leading up to your event. Short videos are best!
Using text messages to market your fundraising event makes it easy to send links to compelling videos, benefactor stories, and recaps from previous events to help build excitement prior to the big day.
Text message reminders also help dramatically increase event participation by giving you the option to send friendly reminders and communicate any last minute changes or information leading up to the event.
4 Simple Steps to Mobile Pledging Success
Increase giving with 4 steps proven to maximize results for your best event yet
Step 1: Set Up Your Donation Keyword for your Event
In your event fundraising strategy, your donation keyword will likely be the main way attendees make donations during your event, so be sure to select an available keyword that is branded to your organization.
Your keyword or acronym should be one word to avoid any AutoCorrect errors. When participants text your keyword to the shortcode 41444 (or 91999) they will receive a text message reply with a link to fulfill their gift with a credit or debit card.
Donors with unfulfilled pledges will receive up to 3 automatic text message reminders and can receive a follow up voice call from a member of your team.
Did you know? All participants that make a pledge via keyword are automatically subscribed to receive ongoing text alerts from your organization.
Basics of a text-to-donate keyword donation
- Compose a text to a shortcode phone number
- In the message: include keyword, pledge amount & donor name
- In the reply text: include your organization name
- Add your mobile-friendly donation link
- Don’t forget to include an unsubscribe option
Step 2: Set Up Your Fundraising Event Donation Page
The donation page is where your attendees will go to fulfill their pledge, making it a vital component of your event fundraising strategy. Customize your page with your organization’s branding and custom fields to capture the donor data you need.
Mobile pledges can be easily fulfilled through the secure reply link from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet, meaning attendees will be able to donate right from their seats.
Tips: Include images, custom messages, and custom fields on your donation page to reinforce the intention of the gift and collect maximum amounts. Embed your donation form on your website for easy pre- and post-event giving.
Essentials of an event donation page
- Custom donation page branding (organization or event logo)
- Recurring gift options and suggested donation amount
- Credit card fields (Apple and Android AutoFill compatible)
- Donor data fields
- Custom fields for any other data collection
- Customized donate button text
Step 3: Set Up Your Fundraising Event Thermometer
Basics of a fundraising event thermometer
- Simple on-screen instructions
- Display pledge amount & donor name(s) (optional)
- Goal, total raised, & donor count
- Custom event branding and colors
Here comes the best part: creating an exciting moment of giving live at your event! Customize your fundraising event thermometer with custom colors and imagery and have it ready to be displayed during the most compelling part of your event—then instruct attendees to make a pledge and watch the donations roll in.
Mobile pledges and donor names will appear in real time as they are texted in by participants. Donors also have the option to remain anonymous and include a message instead of their name.
Donations that display dynamically on-screen create an exciting moment of giving that increases how much people give by 25%.
As donations come in, the thermometer rises, donations are totaled, and donors are counted, creating a shared experience—and maybe even a little friendly —as donors contribute and watch the thermometer climb to your event goal.
Event Fundraising Tip: Strengthen your call-to-action with printed giving instructions displayed on table tents. For maximum participation, the event emcee should thank donors from the stage as names appear on screen and challenge attendees to give as much as they can to support your mission. You can also manually enter online and out-of-towner gifts to keep the giving momentum going.
Step 4: Set Up Automatic Tax Receipts
Tax receipts are not only helpful to your donors, but they also reinforce your branding and give you an instant opportunity to thank donors for their gifts.
Tip: Send automatic text message thank yous in addition to donation receipt emails to reduce admin time and save money on postage while showing donors how grateful you are for their generous donation. Remember to tell them exactly what their donation is helping your organization accomplish.
Plus, first-time donors who get a personal thank you within 48 hours are 4x more likely to give a second gift. So never underestimate the importance of saying thanks!
Tax receipt must haves
- Sent via email
- Your organization’s branding
- Thank you message
- Donation confirmation
- Tax receipt link
- Compliance message
After making a donation, donors should receive an on-screen confirmation with social share links. In just one tap or click they can share your donation page with their social networks to increase awareness and giving.
They will also receive a text message confirmation of their donation for their records.
Download a free PDF version of this online fundraising guide…
PDF version contains all of the content and resources found in the web-based guide