When you plan your fundraising event or marketing activity, your FIRST GOAL is to plan something irresistibly appealing to those who already love you. Make it so fun, so perfectly aligned with your cause that your fans will happily share it. And plan lots of ways to make that sharing effortless.
I heard this great advice – and lots more – in Raising More Money From Events, a webinar presented by The Chronicle of Philanthropy with presenters Samantha Swaim, of Swaim Strategies, and Rebecca Alexander, an event consultant.
Does Your Fundraising Bring The Fun?
Here’s one of their many examples of fun, mission-aligned events: An outdoor-gear store hosted the Great Sock Giveaway – a fundraiser to provide support to the homeless. The appeal: Buy one pair of socks in December, and the store will donate one pair to a homelessness-prevention organization. But the retail-partner’s staff are all-in for the cause: With each purchase, the cashier yells “One Pair of Socks for Charity” and store-elves toss the socks in Santa’s bag. Is that a fundraiser worth filming on your smartphone and posting to Facebook? Is that an appeal worth recommending to your camping club?
Another example: At an event to raise money for a financial literacy program for domestic-violence survivors, a nonprofit featured The Passing of the Purse. They took a highly desirable designer purse (donated, of course) and passed it among event attendees. Everyone was asked to stuff the purse with cash and gift cards from their own wallets – to give as if supporting a friend-in-need. The purse and its contents were then auctioned to the highest bidder. Could a professional auctioneer playfully-but-effectively put pressure on the winning bidder to keep the purse but donate its contents back to the Cause? You bet! Will next year’s attendees be encouraged to bring more cash and do even more good via the Passing of the Purse? I hope so.
Your cause IS your theme. Your donors ARE the reason for your success. Build your event to reinforce these ideas, and the donors (and their friends!) will follow.