Although many fundraising events have a great underlying purpose, sometimes there simply is not enough focus on the bottom line. Fundraising events that generate thousands of dollars may have a negative Return on Investment (ROI).
Fact is, nonprofits need money to run programs that meet their mission. You don’t want to spend time, energy and resources putting together a fundraising event that does not help your nonprofit do so. The last thing you want is an event that actually loses you money. Avoiding some common fundraising event mistakes can help ensure ROI is not overlooked.
3 Fundraising Event ROI Mistakes to Avoid
You may have heard of the 6 P’s: “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. This is true even for fundraising events. Waiting until the last minute is of no benefit to any party involved in a fundraiser, and it can be a precursor to poor ROI. Proper planning beings with determining your fundraising strategy and goals. It ends with working backward to figure out what it will take to achieve those goals, including the investment of time, human resources and money.
Not Being Explicit About the Group’s Needs
Shyness is the opposite quality that is needed for fundraising success. The fact is, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Although it can be awkward or embarrassing for some people, money is what makes your group’s world go round. If you aren’t explicit in your ask, there will likely not be an offer. So, speak up and ask for those sponsorship dollars, state what your fundraising goals are and promote the ways the fundraising event is attempting to reach those goals.
Neglecting to Thank Your Donors
Being openly thankful at the event itself is one way to encourage more contributions. After all, you get more with honey than vinegar. Likewise, showing your gratitude post-event is a sure fire way to improve the ROI of future events. This could be done via phone call, social media callout, email or snail mail. Our sample letters for nonprofits includes a thank you letter and post card you can customize for your own needs.
Tricks for Boosting Fundraising Event ROI
Much like the business world, who you know can help you get what you want. Building a rapport with a solid list of people can ensure your events are a success, because you have a loyal following supporting you in your mission. Once a supporter gives, she is likely to repeat or increase donations in the future.
Take your fundraising promotion in phases by dropping fun tidbits well in advance of the event. As the time gets closer, formalize your exposure efforts and get the word out on every applicable avenue. Use event calendars, social media, email blasts, bulletin boards, local radio and television programs to spread the news to the world.
Do the Math
Take a look at what it’s going to cost you to run the fundraiser and what your goals are. Then, figure out what is needed to achieve them. Make sure your ticket prices are high enough to have a positive return on expenditures like venue, dinner, fuel, shipping, raw goods and event speakers.
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A Note About Fundraising ROI During COVID-19
As it stands, many of these fundraising events may not happen in 2020. We’re all anxiously awaiting what 2021 and beyond will bring for events and general togetherness. One great thing to come out of the madness is seeing how creative people have gotten when it comes to maintaining connection. That includes nonprofits who are hosting virtual fundraisers, going digital with mobile credit card processors, and selling tickets to virtual events.
With the lower expenses associated with virtual events, if you can get creative and bring the same energy and planning to your virtual event, you could actually stand to have a better ROI.