3 Targeted Tips to Raise More Revenue at Fundraising Events

By: Partner | 11.10.16

This article was written by Kerri Moore Director of Marketing at Booster, who focuses on helping people raise funds through custom t-shirts.


Fundraising events are opportunities to have fun with your community and drive engagement for a nonprofit’s cause. They’re important for keeping donors invested and active in an organization’s mission.

However, with the costs of venue, catering, entertainment, and more, fundraising events run the risk of costing more than they bring in. That’s why it’s incredibly important that your nonprofit raises enough money to justify hosting an event in the first place.

To ensure that you’re bringing in a steady revenue stream, we suggest trying these three strategies:

  1. Create friendly competition.
  2. Offer multiple donation channels.
  3. Build a strong follow-up strategy.

Let’s break down each point in more detail.


Create friendly competition

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Before the event, you can raise more by creating friendly competition among your individual fundraisers. Competition encourages your supporters to go above and beyond their individual fundraising goals.

A peer-to-peer fundraising model work best for this strategy. In a peer-to-peer model, individual fundraisers or fundraising teams solicit donations from their networks via a personal donation page. Because peer-to-peer fundraising relies on supporters’ connections, donors are able to support both your cause and the individual fundraiser.

Donors may be more eager to contribute to a campaign if they know that they’re helping a friend or family member “win.”

Though competition is fun for its own sake, you can further increase the fundraising frenzy by offering an incentive to your top fundraising teams.

The incentive can be anything, including:

  • A prize.
  • Recognition at your event.
  • A special volunteer opportunity.
  • Discounts at your nonprofit’s store.

Takeaway: Pairing your event with peer-to-peer fundraising can create friendly competition between your fundraising teams, leading to more donations before your event even starts.

Bonus tip: Creating competition is especially effective for school fundraisers. Since students are already segmented by grade and class, you have predetermined fundraising teams!


Offer multiple donation channels

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During the course of the fundraising event, you’ll want to provide your attendees with plenty of opportunities to donate.

To create the best, most versatile giving experience for your donors, you can:

  • Invest in the right software. Certain events will require specific software. Charity auctions, for example, can benefit from mobile bidding software, which allows attendees to place bids from their phones. Other software, like text-to-give, allows attendees to text their donations to your nonprofit. Investing in this software can make giving more convenient and intuitive for your attendees.
  • Sell products and merchandise. Selling products provides attendees with an incentive to make a purchase, which can increase your revenue. Choose practical, relevant products that complement your event (t-shirts, for example, pair well with walkathons).
  • Optimize online donation pages. Since your attendees will be mobile at your event, it’s important that they’re able to access your nonprofit’s website and online donation page from their personal phones. Ensure that your pages load correctly on mobile devices, that buttons are easy to click, and that your text is large enough to read on a phone screen.

You can further encourage attendees to give by making a live appeal. Have a prominent community figure, a board member, or a recipient of your nonprofit’s aid give a short speech asking for donations.

Takeaway: By offering your donors multiple channels and opportunities to give, they’ll be more likely to respond with a donation.

Bonus tip: As fewer donors are carrying cash these days, raise more by allowing your supporters to pay on-site with credit cards. Study up on credit card processing with this iATS guide!


Build a strong follow-up strategy

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When it comes to raising more at your next fundraising event, you need to invest in long term sustainability. That is to say, you want to retain your attendees as recurring donors.

Once your event is over, you’ll need to:

  • Thank everyone. Attendees, donors, fundraisers, volunteers — all of these people contributed to your cause. Send them thank you letters or emails no more than 3 days after the event. Be sure to segment your communications so that donors aren’t accidentally thanked for volunteering, etc.
  • Update your supporters. At the end of the event, what have you achieved? Provide updates on how much you raised and continue to update donors about the status of your cause. If, for example, you raised $10,000 to build a home, post pictures and videos of the construction process and interview the new homeowner once the project is complete. Your donors want to see how they’ve impacted your cause.

These two steps are vital to retaining your donors. You can also send out surveys to learn more about your donors’ thoughts, so that you can improve for next year.

Takeaway: Following up with your event attendees will help you build stronger relationships with your donors and raise more in the long term.

Bonus tip: Brand any t-shirts and products that you sell with your nonprofit’s name and logo. Branding helps ensure that your donors remember your nonprofit whenever they use the product!

Your fundraising event is an opportunity to build amazing momentum toward achieving your mission. Following these tips can help you make the most of this opportunity by raising more!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to build up your fundraising strategies and connect those efforts to your database, let us know!


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