Growing Your Donor Base Through Holiday Special Events
Many nonprofits are planning a holiday special event. When asked why they are having the event we usually hear, “To raise money!” They certainly do that. Do they do it effectively or efficiently?
| Posted in Fundraising on Nov 16, 2010 by
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Special events take work. After all of the expenses are paid, how much did you actually make? What percent of the budget was that? When you total all of the hours (volunteer and professional staff), how much did you make per hour?
Sometimes that analysis causes people to say, “Let’s cancel it!” Perhaps restructuring is a better idea. Was it just a party or was it primarily about the mission? If it is about the mission, there is probably a donor or a group of donors who are willing to underwrite the event. If they do, the net income will be significantly higher.
Who is attending? Are they the same people who were there last year and the year before and …? If so, the growth in income from the event is limited. In addition, the opportunity to grow the donor base is limited.
Perhaps you could ask 20% of the attendees to invite someone to come in their place and pay for the new person’s ticket. That will introduce new people to the organization and provide an opportunity to increase the donor base. The event income remains unchanged. Doing that every year doubles the number of event alumni every 5 years. That can be a significant increase in donors. If you did that with each special event, how long would it be before your donor base doubled in size?
Perhaps if you analyze your current attendee list you will discover that most attendees stop coming after 3 or 4 years. If so, then change the 20% to 33% or 25%. This provides them with a graceful and mutually beneficial exit.
- Analyze your special events (holiday, spring, golf, etc.) and determine if they are as effective as you would like
- Ensure they are mission focused
- Find an underwriter or group of underwriters for each event or cancel the events that lack an underwriter
- Use each event as an opportunity to grow your donor base
Using the preceding process ensures the donor base will grow. It will also ensure that there is a replacement for donors lost through natural attrition.
It is reasonable to expect to increase your donor base at a higher rate than the rate of population growth for your community. Achieving this ensures that financial support will grow at a speed to match the increasing demand for services most years. In other word, you will have a sustainable funding stream.
Which event will be the first to be restructured?
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