Lately I have been approached by a number of different groups all inquiring about special events.
So while I don’t necessarily overwhelmingly think that they are a great singular and isolated strategy in your fundraising toolbox, I do think that they have a place in an overall fundraising strategy. Only if done with the aim to build deeper and more meaningful relationships.
So often I have been in charge of putting on golf tournaments, walk-a-thon’s, gala dinners and other such events only to realize that most folks are there because they were asked by someone else to participate in an event for which they came to play a round of golf, to walk with their friends or family, or to have a fabulous social night out. The problem with this is that I rarely seen the organization’s donor file increase or grow in the consistency of its loyal supporters.
Where do these organizations go wrong?
I believe it is in the pre and post event follow-up. If an event is to be successful one must make strong attempts to transfer this relationship from an episodic affinity to a person to one that is more long-lasting, loyal, and consistent and bound to the organization.
The end result?
The person comes to your golf tournament next year, not because it will be the promise of another great day of golf with friends, but, because this is one of the many ways that they choose to support the mission and vision of this great organization that they have developed a meaningful relationship with.
I recommend that after the event is over, and the final tallies have been calculated is when the real work of the event begins. It is up to the organization to design clear, consistent, and year-round engagement strategies that call this participant into more meaningful involvement within the organization making deep connections to the mission and vision, building a truly strong sustainable and enduring relationship.
As organizations we need to stop looking at fundraising as an end in and of itself. It can and should be much more than that. It is a way to convert event participants into loyal and consistent donors build a strong base of support for your mission and vision.
Is your organization translating affinities to the organization through its event pre and post engagement strategies into something much more meaningful and deeper?