This week I joined many nonprofit colleagues at the Event Fundraising Table sponsored by the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council, Blackbaud, Charity Dynamics and Event 360, focusing on ideas to stimulate peer to peer fundraising. Below is a summary of my takeaways:
How can I get more event participants to fundraise?
- encourage participants to form and join teams, then ask their employers to sponsor corporate teams
- offer incentives for specified fundraising levels
- provide step by step instructions and coaching
- ask on the registration form – are you planning to fundraise? Then prepare different messaging based on their response
- encourage participant donations – makes it more likely they will ask others to contribute
How to Use Social Media for Event Fundraising
- Sponsor live chats with top fundraisers (chats don’t only have to be about fundraising, but can help to build affiliation with nonprofit)
- Create a mobile phone application, then push it out to social media (has worked well for March of Dimes and will be released soon by National MS Society)
- Target Facebook messages based on location
- Provide Facebook exclusive content
- Give ‘white glove service’ to top fundraisers (at National MS Society – 50% of $ is raised by top 2% of fundraisers!)
- In multi-site organization, national office can offer weekly highlights to provide content to local chapter / affiliate offices
How Can I Enhance My Marketing and Communication Efforts?
- Event360 strongly suggested segmenting messages (my concern – do many of our orgs have staffing to provide strong content for different audiences)
- Focus on customer service – offer a special hotline for top fundraisers
- Use Seth Godin’s ‘Purple Cow‘ concept – find a way to differentiate your event from other organizations offering walks, endurance events etc.
- Ask your nonprofit staff to come down on event day to cheer event participants (has been consistently used successfully by YAI)
- Don’t rely on one person to handle social media (Autism Speaks has devoted considerable resources to build huge audiences on both Facebook & Twitter)
- Visit your organization’s programs and tell great stories (suggested by YAI)
Thanks to roundtable participants who shared their expertise: Scott Archimbaud, March of Dimes; Paul Irwin-Dudek, Autism Speaks; Papa Kofi F. Baffour-Awuah, YAI; and, Nancy Palo, National MS Society (NYC-SNY Chapter) and to David Hessekiel of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council who moderated the panel.
It was also great to see many friends from across the country such as Shana Masterson who attended with several of her co-workers from the American Diabetes Association, Jono Smith from Event 360, and a few attendees from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, where I first focused on managing peer to peer fundraising events.