Why Fundraising Events Are About More Than Money

Fundraising events are about more than just the money.Does your nonprofit fundraise through major events?

Unless you’re part of an 18% minority, the answer is yes. And these events come with a myriad of upfront costs and planning time.

So, how do you know if you’re making the most of your events?

new report from nonprofit technology review firm Software Advice researched eight types of common fundraising events and their return on investment. What did they find? For one thing, fun runs and walks had the highest return on investment, particularly for midsize and large nonprofits. Check it out:


However, the report also shines light on an interesting, and potentially overlooked fact: Fundraising events are about building relationships with your nonprofit and its cause. More important than the amount of money you raise in a single day, fundraising events can lead to long term donations to, awareness of, and loyalty to your nonprofit.

And incorporating volunteers into your events is a great way to make the most of this relationship building potential.

Let’s break this down.

  1. Many event attendees are already volunteers, in a sense.

Many attendees of fundraising events, especially fun runs and walks, are what I like to call multi-level supporters. What does this mean? Folks that attend these events are not just giving a monetary donation. They’re giving you their time. And some are giving more time than others.

Putting together a basket for an auction. Reaching out to friends for pledges. Publicizing and generating interest in the event. The people doing these things are volunteering their time to grow your event. And these are the people that may be interested in doing more next time around.

  1. One-time event attendees have the potential to turn into loyal supporters.

Sometimes, attending an event may be the first touch point between a potential long-term supporter and your organization. Don’t squander this opportunity. Create what Software Advice calls “transformational” events.

Katherine Wertheim, principal at Werth-It Consulting, says, “By the end of an event, guests should be able to tell you about the nonprofit, its cause and why they should care about it. If they can’t do that, you’ve missed out.”

Attendees that loved your event, and especially those mentioned above as multi-level supporters, are the perfect group to reach out to when looking for volunteers for your next event. [pullquote]46K+ volunteers list event planning as a skill on their VolunteerMatch profiles.[/pullquote]

  1. Volunteers don’t only attend events. They help build them.

Rather than only posting volunteer roles that include day of set-up and participation, consider involving volunteers through the whole process. Over 46,000 volunteers list “event planning” as a skill on their VolunteerMatch profiles, and a whopping 97% of millennials prefer to use their skills when volunteering, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report.

Yes, a fundraising event can raise you a lot of money. But if you do it right, it can also raise your supporters to the next level, and build relationships that will last for years to come.

Photo credit: Sugarsweetcookies

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