Breathing Life into Stale Fundraising Events

This is the first blog of a three-part series chronicling our recent participation in the West Michigan Public Relations Society’s Nonprofit Workshop held Wednesday, September 9, at which we presented on breathing life into stale events. For part one, let’s tackle the rationale behind fundraisers.

Understand your audience.
Understand your audience.

Anyone involved in the Grand Rapids community is aware of and often attending numerous fundraisers throughout the year. While it is all done for a good purpose with true intention, they can grow exhausting and often blur together because they are all so similar — auction, dinner, program. And though the program is an important piece, not-so-polished public speakers and poor timelines make something that should be short and sweet last for hours.
A few facts about fundraising events:

  • Fundraisers do not work miracles, especially if it is a first-year event. It needs to grow with significant time being dedicated to cultivating donor relationships.
  • An event costs fifty cents on the dollar. It is not the most effective fundraising tactic.
  • You can raise more money with one annual event than with three, four or five smaller events. Avoid donor fatigue!
  • If you focus all of your energy on one major event each year, you can raise bigger sponsorships because the single event has the visibility and pizazz.

Why only one major event?

  • Your volunteers can go all out and focus on spreading the word and generating attendance while YOU focus on fundraising!
  • You will have the lead time you need to identify, cultivate and secure sponsors. That is where the money is!
  • You’ll have greater attendance and attention from your supporters. Don’t force them to choose between multiple events in a year.
  • You’ll be able to raise more money overall because the staff has the time to focus on more productive and efficient fundraising strategies.

We recommend one major fundraising event and a smaller event focused on individual donors.
Understand your community, donors and audience. Hosting one major event each year will allow you to focus on more EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE fundraising tactics. Don’t get us wrong, events raise money and are great for spreading awareness around the mission and vision of the organization; however, set realistic goals and understand events are not magic.
Thanks again to the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America for inviting us to speak at their Nonprofit Workshop. If you didn’t attend this year, read up on what you missed and be sure to attend in 2016.
Check our blog next week for Part Two of Breathing Life into Stale Events.

Source: Fired Up Fundraising,

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