The evening was over and about 75% of the guests had already left. Our team of six was packing up all of our equipment for the night. An ecstatic employee of the nonprofit walked up to me and said, “This was the most amount of money we have ever raised. Thank you!”
Nonprofits around the world spend so much time and money every year trying to figure out the holy grail to fundraising…how do we get people to donate? After producing hundreds of nonprofit videos and attending many events (too many to count), we know what works. We have our formula and we’re here to share it with you today.
This list is by no means exhaustive and doesn’t guarantee results but if you incorporate some of these tips into your next nonprofit event, you just might see some success!
Donors want to know the impact their money will have in furthering your nonprofit’s mission. Pictures, text, and speeches can only go so far. But when you see someone in their own words saying how a nonprofit organization impacted their lives and seeing what that impact looks like, that’s pretty powerful.
Let’s say you frequent a local coffee shop. Week after week, day after day, you go there. Everyday, you say hi to Sara who is always at the cash register. You ask how Sara’s morning is going, what she’s doing for the day…it’s usually a very cordial conversation. Sara responds to your questions, returns your change, and gives you your coffee.
But after doing this routine for three months, you realize that Sara has never thanked you for buying their coffee. In fact, Sara doesn’t even know your name. Think about that for a moment. How sad is that?
Perhaps you have identified a list of the most qualified donors; people you know who will come back year after year and donate to your cause. But have you thanked them? Have you shown them how their impact has helped your nonprofit? Have an impact film produced that shows the work your nonprofit is doing. It will make a world of difference and you may even see a few tears in the room.
Speeches and slideshows are great but donors nowadays want to be entertained. Consider providing some sort of live entertainment to wow your crowd. For this particular nonprofit event, it was called “Dancing With The Barrington Stars”, which was held at Avante Banquets in Fox River Grove, IL. Local “celebrities” were chosen to dance with well-trained dancers. The pair would practice for several weeks leading up to the event, choreographing a dance to music with the help of a local dance school.
Prior to the event, people could donate money to their favorite team. The team who raised the most money would receive the “People’s Choice Award”. During each of their dances, we displayed a live total on large projection screens that would update as people donated more money to them. The projection screens we provided also showed a live video feed of the dancers so everyone was sure to see the action up close.
On the night of the event, we provided a top-tier lighting system, which changed colors and moved to the music. Each of the dances had a color theme so we used those colors in the lighting scheme. Attendees were on their feet, clapping and dancing to the music. The night was a blast.
At the end of the night, awards were handed out to the People’s Choice Award winner, Judge’s winner, etc.
Live Donation Amounts
Throughout the night, the nonprofit organization held various appeals to increase the overall donation amount. On the projection screens we had, we displayed live totals, showing real-time donation amounts coming in. People loved to see their donation impact the overall goal and it was a fun, interactive way for everyone in attendance to collectively help the nonprofit reach (and in this case exceed) their fundraising goal.
If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that people will watch events online. We still have many clients concerned that offering a live online component to your event will impact in-person ticket sales. We are here to tell you that every event we have livestreamed, the number of people watching the event online was 2-4X the number of people in attendance.
Think of that for a moment. If you have 200-400 people in person, what kind of impact could your nonprofit make if you were able to 2-4X that audience with an online component? By offering a livestream of your nonprofit event, now people who weren’t able to be at your event at the exact date/time/location, can now tune in from all over the world. Offer digital tickets, sponsorships, and interact with your online audience.
Our nonprofit client went into the event with a $300,000 goal. They ended up raising over $354,000. It was their most successful fundraiser to date!
If you are looking to take your nonprofit event fundraising to the next level, reach out to us today to start discussing your next event!
Event Photos: Courtesy Bacoa