February 7, 2019
Usually, the fundraising goal for nonprofit events is to raise money. Sounds pretty logical to us. But another, less focused-on goal—and one that's crucial to your nonprofit's growth and future—is to increase your supporter base. Diversify, friend.
Why focus on getting more supporters?
The best part of getting more supporters for a more static fundraising goal is that you can get away with a lower donation threshold and still achieve your fundraising target. A $50 ask across 1000 people is easier to stomach than asking 100 people for $500.
So how do you do it?
One pretty exciting way is through your events like we mentioned earlier.
Take galas, for example. Or, don't, actually. Galas are high-profile, high-threshold, high-dollar events that require a pretty hefty investment for attendees, even those who are guests of your major donors. You gotta get a babysitter, a snappy suit or cocktail attire, and you're gonna feel pressured to commit $$$$ at the event. That's a lot to invest in a cause you know nothing about.
Here are some events that are low-stress for you, the event coordinator, and low-stakes for your brand-new supporters. These events give them a chance to introduce themselves to your cause and culture without the pressure of the dramatic donation sales pitch (which has a time and place!). You just need to worry about advertising so that you get your event in front of new eyeballs.
Social media live event
Social media events are rising in popularity, which is great news for nonprofits that want to reach more tech-savvy donors, particularly millennials, who are on track to become the most philanthropic generation ever. In addition to reaching new donor audiences, some major upsides to this type of event are that it's freeeeeee and you can interact with tons of people at once. The downsides are that you're not giving each supporter individual attention and it may be tough to get people to "attend".
Try this: get a rad prize to raffle off, direct supporters to purchase tickets, then attend your live event to see whether they won. Only people who have tickets will be in the drawing for the top prize, but you can offer smaller raffle prizes to other people who drop by your online event. And of course, you can ask for small donations from everyone who shows up.
When we think of flash mobs, we think of people dancing in sync in town squares or on the subway. If getting people to practice and execute a complicated dance sounds like a nightmare (we hear you), try something easier: getting people to freeze on a command or getting everyone to pull out a party blower and throw (eco-friendly) confetti at the same time. Tease your supporter base with the idea and then provide the details after they've bought tickets to your flash mob event. You could even send out a party pack to each "attendee" ahead of the event so they have the right funny hat and gloves to put on as they hug strangers.
Creating a tangible connection to your mission through people, places, and things is nonprofit gold, so believe us when we say that people love scavenger hunts! The beautiful thing about this idea is that you can build a scavenger hunt that people can use year-round allowing supporters to be introduced to your cause when they're ready. Go through your city and find important landmarks, historical locations, and places that are significant to your nonprofit. Write leading clues and instruct hunters to take pictures of something specific, then share on social media and tag your org.
It's not just kids these days that love video games. 58% of Americans aged 30-49 play video games, so your baby boomers are just as likely to get in on this as the kiddos. For a fun night out, coordinate with a local arcade, adult gaming venue, or even a Chuck-E-Cheese's to set up a night of unlimited gaming fun. Sell tickets to your sponsored night and let the fun begin!
Ideas for events-within-an-event: One specific game donates all proceeds to your organization. Go old-school and have a Pinball Wizard competition! Or even see who can play a game the longest. Have funny prizes on hand for winners.
Host a parade
Parades are common for holidays, but what about just for fun? Talk to your city about planning a parade for the day most closely related to your cause, like International Women's Day (March 8), International Day of Charity (Sept 5), or even Dance Like A Chicken Day (May 14). Make it about celebrating the impact you and charities like yours have made in your community and the world at large. You could also use this as an opportunity to call upon City officials and local celebrities who are passionate about the type of work you do.
Try this: sell parade placements through Funraise's events platform to local businesses, community groups, and even individuals. If you went with something like Global Cat Day (Oct 16), you could offer tickets to cat owners and host a kitty costume contest. Just make sure it doesn't land on the same day as National Fetch Day (3rd Saturday in October) or it'll be raining cats and dogs—literally!
All of these events have the potential to reach a varied base of supporters for your cause, bringing you new donations and helping you reach nonprofit event fundraising goals that previously were an uphill struggle