Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.
How well do you know your donors? Perhaps you're pretty familiar with those that support your cause. Your organization is well established. You've been hosting fundraising events, meeting with major donors and recruiting board members for decades. Maybe you've just joined, or the organization itself is new. There's a lot to learn. Whether you're a long-time staff member or recent recruit, your donor database is changing (and hopefully growing) every day. If you're not carefully tracking your donors, you might be surprised at the characteristics of your "average donor". The more you know about your audience, the more you can plan programs, giving campaigns and fundraising events with personal impact. Today we are going to look at one great way to get to know your supporters: conducting online surveys. We'll cover: Choose an Online Survey Tool Create Your Survey Great Questions for Donor Feedback Great Questions for Planning Events Great Questions for Post-event Feedback Surveys in Action: Help Improve Winspire News! Want to improve your marketing and social media efforts, improve volunteer opportunities, choose a new theme for the next giving campaign or all of the above? Read on for a beginner's guide to nonprofit surveying. Choose an Online Survey Tool According to the May/June issue of Nonprofit Hub Magazine, one of the most common reasons nonprofits do not survey donors is the time commitment of tracking and interpreting data. So you might be surprised at the wealth of user-friendly, convenient and affordable online survey tools at your disposal.
One of the first steps in planning a fundraising auction is assembling the procurement committee. This team of dedicated supporters is given one task, and one task only: to procure unique items that cost little to nothing up front and are valuable enough to drive ticket sales and bidding. Let's face it: The procurement process is daunting, no matter how established your organization is or passionate your team may be. Fortunately, with careful planning and organization, any nonprofit can procure items that fetch high bids.
At Winspire, we are passionate about helping nonprofits raise more money. Event promotion, particularly email marketing, plays a huge role in the outcome of any fundraiser. Last week we looked at what makes an impactful "save the date" email invitation. Striking images, vibrant colors, concise copy and links to a website all encourage donors to mark their calendars for your annual gala, auction or tournament. But the "save the date" is just the first step in a months-long fundraising event email campaign. Are you simply sending weekly reminder emails that rehash the same information over and over? Or are you thinking strategically and creatively to encourage as much participation as possible from a diverse donor base? Make the most of every message with our 9 email "must-do's" to create anticipation and increase revenue at your event. 1. Understand your audience Writing effective email invites starts with knowing what motivates and excites your supporters. What makes your event stand out? How is your nonprofit making a difference? What do guests hope to get out of the event?
In this post: "Procure Buzzworthy Travel Packages in 2016" webinar recording and part 1 of our must-read Q&A. Most charity fundraisers are not complete without a dazzling live and silent auction. And for quality items that generate "buzz," drive ticket sales and raise bidding, travel is a proven charity auction bestseller—yet one of the most difficult items to procure. To the rescue: incredible Experiences reserved on consignment. In an informative and entertaining webinar, we teamed up with our friends at Greater Giving to explain how consignment travel helps you raise more money for your cause. Topics covered include: 3 reasons travel performs well in auctions How to host a procurement party How to procure travel packages 4 key strategies to consider when using no-risk travel...and more!
You spend months procuring amazing auction items, coaching volunteers, promoting the event and planning logistics. On the night of the auction, everyone has a great time and you exceed your fundraising goals. It's almost time to celebrate! The last piece of the puzzle? Donor outreach and follow-up. While nonprofits understand the need to thank everyone involved after a big event, not all take full advantage of the opportunity to connect with supporters in other strategic ways. Here are 5 ways to make the most of your post-event donor outreach and cultivate rich relationships with your supporters for years to come. 1. Learn more about attendees and get feedback. Sometimes the only piece of information you have about guests, especially new ones, is that they’re willing and able to give to your cause. So finding out more about them is key to connecting in an authentic, meaningful way.
Donor fatigue describes the unfortunate situation where key contributors either reduce or stop donating to a nonprofit they had been consistently supporting in the past. Early signs of donor fatigue include: Reduced frequency of donations Smaller donation amounts Unresponsiveness to calls or letters
Take the heat off by preparing for fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips: 1. Build your procurement committee Assemble a team of capable, connected and committed individuals to go out and acquire the items you want for your auction. Don't be afraid to be selective but make sure you give all interested parties an opportunity to get involved. For more on this, see: 5 Qualities to Look For When Building Your Auction Committee 2. Host a wish list party One of the best ways to get the ball rolling with procurement is to gather your committee and have an informal gathering to brainstorm ideas. Make it fun! Host it outside the office and provide food and drinks as an added incentive for team members to show up. The idea here is to create a festive atmosphere to get your team in the right mindset to discuss the event. For more on this, see this article: Kick Off Your Auction Item Procurement with a “Wish List Party” 3. Consider incentives to motivate your team Reward your committee members for their efforts by setting goals and awarding prizes for outstanding acquisitions. Start by talking to your team about potential incentives – they know better than anyone what motivates them. Then set procurement goals based on either the number of silent auction items or the dollar value of donations acquired. You can set goals and allocate prizes for individuals or for the entire procurement team, depending on your preference. For more incentive ideas, check out this article: 7 Incentives Guaranteed to Motivate Your Auction Committee
Nonprofit stakeholders are vital to the development of a sustainable and profitable fundraising event. As an event organizer, they are an invaluable resource as you seek to improve your event and reach ever-higher fundraising goals and expectations. Surprisingly, despite the value of stakeholder input, many nonprofits overlook the simple act of gathering feedback and using it in their planning of future events. But first, who are stakeholders? Stakeholders are any individual or group of people who have a vested interest in the success of your nonprofit in fulfilling its objective. This includes any affected person or entity who doesn't necessarily serve a specific role within your organization, including individual donors, event patrons, business services, volunteers and even the beneficiaries you serve as part of your mission. When was the last time you reached outside your organization for feedback to help you improve your event? If you are guilty of avoiding the steps necessary to engage your stakeholders and actively seek their input, it's time to put a plan into place to involve them in shaping your next fundraising event. The payoff will be greater excitement in the weeks leading up to your event and a resulting boost in participation. Longer term, you will have stronger ties with people who are key to your organization's success.
Ahhh... Summertime. Time to take a break from your charity’s fundraising activities until the fall, right?? Wait!! Instead, try taking advantage of the peace and quite with these five easy summer preparation ideas that will make things easier as you begin planning for your next charity event. 1. Procure Auction Items Early Take the heat off by preparing for your fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips: Decide who will be involved with procuring auction items. Board members? Other volunteers? Staff? Find people who are enthusiastic and motivated by your organization's mission and mobilize a committee dedicated to procurement. Consider possible incentives to motivate your team - perhaps a prize for the person who gathers the most items on the list. Establish a theme. Establishing a theme early on will help you and your committee come up with unique ideas for auction items and focus your procurement efforts on items that would be the most ideal for your audience. Survey past guests. Consider a brief survey of past attendees to determine what auction items they did and did not like. Quality matters more than quantity. For more, see Survey Donors to Boost Fundraising Revenue at Your Next Charity Auction.
The big season for charity events may have wound down just as the thermometer has inched upward, but that's no reason to take a vacation from staying in touch with donors. These great summertime stay-in-touch ideas will give your stakeholders a break from a hard push for donations without letting your charity fade from their memory. Lighten up your email campaign, have fun with a direct mail approach and give your social media a seasonal makeover. Your year-round communication plan should ensure donors know they remain top-of-mind and that their gifts are important and appreciated, no matter the calendar page. The slower pace of summer is also the time to send those handwritten, personalized notes to your biggest supporters, letting them know how much they are appreciated. Give Your Emails a Seasonal Makeover 1. Make them mobile. Most nonprofits realize the critical role that email campaigns can play in engaging donors throughout the year. But a growing segment of your stakeholders — as many as 80 percent by some estimates — expect to be able to view those fundraising emails on their smartphones. This is even more critical during summer when vacations, increased time outdoors and recreational activities can take people away from their usual computer or laptop screen. 2. Keep it short and sweet. In addition to ensuring you've chosen a mobile-friendly email template, there are a few other things to keep in mind when emailing your stakeholder list during warm weather months. For example, shorten up your usual content into a more breezy, summer-time version. Also, consider adding a fun twist only for the summer months, such as a summer-only trivia game or warm weather contest. Use your email campaign to share a short story or quote taken directly from a client. For more, read the article we posted with 10 email marketing tips for cultivating major donors.
How much do you really know about your donor base? Sure, you might know some general facts such as their age and gender, but do you know what their interests are? What they do for a living? What motivates them to support your organization? What they like and don’t like about your fundraising events? Establishing a positive relationship and learning more about your donors is an important step toward hosting successful fundraising events. When you have an idea of what makes your donors tick, you’ll be able to tailor your events to match their interests and preferences. So how do you learn about your donors? The best way to acquire as much information as possible is to use several different methods. Here are 4 things to consider: 1. Web search A basic web search is a great way to start researching donors – especially when you know little to nothing about them. Try a Google search and look at their social media pages like Facebook and LinkedIn. While looking online doesn't really qualify as "in-depth research", you still might be able to learn some basic information like where donors work, organizations they are associated with, hobbies and recent vacations they took. Remember... pictures are worth a thousand words! 2. Surveys Surveys allow you to collect information about a large group of people. In your surveys, find out what your donors’ interests and hobbies are. You should also ask supporters what they would like incorporated into future events. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint what donors liked or didn’t like about past fundraising efforts. A great source you can use to create free online surveys is www.surveymonkey.com.