Guest post by Ryan King, Blackbaud’s Sr. Channel Marketing Manager. Get ready for some great insights from a marketer that has a passion for engaging the nonprofit community and Blackbaud customers.

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Are you struggling to find ways to meet potential new donors? Do you often feel limited by your database, connections, and networks?

Like most, you’ve probably tried renting or sharing lists, embarked on a quest for  social media greatness and spent hours on calling campaigns, but the reward hasn’t always justified the cost..

So what’s an organization to do?

Create a spark!

A common question motivational speakers, and now I, pose is, “What is that thing that, if you were guaranteed success, you would do tomorrow? Got it? Now go do it!”.

That’s your spark.

It can be an event, a facilities tour, or a media campaign – anything that leaves an impression and sets you apart.

So, how can this help you acquire more donors? I recommend providing tickets to your “spark” whenever possible, even if they are free tickets, because tickets allow you to strategically initiate a relationship with new constituents and guide them to a future donation.

Here are five steps to take to ensure ticketing will have real impact on your organization’s new donor acquisition strategy.

Put on your “box office hat” and enjoy.

1. Collect Information

As a best practice to online fundraising, one of the first things you need to do is collect email addresses and basic information from constituents. According to the 2012 Convio Benchmark report, an email address is worth the $12.92 in annual donations for your organization.

So, what are you waiting on?

Since most people are buying tickets online these days, it’s faster, easier, and more convenient than ever for patrons to not only get their tickets before an event, but for you to simultaneously capture important constituent information.

Make the most of these interactions by collecting basic information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses when people are purchasing their tickets online. It’s easy to ask for this information without being intrusive to the ticket buyer and this will provide you with the appropriate avenue to open future communications with your visitor.

2. Create A Positive Experience

Nothing is going to inspire a future donation like a positive experience. This starts with the line, or website, where the ticket purchase happens and extends until after their visit with your organization.

Take a walk in your visitors’ shoes…

Go to your website or go wait in line and buy a ticket to your organization’s event. Does the process flow from a visitor’s perspective?

Go to the show or take the tour. How are people reacting?

A lot of times, just taking a step back from your day to day responsibilities and becoming a patron allows you to see things from a different perspective, and this vantage point will allow you to better enhance the experience for your visitors.

3. Share The Impact Of Ticket Purchases

Do your ticket holders really know what you’re all about? It’s likely that many people who visit your organization or come to an event don’t realize what their ticket purchase is benefiting.

Because nonprofits do such a great job of running professional and efficient organizations, many people forget they are enjoying a nonprofit source of entertainment when they go to an event or visit a museum or aquarium.

Advertise your mission at the point of sale, whether it’s online or in person. Communicate that by visiting your organization, your guests are part of something bigger than a museum exhibit or a symphony performance, they are becoming an integral part of your mission advancement.

4. Have A Follow Up Plan

Have you ever purchased something from Amazon? Did you notice the emails you started receiving from them post purchase? The items in the email were related to the thing you just bought. Most of the time it’s things you didn’t even realize you needed, but when they show it to you, you realize you have to have it to go with your new insert whatever you just bought.

Why not implement this concept at your own organization with a welcome series campaign ?

Put in place a plan for how your organization will begin interacting with your ticket holders. I highly recommend email follow ups, especially  for those that have  purchased their ticket(s) online because they have shown comfort with that level of interaction. An automated welcome series will increase your chances of turning that one time visitor into a donor.

5. Make The Ask

According to fundraising expert Marc Pittman, the number one reason people don’t give is because they aren’t asked. Don’t forget to ask! You can collect all the right information, offer an awesome experience and have a wonderful welcome series, but if you don’t ask them to become a donor, it’s likely they never will. I can’t stress this enough.

Let’s compare the online fundraising experience to dating. You have to find someone with similar interests and foster a casual relationship that hopefully develops into lifelong commitment. Having the ability to identify people that purchased tickets to visit your organization is like using eHarmony. It shows you people that share your interests and helps you start the conversation. Using this list of people to fundraise should be a no-brainer.

Just don’t forget to ask!

So, what is your “spark”?

Are you leveraging tickets as a way to build a donor prospect pool? Do you have follow up plans in place for your ticket holders? I’d love to hear how your organization is succeeding in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeline Turner is the Online and Social Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. Prior to running Blackbaud’s social media and thought leadership blog npENGAGE, Madeline worked as a Managing Editor for Blackbaud’s Content Marketing program. It is her goal to create content and share ideas that challenge the status quo of the nonprofit industry. When Madeline isn’t tweeting or writing blog posts, you can find her drinking coffee out of her ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ mug, wearing giant headphones and singing off-key.

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