Many summer personal or peer-to-peer fundraising events will be opening registration in the upcoming months (hopefully, yours included).

To get the most from your event this year, it’s important to realize that your participants are a diverse group and you need to speak to each group differently.

Sending one-size-fits-all event update isn’t going to cut it anymore. You have to target each audience with a tailored message – one that speaks to them.

Why?

Your participants have different motivators, perspectives and needs. They also have varying levels of commitment to your event and organization.

First-time participants have separate needs from longtime participants. Superstar fundraisers respond differently than those who raise the minimum. Team captains have a different perspective than individual participants.

With so much money at stake, it’s important that your event communications resonate with participants and anticipate their needs. Strive to answer their questions before they even think of them.

Just like email appeals, crafting unique messages for different audiences is the best way to connect, inform and motivate participants.

In fact, by sending targeted communications to its different audiences, the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure was able to increase their average amount raised per fundraiser and overall amount fundraising (despite fewer participants). Check out the results …

  • With 2,500 fewer participants registered, the Global Race has brought in $150,000 more in donations to date
  • Fundraisers raised an average of $32 more in 2010
  • Power fundraisers brought in over $25,000 more than last year
  • Overall average donations increased by $8 per registrant

So, how can you start segmenting your audiences, tailoring your communications and improving your fundraising results? Here’s seven ideas to get you started …

7 Event Participant Types and How to Effectively Communicate with Them

Your communications should tell all participants why donations are needed and how they’ve been previously used. Besides that, here’s what to say to your unique audiences:  

Superstar fundraisers

Show them the love! Your communications should let them know how much they’re appreciated. Chances are they’re closely connected to your cause. More than other participants, share outcomes of past donations. Tell them “you did this!” Also monitor their fundraising progress and reach out by phone, if needed. Highlight statistics about how social media can help them raise even more. Provide ways to connect with other top fundraisers. List the top fundraisers and discuss high-level incentives.

Minimum/Non-fundraisers

Keep communications brief. This group will be tough to motivate, so focus on incentives, contests and convenience. Highlight the ease of fundraising by social media and email. Remember, 1 in 4 emails result in a donation. Those who use Twitter raise 10x more than those who don’t. Tell them you know they’re busy. Make fundraising easy by including sample Facebook posts or emails they can forward to friends. Highlight stories of those who’ve raised money with minimal effort. At the end of the day you should be focused on turning these participants in to fundraising superstars!

Team captains

Show them the love, too! Captains are the lifeblood of your event. Send communications that help them manage their team. Include reminders about deadlines and contests. Tell them what they should communicate to their team at different stages of the event. Provide ideas to grow and inspire their team. Emphasize what resources they can access to help them manage their team.

New participants

Explain your mission and why donations are needed in a simple, concise way. Remember, they’ll have to retell it to potential supporters, many for the first time. If you can connect them to your cause, the rest will fall into place. Instead of overloading them, focus on the simple things they can do at each stage of the event. “You’ve registered! Here are 2 ways to get started” or “The event is a month away. Here are 2 things to do this week.” Highlight first-time participants who made a difference. Here are 44 more tips for engaging with new participants.

New teams

In addition to what’s outlined above for new participants, communicate the rankings of top teams to motivate those with a competitive side. Send event and team-related details, so they’re not bombarding their team captain with questions. Highlight team-specific contests, like best theme or largest team. Feature stories of other teams.

Returning participants

Returning participants are like gold to any event fundraising organization so make sure you acknowledge they’re the reason for the success of past events. Outline how last year’s donations were used and tell them what you could do with more money this year. Be specific! Vague, high-level phrases do not inspire. Also, let them know what event details are the same this year and point out anything that’s new. Remember, it’s about their success in the current event and getting them to come back next year!

Returning teams

In addition to what’s outlined above for returning participants, include rankings of top teams and many team stories. Learning about other teams will give returning teams fresh ideas and motivation. Also feature team-related contests and incentives.

Basically, you need to create mini-communication plans for these unique audiences. While that does mean more work, it also means more engaged, inspired participants that are far more likely to raise more for your event and return next year.

 

What other participant audiences have you focused your communications on?

 

Looking for more? Register for our Event Fundraising Newsletter and immediately get access to the 5 whitepapers. You’ll start learning more about using social media to empower participants, increasing team captain effectiveness, mobile usage and more. Register Now!

  • Understanding the Value of Team Captains
  • Making Participants and Donors Successful with Mobile Solutions
  • Peer-to-Peer Event Fundraising Consumer Survey
  • Raising More Money Online with Independent Fundraising Events
  • Increase Event Fundraising with Social Media

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Snusz brings over 11+ years of nonprofit experience to his role as a principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud. He focuses on helping nonprofits create online fundraising, email, P2P, social media, SEO, analytics and website optimization strategies to maximize giving opportunities. Mike previously managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell, including the event’s growth from $330,000 to $1.2 million over a three-year period. He also volunteers for Compass, providing pro bono strategic consulting to strengthen the sustainability of Washington, DC nonprofits. Connect with Mike on Twitter at @mikesnusz.

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