Whether it’s your first fundraising event, or tenth, helping supporters be great peer-to-peer fundraisers is always on the mind of successful event fundraising organizations. Giving them the software they need to be successful peer-to-peer fundraisers is important, but beyond that there’s so much more that can be done.
That said, here are 5 tips to help ensure your participants are as successful as possible.
First and foremost, determine which existing audiences you wish to engage (board members, major donors, past event fundraisers or attendees, all donors, volunteers, etc) in your fundraising and how you will reach out to them (email, social networks, mail, phone, on-site events, etc).
Plan targeted communications to each audience with specific messaging that will best engage them in your campaign because of who they are and your relationship with them. Specific audience-centric communications will help you relate to individual constituents and give you the ability to track response rates based on each group. This type of data will allow you to determine further or future prioritization and/or resources.
Provide peer-to-peer fundraisers with easy access to information and resources they can use to fundraiser for your event. Such resources should include sample solicitation letters for mail and email, quick stats and impact statements for social media, sample scripts for phone calls, and thank you letters for follow-up communications.
Remember that constituents may not have the vast experience organizational staff have with fundraising, so providing ongoing tips about fundraising best practices can also be helpful. Examples include best time or days to communicate with friends, how often to cummunicate, tone of voice and simply the need to ask and ask often, as well as thank and thank often!
We may also need to educate users about fundraising tools like Blackbuads Friends Asking Friends – Teaching them things like how to customize their personal fundraising page, how to import contacts for emailing, and how to enter offline donations. You can do this type of education for your participants through web content, embedded web videos, scheduled webinars and/or on-site open houses. Also consider a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter that includes quick tips, examples from other fundraisers, and links to available resources.
The more we can provide our fundraisers, the easier we make it for them to fundraise.
At the heart of any great fundraising event is the feeling of being part of something bigger participants experience. This is true both of fundraisers culminating towards an offline event, such as walks, rides and runs, and those of a more virtual nature. Consider what you can do to ensure that Experience is developed from the moment they sign up:
- Encourage constituents to invite friends and family to join them on fundraising teams.
- Ask for, and share, stories of involvement and success
- Ensure staff support is personal and friendly, possibly even proving fundraisers with a direct person or people they can reach out to for fundraising support
- Utilize discussions boards, polls, blogs, surveys and social media to actively engage participants throughout the fundraising campaign.
In addition to providing ongoing support and resources, map out a participant cultivation flow to help you determine the best messages and times to send said messages to the various constituents. These will differ for all participants based on recency of signup, team or individual involvement, individual goal setting and progress, as well as remaining time to event.
By preparing draft messages to each audience you ensure better support for your fundraisers and make for easier management of your campaign.
Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for the work they’ve done, and event fundraisers are no different. Plan and prepare to provide incentives for achieving certain goals and acknowledge the great work all fundraisers are doing by giving of their time, money, resources and energy.
Below are a few suggestions for ways to recognize constituent’s efforts:
- Create recognition opportunities for reaching key benchmarks, such as size of team, number of event recruits, and amount of money raised.
- Utilize naming opportunities to recognize above described benchmarks. For example, the Avon Walk calls those who raise larger amounts -“Top Fundraisers,” while the NY AIDS Walk has “Star Walkers.”
- Use above naming opportunities within on-site materials, such as badges, banners and presentation materials.
- Possibly provide special additional events, benefits or materials to those reaching certain accomplishments
- Utilize above described levels to encourage those “getting close” the recognition, benefits and/or materials they’ll receive—while congratulating them on their success to date.
- Send special thank you’s to those who go above and beyond
- Send hand written thank you cards to the top 100 fundraisers and personally call the top 20.
In addition to recognizing great achievements, also recognize opportunities for improvement and support. Send targeted communications directing those who are not reaching their goals to additional resources and support. The more you can support, encourage and inspire your supporters the better chance they have to succeed.
And finally, thank everyone (often) – In emails, on websites, through social media channels, in person, and at the event. Plan to thank each and every participant no less than 10 times throughout the event!