Turning Low-dollar Fundraisers Into Money Raising Superstars | npENGAGE

Turning Low-dollar Fundraisers Into Money Raising Superstars

By on Aug 23, 2011


Fundraising Superhero

Have you ever thought to yourself, “hummm, I wish I could turn my non-fundraising participants or low-dollar fundraisers into money raising superstars!”?

Sounds familiar, right?

We’re here to let you know that you’re not alone.

Every organization (and by that I mean the dedicated staff) that runs some version of a personal or peer-to-peer fundraising event wants to help their participants be better fundraisers. And for good reason. Helping an existing participant achieve greater results is easier than finding new participants and turning them into superstars. It’s also more cost effective.

The real trick to creating fundraising superstars is simple. Get people to:

  • Set a goal
  • Get their first gift
  • Reach their goal
  • Exceed their goal

Do that, and you will find (or should I say create) fundraising superstars along the way.

So, how do you get people to accomplish these four things? Here are five extremely effective ways that we’ve found to work for countless organizations.

1. Send targeted communications

Break your participants into three segments. Those who have:

  • Reached their goal
  • Received at least one gift, but not reached their goal
  • Not yet received a gift

Create a communications plan that delivers relevant content to each segment. It’s important that you not treat all three groups the same.

Avoid trying to fit “something for everyone” into your messages, such as including tips to get started, reach your goal, and be a top fundraiser in one email.

Those who haven’t started fundraising may think Become a top fundraiser? Yeah, right.  I haven’t received any gifts and frankly don’t have the time.

Instead, deliver a message that tells them how easy it is to get started (1 in 4 emails you send will usually results in a donation). Include a sample email and talk about the impact of gifts (Did you know just raising $25 can provide sick kids with a toy this holiday?)

Tailoring your communication is key.

2. Reconnect participants to your cause

In 2011, Blackbaud and the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council conducted an online survey of individuals who have participated in at least one run, walk or ride event in the last two years. The top reason individuals reported getting involved in an event was because they felt a personal connection to the cause.

Event Participant Motivation

It’s possible your non-fundraisers or low-dollar fundraisers have lost sight of this somewhere along-the-way. Isn’t it?

Make sure your event is all about your cause. Online, offline, in social media, at the event, after the event and everywhere else – tell your heartfelt stories and explain how donations would/could be used.

Do everything you can to connect people’s efforts to the cause and impact.

3. Promote teams (they raise more $)

The survey also found 40% of team members exceeded their fundraising goals vs. only 29% of non-team participants.

Event Fundraising Team Success

What’s the take away here? Teams provide a great support system that is conducive to enjoying the event and raising more money. They also provide inspiration and motivation while making the event experience a bit simpler for team members because a team captain is helping to organize everyone.

Make sure you’re promoting your teams every opportunity you get.

4. Encourage the use of social media

It’s incredible to see the power of combining social media and peer-to-peer fundraising.

According to our research, people who use social media increased their fundraising by up to 40%. And fundraisers who use Twitter alone raise 10x more than those who don’t.

The effect of Twitter on Event Fundraising

Knowing this is the case, make it a point to provide sample tweets and Facebook posts, hold contests that encourage social media participation, interact with your participants online by asking them questions and responding to their comments, and most of all, celebrate their achievements every chance you get.

Getting your participants to harness the power of their individual networks through social media will pay off in the long run.

5. Reward online registration

Participants who use online fundraising tools raise 6x more than those who don’t.  Simple as that.

I bet you could look back at how many of your non-fundraisers or low-dollar fundraisers used online tools and see a direct correlation to fundraising dollars raised. With those who used online tools being the group that raised more and those who didn’t utilize online tools raising less.

If you want your participants to use simple fundraising tools and Mobile Fundraising Tools make sure they start by registering online to attend your event. This will help you get them registered and give you an opportunity to expose them to your personal fundraising tools.

A great way to get a large percentage of your event registrants to register online is to offer discounts, incentives and prizes for online registration.

Measuring Success

To close out I’d like to leave you with a simple way to measure success. Go back in history and grab the below metrics for each of you events:

  • Total number of participants
  • Total number of participants who were also fundraisers
  • Average amount raised per person
  • Percentage of people who received at least one gift
  • Percentage of people who reached their goal
  • Percentage of people who exceed their goal

Once you have that data do some simple math to get you averages for each over the total number of years you’ve been running your event. Now you’ve got a baseline to use as you begin implementing the above five tactics.

Once you’ve put a few of the above in place and run your next event, match up your results with your baseline averages to determine where you’ve improved.

Now it’s your turn …

What other ways have you found to turn non-fundraisers or low-dollar fundraisers into money raising superstars?


Looking for more? Register for our Event Fundraising Newsletter and immediately get access to the 5 whitepapers referenced in this post. 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



Mike Snusz brings 18 years of fundraising experience to his role as a Senior Team Lead on Blackbaud’s Professional Services team. He leads a team of digital consultants and works with nonprofits to improve their digital fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Prior to Blackbaud, Mike managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. When he’s not contemplating fundraising, Mike enjoys hide and seek, tag, and dance parties with his two kids.

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