Guest Blogger: Friends Asking Amy Boulas | npENGAGE

Guest Blogger: Friends Asking Amy Boulas

By on May 23, 2012


For those of you who joined the RWR Teleconference last month you’ll know Amy Boulas, Walk MS National Director, and I are fundraising soul sisters.  After the webinar we received several follow up questions.  Today, I’m turning Friends Asking Amy over to another Amy.

Dear Amy Boulas,

Our non-profit holds a walk every September. We have the same crowd coming every year and most do not fundraise; even though when they register they get a web page and a minimum fundraising amount but it’s not a requirement. We charge a minimum registration fee, which is about half our revenue.

Would it be too risky to drop the registration fee and push the fundraising? How do we require fundraising without turning them away?

To Reg Fee, or Not To Reg Fee: that is the question

Dear To Reg Fee, or Not To Reg Fee: that is the question,

Thanks for the great question. That’s a tough one, especially if the registration fees are half of your income and you know that you have a lot of returning participants. As you mentioned, it is risky to drop the fee, but I’m a believer that it would be a good decision in the long run.

A few things come to mind for me:

How are you promoting/pushing fundraising?

Are your asks strong enough?

Do you talk about your event as being a fundraiser?  I often see events promoted as a get together/party vs. a fundraiser.  It’s important to make sure it’s clear that the goal of this event is to raise funds.

How are you showing people the impact that their fundraising has on kids’ lives?

We do not charge a registration fee for our walks, and in the past, when we have we saw fundraising averages decrease. It indicated to us that people felt that writing a check was good enough. The thing is, when you don’t charge a registration fee you’ll have a fair amount of no-pays (zero dollar walkers) and that has to be something you’re OK with.

We do not have a required minimum with our walk event, however our bike event does. They do just what you suggested.  You cannot participate if you don’t achieve the fundraising requirement. Some chapters require an upfront fee; others give people 30-60 days post-event to get the money in. If someone does not meet the minimum they do not let them register in the subsequent year.

 I think if you were going to implement a required minimum, especially for a walk, I’d require it up front and not wait. The other variation on this is to give them 30 days post-event and then let them know you will invoice for the minimum (or remainder to achieve the minimum). Instead of a required minimum for Walk, we say things like “the average walker raises $250” to give people an idea of what to shoot for.

Lastly, are you offering fundraising incentives? They can be challenging to manage but they do work. But, the key to incentives is offer incentives for behaviors you want reward.  Here’s a great link which provides more insight on incentive: Event Fundraising Contests That Will Blow Your Mind!!

Last thoughts, be sure that as you think about this you look at the other walks in your market(s) to ensure that you don’t ‘price yourself out of the market.’

I hope this helps. Your friend,

Amy Boulas

BTW-  If you want to list to the Two Amy B’s teleconference, here’s the link:  Scroll down towards the end of the page. The session is titled: Focusing Efforts to Support Fundraising Participants


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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