If you work for one of the many organizations who have a special fundraising event of the run-walk-ride variety, you’ll want to read this post.
Along with some wonderful colleages from Convio, Event 360 and the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council, I attempted to do some research that answered the question, “how can you raise more money with your event?”
To find the answer to that, we looked to you, your organizations, and your events. We organized clients using TeamRaiser into groups based on the growth rates of their TeamRaiser fundraising results over the last 4 years, and then we looked for trends in some of the activities that the clients with high growth rate were doing that clients with low growth rate were not.
And we found some good stuff.
The rest of this post will only be a summary of the research. If you are interested in the full detail, please visit www.convio.com/rwr2009_blog to get the whole paper. It’s worth the effort, trust me!
We approached the research with this frame of mind. Clients should be watching three things to judge the success of their event:
Participation growth that leads to fundraising success. Note the words after “growth.” How many more participants are you recruiting each year, and more importantly, how many more participants who also fundraise are you recruiting each year?
Growth in individual fundraising success. Once you have participants who are fundraising, how effective are they and are they getting better?
Healthy trends in participant retention. How many of your past participant fundraisers are current participant fundraisers and is that percentage growing?
With these three metrics in mind, we found the strategies that drove the metrics in the right direction. These are the five success strategies you want to employ:
- Recruit effectively, meaning know who you are going after and why they participate in the first place. Begin with recruiting the people you know will become fundraisers.
- Charge a registration fee and employ a fundraising minimum, because it sets the expectation that fundraising is a key activity to participation. Clients that do this tend to have higher fundraising growth.
- Create several points of entry into your event. This is analagous to using multi-channel marketing. Leverage the opportunities available to you to recruit participant fundraisers, including 3rd party sites and social networks.
- Encourage team participation and love your team captains. Participants who are a part of a team have a higher propensity to be fundraisers. Team captains have a lot to do with that, because they are a more committed group that can be effective communication relays.
- Craft your participant center message templates carefully and encourage participants to send them. The latter part of the previous sentence is obvious, but the first part may not be. The clients who invested time and energy into creating excellent suggested messages, particularly subject lines, reaped the rewards with higher open and click through growth.
I hope you take the time to read the report. And as always, if you have ideas, please add them to the comments on this post.