Wide Divide Between Donors, Event Planners

Planners want donors to have a great experience at events but donors want content about impact that has been achieved by the organization. In fact, there is a 34-point spread between what donors desire and what event planners crave to provide.

It also appears that donors want an opportunity to bring guests to the event and introduce them to the organization while a majority of planners want to restrict the attendees to donors. At 37 points, it’s an ever wider spread than the giving and experience data.

And while planners want to tell personal stories, donors at events tend to want the big picture, with just 40 percent of event participants seeking personal stories. Seventy-six percent of event planners want to showcase those personal profiles.

Those are among the findings of an event study by mobile fundraising platform GiveSmart. Finn Partners conducted an online survey for GiveSmart of 600 U.S. individuals who self-reported they are 18 years old or older and have donated to a nonprofit within the past year, or attended a charity event within the past three years.

When asked about the likelihood of attending events now versus five years ago, more than half of donors and planners agreed that they were more likely to attend events now. More than eight out of 10 donors said they are likely to attend events. This speaks to the popularity of signature events today.

There is a marginal difference between men and women but there is a wider difference of opinion between age groups. More of the takeaways from the data include:

  • When thinking about the live appeal at a signature event, donors and planners have very different impressions on the likelihood of donating. Seven out of 10 planners believe a live appeal will be successful in collecting attendee donations, but only four out of 10 donors said it was likely for them to donate. Another four out of 10 donors were sitting on the fence saying there was a 50/50 chance of them donating.
  • Hold a variety of events that includes the interests of all donors. Millennials and Boomers have different interests and preferences. To expand and grow your donor base, hold events throughout the year that reach different segments of your donors.
  • Millennials are more event-inclined than other generations. Millennials responded that they are more interested in attending events now than before, and they are more willing to donate at signature events. Paying attention to the interests of Millennials will gear the future of fundraising and signature events.
  • Incorporate cause to capture fence-sitters. On its own, the live appeal hardly appeals to a quarter of your donors in attendance. However, when they can connect with your mission and story, they are more likely to make a donation on the night of the event or afterward.
  • Donors love the silent auction. Out of the fundraising elements at a signature event, donors preferred a silent auction over anything else. This is an indicator that silent auctions are still popular among donors.
  • Follow up with donors on how they made a difference. Donors want to feel appreciated when they leave an event. However, all donors agreed that the most impactful follow-up communication explains how they contributed to the success of an organization’s mission.
  • Create and evolve advertising to connect more in person and online. Two methods of advertising and promoting events attract donors most: in-person promotion through micro-events or networking and using social media to promote to Millennials and Generation X.

To see all of the data, go to https://bit.ly/2X6w2gN