Planning, Stories Make All The Difference
nonprofit management tips

Creating events with strong outreach and compelling stories can turn guests into major donors.

“The Event Pipeline: Turning Event Guests Into Major Donors” presented by Patricia H. Clemency, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York at last year’s Fundraising Day in New York, provided organizations with the ability make the most of donor events and foster revenue from these higher cost events.

Planning an event is important for ensuring that it goes smoothly. Budgeting, invitations, and promotion on social media are some of the factors that create an event that relays an organization’s message to potential donors.

The relationship path between a prospect donor to a post-event advocate and major donor relies on creating an event that connects with the mission of the organization. It is important build mission connections to create donor loyalty to the organization, not the event.

Making the event efficient and effective is key to this endeavor. Eliminating talking heads and instead relying on the organization’s best storytellers will convey your message conveyed more clearly to event guests, turning them into major donors. For example, one cultivation event guest donated $90,000 after hearing the story of a six-year old girl named Micah whose wish was to become a ballerina.

Scheduling a de-briefing with staff, board, and volunteers for clues and strategies going forward create the next steps for more effective future events. Additionally, creating multiple touch points post-event with guests creates an increased likelihood of repeat and increased value donors. Following up with a personal call or a visit to a major donor or prospect creates further engagement.

Viewing events as three equally important parts – pre-event, night of, and post-event creates a smooth process that allows events to become part of your major gifts strategy.