Here’s the challenge: while some nonprofit events bring in new donors, inspire major gifts, and create organizational loyalty, most nonprofit events contribute to a cycle of inefficient fundraising that is hard to break.
In most cases, very little net income (if any) is raised at most events when all the costs (including the “opportunity cost” of other kinds of fundraising by those staff members and volunteers) have been taken into account.
And while many new donors come in through events, getting them to renew and move from “event donors” to “organizational donors” is often quite difficult. So many event donors seem to stay on a circular track and only renew their support with a new invitation (not really a renewal!).
But aren’t Giving Days (Colorado Gives Day, #GivingTuesday, etc) just virtual events? Might a Giving Day speak to an event donor in the same way an event does and “convert” them to a donor who gives to more than to the same auction or golf tournament?
What do event donors and Giving Day donors have in common?
What’s the value in converting an event donor to a Giving Day donor?
More sustainable: Most events have diminishing returns over time. It’s hard to keep the excitement and the pace going! An online program builds a community of donors that is more flexible and more likely to give sustained support after that second gift. (Note: Donors who give a second gift are as much as 60% more likely to give again)
Repeat donations: In many cases, you’d have to have another event to get an event donor to give again in the same fiscal year. But if you can direct event donors’ interest to the Giving Day virtual event and capture that excitement, you may be able to get a second annual gift and a more committed donor in the same year. (Note: Donors who give again within three months of giving their first gift are two to three times more like to continue their support)
More opportunities for upgrades: Event donors generally give the same amount year after year, but with online fundraising, donors can be engaged, upgraded, and retained more easily and effectively.
So, how do you convert an event donor to a Giving Day donor?
And don’t forget:
If it did, you’ve got a donor who knows your organization through more than the events channel and if you can keep your e-mail going throughout the year (and you should), you have a donor who is more likely to respond without planning that chicken dinner.
What do you think? If you have tried this or plan to, please write us and let us know the results!