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Five Tips for Planning Your Next Fundraising Event

Five-Tips-for-Planning-Your-Next-Fundraising-Event_Eventbrite-logo.gifAs 2014 is gearing up in full swing, you're probably planning out your events calendar for the year. At Eventbrite, I work with a lot of nonprofits, universities, and faith-based organizations to share best practices for fundraising and trends we're seeing in the industry. Here are five tips to help with the planning process of your next fundraiser:

  1. Choose a theme that will resonate with your audience. People love attending events that benefit a great cause and are fun or interesting to attend. Take some time to think about your audience and brainstorm creative event ideas that resonate. If your audience is predominantly young professionals, consider a wine tasting or date auction. If you're working with corporations, consider tickets to a sporting event or even a game night. Folks in the tech community might enjoy attending a hackathon for a good cause. Creative fundraising ideas don't necessarily need to be expensive to engage your audience and get people excited about attending.
  2. Create a calendar. Begin to think about all of the promotional channels you will use to promote your event. Create a calendar that lists all of these activities in one place. Include the marketing channel, owner, additional stakeholders, and the date. I like to use a Google calendar or spreadsheet because you can easily share it publicly with your team and hold everyone accountable. Then, go back and look for holes in your promotional calendar. Are you utilizing e-mail, social media, and partners to their full capacity?
  3. Incentivize early ticket purchasing. Fundraising tickets typically go on sale four to six weeks prior to the event. Most organizers, however, find that the majority of registrations occur in the last week leading up to the event. Incentivizing your attendees to register early can help to combat this ticketing life cycle and help you plan ahead of time for an accurate head count. Create an early bird ticket price or a flash sale with a special gift for early registrants. Consider a book giveaway, free drink ticket at the event, or even a complimentary T-shirt to help boost those sales.
  4. Build an informative event page. One of the swiftest ways to help your attendees determine whether they can attend your event is to inform them. By answering the basic who, what, where, when, and why on your event page, attendees will have all of the information they need to make a decision on ticket purchase. For example, if you're throwing a gala, include information on parking and dress code. If you're holding a cocktail hour with a speaker panel, include the photos, bios, and even videos of the speakers to get people excited. Finally, answering the "why" on attending is extremely important. If you're able to share how an attendee's ticket purchase will directly affect your organization, interested attendees are much more likely to decide to attend. Focus on quantifying the impact from your goal of fundraising for your organization.
  5. Track, track, track. Let's go back to the promotional calendar for a moment. Be sure to create a tracking link for each one of your activities. Creating these unique links will enable you to monitor and understand which activities led to visits and conversions on your event page. A registration platform like Eventbrite or even Google Analytics will enable you to create these links in minutes. Then you will know for your next event where to pivot and where to double down. We see that 64 percent of fundraiser organizers who met their sales goals log in daily to view ticket sales and analytics—so make sure to do the same!

Five-Tips-for-Planning-Your-Next-Fundraising-Event_Laura-Huddle.jpgLaura Huddle, Eventbrite
© 2014, Eventbrite

Laura Huddle is a senior category manager at Eventbrite, the leading self-service, online ticketing platform. GuideStar Exchange Bronze, Silver, and Gold participants receive deep discounts on Eventbrite service fees.

Topics: Fundraising