This post is the fourth and final in a series pinpointing some best practices for you to follow as you prepare for your own successful nonprofit fundraising event.
In part one of this nonprofit fundraising event series, we talked about all the things you should be thinking about as you plan your event at six months out.
In part two we covered getting your save the date ready, your registration page up, and a plan for ongoing promotion.
In part three we took a closer look at reaching out to sponsors.
Today, we’ll look at the final 2 months of planning and promotion.
It is extremely important to have 99% of all your planning and sponsorships completed at this time. That being said, it’s still possible to collect a new sponsor or implement a new idea just don’t make that the focus anymore.
What should be your main focus in these final two months?
- Getting people to register for your fundraiser.
- Encouraging registrants and the people working on your fundraiser to promote it to their friends, family, and colleagues.
- Getting your ducks in a row (volunteers and schedules should be all ironed out and communicated with those involved.)
Why is all this important now?
Simply, it’s up to you to advertise, promote, and sell your fundraiser. If you are not organized and focused it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Try to keep this simple so you don’t get distracted.
Focus on promoting and reaching out on a consistent basis so you can maximize your registration. You’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point. This is the fun and exciting part where you talk to everyone about all the great things happening around your fundraiser.
As you reach out to people remember to always ask them to share as well. Don’t assume they will share on their own. A simple reminder like “please feel free to share this with your friends, family and colleagues or anyone that you know would be interested in helping out this great cause for xyz.”
How will you know how you’re doing?
You’ve put in all this time and you want to see results, right!? Success most certainly varies from one event to the next. You’re going to want to track who’s registered, donated, and volunteered. You’ll also want to see who has declined or done nothing at all. Constant Contact’s online event management tool makes this all really easy.
Each one of these buckets is important for you to manage:
- Declined invitation– The fact they have said they are not coming is still good! You may be able to find out why. The decline section of our event management tool allows people to donate even if they aren’t going to attend and tell you why they can’t come. If you get an overwhelming response of a certain reason people can’t go (i.e. date or time) you can make changes to your fundraising event next year.
- Responded yes– Great! These are the people to follow up with a couple weeks before the event with a polite reminder and to say thank you.
- Non responders- This is the list that you need to really keep on top of. There are a million reasons people don’t respond right away. Stay on top of these lists but do not over do it. Send this list reminders and ‘getting close to event date’ about four times during this two month span.
Pick and choose your message carefully each time, keep the message short and friendly and be understanding of why they might not have registered yet. Maybe mention that if they cannot make it to please choose decline. This way you can learn why. Important: You do not want to make people feel bad about not attending or donating.
Be sure to keep an eye on everything else
Everything you have set up prior to this time. Keep a firm grasp on volunteers, weather, accommodations, or anything that might change last minute. Always be promoting, advertising, and continue to use every resource you can to get the word out.
Do not get disappointed
If you have given yourself enough time to plan and organize, you started in the right direction. But it does not mean that crowds will come piling in. Rome was not built in a day. This is why follow up, promotion, and advertising are crucial.
Prepare for next year
You should already be preparing for next year’s event along the way. The more you fine tune this along the way, the easier it gets year in and year out. Talk to your vendors, sponsors, venues etc, let them know you would like to do this again next year. Give them time to plan as well.
Stay positive and learn every step along the way. Not only are you working to gather funds and attention with this fundraiser, you are also planning for the future. Think of this like a business!
What can you do after reading this post?
Share this series with anyone you know that needs help organizing their first fundraising event! Running an event is stressful and usually a second or third job for most people. Time is of the essence. This series can help get you up to speed.
Also, our business consultants here at Constant Contact are a great resource to shorten this learning curve and help you with your event game plan. There are plenty of free resources to help you maximize your registration so that you run your event instead of your event running you. Simply put, we help you save time and make you more money!
If you ever have any specific questions you can reach out to me directly: rmahoney (at) constantcontact.com and I would be more than willing to show you how to organize and customize your event towards your specific cause or type of event.
Want to learn more?
See how our event management product works and go through the mock registration. Keep in mind that all the branding and look and feel of YOUR event will be different than this but this will give you an awesome idea of how easy registration can be.
Have an awesome fundraising event and if you ever need any help do not hesitate to contact me directly!