Fearless Event Fundraising
Recently, I had the opportunity to prepare a keynote presentation on Fearless Event Fundraising, to an incredible group of attendees. Of course, in true BPCG-fashion, it had to be exciting and most importantly, drop knowledge to take action immediately.
I introduced the presentation by breaking down what it looks like when we start thinking of planning an ‘event’ … boy, does that drum up a ton of emotions, feelings and we might begin to hyperventilate, but when you step back and review your event with a FEARLESS mindset, you will be amazed how refreshing they can be!
The presentation included five main topics:
- Understand your target niche.
- Communicate your mission effectively.
- Introduce and leverage new, modern marketing strategies.
- Serve your audience on a higher level.
- Get the right sponsors/donors/attendees in attendance.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET NICHE
Navigation is always easier with a map.
We must start with business basics and understand that NICHE is not the same as DEMOGRAPHIC. We start to clearly define those that share the same area of interest. The best way to start is to think of past events or the kind of event we would like to move forward with. Was our message clear? In order to have a “successful” event, we must clarify every little detail. Various niches may rise to the surface, but that MUST include separate marketing plans for each. Those marketing SOLUTIONS will include: mannerisms or methods of communication that motivates them to GIVE – money, time, talent, attention to. By doing so, we will start to lay a foundation and create LOYALTY!
COMMUNICATE YOUR MISSION EFFECTIVELY
So, you can walk the walk, but do ALL talk the talk?
Valued added content will be delivered because we will have identified our core values, vision, mission, external and internal values, with all welcomed to the table! First, we layer it on! Do you understand how powerful and strong your core values are for your event? Do these align with your messaging? It is an absolute necessity for alignment in your marketing, messaging and all facets of communication
Your employees, staff, board members, committee members, volunteers are walking billboards at all times! They are brand ambassadors and celebrities of your organization. But, has everyone drank the same kool-aid? Does everyone exude the power of your mission, values and principles?
It is time to showcase your values throughout various ‘locations’ – brick and mortar, website, social media – etc. It will give your sponsors/donors confidence to get engaged because they are educated and well-versed on your foundation and brand identity.
INTRODUCE AND LEVERAGE NEW, MODERN MARKETING STRATEGIES
Create reciprocity with social conversations!
Have you “socialed” up your game? Now that we have understood our target niches, we can now successfully focus on social targeting, engagement, and selling.
We reference the pistol vs. rifle mentality! With consistent branding and identity in place, we can clarify all marketing channels to target our niches and leverage multiple facets. One trigger that must always be pulled … Advocate for easy to find donate buttons – not just on website, but in-location, on newsletters, annual reports, with partnerships.
Scheduling the engagement takes prep work, but keep in mind content that starts a conversation or gets the audience involved will create reciprocity.
Cultivate the future of donors or sponsors by “social selling”. Consider what the target niche communication looks like – might be additional events or meetups? Hosting a volunteer day? and don’t be afraid to go live during these events!!
SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE ON A HIGHER LEVEL
Tell them what you want and NEED!
Educate to accelerate! Our 2020 mantra focused on educating, we are able to provide messaging that actionable content!
First thing is first! We must provide a little K.L.T. for value and connection. Knowledge, LOVE and trust! This can build and strengthen existing or potential relationships that will motivate them into something “more” – money, volunteering, items?
If you want your audience to listen more intentionally, remember, secrets don’t make sponsors or donors! Please provide crystal clear information for them to take action. You can provide all the knowledge in the world, but our society is truly focused on an elevator-pitch attention span. Tell them exactly what you WANT and NEED!
Expand your audience with juicy details – and by juicy, I mean specific fundraising numbers, what was accomplished by setting certain goals, etc. Give your audience the meat and the potatoes and the kitchen sink!
So, what does it look like to serve corporate / business sponsors on a higher level?
As a brand ambassador, because remember, you are representing them just as they are representing you – where can we, as nonprofits, fit into their internal marketing? Newsletters? Hosting events, open houses? Focus on the prior to your event and after … because the marketing, serving and cultivating relationships do not stop when the trash is taken out!
Start thinking like a donor not a fundraiser! When is the last time you surveyed you donors, sponsors, or attendees? Are you prepared for their response – mentally, emotionally, and financially? Ask the right questions, preferences, AND review it! These tools should not be left unheard or unseen.
GET THE RIGHT SPONSORS/DONORS/ATTENDEES IN ATTENDANCE
Education and Marketing ALWAYS go hand-in-hand!
Don’t be shy! It’s go time!! Whether an empty room or full room – your goals are still the same.
So, you must ask – are your attendees “Right” or “Left”? What is Right? If our audience, sponsors, donors, attendees, even members and volunteers are prepped and primed – they will walk into your event educated – otherwise, if not, they will take a hard LEFT, grab a drink and see their own way out.
I want to play devil’s advocate – is it worth the stress to host an event? We don’t have money to waste with events that don’t provide the RIGHT ROI. Could the time of day, day of the week, season, inconsistent messaging be holding you back? Was the event type offering the best solution? ROI for time, energy, effort?
Education drives the SPONSOR experience! Remember the brand ambassador mentality. Marketing drives the DONOR experience. YOU NEED BOTH HAND AND HAND for event fundraising!
NOW – We are having an event, but you need to work it. Meet and Greet – with all attendees – maybe a secret notepad to house all gathered information because all staff, board/committee members are working the crowd.
Are you developing mutual partnerships or relationships for those that could be of service for someone else? Nothing better than networking to serve!
On that list of job responsibilities for a nonprofit, never did it say it was easy – it is fun, if you take the challenge by the reigns and become fearless in the process. So, I ask – what are some resolutions to commit to delegating the results? Share with the team and schedule everything.
CONQUER FEARLESS EVENT FUNDRAISING
We now are equipped to develop the Ultimate R Goals:
- Raise – money, awareness, the roof, constantly adding value with your values
- Reciprocity – mutual relationships and conversations, survey, listen, action, etc.
- Retention – sponsors and donors – annual giving and matching and committing to refreshing what it looks like for them
- Refreshing – the process to grow and gain momentum
- Reposition – your organization and the communication to elevate all conversations centered around serving them on a higher level
I must say, it truly is about Mindset! You just have to believe through all the groundwork – there is positive pivot and shift for your organization. You just have to start…fearlessly focused on the foundation for fundraising!