You’ve completed the prep work in planning your next fundraising event and you’ve identified your purpose and the people you want there. You’ve chosen your location and researched your donors. Now, your focus lies on executing a good great event!
Here are five things to consider:
• Offer concierge service
Your donors need to arrive… seamlessly. There are flights to catch, cars to rent, weather to navigate, and perhaps people attending who need additional assistance in some way. It’s vital to provide a contact name and number for people to call should a problem arise as they are arriving at your event. By making someone available to them, you’re helping them feel special and valued.
• Immediately engage your guests
Don’t make the mistake of simply greeting your guests as they arrive. Instead, greet them and then usher them into the event, so they immediately feel welcome. Be sure to connect them or seat them with donors of like interests or background, and be sure to go out of your way to articulate those alignments so both parties are on the same page. This breaks down barriers quickly and encourages community.
• Be intentional!
Everyone on your staff serves a purpose for being in the room. As each person makes the most of their unique role, the chances of success increase greatly. Who is greeting? Who is taking pictures? Who needs to be interacting with top donors? You can’t afford to have someone just go with the flow… intentionality is key!
• Tell your story
Everything at this point is leading up to your ‘ask’. How will you set the stage? It’s important to find the balance between a powerful program and leaving space for your guests to breathe and engage with each other. Too much of either is not a good thing!
Ensure there is time for purposeful conversation, which outlines or testifies to the impact made by the organization. Make sure you express ‘why’ the organization is in existence, the impact made to date, and weave in personal stories of impact along the way. Finally, cast vision for what could be achieved if funded to its potential.
• Articulate your ‘ask’ clearly
You’ve reached the pinnacle of your program – your ‘ask’. The way you articulate this ‘ask’ can only be determined by the purpose of your event. Are you there to raise substantial funds? Are you there to educate a donor about how they can be a part of your organization going forward? Are you trying to convince a donor base to upgrade to the next level? Maybe it’s all of the above… but it must be clearly articulated in order for it to be realized.
Be bold. Be honest. Be vulnerable.
Donors need to know that your previous experience is going to lead you forward, while you take new ground. They need to know that lives are going to be impacted, and it will only happen because of their financial commitment. And they need to know that if you do not reach your goal, opportunities will be lost.
Oh… and one last important factor: Who’s making the ‘ask’? It needs to be someone with the authority and ability to communicate your purpose and move the donor to action.
By following these important steps, it’s sure to be a great event.
For more tips on executing your next fundraising event, be sure to check out my Dunham Institute Course, Major Gift Development: Staging the Event.
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