Turning Diners into Donors

new yearSo you had a great special event. Raised beaucoups bucks and a good time was had by all. Perhaps the event honored someone who brings their entourage of donors. Or it is committee driven event with names and addresses not in your donor base. Then again, maybe it is the event of season for your community, but everyone comes for the party, not the mission.

Special events are an important part of our fundraising plan. They can be a point of entry, individual giving tool, an opportunity to raise awareness. The true success of a special event, is the ability to convert event attendees into annual donors. Here are some ideas:

  • Get all guests and donor’s email and mailing address
    • Many Board and Committee members won’t share their lists with you.
      • Explain the big picture, importance of this information, engaging donors and prospects beyond the event
      • Let them know their lists will remain private and only used with their permission.
      • Tell them everyone who attended or made a gift will receive
        • A thank you letter
        • Be placed on the e-news and newsletter list
        • An annual report
  • Collect information at the event – think of fun ways to get it
    • Host a door prize requiring this information
    • Create a giving tree that requires all this information
    • If you are having a raffle or silent auction, get all the information when you sell a ticket or assign a bid number
    • Take photos and if they want a copy, you will need their email or address
    • Assign table captains to help you secure this information
  • If you have online registration, you can require all this information at the time of ticket purchase
  • Follow up immediately after the event
    • Electronic and hard copy thank you letters to all who attended sent within 48 hours of the event
    • Send an electronic survey to everyone you have an email address for
    • Schedule a committee/Board de-brief meeting within 10 days of the event
      • Remind them about guest contact information – ask them to bring it to the meeting
    • Host a focus group of attendees
  • Identify guests who should be on the committee next year
  • Invite VIP guests to another event to engage them with the organization

This is an ongoing process. We cannot forget these donors until the next event if we want them to engage with our mission beyond the special event.

I am sure you have some ideas….please share them with the rest of us!

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