3 Methods to Streamline Your Next Fundraising Event

Written by Joshua Meyer, Director of Marketing for OneCause

As an association, you strive to provide services and products from which your members can benefit. You collect membership fees on a regular basis to keep your organization up and running so that they have continuous access to these benefits. However, sometimes this single source of revenue isn’t enough.

Your association may then turn to fundraising events so you can secure non-dues revenue and donations from your members. But what is the best way to accomplish this?

Leveraging fundraisers can help boost your revenue and keep your members invested in your association. We’ve outlined effective ways to streamline your next fundraising event so you can continue offering the services and resources your members need.

These methods include:

  1. Focusing on registration
  2. Investing in fundraising software
  3. Using your data

Maintaining a streamlined process for your fundraising event will keep your members engaged and help boost non-dues revenue for your association. Are you ready to take a closer look at these strategies? Let’s get started!

1. Focus on Your Registration Process

Members will get their first impression of your fundraising event from your registration process, so make it count. By creating an easy, intuitive registration process, your members will be more likely to complete their RSVP and you’ll boost your event attendance and fundraising results.

Make sure your registration form:

  • Is mobile-friendly. A mobile-responsive form adjusts to fit any screen size so that your registrants don’t have to continuously rotate their screen or zoom in and out to use it. Registrants would abandon your registration form as a direct result of poor user experience if they can’t register via their smartphone, so make sure your page will adjust to any device.
  • Only asks for information that you need. Be sure not to overwhelm your registrants with too many fields they need to fill in. Otherwise, the registration process may become too tedious for them (also creating a bad user experience) and they could also end up abandoning the form.

There are other ways to enhance your registration, as well. Let’s say you’re hosting a silent auction as part of a larger event for your association. During the registration process, you can actually open the bidding early so members can get excited about the auction items you have available. This will boost engagement (and revenue!) just in time for the actual event. 

Your registration should make members excited for your event, but it shouldn’t overwhelm or frustrate them. Make sure your process is user-friendly so you can encourage more completed registrations and raise more funds at your event!

2. Invest in Fundraising Software

If you want to run a purely streamlined fundraising event, making the investment in fundraising software is worth considering. Fundraising software will help easily track donations and donor data, and will also make it easy to collect donations via a variety of channels.

There are a few software solutions to consider, including mobile donations, peer-to-peer fundraising, and online forms.

Mobile Donations 

Your association most likely hosts events and conferences on a regular basis, and managing a conference takes a lot of organization and money. So how can you raise additional funds at the same time? By adding a fundraising element into the mix! 

You can do this with fundraising solutions like text-to-give so you can take advantage of mobile donations leading up to and during your event.

Here’s how text-to-give works:

  1. Members text your pre-selected keyword to your association’s shortcode.
  2. Members will then receive a text message in response with a link to an online donation form where they can complete their donation.
  3. Next, members will receive a confirmation email with a donation receipt after they’ve submitted their payment information.

Text-to-give is simple, convenient, and easy for anyone to use. Meet members where they are (on their mobile phones!) and boost donations at your next event by making donation appeals. Specifically call on your members to help your association continue doing the great work it does.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

One of the most impactful ways to raise the funds your association needs is through peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising empowers your members to raise money on your behalf via their social networks. It’s a great way to attract new members, build excitement as you approach an event, and raise awareness around your association. 

Here’s how peer-to-peer fundraising works:

  1. Your association decides how much it wants to raise.
  2. Your association chooses a peer-to-peer fundraising platform (click here for a list of options!).
  3. You set up your main campaign page with a compelling description of your fundraising goals.
  4. You empower your members to become participants in the campaign and set up their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages.
  5. You provide ongoing support and resources to your participants as they share their campaign pages online.
  6. Your association tracks the progress of the campaign and provides continued support as needed.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an excellent way to engage your members and work toward raising the non-dues revenue you need to continue running your association. Because your members will be sharing their campaign pages with their own network of friends and family, you’ll expand your reach beyond just your membership roster.

Gain new members, donations, and exposure all through peer-to-peer fundraising.

Online Donation Forms 

Another way to secure the donations you need is through general online donation forms. Make it easy to give any time with a form that’s readily available on your association’s website. 

Your donation form should be:

  • Branded to your association, so members can be reassured that they’re giving directly to your association.
  • Embedded into your website, so members don’t have to visit a third-party site to make their donation.
  • Mobile responsive, so members can view your donation form from their mobile devices.

For example, let’s say you’re part of a writers’ association hosting an annual writing conference. Your members are probably registering for this non-fundraising event through your website. Direct them to your donation form so they can submit a donation as they register.  A simple call to action can initiate a lot of support from your members. 

On the other hand, if your members are simply in a giving mood, it’s a good practice to always have an online donation form they can easily access.

There are many fundraising solutions you can look into as you plan your next event. Be sure to determine what your association needs in terms of raising money and it could very well be worth the investment!

3. Use Your Data

Part of streamlining your next fundraising event means taking a look at your data. Who attended your event? How much did you raise? What was successful and what wasn’t? Take a close look at how your events have performed in the past and use that data to discover ways to improve them in the future.

Leveraging your data the right way can help you do this. For example, you can:

  • Recognize member support. If anyone made a significant contribution to your last fundraiser, you should recognize these members! Recognition is a great motivator, especially when your members know one another. Recognize past donors to encourage others to follow suit.
  • Send out surveys. Send out surveys following your event to determine what areas you can improve and where you exceeded expectations. Getting feedback from your members is crucial to developing your next event.
  • Follow up. Thanking your members for their attendance and support at your events will keep them engaged and invested in your association. By showing appreciation and following up with them, this shows you’re just as invested in their success as you are in keeping your association going strong. 

From managing post-event surveys to recognizing specific members, be sure to leverage your data effectively so you can improve the results of your next event. Keep everything organized and track each piece of information you’ll want to use (donation amounts, donor information, survey responses, etc.) so you can pinpoint exactly what you need.

Keeping your members engaged while running a fundraiser for your association doesn’t need to be a challenge. Streamline your processes around registration, invest in the right fundraising software, and leverage important data for your association’s next event.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be on your way to raising the funds you need so your association can continue providing the benefits your members love!

About the Author

Joshua Meyer brings over 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the Director of Marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.