Fundraising Event Journals Go Digital
The "ad journal" or printed program book with sponsor ads has long been part of the formula for success in classic event fundraising. Ad journals are generally distributed to guests at dinner galas, awards luncheons, cocktail events, some golf outings and other fundraisers.
Typically, these magazine-type booklets feature:
- event programs/menus/schedules
- mission information about the host organization
- messages from directors and chair people
- event committee, board and trustee listings
- biographies of honorees, award winners, emcees, celebrity hosts, etc.
- ads that recognize corporate and individual donors and reflect their levels of contribution
Guests flip through the ad journals during event speeches, usually skimming content and looking for their own ads. At the end of the event, many are left on the table or floor or brought home to be permanently shelved. A handful of copies become mementos for honorees and historical records for the staff who labored to produce them. Year after year, thousands of dollars and untold hours of labor are invested in these books, only to have them discarded after the event.
This has led some organizations to abandon printed journals altogether and rely on other methods to encourage donations.
The majority of nonprofit organizations are open to new ideas that can expand fundraising opportunities and reach new donor markets. The journal, in particular, is adaptable to today's "green" ideology and digital technologies. Communication via technology appeals to younger donor bases, important in injecting new lifeblood into nonprofits. Digital journals also can make what was previously a passive book into a dynamic event marketing and fundraising tool.
Depending on the organization's resources, digital solutions can be "do-it-yourself" or provided by a specialized company. These digital journals (also called e-journals and virtual journals) can often work within existing budgets for printed journals, while offering added value that might lead to higher donations. They may even cost less than some organizations' printed books.