Fundraising Events: Are They Worth It?
A while back I was on a Skype call from a friend of mine who is a priest living in the plateaus of Bolivia. He's working with some of the poorest people in South America. He wanted my advice on how he could raise $250,000 over the next five years to support the projects he's working on.
Before I could get a word out, he said, "Jeff, I'm thinking all we need to do is have one big event in the U.S. I'll invite everyone I know, have them invite their friends and I'll make a pitch for the money. What do you think?"
To his dismay, I said, "I think that idea is terrible. Do you know how much time and work events are and even more importantly how much they cost?"
He didn't know what to say. He was so adamant that the only way to raise the money was to do an event, he wasn't prepared to have me disagree with him.
At that moment, he didn't look very happy on my computer screen.
Instead, I recommended he put together a case statement, come up with a list of potential donors, put revenue goals next to their names and I would help him devise a strategy to get the money. He was skeptical. But he heeded my advice and eventually came up with a case statement and list of names with revenue goals.
Then, I helped him with his "ask" strategy.
Within one month, by following the plan, he had commitments for the $250K. Oh, and about that event. We did have an event the other week, a celebration event for raising the all the money he needed for the campaign. He's going to end up with well over the $250,000 he needed!
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.