What Will Your Next Fundraising Event Look Like?
These are unpredicted and unprecedented times. I have already participated in several online free webinars. Many organizations have cancelled or postponed special events, or may do so soon. Now, no one really knows when the coronavirus will subside and life will return to normal.
One thing is for sure: We need to have an organizational fundraising plan in place now with several scenarios embedded in the details. We must plan to the best of our abilities. On the bright side, while being at home for extended periods, you have more time to think, research and examine new and different ways to evaluate and launch possible new events going forward.
According to a recent Bloomerang article, if you were planning to have your annual gala this spring, or any fundraising event, postpone it. Many people will be leery of crowded venues. Push your events to late summer or early fall. Don’t try to move the event venue online as a quick fix solution; it will not look good. Communicate with your donors and potential prospects, and tell them why you are moving the event to another date.
All will understand, and the date change will give you new time to regroup and improve planning and details when the event is held. While thinking of your current events that you have held for various time periods, consider new possibilities down the road. Spend your creative energy brainstorming and thinking about new events that can improve fundraising, friendraising and communications concerning the mission of your organization.
According to Udemy, your fundraising event must be unique and be able to rally a following. Participants must have fun and be motivated to make it viral.
If you are just considering online fundraising ideas, Causevox suggests that online virtual fundraising is one of the most popular ways for nonprofits to raise money. Ideas online include setting up personal fundraising pages, one-day email flash fundraiser, social media sharing event or donation-matching drive. Online fundraising is one of the most popular ways for nonprofits to raise money.
Because of the unpredictable fundraising year, Forbes recommends that you retain the funders who consistently give to your cause. Plan to reach out to key supporters to discuss the current climate. Ask permission to discuss annual gifts. Have your events go virtual. Be old-fashioned and mail unique appeals out. Think long term and set up now for 2021. Remind yourself to honor and appreciate all your donors.
What will your next event look like? It is obvious you must change the current schedule. It could be the same event held later. It might be the same event in several months, but modified with additional changes. It could also be a replacement for a new event. You now have time to decide, but you will have to decide quickly.
Think long and hard about your events and fundraising plan. You may have to make a paradigm shift and make changes midstream through no fault of your own. Seek to hold the course. Create a checklist for each event, and make sure every box is checked or go back to the drawing board. You will have unanticipated expenses and certain short-term revenue declines.
These are challenging times. You can and will step up to the challenge!
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.