Events, most of our non profit organizations have them. They come to your soirée and may even bring a friend. But are they donors or event attendees? My argument would be that not all fundraising event attendees are donors. When someone signs up for your luncheon, dinner, cocktail party or race, do they simply pay the fee or do they also buy an auction item, make a donation on top of their ticket or demonstrate other charitable behavior? Or do they come and go without additional support?
We know that event fundraising is the least effective means of
fundraising, and often times it doesn't bring the awareness that a
nonprofit might want. See this article on event fundraising here.
So how do you focus your time on those who come to your events that can
turn into charitable donors and not just remain event attendees? You
must examine their behavior. Do you have someone that purchases a seat
every year for say 4-6 years but never anything else? That's an event
attendee. Their engagement isn't as deep as someone who purchases a
ticket, makes an on site donation and also buys an auction item. Better
yet someone who does all of that and buys a table or brings guests every
year, expanding your potential.
You have to prioritize your time. Are
you spending all of your time speaking with people who repeatedly attend
an event as a "guest of" someone but never contribute? Place your focus
elsewhere. In order to grow your donors and expand your base, you have
to spend time and effort on those who are philanthropic, not those that
just buy a ticket. Some of these folks are a net loss to our
organizations, meaning their ticket doesn't cover the cost of their
attendance. This is not raising awareness, it's costing us money.
you evaluated your events in these terms? Have you prioritized the folks
that have spent time at your events?
I hope you will think about this the next time you survey room chock
full of event attendees. Is it better to have 500 attendees or 250
donors in a room. I would take the latter. I would love to hear your
thoughts on the subject.