Before you decide whether a walk, a marathon training program or a hike in the Himalayas is the best type of event for your organization, it is critical to set your “fundraising-as-a-process” goal.
Are you simply looking to raise money quickly from friends asking friends for donations? This can and is done by numerous organizations, but such short-sighted programs, lacking integration into other forms of fundraising, relationship-building and mission, usually yield a low return (and a high burn-out rate) relative to the immense amount of staff and volunteer time and effort required.
Change the goal slightly (e.g. “Establish long-term, renewable and sustainable funding by introducing our mission to millions of potential donors and converting x% into ongoing donors”) and the long-term positive impact on your organization can be enormous.
In order to achieve such a goal, select and plan events as part of a programmatic fund raising effort designed to generate two things: 1) donations and 2) donor records. Think about structuring your organization to collect the necessary data and process it in such a way that it can be plugged into your major gifts cultivation program.
Failure to do this will leave a tremendous amount of money on the table.
One national nonprofit recently used “wealth profiling” technology to analyze the members of the most successful teams involved in a decades-old national programmatic fundraising effort. Within the data emerged hidden millionaires, individuals who clearly had the ability to donate far more than their teams had raised. In one case, a five-person team raised only $1500 dollars yet the team captain alone could have donated a seven figure gift.
Anticipating how you will transform walkers, runners, or cyclists into supporters of your mission can generate huge returns for your organization and joy and satisfaction for those donors long after they’ve crossed the finish line.