For non-profits, record years mean that you can help more people or start new programs to help the same people in more ways. That is why at HGAFundraising, we are passionate about helping non-profits maximize the money they raise.
A new year often means new fundraising goals. In some ways, this is exciting because you have the whole year ahead of you to raise money for your programs. In other ways, it can be daunting because you may not yet have much in the way of numbers on the board. Here are 5 ways you can kickstart your 2023 fundraising.
5. Set a Fundraising Goal and Reverse Engineer It
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into a fundraising gala; too much to gamble by sitting back and hoping that everything works. Reverse engineering your goal helps you to start thinking about who you need to invite, what revenue generators you can run, and how much each revenue generator should raise to hit that goal. It turns your goal from a fundraising target into a fundraising strategy.
This article explains more about how to reverse engineer large revenue goals.
4. Underwrite Everything
Underwriting aspects of the fundraising event is a great way to reduce the cost of your event and raise money before the day of the event. It gives donors an opportunity to support your fundraising event in other ways if they don’t want to buy a table or if they cannot attend the event. For example, a new donor may not know anyone in the local area, or they might be friends with other donors, so they join their table rather than buy their own. Underwriting gives donors another opportunity to give generously ahead of the fundraising event.
Underwriting opportunities also give their company positive publicity because their company name and logo are connected to your event a little bit like a sponsorship. It gives them a little bit of an extra shout-out for giving generously.
This article explains more about the things you can present as underwriting opportunities at your fundraising event. We recommend underwriting as much as possible, even if it is not something that costs you money.
In terms of pricing, every non-profit organization takes a different approach. We have seen non-profits charge 100% on top of cost in order to raise money ahead of the fundraising event. At a minimum, you should be charging 20-30% above cost to allow you to raise some money for the underwriting. You will have a mix of underwriting price points available, so your donors can always pick the underwriting opportunity that best suits their budget.
3. No More Than 5 Revenue Generators
At the charity event itself, you should limit it to 5 revenue generators. We want to meet everyone where they are and give a range of giving increments to allow people to give the amounts they can. But we also want to avoid giving fatigue by limiting the number of revenue generators and spreading them out throughout the evening. Once you get over 5 revenue generators, you’ll find that you’ll lose some of the momentum that makes these events successful.
Jason has an example of when he went to a charity event and was asked to give four times within a few minutes of arriving. He experienced giving fatigue and says he felt like he had done his giving and now was ready to just get a drink and party. That was just after the smaller early revenue generators, so he was feeling that way before he even got to the silent auction or live auction.
2. Invest in Your Auctioneer
As Jason likes to say, cheap auctioneers aren’t good, and good auctioneers aren’t cheap. Professional auctioneers know how to manage a crowd and create excitement around bidding. They will even be able to make on-the-fly decisions to sell consignment items multiple times if there is interest, which can increase the revenue your non-profit generators. There is a lot of skill involved, so work with a professional auctioneer rather than asking someone funny to do it for free.
Professional auctioneer, Micki Pickering, shares some tips on revenue generators for fundraising events in this article.
There are auctioneers out there for a range of budgets, so we recommend interviewing multiple auctioneers. You can get recommendations from other non-profits in your area if you’re unsure where to find an auctioneer.
1. Ask for More Money
Even if you have hit your target, ask for more money. Just because your donors have already given to you doesn’t mean they won’t give more.
Your donors are emotionally connected to your cause, and if they can see the impact of the money they give, they will happily give more. This is why we encourage all of the non-profits we work with to put the donation amounts in easy-to-understand terms. If you are asking for $1,000, explain that every $1,000 allows you to send 1 kid away to camp. When you put it in those terms, you can ask your donors how many kids they want to send to camp rather than simply asking them for $5,000 or $10,000.
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At HGA, we're dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations Raise More Money through coaching, auction items, and auction software.