Ready to find your non-profit’s next big donor? The good news is they’re already at your fundraising event, and we’ll help you identify them.
It doesn’t matter if your fundraising event is a big success and you blew your fundraising targets out of the water; there is always room to grow your non-profit. There is always scope to raise more money for your cause. Here are some strategies we teach non-profits so they can identify opportunities to turn bidders into big donors.
Use a Formula to Identify the Money in the Room
We talk a lot about identifying the money you have in the room at a fundraising event and understanding your donors’ capacity to give. This formula will help you evaluate your fundraising events post-event to plan your future fundraisers.
Create a spreadsheet or Word document with the following fields:
These fields will provide objective data that will help you evaluate your fundraising event performance and identify ways to grow your donations. One of our live webinar attendees filled this out, and her results looked like this:
*Remember not to calculate the largest donation amounts in the total.
These are numbers from a large organization, so don’t be discouraged if you are not getting the same results. You can only compare your non-profit to itself. This formula will allow you to compare your fundraiser results to other fundraisers that year and to previous years’ fundraising events.
The primary function of this formula is to allow you to make predictions about future events. You can use past data to estimate the impact of changing the number of event attendees. You can also see if there are different fundraising avenues you want to improve.
One of our favorite things about the formula is that it allows you to identify large, outlier donations or bids. You want to investigate these so you can replicate them at future events. This formula highlights them so you can ask questions like:
Don’t leave things to chance when it comes to your fundraisers. You want to go into it armed with as much information as possible.
"Bird-Dog" Your Bidders
Reviewing your fundraising event is the first step to arming yourself with the knowledge that will help you to raise even more funds in your next fundraiser. If you have an upcoming fundraising event, there is something you can do during the event too. We like to refer to it as “bird-dogging your bidders.
Your event attendees will bring guests to your fundraising events who are unknown to you. Your goal is to identify the donors’ guests who you want to become donors for your organizations. This is easy to do when these guests make large donations or have the winning bids at auction, but what about the event attendees that make large bids but don’t win the auction?
Using the example from our live webinar above, the highest auction bid was $8,500. That means someone bid $8,000 or higher, depending on the bidding increments. There is at least one other person in the crowd that can give $8,000 and not miss it. We don’t want to ignore that person.
Have a volunteer or two whose job is to watch the live auction and note who is making large bids but not winning. All they need to do is write down the table number, paddle number, and bids over a certain amount. That will allow you to profile the bidders and get clear ideas of capacity.
Do the same with your silent auction, but your event software will be able to collect the data for you.
These are people you want to reach out to and thank for their bids. Recognize that they contributed by driving up the final price. Start building that relationship with them from a place of gratitude.
Start with Thank You
Gratitude not followed by an immediate ask goes a long way with your donors. These people are always being asked for money, so saying thank you without putting your hand out for more will make your non-profit stand out. We talk a lot about having a plan for gratitude and gratitude cycles at HGAFundraising because it is a simple way to get your donors invested in your organization.
It doesn’t matter if you are handwriting thank you cards or calling your donors to thank them, follow these tips:
Get more tips for nurturing donor relationships here.
HGA’s Jason Ledlow and Trevor Nelson discussed how to read the room so you can raise more money in great detail on our free webinar for non-profits. Listen to Episode 113 of the HGAFundraising webinar for more examples and tips.
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At HGA, we're dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations Raise More Money through coaching, auction items, and auction software.