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How to Factor Fundraising into Every Stage of an In-Person Event

May 2024 - READ MORE

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Crowd mingling at alumni event

There is an inherent synergy between in-person events and fundraising. Whether it be a class reunion or alumni happy hour, events allow you to engage more personally with your constituents, build relationships, and start to deepen their connection with your institution.

Below, you’ll find strategies and tactics that can transform your events into powerful fundraising opportunities. These insights will guide you in weaving fundraising seamlessly into every aspect of your event planning and execution—from registration to post-event follow-up. 

Before: Fundraising Prior to the Event 

Peer-to-peer fundraising has proven to be highly effective—peer asks are 300 times more effective than institutional asks—and fundraising around events is no exception. Lean on your volunteers to create FOMO around your event and motivate their fellow alumni to attend and make a donation. Have your volunteers leverage channels like texting and social media to publicize their own donations and drive people to your event registration page. 

The event registration process itself provides an excellent opportunity to also make an ask. For many events, attendees will already have their wallets out to register. Why not make it easy for them to make a donation at the same time? 

The GiveCampus event ticketing and registration solution, GC Events, was developed specifically with fundraisers in mind, and makes connecting your event registration page to an existing campaign simple. You can easily integrate donation options right into your registration process. 

You can also promote incentives on your event page to encourage attendees to make a gift. Consider tying the incentive directly to your event. For example, one GiveCampus partner recently hosted a reunion weekend and offered an open bar incentive to the class with the most donors.

Blair Academy Reunion Campaign
Create a seamless giving opportunity for reunion attendees to make their donation while registering for your event. Their affiliation details like class year will automatically sync with the relevant reunion campaign and leaderboards.

GC Events automatically connects any donation made via your event page with the appropriate social fundraising tiered campaign page. In addition to making the giving experience easy for donors, we make it equally easy for administrators on the backend—donor activity automatically appears in the right places. 

During: Accepting Gifts at the Event 

Whether it be an alumni happy hour or a weekend-long reunion, in-person events create buzz and excitement that is hard to attain elsewhere. To effectively harness this momentum, you need to make fundraising an integral part of your event. 

User-friendly devices like GC Connect allow attendees to donate with a simple tap of their credit card, eliminating any barriers between their desire to give and the act itself. By making giving effortless and accessible,GC Connect empowers individuals to contribute to your cause instantly, amplifying your event’s impact.

You may choose to create a social fundraising campaign that aligns with an event—like a homecoming or reunion campaign. However, you can also host events based on the fundraising campaign itself. For instance, if your institution holds an annual Giving Day, you may consider hosting regional alumni events across the country on the same day.

Woodberry Forrest School regional events
Woodberry Forest School hosted regional gatherings for alumni on the same day as their annual Giving Day to foster a sense of community and boost participation.

These micro-events not only expand your reach but also foster a sense of collective impact among attendees. Consider projecting a live progress updates feed on screens at your event. This live feed can help to sustain momentum and foster a spirit of competition among donors. You can also incorporate leaderboards into your campaign for each region hosting an in-person Giving Day event. This injects an element of friendly rivalry and may help spur individuals to outdo one another in support of your cause. As attendees witness the real-time progress towards fundraising goals, they’ll hopefully be motivated to contribute and see their impact reflected instantly.

You may choose to focus on students rather than alumni for your in-person element of a Giving Day. You can capitalize on the fact that this constituent group is already all in one place and host a robust and fun Giving Day experience on campus. Villanova University did just that with their recent Giving Day, during which they held a student “power hour” competition between their student clubs and organizations. The 72 different student clubs took part in a heated participation battle. The clubs that got the most student donors at the end of the hour received additional funding from a generous donor. While the focus was on attaining funding, the event also included games, performances, and food to add an additional dose of fun to this on-campus extension of their Giving Day.

Villanova University Student Org Leaderboard
Students participating in Villanova University’s student power hour could track the live progress of their respective student organizations on the leaderboard section of the campaign page.

It proved to be a wild success, getting over 2,000 to participate in the “power hour.” Their triumph highlights the synergy between in-person engagement and philanthropy.

After: Making Appeals Post-Event 

The conclusion of your event doesn’t mark the end of your fundraising efforts; rather, it signals the beginning of a new phase aimed at converting event attendees into donors. 

Volunteers can play a pivotal role in post-event fundraising efforts for the same reasons peer-to-peer outreach can be so effective during pre-event communications. Their firsthand experience and passion for your institution make them compelling advocates for your cause. Personalized outreach from volunteers fosters a sense of connection and reinforces the importance of their contribution, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

GC Volunteer Management can help streamline your volunteer program and allow you to easily enlist advocates to reach out to event attendees. Volunteers can send personalized text messages and emails directly through the volunteer platform using templates and example messaging you provide. Short on time to create an email or text message template? Give Donor Outreach AI a try. This free AI-powered utility from GiveCampus can help you leverage pre-built prompts to generate relevant content in just minutes. 

In addition to volunteer outreach, use email campaigns from your institution to engage event attendees and drive donations. Be sure to craft thoughtful and segmented emails that resonate with different audiences, highlighting key moments from the event and emphasizing the transformative impact of their support. Include direct links to your campaign page or giving form to make the donor experience as frictionless as possible. 

GiveCampus Can Supercharge Your Fundraising Efforts Around Events

From our fundraising-focused registration and ticketing platform to a robust volunteer management system, we’re dedicated to creating solutions that enable you to seamlessly incorporate fundraising into every stage of your events. 

To learn more about the GiveCampus platform and how we can help you raise more money around your next event, schedule a call with one of our fundraising experts.

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