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Nonprofit fundraising tips for events: Quick and easy steps
When your nonprofit is exhibiting at an event you need to maximize your ROI (return on investment). This article offers valuable nonprofit fundraising tips A couple of Sundays ago I sponsored the booth space during VegFest from 10:30am – 5:00pm for the Animals Asia Michigan Volunteer Group, of which I am the volunteer chair.
$837.00 Raised in 6 1/2 Hours
Our specific goal was to raise $675 for life-saving surgery for one badly abused bear. Our overall goal was to raise more than $800.00 so we’d have extra money to donate to Animals Asia for vet care for a bear. We raised a total of $837.00 that day.
Don’t Make Your Event Table a Barrier
During the event one of our volunteers, Michael, who is in sales, commented, “I know why we are raising so much money. We are the only exhibitor that does not have our table set up as a barrier. We are one of the few booths where people are standing up and not sitting down and eating. We greet people with a smile, engage them and ask for the donation.”
And he’s right! Setting up our table to be welcoming rather than a barrier is one of many great nonprofit fundraising tips. The good news is that you can do this too when fundraising at an event. Just follow the steps below.
Nonprofit Fundraising Tips for Events
Set a specific goal. Set a monetary or other specific goal (such as “Obtain 200 petition signatures”, or “Distribute 400 brochures to interested visitors”).
Stand up. You should never be sitting during an event.
Train your staff and volunteers. Your staff and volunteers need to be welcoming, knowledgeable, confident and know exactly what to say and do to get that donation. Nonprofit fundraising tips are covered in my book. You must greet people properly, engage and ask for the donation in order to convert visitors from lookers to donors. There really is no way around this. If your staff is not properly trained, you are going to leave a LOT of money on the table (no pun intended).
Remove barriers. Relocate that table that’s creating a barrier between you and your donors. Instead of placing your display table across the front of your booth, create an inviting exhibit by placing your display table 90 degrees to the front of your exhibit. This allows visitors to walk into your booth and connect with you. I learned this tip from my good friend and trade show expert Colleen Kilpatrick.
Engage. Smile, say hello and engage the visitor.
Tell a story. Have a quick 30-second compelling story you can tell visitors that will show them how their investment (donation) will directly help one specific person, animal, project, etc. In our case we pointed to the poster of Jasper (see image below) and told this story:”Jasper is the bear in this poster. He was pinned to the bottom of his crush cage for 15 years unable to move and milked for his bile on a horrific bear bile farm. The good news is that Animals Asia, the group we volunteer and raise funds for, cut him out of that cage, rescued him, and this is Jasper today, happily living at Animals Asia’s sanctuary. Your investment will help us rescue more bears like Jasper.”
Display a donation thermometer with a monetary goal (see image at top of page). A donation thermometer attracts visitors, allows donors to donate to a specific program, shows progress and demonstrates that others feel this cause is important and are donating. Let the donor color in their donation amount!
Share these nonprofit fundraising tips with your volunteers and staff.
Ask for the sale. You must ask for the sale, or in this case, the donation. If you don’t ask, you won’t raise nearly as much money. In our case we asked, “Would you like to make a donation to help save the life of one badly abused bear? No amount is too small.” Then be quiet and don’t say a word.
What nonprofit fundraising tips do you have to add?