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5 Fundraising Event Tips

Section: Blog

After months of planning you’re event is finally here. Now what? In this economy it can be difficult to fundraise and ask for donations but Cassie Brown of TCG Events has 5 tips on how you can raise more money than ever before.

5 Fundraising Event Tips

  1. Make the “ask” early and make it really count – Don’t wait til the end to make your “ask”, some people may have left by then. Asking in the middle of the event is unexpected and ensures most guests are still attentive, present, and having fun.
  2. Talking Heads: We love our sponsors but no one loves to hear them speak for 20 minutes – Don’t let your speakers and sponsors take up too much time. As Brown points out: “Do the math – 5 sponsors x 5 minutes each = 25 minutes of “I’m here, I support this cause, here’s how…”” Think of different ways to feature your sponsors that might have a even bigger impact.
  3. Hungry people are not attentive people. Feed your audience early – Feeding your guests early keeps them happy, satisfied, and more pleasant. Too often events serve food after their speakers and presentations have finished and by that time, people are only looking for food.
  4. Center stage is important not centerpieces – Placing your stage in the center of the room let’s everyone feel close to the action. Audience engagement will be up all-around and the people in the back of the room aren’t getting lost in the baron spaces of your venue.
  5. Change it up and be unique – Don’t be a part of Groundhog’s Day the movie and change things up. Consider new and unexpected elements to entice donors to keep coming back year after year.

Read all about Cassie Brown’s tips in her article found here: 5 tips to make your fundraising event a hit by Cassie Brown of TCG Events. For more tips and her helpful ideas, head over to

Balancing the Traditional and the Innovative

Section: Blog

Never before have nonprofit fundraising professionals had to battle to balance the old versus the new. The traditional vs the innovative. With new fundraising tactics emerging daily and online fundraising becoming more and more lucrative, it’s hard not to feel like you’re not doing enough to stay current. Most fundraiser have numerous people they have to answer to, and the majority of stakeholders still believe that “the old ways are always the best ways”. As a fundraiser you understand that you have to adapt to the times and you need your organization to stay relevant. So, how do you move beyond your current fundraising strategies but still make your stakeholders happy? Categorize and explain.

Derrick Feldmann, president of Achieve, has come up with an idea of separating your tactics into three categories and placing them in buckets to help you organize your strategies. By categorizing your fundraising tactics into three different “buckets” you can then easily educate  your stakeholders as to how you’re working each strategy type and the outcomes of each.

The Three “Buckets”

1. Traditional Fundraising Methods – This is where you’ll find your direct mail, gala events, and other methods that appeal towards the baby boomers and their parents. Feldmann notes that “according to Blackbaud’s 2013 Charitable Giving Report, 52 percent of so-called “matures” and 40 percent of boomers say they gave in response to a direct mail solicitation. In other words, as long as they raise money for your organization, traditional fundraising tools and tactics are worth your time and money.” If traditional tactics are still pulling in good numbers, prove to them with numbers and don’t pull the plug.

2. Newer fundraising methods – Younger donors are responsible for most of the success from digital fundraising. Online giving is increasing at double-digit rates and Millennials are a growing force in fundraising. Show your stakeholders the importance of cultivating this new donor group through online fundraising and explain that email and online fundraising event websites are the future.

3. Experimentation – Pay close attention to this one and be creative. Play around with social media, which is a low-cost option with a high ROI. Experiment with online and tech channels to bring in in new donors and see if you can cultivate through more traditional methods from “bucket” number 1. Research your competitors and see what new kind of risk they are taking. Take your own risks and see what kind of numbers you can produce. Keep track of these experiments and bring these new ideas to the table, with numbers to back them up. You never know what may strike a cord with your donors.

Want to read Derrick Feldmann’s entire article over at Philanthropy News Digest?

Keep the Old, Try the New – A Bucket-Balancing Act for Fundraising Pros

Infographic : Charitable Giving in 2013

Section: Blog

Online giving has been a huge asset for nonprofits in the last few years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2014 (and beyond). The numbers have increased at an astounding rate and nonprofits would be wise to make the leap towards going digital. As society continues to move towards a technology-driven community, nonprofits must make sure they stay up-to-date and on trend to solidify their staying power. For an interesting look at charitable giving in 2013, check out this infographic from the creative folks over at Blackbaud.

2013 Charitable Giving Report by Blackbaud

Infographic attribution:


The Importance of Using Content to Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact

Section: Blog

Using content to show your impact isn’t just for SEO but is becoming a more important aspect of why people support, and might support, your organization. Storytelling has become the #1 trend in 2014 for nonprofit fundraising and it’s important to really understand why. The great people over at Hubspot have come up with 4 simple benefits of using content to show impact and “help increase awareness, support, and funds”.

Benefit #1: Content answers the questions of curious strangers.

  • When people visit your site they are looking for information about what your organization does, what your mission is, and how successful you are at moving towards that mission. They also want to know “what their contribution will mean and who or what they will impact”. Make sure your content answers these initial questions for your visitors so you don’t lose them.

Benefit #2: Content highlights the achievements of you and your constituents.

  • Show how individuals make a difference and how volunteers can connect outsiders to the cause. Supporters want to feel like they, themselves, are making a difference. Let them know how they have in the past and how they can continue in the future.

Benefit #3: Content allows you to build trust.

  • Be transparent. By being clear and open with your supporters, it builds a level of trust that is incredibly important. People want to know exactly how their money is being spent and how things get done. Don’t hide; share your solutions, your process, and your results.

Benefit #4: Content connects your readers to actual people that are impacted by your mission.

  • Allow your supporters to feel emotionally connected to your cause through the communities you’re helping. Share follow-ups stories, statistics, or images to show how you have benefited these communities. Hubspot says ” Personal connection is the number one reason why people give, fundraise, join an organization, or volunteer”. Give them an opportunity to make a personal connection.

Want to see a great example of how charity: water uses content to connect? Read the whole article on Hubspot: The Benefits of Using Content to Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact

Meet Them: 15 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy

Section: Blog

International Women’s Day was this past Saturday March 8th. In honor of women, the Huffington Post Impact blog has posted a list of 15 most powerful women in U.S. philanthropy, as compiled by Inside Philanthropy. Women have now become a substantial force in the realm of philanthropy. They are becoming a leadership force and building connections to help make a difference. The list of the top 15 women in U.S. philanthropy are listed below:

The 15 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy

  1. Melinda Gates
  2. Susan Buffett
  3. Patricia Harris
  4. Marilyn Simons
  5. Susan Dell
  6. Pam Omidyar
  7. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
  8. Jennifer Buffett
  9. Carol Larson
  10. Laurene Powell Jobs
  11. Laura Arrillaga-Andressen
  12. Laura Arnold
  13. Priscilla Chan
  14. Margaret Cargill
  15. Cathy Catalyst

Do you recognize any of these women? Does anyone inspire you? Let us know!

The full version of Huffington Post’s article can be found here: Meet the 15 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy

The complete article by Inside Philanthropy, and why they chose the women on this list, can be found here: Meet the 15 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy

How to: Build the Strongest Committee for a Successful Event

Section: Blog

At the upcoming 2014 AFP International Conference on Fundraising in San Antonio, Shiree Skinner, the director of special events with Easter Seals Serving Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., will host a session that will “leave participants with a check-list to guide them through their next special event, including ten specific strategies covering planning, day-of execution and post-event tasks.” Here she shares a tip on her list that will help you on your way to a successful fundraising special event.

Strategy #3 – How to Build the Strongest Committee Possible for a Successful Event – As brought to you by Shiree Skinner

Skinner mentions that without a strong committee to help plan and produce the event, your event is vulnerable to a lack of organization and undirected efforts. By beginning with a strong committee, much of the rest of the planning will evolve much more seamlessly.

So where to start? Skinner has come up with a few key tasks to accomplish that will set you on the right path for a triumphant event.

  • Recruit from you network
  • Don’t be afraid to create a wish-list of your dream committee
  • Set specific goals for your new recruits
  • Create lists for your new committee – duties, attendance expectations, fundraising goals, etc

Then… keep you committee “On Board”. Keeping your committee focused, engaged, and motivated will increase the accountability of you committee. Want to find out how the best steps to Keeping Your Committee “On Board”? Read the entire post over at The Association of Fundraising Professionals national site: ICON Teaser: Successful Special Events Strategies