Great advice for following up on a successful fundraising event. Good stewardship practices are the key to repeat participation.
Don't overlook the opportunity to steer donors back to the online e-journal for post event photos and news on the success of the event!
Thanking Donors - 10 Mistakes to Avoid
Thanking donors is the one thing most nonprofits don’t spend enough time thinking about. Staff spends 95% of their time crafting the appeal – copy; design; layout; printing; postage, etc. Finally,...
by Karen Perry-Weinstat, Event Journal, Inc. (EJI)
Business networking comes in many styles and formats. Its goal is to establish a community of business colleagues with whom to share leads and contacts. We’ve all heard the expression that “people buy from people they trust.” When you receive a warm referral from a trusted colleague or vendor, potential clients are much more receptive to doing business with you.
In the old days, people of privilege belonged to private and country clubs, exclusionary places where they mixed amongst themselves. In the 1990’s, upwardly mobile white collar professionals saw the merit of being well-connected and formed less restrictive groups. The networking “boom” was born. Lead generating, industry-protected groups blossomed. Activities of business trade organizations proliferated. Golfing on public courses became an outlet for those who didn’t or couldn’t join in the private club circuit.
Today, designated “networking” groups create new opportunities, emphasizing attendance at frequent meetings and regular appointments between formal group meetings. Participants are encouraged to build relationships that go beyond the surface. They form a business “family,” that often leads to opportunities to expand their circles and do business. Despite the more open environment these groups offer, they are often restrictive in available openings, lead expectations and referral requirements.
Participation in trade organizations offers an opportunity to meet others in the same industry or profession. This is a great outlet for professional development and networking with others of similar interests. It’s also a perfect backdrop to make connections for future job opportunities. What’s lacking, however, is the diversity of people with different skill sets and introductions to those with whom you might conduct business.
Volunteering as a committee member to support a charity for a fundraising event or a community initiative can be extremely meaningful. An unexpected benefit is that you often get back far more than you give. This can include both personal satisfaction and business opportunities. Participants in such groups bond over shared goals, a commitment to a cause or enjoyment of the activity. Relationships form over time and in a more natural environment than in designated networking groups or industry-specific organizations.
Participation on a committee can provide you with opportunities to grow and expand your leadership skills. Committee sub-chairs and chair people emerge from the pool of volunteers. For many, this offers a first chance at a leadership role and can provide the chance to build skills required for professional advancement.
The best kind of networking creates genuine relationships that endure over time and space. Participation on a committee is a natural way to meet and work with others. The qualities that people bring to a committee are the same as they bring to their business. Reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy people are most likely to be recommended. For those who do not deliver on commitments or behave with integrity, committee participation can show their true colors and actually hurt their business.
Helping a charity by getting involved provides a warm network of like-minded individuals for business referrals and introductions. Step up and give of your time and expertise without condition! You’ll never regret it.
I am profoundly fortunate. I have been given so much both by nature and nurture. I conduct my life with this underlying belief. It colors my perceptions and guides my perspective. Make no mistake, my life is not charmed. I’ve tackled adversity in many significant ways. But I believe that it is not what happens to you that matters; it is about who you become.
It is your choice to adopt this attitude. Choose to see yourself as talented, intelligent, educated, passionate and capable – and you are. Not everyone is quite so lucky. It is incumbent upon us who have been endowed with these gifts to give back and share our largesse.
Giving back comes in many forms. We must each decide whether to contribute personally, facilitate corporate donations, volunteer on the “front line,” or serve on a board or a committee. Over time and across different organizations, I have given back in all of these ways. When I connect with a mission that moves me or a group of dedicated individuals who draw me in, it is nearly impossible to say “no.”
Getting involved is key. When you commit to a cause larger than yourself, your world expands. It’s quite magical. In fact, my entire business evolved from “giving back.” Today, my company thrives because I provide a unique service that helps fundraising professionals and volunteers – a niche I only recognized due to my own experience in those roles.
The more you give and the more involved you get, the more you have. You set an example and grow in ways you never imagined. Friends who bond over doing good for others are among the closest due to the shared experience. Business relationships that evolve out of board or committee membership showcase your abilities first-hand. Your reputation grows because others see you in selfless action.
While this is happening, you are actually providing assistance, support and resources for those who are in need. Life has a way of challenging us all in different ways at different times. Give back to others and you’ll have the fortitude to come through successfully. Remember, it is not about what happens to you; it’s about who you become.
By Karen Perry, Fundraising Event and Nonprofit Marketing Specialist
Social media is a useful way to engage in two-way communication and engage with supporters for donations and special events
David Lawrance guardian.co.uk,Thursday 28 February 2013 01.30 EST
Social media is a useful way to engage in two-way communication and engage with supporters
Social media is an increasingly effective strategy for charities that want to connect with supporters. A recent survey showed that UK charitable organisations have doubled their supporters on key social media channels in the past year. Yet, for many charities, the vastness of the social media landscape is too daunting to venture into.
At The Clare Foundation, we encourage tenants at our Buckinghamshire charity centre to take advantage of all the opportunities that social media channels offer. Our approach is to encourage charitable organisations to bring established commercial methods, business expertise and entrepreneurism to the voluntary sector. Maximising the effectiveness of social media is one area in which many charities need to catch up with commercial businesses.
Charities rely on public support and so need to find new ways to reach their supporters, potential donors and volunteers. Social media can be one of the most effective ways for charities to build supporters, boost donations, share success stories, network with like-minded organisations, encourage people to sign up to campaigns, recruit volunteers, or demonstrate the impact of their work.
With 80% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 73% of 25 to 34-year-olds using Facebook and Twitter respectively, these platforms are especially relevant to charities keen to engage with a younger generation of supporters. More...
Passing along this informative article to Event Journal's friends, fans and clients. The best event websites start with a link from a strong primary website: (Karen Perry)
From Nonprofit Webinars: Your website has two strategic objectives – first, to inform the website visitor about your organization and its mission. However, the second, more important objective is to get the website visitor to SUPPORT your nonprofit.
Charity events are no different than most products when it comes to content marketing. Very few non-profits have a documented content strategy and a plan on how to leverage media to attract attendees and sponsors.
So, if you are running a golf event, dinner gala or charity auction, where do you start with content marketing?
Most development executives start with the “what” or “where.” Should I do a blog, or what should I publish on Facebook? It’s easy to make the mistake of starting with the channel.
Remember, this is marketing. Content that doesn’t change a behavior is just noise. Content marketing means we are seeking to move the needle.
So, your first step could be “Why?” Why are we doing this in the first place?
For events, there can be many goals:
- Raise awareness for your non profit
- Attract more participants
- Cross-sell current participants into additional events
- Create new opportunities for sponsors
- Interest more participants in the sponsors
- Lower participant drop off
Whatever your key goals are, write them down and make this the first step.
Who’s the “who?”
That sounds easy, but in most cases, event planners target multiple titles and functions. Then, in turn, you need a content plan for those you are targeting. Start with these first two steps:
- Who is the main target for the event?
- Begin to build out a participant / sponsor persona for that target audience
Find your story
The biggest issue is usually that event planners don’t have a content strategy. They just feel that they need to create content for Facebook, Twitter, the blog, etc., because that’s what we do when we promote events.
If we know the why and the who, we can get started on the content planning. The type of content you select should be valuable and relevant so that the prospective attendees and sponsors will be compelled to share. That means you have to tell a new story, not just tell the same one in an incrementally better way.
From this, you could develop your content marketing Mission Statement. If we take that a step further and include the why, our example might be:
Our content marketing’s goal is to attract more participants and sponsors to consider and register for our event. The main informational challenge is to create compelling content and distribute it via both digital and traditional outlets.
The “what?” Your content assets
Before you develop new content, I suggest you conduct a content audit. You can repurpose previous content you have to work with such as:
- Digital, print collateral material
- Videos and presentations from previous event
- Audio interviews or podcasts
- Pictures and designed images
Then you can match those assets with the type of content that will engage the target audience and, ultimately, get them interested in the event. Once that is determined, look at other assets that may not be in story form, such as:
- Sponsors and their current content (blogs, articles, videos, etc.)
- Influencers in the community
- Staff content
Once that is complete, you can properly analyze what is missing, and what kind of content you need to create.
Where to publish
When you have your goals and story established, you can choose your primary channels. Should you use print? Should the blog be the center of your strategy? Is your printed content more strategic? Is your web content more actionable in nature? Which social media channels should you focus on? Should you consider a microwebsite or e-journal? What is the type of content that goes into each channel?
Your content channels hold the key to helping you decide the type of content to create, and the metrics (calls to action) for each specific channel.
You can concentrate on getting people to sign up for your organization’s newsletter. If you can get your prospect’s email address or cell phone number (for text messages), ultimately you can get them interested in coming to your event.
Content marketing is so powerful for events because it does more than a simple direct mail or event solicitation — it gets the idea about your organization’s event out to your network’s networks.
Final questions to consider
- Are you taking advantage of all content opportunities at your event to market throughout the year?
- Are you leveraging media partnerships through co-created content marketing projects? Are there opportunities to use sponsor content before the event? Are you getting the most out of your sponsors?
- Could you create new sponsor opportunities with educational content that lasts the full year?
A comprehensive audit of all the potential and existing content will help you energize your program. The result will be a more engaged target audience, from which you will drive greater participation and increased revenue.
Blog article courtesy of Steven M. Wilson, principal of SMW Strategic Marketing
EVENTjournal.com facilitates the use of the latest, secure technology by providing its clients with a cloud-based SAAS (Software as a Service) system fully-managed by its professional staff. What do these terms mean and why are they important to the nonprofits served by Event Journal?
Let’s start by defining these terms.
The term “cloud-computing” simply means that hardware (computer equipment) and software (programs) are located and serviced in a remote location, generally accessed by a network via the internet.
SAAS, or “Software as a Service,” is a type of cloud-computing where software and associated data are centrally hosted (stored) on the cloud. As a user, you do not need to maintain sophisticated hardware or expensive software licenses on your own desktop or laptop. Rather, you log in to your account using a password via the internet and access capabilities that are, generally, more robust and cheaper than those you could access on your own computer or computer network.
Programs like QuickBooks.com, where multiple users can access financial data from distinct locations and YouSendIt.com that allows users to send massive files by emailing a link to retrieve them from a server where they are stored are both examples of this type of service. These companies are compensated by membership fees and/or user contracts.
In recent years, a third term has evolved, often referred to as a “fully-managed” system. In this service delivery model, users do not require extensive training and support to use cloud-based applications. Instead, the client hires the provider company to employ the software to deliver the end product on its behalf. In this scenario, the service provider becomes a de facto or outsourced team of experts to supplement limited resources of the client itself.
EVENTjournal.com combines the concepts and advantages of all three of these services to the benefit of its nonprofit clients. Event Journal’s sophisticated cloud-based software is hosted in a state of the art facility on a dedicated server with extensive backup, failover services and security. This software as a service model means that clients continually access upgrades and new features as updates are applied across the board. The Event Journal team provides a fully-managed service by deploying the capabilities of the software with personal service as each project necessitates and by ensuring that new features are activated on behalf of each client.
A recent example of this application is the introduction of a new feature that allows Event Journal’s users to easily view and access social media icons to connect to Facebook, Twitter and the like. When activated and linked by the Event Journal production staff, these appear on the left sidebar of all e-journal pages. Each icon is linked to the social media page or account of the nonprofit and/or to the page they’ve created to promote their particular event. Users simply click the icon and are transported to the social media page. They can “like” the page on Facebook, “connect” on LinkedIn or “follow” on Twitter. The client does nothing more than inform the Event Journal staff of the address of each page and the rest is facilitated and maintained on his or her behalf.
EVENTjournal.com provides a web-based alternative to traditionally printed ad journals for major galas and special fundraising events. Its e-journal system includes online capabilities, a “day-of” electronic journal presentation, email marketing support and a host of consulting and marketing services. The company is dedicated to delivering the highest quality, secure and professional service. As an outsourced specialty provider, clients can rely on Event Journal to maintain its services at levels that exceed their own ability to replicate. Event Journal gives nonprofits the assurance that they can focus on their mission and raise money to support their work.
for questions, contact email@example.com
Image Talk is hosted by Joann Dobrowolski of YPI Consultants and Brian Cohen of Strategies of Success who will be talking with local, National and International Professionals on many areas on Image. Guests include business owners, Professionals, Politicians and public figures. They will discuss Personal Image, Corporate Image, Image in the Media and the impact each has on your life and many other issues.
Part I: Apply Techniques of “Major Gifts” Asks & Business Sales Successes to Your Fundraising Event!
a) Target your prospects.
All too often, event sponsorships are solicited by a one time letter and, perhaps, a follow up call. Instead of using a "shotgun" method of sending lots of unsupported letters to a large number of prospective sponsors, selectively target a "Top 10" list of prospective sponsors and donors and dig in.
i) Talk to board members, community supporters and even existing event sponsors to ask who else they know who you can approach. These people already support you… ask them for referrals! Remember, you’re not asking them to do the "ask" … just for recommendations. You do the heavy lifting, making it more likely they’ll participate with suggestions.
ii) Then, do your research of that company’s past community giving and see if there are any patterns. Make your case for why it should add your organization to its limited list of community agencies or institutions it supports.
iii) Communicate regularly! Add these prospects to your newsletter lists, mailings, holiday appeal letters, etc. That way, they’ll have some awareness of the work you do by the time you reach out to them for a substantive contribution.
b) Talk to the potential sponsor!
In Major Gifts, "asks" are in person and personalized. To acquire major corporate sponsors, do the same by asking for an appointment, either in person (preferable) or by phone. Remember - your contact at the sponsor is a "person" and people give to people!
i) When you meet, know your statistics and the impact of your mission’s work on their own employee base. For example, if you work in a mental health agency, you might cite the statistic that up to 1/3 of Americans report they’ve struggled with mental health issues … break this down to the number in the company who may be affected and possibly helped by your agency. Make the case that your agency helps their company be more stable by providing valuable service to the community.
ii) Ask questions to find out their "sweet spots" and motivations.
Do they have any direct connections to your work?
What do they look to gain from supporting your organization?
What can you offer them to make supporting you more appealing?
Is it in their interest to engage their employees to volunteer for your agency?
Can you plan a day on site to discuss your work and get employees behind the mission?
c) Propose a multiple year commitment!
Let the company know that the problems your organization tackles are not a "quick fix." Ask for a 3-5 year base commitment of annual sponsorship dollars. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get and any good business person should understand that successful ventures are not realized without a multi-year investment. This is good business and a "major gifts" and "annual giving" strategy that has been proven to work.