By Molly Fast

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Milne, host of the Real Talk for the Non-Profit Event Pro podcast. I loved being a guest on Amy’s podcast, which provides insight into a wide variety of topics geared toward the nonprofit event professional. Amy covers everything from marketing and sponsorship to peer-to-peer fundraising and logistics. We, of course, dove deep into all things peer-to-peer fundraising.  

Our 43-minute-long conversation (which I highly recommend listening to at 1.25x speed!) went by in a flash and easily could have lasted a couple of hours. After all, fundraising is my love language! During our talk, Amy asked me what my top three tips are for new staff members who are coaching participants in the nonprofit event fundraising space. I wanted to share my response with you (including my bonus responses, too).  

  1. Be a fundraiser! If you are on the front lines of your event working with your fundraisers, your job will be so much easier if you can say you’ve been where they’re going. So, if you yourself haven’t done peer-to-peer fundraising, sign up for an event STAT. Learn what it’s like to be the participant and to tap into your personal networks to fundraise. If you have done fundraising events, draw upon your personal history to help support and sympathize with your participants. They will appreciate your perspective and experience.  
  2. Use every opportunity to connect with your individual participants on a human level. Demonstrate that you value each of them as a person, not just for who they’re bringing in as donors and how much they’re raising. Don’t get me wrong; both things are very important. But if you lay the groundwork for a solid, meaningful relationship based on a genuine interest and connection, the donors and money will follow. Don’t make your interactions transactional; make them relational.   
  3. Your job serves a greater purpose and requires you to step out of your comfort zone. Just as we ask and expect our fundraisers to think outside the box, to push the envelope, and to aim higher, you need to be willing to do that in your role as a nonprofit event fundraiser as well. Your job is to inspire and motivate your participants to want to do more. You do that by caring about the cause, the event, the participants and their connection. And you put that into practice by using perfectly timed opportunities to ask about their fundraising, to encourage them to increase their goal, to suggest different fundraising tactics and by reminding them of their unique position to make the world a better place through their fundraising efforts.  

I couldn’t stop just there, so I also shared these three solid tips that nonprofit pros can share with the event fundraisers they’re coaching: 

  1. Don’t decide for the donor. Your job isn’t to decide where someone thinks it’s important to spend their money. Your job is to ask, sit back and wait for their answer.  
  2. Ask for a specific amount. When working with fundraisers, I almost always tell them that the most frequent donation size you will receive is the one you ask for. I understand it can be uncomfortable, but the bottom line is it’s effective and your potential donors need a little guidance! Which leads me right into… 
  3. No one is going to give you their last dollar! There are so many things we like to worry about and when it comes to fundraising, we worry that we’re asking people for more than they have. Well…I’m here to tell you that no one is going to give you more than they can afford. Even if you ask for a $100 donation, if your donor can’t swing it, they’ll give you what they can!  

Amy and I covered more ground, and I hope you’ll take some time out of your day to listen to our conversation and tell us in the comments what you thought.  

Molly Fast

Molly leads the company’s local operations for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series and feels privileged to work with our participant-facing (customer service) team. For over 20 years with Event 360, Molly has been fortunate enough to combine her love of people with the ability to make a difference in the work she does focusing on exceeding expectations and delighting participants along the way, whether it’s talking them through a fundraising plan on the phone, or giving them a hug out on the route.


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