Turning the Conversation Back to Fundraising

Posted on July 17, 2013

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In our work as event fundraisers, we often encounter those participants who are not comfortable fundraising. While the thought of being uncomfortable fundraising is a foreign concept to me, and many of my colleagues at Event 360, it’s also something that we’re used to confronting.

Head on.

Talking to and encouraging participants who let a bunch of different fears guide their fundraising behavior is what we do and it’s who we are. In a recent training with a client of ours, my colleague Eileen and I talked about the different types of fundraisers we encounter and how to steer the conversation back to fundraising.

Whether in person or over the phone, we have all come across a variety of fundraisers that help us flex our fundraising muscles. Our job is to guide these participants to jump right on over the limits they’ve placed upon themselves. There are many types of fundraisers you can, and will, encounter as event fundraisers, but knowing how to talk to every type is important.

Fear not! I have good news for you: there are ways to turn the conversation back to fundraising.

First and foremost, the key to getting a participant to fundraise is to engage them in a conversation about it. You need to be willing to bring the conversation around to fundraising to earn the opportunity to educate them on how it’s possible to succeed. Here are common themes to help guide conversations back to fundraising:

  • Provide specific suggestions based on what you know about the participant.
  • Educate the participant on why fundraising is important by telling them where the money is going and how it will help.
  • Challenge the participant to take action.
  • Follow up with the participant so they feel accountable for what we’re asking them to do.
  • Highlight where the participant can find additional fundraising support by directing them back to your website and fundraising staff.

Our participants are looking at us to help inspire, motivate and educate them on fundraising how-to’s and best practices. Our most important job is to provide them with the confidence they need to take action. This will ultimately help your organization raise more funds which are necessary to see your vision realized.

Taking the tips above one step further, here are five ways to extend any conversation and steer it toward fundraising:

  1. “We are so happy that you will be joining us this year. Can we count on you to fundraise?”
  2. “I will put the registration receipt in the mail today. But while I have you, let’s talk about your fundraising. I’d love to share some suggestions with you and help you get your first donation by the end of the day.”
  3. “We’re so glad you’re joining us again this year and hope you’ll feel compelled to increase your goal above what you raised last year!”
  4. “Your team made a huge impact with fundraising last year. Can we count on you to encourage your teammates to fundraise even more this year?”
  5. “I noticed you have not set up your personal fundraising page yet. I’d love to help you with that so you can start your fundraising.”

How you engage your participants in fundraising isn’t as important as that you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to bring the conversation back to fundraising whenever you’re given the opportunity to interact with your participants. As event fundraisers, this is the easiest and most effective way we can bring more dollars to the causes we all support. 


“Fast Fundraising Tips” blog posts are featured monthly. A passionate advocate of event fundraising and customer service, Molly Fast has been working as an event fundraiser since 2002. As the daughter of a 13-year breast cancer survivor, cancer has hit very close to home and Molly has dedicated herself to helping others see their potential in making this world a better place. At Event 360, Molly combines her love of customer service with event fundraising. When she’s not taking photos in Santa Monica, where she lives with her husband and their black lab Clancy, Molly can be found wandering around Ireland. You can find Molly onGoogle+Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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