Eureka! Mining For Gold Through Post-Event Engagement

Posted on April 6, 2012

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Meghan DankovichAs our long-time readers know, Event 360 strongly believes events are a means to an end. We always recommend moving beyond attendance as a measurement of success and into deeper performance-based metrics. Focusing on the ongoing performance of participants will allow you to realize the potential of engaging participants beyond event day.

While events provide a golden opportunity — they can attract lifelong, impactful supporters of your mission — many nonprofits aren’t leveraging their events nearly as well as they could. For that reason, Event 360 is introducing a new service: post-event engagement consulting.

Engaging Participants, Donors and Volunteers
We’ve devised a framework that can help you determine which event constituents should be identified for further engagement, including participants, donors and volunteers. But before I get too far, I should make a few things clear.

First, engagement strategies are based on your organization’s particular goals. For some groups, you may want to maximize lifetime contributions. For others, you may want to find your next generation of volunteer leaders, advocates or team captains. Or both! We can guide you in customizing your strategies to accommodate these goals and more.

Second, we aim to identify a narrow, select audience (i.e. micro-segment) for each engagement strategy. Post-event engagement must be limited exclusively to those constituents who have the greatest propensity to broaden their engagement with your organization in the desired way.

Why? In many cases, white-glove treatment is the most effective way to broaden someone’s engagement. That means using your resources wisely on high-impact activities like writing notes, sharing relevant articles, making calls and investing in face-to-face time. The better qualified and more manageable the target size, the higher the likelihood for success and return on investment.

Third, post-event engagement is intended to supplement — not cannibalize — current event engagement and performance. For example, you aren’t looking to discourage a long-time event participant from maintaining his/her current level of participation. Rather, you’re looking to broaden that participant’s engagement in the most appropriate manner based on his/her specific inclinations.

Does a constituent’s interest in the event change over time? Absolutely. Which is why having a plan to keep the constituent in the organizational family through some form of other engagement can minimize the risk of losing him/her altogether.

The Post-Event Engagement Process
Here’s a quick look at our five-step framework for post-event engagement:

  1. Define/Refine: We work with you to create and execute a post-event engagement strategy that factors in your organization’s goals, data points and resources.
  2. Identify: By applying a customized predictive model to an event’s constituent list, we identify micro-segments that are most likely to engage in the desired way (e.g. planned giving, major gifts, volunteering, advocacy).
  3. Cultivate: Based on each micro-segment, we collaborate with you to determine and execute the most effective forms of cultivation, including content and messaging.
  4. Activate: We help define the appropriate ask or call to action (including timing and execution), foster re-engagement of event involvement and design the most impactful forms of thanks and recognition.
  5. Assess: We measure the outcomes of the engagement plan against goals and revisit the predictive model, cultivation plan and activation plan as needed to refine the next cycle of this process.

Based on what we see in the event space, most organizations could benefit from taking a closer look at stewarding certain constituents beyond the event and digging deeper into their interests. Need a metal detector? We’ve got one!

“Meghan’s Strategy Lab” blog posts are featured monthly. Vice President, Fundraising Strategy Meghan Dankovich serves as the lead for many of Event 360’s consulting engagements, striving to help nonprofits exceed their event fundraising goals. Her expertise includes strategic planning, implementation of qualitative fundraising work and developing successful quantitative approaches for collecting and analyzing event-related data.

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