Creating a unique concept for your fundraising event can encourage more people to donate and participate, especially if the concept involves an experience that is tied directly to your organization’s mission. Because people are emotional and intuitive, developing a brand through an experiential fundraiser can help you connect with more individuals, and form lasting connections.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Hike and Seek event is one example of an organization that used a novel concept fundamentally connected to the mission of NWF’s Be Out There campaign. The “Be Out There” Campaign’s mission is to return to the nation’s children what they don’t even know they’ve lost: their connection to the natural world.

Through this campaign and event NWF is able to promote event involvement and engage donors in a different way than ever before. NWF appealed to families by developing an event that was a “cross between a scavenger hunt and a hike,” which created an enjoyable experience that supported the organization’s mission of environmental conservation and wildlife protection and connected with families on an emotional and intuitive level.

Because NWF developed an event that was fun and appealing to children, the organization created an opportunity to begin educating a captive audience about its mission. Parents also engaged as a result, leading to more donations and a shared experience that people were apt to repeat the next year.

To create an event experience that resonates with potential donors, the experience needs to be crystallized in the marketing messaging, and then supported by the right infrastructure and planning. The Hike and Seek event incorporated bright pictures of children playing in the forest on its microsite, coupled with clear value propositions to attract parents who wanted to share the outdoors with their kids, such as: “imagine your child discovering nature for the first time.” This effective messaging incorporated the whole family, and got parents to consider attending the event. Then, the event used partnerships in the local community and effective execution of the concept to engage all involved and raise the likelihood of repeat participants and donors.

Creating a similar effect and success story as the Hike and Seek event for your organization requires developing a concept that is creative, exciting, and closely aligned with your organization’s mission. Then, once the event experience has been developed, your team should determine a strong narrative for participation that attracts people and conveys the novelty of the event. Finally, you must do significant strategic planning, and enlist support from the community and volunteers, as NWF did, to make the event run smoothly and deliver on the promise you expressed in your marketing materials. As we head into the prime fundraising season, how is your organization incorporating experiences into its event fundraising efforts?

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