How Do I Get Participants to Raise More Money? (Part 1)

Posted on June 13, 2012

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Charity WalkersI recently wrote about the challenges of how to handle zero-balance participants. Now, let’s move on from those participants and focus on another group: participants who are actually performing. How can you get these participants to raise more money?

Here’s a five-step plan for doing just that. Next month, I’ll have some tactical recommendations that will also help.

1. Educate
Inform them about your cause, the need for support and the impact they could make. And express this in a way that everyone can relate to. People are less likely to respond if you overwhelm them with a plea to help the one million people affected by a tsunami. But if you humanize and personalize the need, you’ll motivate people to act and raise more money. For instance, “Raising $500 will allow us to feed this child orphaned by the tsunami for one year.”

2. Normalize
Tell them what other participants have done in terms of fundraising. This helps set a benchmark and expectation for people to shoot for. For instance, “Did you know participants last year raised an average of $623?” Or, “Last year’s participants had an average of nine donors each.”

3. Incentivize
Encourage and reward goal setting. As participants hit fundraising milestones leading up to the event, give them a reason to shoot even higher. Send them emails recognizing when they have reached a significant figure (e.g. $500) and point to the next achievement that’s in view (e.g. becoming a Pacesetter at the $1,000 mark). If you can tempt them with meaningful recognition, perks or relevant swag for reaching certain levels, all the better.

4. Personalize
Send individualized emails that acknowledge who they are — past performer, survivor, team captain, etc. When the subject line says something a little more personal (e.g. “Thank for your continued support!”), that helps to engage people. And by extending this personal approach into the email body — where content can be conditionalized more specifically — they’ll be more likely to pay attention to the call to action at the end.

5. Recognize
Publicly recognize and reward success. People like to be acknowledged for their efforts. By highlighting a participant’s efforts on your website, providing an additional experiential benefit during the event or calling out their name at the event, you satisfy this desire. Better yet, you strengthen their bond with your organization and inspire them to do even more.

Look out for Part 2 on this topic next month!

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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