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Analyze this: The whitepaper!

Tomorrow at the 2010 Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference in Dallas I’ll be delivering the keynote presentation about moving beyond traditional event fundraising metrics and towards a broader set of measures to create deeper insights about event fundraising programs. As part of the conference work, Event 360 has just released a new whitepaper, in partnership with Convio, on the same subject. This is obviously a deep topic — too deep to cover in any one short document — but I’m pleased with the depth we were able to offer. You can download an advance copy of the paper from the Resources section of Event 360’s website.

The 18-page guide is designed to help event fundraisers move beyond only reporting the past and start using analytics to predict the future. A case study featuring the Komen Global Race for the Cure highlights how we used analytics to help transform their highly attended event into a strong fundraising event.

Get the guide for free here. Thanks for reading!

Homer Simpson for Nonprofits

I’m pleased to pass on that Event 360 has partnered with Network for Good and Sea Change Strategies to sponsor a new eBook, Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth about How People Really Think and What It Means for Promoting Your Cause.

This guide covers the basics of behavioral economics and how you can use these principles to craft more effective messages that will win the hearts and minds of your audience.

Some of the ideas:

  • Small, not big - The bigger the scale of what you’re communicating, the smaller the impact on your audience
  • Hopeful, not hopeless - People tend to act on what they believe they can change—If your problem seems intractable, enormous and endless, people won’t be motivated to help
  • Peer pressure still works (Nope, it doesn’t end after high school) - People are more likely to do something if they know other people like them are doing it. 

You can download the eBook here.

Analyze this!

Event 360 has launched a new webinar series, which gave me the fun opportunity this past week to talk for 90 minutes or so to well over 100 nonprofits about our first topic: the basics of event analytics. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, both because I’m a bit of a data geek and because so many of the groups I work with are great at tracking data but pretty poor at doing anything with it. 

The fact is, with an hour of time, a flat file of your fundraising data, and Microsoft Excel, you can get a far deeper understanding of what is actually powering (or holding back) your program. 

The webcast was recorded and archived; you can view it for free here

Don’t be afraid of your data! 

Independent Events

One of the more interesting trends in the event fundraising space is the rise of third-party events — that is, events to benefit an organization that are managed outside of the organization itself. Such events, born from an increasingly self-motivated constituency, have attractive benefits. For one, their cost is relatively low. Perhaps more importantly, they can provide a truly donor-directed experience, in that the initiatives are created and managed by the donor participants themselves.

However, such programs have large potential pitfalls — lack of control, data collection challenges, difficulty in oversight and evaluation, and possible negative brand exposure to name a few of the largest. 

My colleagues at Event 360 recently teamed up with Blackbaud to research and document some of the best practices in this emerging field. The resulting whitepaper makes for an interesting read, and a good primer to how to get some of the basics in place so that you enjoy the benefits rather than suffer the headaches. 

I invite you to download it here

From Awareness to Fundraising

One of the primary relationships in event fundraising is the link between participants and donations. In general, the more participants a program has, the more donations it should raise. This is because participants bring in donors, and donors give donations – and so as participants increase, the overall fundraising should increase as well.

However, although this is a primary mathematical relationship, it is also the number one challenge facing most nonprofit organizations. Simply put, many fundraising events underperform – not because of a lack of participants, but because the participants do not fundraise. In almost every engagement we manage, therefore, we find that at least part of our task is to take an event that has successfully created awareness and help our client transform it into a successful fundraising program.

Do your events raise awareness, but no money? Are you struggling to turn participants into fundraisers? The good news is that you can impact these results. From our work, we have identified four key steps to transform an event from a gathering of people into an effective fundraising program:

  • A well-articulated ask;
  • A segmented participant base;
  • A customized communication plan targeted to the segments; and
  • A management culture that supports fundraising.

I’ve recently written a free white-paper outlining these steps in a bit more detail. I invite you to download it here.

Remember that attendance doesn’t fuel the programs that change the world — revenue does. Best wishes and good luck!