You send out invitations for your fundraising event, and watch as a handful of rejections come trickling in.
Don’t take it personally, there’s a good chance that even though these people can’t attend they’re still looking for ways to help your nonprofit organization throw a successful event.
Instead of overlooking those who can’t attend, you can create an email marketing campaign to circle back and offer them opportunities to show their support outside of attending the event. Here are just a few of the ways non-attendees can push your fundraiser towards success:
Help them support you from a distance
Even if they’re unable to attend, companies or individuals could sponsor something small such as a single hole on a golf course, or make a bigger splash and sponsor the whole event. This helps your organization pull off a successful fundraiser, and gives the sponsor credit for helping your organization’s cause.
If your event is raising money to fund a new playground, or an after-school program, you could create an email campaign that offers a ‘Sponsor a Kid for Summer Camp’ campaign. Give donors the opportunity to give this sponsorship ahead of time, so they can help even if they cannot make the event.
Tip: Include pictures of the benefit of sponsoring in these emails. When promoting your ‘Sponsor a Kid’ campaign, insert photos of the kids from camp last summer playing games and having fun. Non-attendees will want to recreate this experience for a child this summer too!
Find help before and after your event
There are plenty of opportunities for supporters to help out in the setup or breakdown of your fundraising event. Volunteering gives them the chance to get involved and show their support for your cause, even if their schedules are all over the place.
When you send out your volunteer prospecting emails, be sure to indicate that you will also need people leading up to and after your event so those who can’t attend know they can still participate.
Tip: Make a list of what you need from volunteers outside of the fundraising event hours, so supporters will be able to pick what will fit their schedules best, as well as what tasks they would like to help with. This list can include anything from printing out name tags the week before, to stamping thank you letters afterwards.
Everything but the kitchen sink (unless you need a sink)
Donations come in all shapes and sizes, and can include event funding, centerpieces, flowers, food, items for auction, or anything else your organization needs to throw the event. Even if they’re not able to attend, donors need to know what you are looking for so they can see the opportunity to give.
Send out an email specifically detailing what your fundraiser needs help with. People will want to help in any way they can – especially if they cannot physically be there themselves.
Tip: Send these emails in a series, starting a few months before and building urgency closer to the event. Because they cannot attend, your event may not be top of mind for this group. Reminder emails will help them follow through with their donation.
The highest bidder is not the only winner
A great addition to any fundraising event is a silent auction. The auction can be as big or as small as you want, and can create an additional fundraising steam for little extra effort on top of planning the event.
Silent auction items can become fun projects for the donors, especially those who cannot attend your fundraiser, but want to be involved. They can also provide the opportunity to build awareness for the small businesses who choose to donate.
Tip: When prospecting for silent auction items with email, give some ideas to help spark creativity among donors. Again, this donation opportunity can often be as much fun for the donor as it is for the item winner!
Still making a difference, even in absence
Sometimes, all it takes is educating your supporters on how they can help, even if they can’t make it to your actual fundraising event. So instead of writing off your non-attendees, remember that they may have exactly what you need!