6 Keys to Successful In-Person Giving

In-Person Events are Back, Are You Ready?

From fundraisers to networking events, conferences to lobby days, and fly-ins: in-person events are back on the schedule.

With each event comes the potential to make meaningful connections with your audience, learn more about what makes them tick, and – where applicable – ask them for their support.

With that in mind, here is a list of 6 best practices for successful fundraising at in-person events:

  1. Do your research
  2. Form a relationship
  3. Be genuine, direct, and specific
  4. Make the process easy
  5. Follow up immediately
  6. Keep contributors in the know

1. Do your research

With an event on the horizon, there’s plenty you can do to get ahead before the event begins. For example, as the host of a conference, you have access to the attendee list as the event starts to take shape.

Take full advantage of the lead-up time to the event by cross-referencing the attendee list against your stakeholder management (CRM)

Depending on the size of your event, learn as much about each individual contributor as you can, or – at the very least – aggregate contributors into small groups around issues, experiences, and more.

None of us like to think that the organization or group that we’re contributing to sees us only as a dollar sign and not individuals. Doing your research beforehand ensures you can speak to your contributors sincerely about what interests them; this personal connection will only benefit your effort as a whole moving forward.

2. Form a relationship

Building on the research you’ve done, do your best to form a relationship prior to the in-person event. With the information you’ve gathered from your CRM, you should now have a good idea of previous contributions, overall grassroots activity, event attendance, and more.

Leveraging that information, reach out to individual contributors acknowledging those details, welcoming them to the event and providing helpful information such as agendas, maps, and any tips to make the most of their time at the event.

Of course, not every contributor or attendee will want to form that relationship or be your friend, but establishing yourself as a resource that they can rely on will ensure a smoother giving experience when the time comes (both at the event and in the future).

3. Be genuine, direct, and specific

It’s the day of the event and attendees are excitedly participating in your agenda. One of the most important aspects of fundraising is to be genuine, direct, and specific.

For the most part, humans giving their time and resources crave structure. They want to know what’s needed, when you need it, and how it will be used.

Providing answers to these three questions is crucial in establishing a relationship of giving with your stakeholders. You’ve done your research, you’ve forged a good relationship — now is the time to explain to the individual or group what, when, and how their contributions will make a difference.

4. Make the process easy

Key to any giving effort is to make the process as predictable and easy as possible. More to the point:

  • Make it Predictable: Those contributing want to know exactly what to expect from the process. There should be absolutely no surprises when capturing contributions at in-person events. The contributors should see the amount to be donated, a familiar interface that accepts a credit card, and a success message letting them know the contribution went through.
  • Make it Easy: Hand-in-hand with making the process predictable, is making the taking of a contribution easy. The interface should be clear, provide details specific to the individual giving, and accept the contribution as quickly as possible – ideally in only a matter of seconds.

In-Person Giving Has Never Been This Easy

Learn more about how SparkInfluence’s custom branded app has helped our clients raise an average of $95k dollars per event, all while syncing with their database in real time.

5. Follow up immediately

Success! You’ve received a contribution and you’re ready to move on. While it may be a hectic day at your event, be sure to not only thank the contributor in person as they finalize their contribution, but ensure that an auto-responder is ready with a thank you email message as well.

Remember: The thank you email doesn’t have to be a mile long describing everything you’ll do with the money contributed. It should be short & efficient, thanking the stakeholder for their contribution, and letting them know that you’ll follow up with them further in the coming days.

Everyone is busy at in-person events, so contributors aren’t expecting long-winded messages. At the same time, failure to properly thank and recognize your donors is a recipe for disaster.

Level-Up: Use automated messaging to create an onboarding series for new contributors, welcoming them into the effort, providing them further detail on your effort, and even surveying them on potential key contact relationships with decision-makers.

6. Keep contributors in the know

Your in-person event has come to a close. Hopefully, it was a success and you’ve hit your engagement goals both with activity and contribution amounts.

Now is a great time to start to think of your follow-up email to contributors to be sent in the coming days. Think of this message like an “investor update” from a startup – your recipients are those who have funded your latest contribution drive.

A successful follow-up will once again thank contributors for giving while reinforcing to them where their money is going and why. Remember, a successful giving program is built on making the contributor the “hero” of the story. It’s a, “We can’t do this work without you”-type message.

BONUS: Recognize & Gamify

Every group’s legal team has a different view on live event recognition and gamification. That said, if you’re given the OK, recognizing your contributors in the moment (and potentially even gamifying the results) can have a huge impact on the amount of money raised.

For some groups, projecting a screen with a live leaderboard, a running tally of all contributions at the event, or other contribution updates can help to give that extra push your contributors may need to bump up the amount they’re looking to donate.

Getting Started

SparkInfluence’s In-Person Contributions customized app is a great way to get started taking contributions at events. This branded experience with your effort’s logo displays giving levels, opportunities for giving, lifetime contribution history, and more. There’s no easier way to get started taking contributions today.

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