The way donors give is ever-changing. Between technology, local trends, work schedules, and social calendars, nonprofits need to adapt to their donors’ lifestyles to make giving easy and accessible. In 2018 GiveSmart ran upwards of 8,000 fundraising events across the U.S. and helped our charity partners raise more than $600 million. We got our team together to reflect and discuss fundraising trends we saw at events this year.

TEXT-TO-GIVE COMPETITIONS
GiveSmart saw more competitions involving text-to-donate or pledge moments in 2018. Instead of just texting a donation, organizations played into the ability to give as much as guests would like over text, thus creating fun competition and collecting smaller donations that may not have been collected otherwise. Some of the competitions included things like the last donation to come through at the called time wins a bottle of champagne, or the table that gives the most wins a prize.

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HAMILTON TICKETS
Alas, tickets to Broadway’s hit of the decade! Hamilton shows no sign of losing steam as a popular auction item because tickets are still pricey and hard to come by. If you’ve seen Hamilton you understand why it’s so popular, but exactly how well does it perform in auctions? We did a little digging, check it out here.

BRING IN ARTISTS
This year GiveSmart saw more artists onsite at events to discuss their processes and work. Bringing artists to events adds a personal touch that overall helps increase the bid prices for the pieces or experiences that are up for auction. The artists ranged from jewelers, painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, to chefs, dancers, and musicians.

GAMES
Pay-to-play games are a fun, low-cost way to bring in extra revenue at events. Games also provide entertainment and have high participation rates among guests. In 2018 we saw the popular wine pull, 50/50 raffles, wheelbarrows of cheer, heads or tails, cornhole tournaments, and lottery scratch-off trees.

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TABLES AND SPONSORS
GiveSmart’s Seating Management tool was a favorite feature among clients running fundraising galas this year. Admins can drag-and-drop names from the guest list directly into their labeled table, preview menu choices and seating requests, and adjust table sizes to fit their events. It’s designed to help event committees seamlessly integrate their guest list with table assignments, helping teams stay organized and flexible up until event day.

AFTER PARTIES
Events that were hosted in bigger cities, typically Thursday–Saturday, had an increasing number of after parties. Socializing is becoming more important to fundraising events, and after parties are a great way for donors to build a community with people who support a common cause. After parties also benefit event committees because guests leave the event promptly, making for a quicker wrap-up of the evening.

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Kelsey Woodworth

Kelsey Woodworth is the Content Marketing Manager for GiveSmart and an Auburn University Graduate. Her finger is on the pulse daily for innovations in fundraising, community building, donor relations, and event trends. Kelsey lives in New York City.
Kelsey Woodworth

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