Jan 10, 2021

How To Make An Effective Ask At Your Fundraising Event


When it comes to fundraisers, it’s easy to get lost in all the planning and lose sight of the event’s original goal: to raise money for your nonprofit’s cause. However, the most effective fundraising events are planned around the most important part of the evening: the live ask for donations. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Follow the six tips below to make an effective live ask that resonates with event attendees and inspires giving.

Build A Story Behind Your Ask

Incorporate storytelling into your live ask, as stories offer a way for attendees to internalize why they need to give and demonstrate how their contributions help further your organization’s cause. A heartfelt story can bring life to your cause and provide proof of how your nonprofit is positively impacting others. When possible, choose event speakers that have been personally impacted by your cause and can share their story. Showcase videos, readings, performances, poems, letters or other stories you can prove how donor support creates a tangible and positive difference.

Write & Follow A Script

Never go into your event’s live ask unprepared. Your event should be an exciting moment for both you and your guests, not a nerve-wracking or uncomfortable one. A script can not only outline what the speaker will say, but also make sure you don’t skip over important information, like instructions on how they can support your cause that night. Don’t be afraid to write out a script for the entire event.

Practice As Much As Possible

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Schedule a dry practice run of the event at the designated venue if possible. Try your best to run through the entire event program, resisting urges to skip through certain parts. Have speakers recite their entire speech, test out videos and time slide transitions. Doing as much as possible to run through the entire program will help you feel more comfortable for the day of.

Warm Guests Up

On the day of your event, don’t jump into your event schedule without first establishing who your organization is. Never assume because attendees know your organization’s name that they also know what your mission is. Review with attendees not only your organization’s mission statement but also what the goal of the fundraising event is as well. Then, go over the event’s schedule and what to expect, including a schedule of the dinner, music, games, performances, etc. Many organizations also take this time to acknowledge sponsors, volunteers, and anyone that helps bring the event together.

Save The Ask For The Right Moment

Live asks should be made at the emotional peak of your event. Generally, this is during the middle of the program, neither too early, nor too late. Many nonprofits conduct live asks after or before sharing impact metrics. Impact metrics are examples of what each donation amount will contribute to your cause, such as $25 dollars provides 5 pairs of shoes, $150 dollars provides books for a semester, etc. Another tip is to make an ask after sharing matching gifts or any sponsorships your organization has received for the event. Nonprofit marketing experts like Nonprofit Souce, have found fundraisers that mention matching gifts receive a 71% increase in donations on average!

Use Technology When Appropriate

Utilizing a Live Event Thermometer and Text-to-Donate at your event can inspire 35% more in-the-moment giving. Providing giving options like these allow individuals to easily text in their donation from their seats, and see their donation and name displayed in real-time. You should also recognize major donors for their contributions by thanking them out loud or with on-screen animations.

This can inspire other supporters to give more pushing you closer to your goal. We also suggest displaying the Live Event Thermometer once again at the end of the night for one final push at your goal.  

When it comes to fundraising events, it’s easy to get lost in the details of planning. Try your best to remember your organization’s original intent for the event and always ask how each added element contributes to the overall fundraising goal.


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