Jul 2, 2021

Thinking Differently About How To Increase Event Donations

Happy creative businesspeople brainstorming in office, placing sticky notes with ideas on glass

Event fundraising is a big deal for many nonprofits. For some organizations, annual events and galas may be their primary source of revenue throughout the year. If this is the case, you need to maximize the effectiveness of all the gatherings you host. Mobile pledging can help you capture more impulse contributions at events.

Increase Average Gift Size at Events

One way to increase event donations may be to increase the average gift size, according to npENGAGE. However, you may need to change how you look at the average and appeal to the right group of donors. The group compiled data on the average online gifts for cycling events, walks, 5Ks (see peer-to-peer event fundraising example below) and endurance runs over the course of three years. Average gift sizes are made up of different donation levels.

Empower Passionate Individuals with Peer to Peer Fundraising Pages at Events

For example, the average cycling event donation in 2013 was $73.42. But it’s unlikely that the majority of the donors gave this much – the average was made up of a few larger gifts and many smaller contributions. The article suggests encouraging people who gave $10 or $20 to increase the amount, rather than focusing on people who were closer to the average. Knowing the median and the mode can help you more effectively target the right group of donors and make more out of events.

Focusing on the largest group of donors can help you boost your average gift size. Mobile is a highly effective tool when it comes to segmenting and targeting donors, as well as encouraging event donations

Strengthen Donor Engagement to Increase Event Donations

It’s tricky to get events just right. You need to create a compelling experience to increase event donations. Many nonprofits choose to host galas because they can reach a larger number of attendees, but this makes it more difficult to provide a unique and memorable experience for everyone, a separate article for npENGAGE stated. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, it may be better to try smaller events to avoid alienating critical sections of your donor database. Small events can still be effective because they allow attendees to form a closer bond with your organization.

No matter the size of the event, it’s important to tell a compelling story. Think about your mission and cause. The story you’re trying to tell should be woven into the event. Participants will remember the message, which can create lasting engagement.

Use Mobile To Boost Event Participation

Mobile is an excellent method to increase event donations. Rather than filling out donation cards, attendees can donate directly from their smartphones in a matter of minutes, which doesn’t take away from the special experience of the event itself. Additionally, a fundraising thermometer can increase participation even more. Donors’ pledges are displayed in real-time on the screen, which can encourage people to give more. This could be a particularly effective strategy for running or cycling events where participants may be more likely to be competitive.


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We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

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The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

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GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

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Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County