As Do-It-Yourself fundraising continues to grow and evolve, it’s important to remember that the strong benefits of a DIY program haven’t changed since its inception. DonorDrive clients who use our Personal Campaigns to collectively raise millions of dollars online are seeing the same benefits they did when we introduced the program in 2009.
Do-It-Yourself fundraising became quite legendary—but not in a good way for some. When it became popular a few years ago, legend goes that nonprofits would turn it on, supporters would just start using it and a magic new revenue stream would come your way. But for some organizations, that fairy tale didn’t come true.
Many DonorDrive clients are generating substantial income through Personal Campaigns or complete Do-It-Yourself fundraising programs. But we’re hearing that some organizations (maybe yours included?) are facing resistance from within that’s keeping them from starting a program. If you’re finding this opposition inside your organization, we thought it might be helpful for your plea if you had some straightforward answers to the most common questions from boards and executive staff.
When participants from last year’s event don’t return this year, it can have a surprisingly large impact on your event revenue. Meghan Nash, a project manager here at DonorDrive, recently hosted a webinar for our clients on recruiting and retention. In it, she pointed out the value of retained participants: “Returning participants feel more comfortable with fundraising and have come up with strategies they can share with newer participants to help them become more successful fundraisers. Returning participants are typically more invested in your cause and have made a commitment to come back for a second or third year. They’ve found something in your event, or your work, that they’ve connected to deeply and they’re more likely to invite their friends and family to join their team.”
We want our runs and walks to go flawlessly so that our participants have a great experience. But it’s often the little things that go wrong that a participant will never forget. Like: “I can’t believe that I walked 10 miles and then had to stand in line 30 minutes to use the porta-potty.”
That kind of thing is completely avoidable. A great event experience for your participants all comes down to good planning. And good planning comes down to a little simple math. Here are the formulas that have worked for me for years.
Every organization strives for a flawless event day with no hiccups that disrupt the ride. But an event needs to be more than just smooth running. It needs to be an unforgettable experience participants will gladly tell their friends about and filled with vivid rembrances that encourage them to come back next year. Jessica Scheps, Development Event Specialist who heads up communications for Ride Closer to Free, relies heavily on feedback from her riders to guide the experience: “My personal feeling on creating a great event experience is that you need to change it up. That’s what I’m hearing from riders. We have so many that come back year after year and it can start to get boring after a while.”
An effective communications schedule is a necessity for the success of any peer-to-peer event. In talking with Jessica Scheps, Development Event Specialist who heads up communications for Ride Closer to Free, we find her communications philosophy differs from many in the peer-to-peer event space. Jessica feels that you have to be aggressive with your communications schedule: “We learned probably in year two of our ride that we didn’t communicate enough. I’d rather hear: ‘I can’t stand getting your emails’ rather than: ‘I’m not getting enough emails.’”
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