As nonprofit fundraisers, we work hard to identify prospects and cultivate them into donors, but how does that actually happen?  Especially at a special event fundraiser, there is a large group of people who attend, but how do we turn them into supporters of our cause?

I would like to offer a couple of concrete suggestions.

  1. Provide a take-away photo of the attendess (either in small groups or couples).  Capture the attendees’ positive experience with the flash of a camera.  Print the picture and place in an event specific frame.  Give the picture to the attendees before they leave.
  2. Follow-up with a personal note.  Reference something specific to the attendees, as well as the organization.

Depending upon the size and scale of your event, these tasks may require substantial planning.  Consider assigning organization representatives to specific attendees (whether by name or by seating).

When planning a special event, I strongly recommend taking the necessary time and energy to also plan cultivation strategies.  With the high cost (in both time and money) of special event planning, it is critical to take advantage of the event as an opportunity for donor cultivation.  Otherwise, we would be missing a great opportunity and just be burning through money…

Please leave a comment with your suggestion for turning special event attendees into donors!

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