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In our recent webinar with NPact, we dove into everything you need to know to transform event attendees into long term donors. From the pre-event planning, the details during your event and the post event analysis, each part plays a key role in identifying and converting long term donors.

But before we dive into the key elements of your event timeline, what makes events a good place to find long-term donors? Events allow you to identify attendees that go above and beyond for your organization. They allow you to pull out people who care and are willing to give. But don’t forget, when it comes to events it’s quality over quantity as every detail matters. 

Pre-Event Preparation

Finding long-term donors all starts in the pre-event phase. It is essential to plan ahead for a successful event and this starts with analyzing your old event data in your CRM. 

With most organizations having roughly 20% of their donors making up 80% of their revenue, it’s crucial to identify who your top 20% of donors are. This doesn’t have to be complicated and can be as simple as ranking your donors’ contributions from highest to lowest. 

Once you are able to identify your top 20% the next step is to dig into how they got connected with your organization. Maybe they got connected at a leadership conference or were referred by another donor. Identifying these channels that bring you your top donors allows you to double down on those strategies, ultimately increasing your marketing ROI.

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t have that kind of information in my CRM,” and that’s where custom fields and affiliate links come in to gather that data. Custom fields allow you to ask tailored questions such as “How did you hear about our organization?” Affiliate links provide a similar purpose, these are custom links that go to your event page but they all have specific tags that are able to tell you how many sales came through that link. This is especially useful to evaluate your ROI as you can clearly see how much certain sources brought in through sales.

If you haven’t been doing this in the past, you may have to dig into how your donors found you manually, but this will be worth it. Invite them to lunch or take a moment to pull them aside at the event as these are the kind of conversations that will get you the answers you need!

During the Day of the Event

The most important thing on the day of your event is creating a seamless, all-in-one experience for your attendees. Think about what would be confusing for attendees and put yourself in their shoes through every stage of the event process. 

When identifying long term donors at your event, it is the attendees that participate in upsells that you want to keep an eye on, as well as be the first to thank. When we talk about upsells, the goal is not to make your donors feel bombarded with extra costs, the goal comes back to identifying those long term donors so you can increase the ROI of your time.

Upsells should start when your attendees are buying their tickets. Picture this: after attendees have selected their type of ticket the next page they see is a customized list of donation upsells customized to your cause. There is no requirement for them to choose a donation, it’s easy to skip but on average 10% of people will add a donation which not only raises you more funds but also lets those donors stand out.

Upsells can come in other forms such as item bundles. For example, a gala ticket, raffle tickets, and a swag bag, all rolled into one premium-priced purchase.

screenshot of example item bundle

One of our favourite upsells is when attendees are able to donate their lost bid. How this works is after they place their bid on an auction item, they are asked “Do you want to donate your bid if you lose?” If they decide to opt in, now when the event closes you get extra donations from those who lost as well as you’re able to identify donors who truly care and want to keep giving.

screenshot of donate your bid feature

You’ll need a technology that will allow you to benefit from these upsells, so ensure you plan ahead and ensure you have software that can handle what you need.

After the Event

Making sure you have a technology that can provide you with what you need extends to the post-event phase as well. If your fundraising data isn’t integrated into your CRM you won’t be able to rank your donors based on their potential, allowing you to know who is first priority to thank and connect with.

Ranking your donors based on their long-term donor potential can be done by a few metrics such as those who chose to opt into donating their bid, those who made multiple purchases or individuals who referred other donors to your organization. 

Putting it Together

As you’ve seen, finding long-term donors through your fundraising events starts in the planning stages. This approach not only enhances the effectiveness of your events in identifying long-term donors but also maximizes your organization’s ROI, ensuring you raise more in the future.

How Trellis Can Help

Trellis is an all-in-one fundraising software. Trellis aims to raise you more through strategies such as the upsells discussed above, with Trellis being the only platform with the ability for donors to opt into donating their lost bid. 

Trellis also integrates with Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge CRM, allowing you to seamlessly view your fundraising data in one place and easily identify those long-term donors.

If you’re curious about what Trellis can do for your fundraising, connect with Trellis here

How NPact Can Help

NPact consultants deliver a wide range of services that support fundraising, accounting, donor stewardship, and database integrity for non-profit organizations. From migrating your database to the cloud to data health checks and technical support, your consultant delivers expertise in software systems, database training, and efficient workflows. 

Discover how NPact Services can help empower your team’s use of CRM and financial software solutions such as Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT and Financial Edge NXT, Virtuous, Salesforce, or Sage. Book a discovery call today.