So, you’ve decided to host a fundraising event. But how do you decide which fundraising event is the best for your organization?
Software Advice, a company that helps nonprofits find and compare fundraising software, tackles that question and more in their new report. Nonprofit market researcher Janna Finch interviewed industry experts and analyzed survey responses from almost 100 event-planning professionals to identify events with the highest return on investment (ROI), and explored how software can help with ease of planning.
She found that fun runs and walks are the best major event for nonprofits of all sizes. Her conclusion was based on the fact that fun runs and walks are both the easiest to plan and deliver a high return on investment.To jump start your event, check out DoJiggy’s walkathon software and free guide to hosting a walkathon.
What are some ways nonprofits can evaluate what fundraising event is the best for their organization?
Budget and staff/volunteer resources are, for obvious reasons, the biggest factors that determine which events a nonprofit can execute on.
An event planner’s experience is also an important consideration when choosing an event. Experienced planners can anticipate and preempt issues that a novice can’t, as well as coordinate more efficiently and understand what it takes to make an event a worthwhile experience for both the nonprofit and attendees. So, a nonprofit that doesn’t have someone on board with event planning experience should cut its teeth on a fun run or walk, a non-sports competition like a bake-off, or an a-thon event like a bowl-a-thon, because planners in our sample say those are the easiest to plan.
How can software improve fundraising event coordination & organization?
As we found in our study, all major events are relatively difficult for small nonprofits to plan and it’s harder for them to earn a reasonable ROI than it is for their larger counterparts. But fundraising software can make a difference by stretching small nonprofit’s limited resources.
For example, many online fundraising and event management applications allow event attendees to register, pay event fees and make donations themselves. By letting attendees enter the details and software to tally the reporting results —rather than paying staff or volunteers—administrative tasks and details can be managed by as little as one person, even for larger events with hundreds of attendees.
What was the most surprising finding for you?
I am actually surprised that respondents from midsize and large nonprofits ranked fun runs and walks as highly as they did—even higher than galas. Galas are the “old standby,” so to learn that event planners for those nonprofits rank them as moderately difficult to plan and see only a moderate ROI is a bit of a shock.
I can only guess as to why this is, but think Katherine Wertheim’s explanation of transformational vs. transactional events is one factor. By default, fun runs and walks are more transformational than transactional and it’s not uncommon to ask for pledges, whereas galas are more transactional. Thus, the opportunity for a high return is higher for fun runs from the get-go and galas are starting with a less “transformed” audience.
Software Advice has also put together this great infographic capturing some of the key findings from the report. We hope this can be a resource for nonprofits considering different kinds of fundraising events.