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June 6, 2024 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Event Management, Featured

How to Find New Donors at Events

Events are an important part of your organization’s fundraising plan. They help spread awareness about your mission, help your team engage the community, and help grow revenue to support your nonprofit’s programs. 

Events are also a great way to acquire new donors and build a pipeline for future donations. For example, nearly 75% of recently surveyed donors made a donation at an in-person event. Supporters are showing up to participate and give back!

Here are four ways to turn event attendees into prospects so you can continue your relationship with supporters beyond the check-in table.

Convert event attendees into prospects

Many of your event attendees might be joining you for the first time so you won’t have data for them in your fundraising system. It’s important to collect as much data about your attendees and guests as possible so you can intentionally follow up with them about their experiences and invite them to get involved in your mission in the future. 

Most importantly, plan budget-friendly events that prospective donors are going to enjoy. This will entice donors to come back with more guests next time while keeping operating costs low. 

1. Ask event attendees to stay connected to your mission

Your interaction with event attendees should not stop when the event concludes. Whether you are hosting a golf tournament, a 5K race, or a river clean-up day, you can use fundraising software like DonorPerfect to collect attendee contact information. 

Provide your staff with a short script at event check-in that prompts attendees to join your mailing list. Have several tablets or laptops ready with a simple email signup form, like the one below, so attendees can quickly enter their information. 

If you’re a DonorPerfect user, you can learn how to create an Email Sign-up Form in DP Online Forms here!

Membership Form example

2. Survey your attendees and supporters

Surveys are a great way to strengthen your relationship with your event attendees and supporters. Surveys can be conducted at the event prior to attendees leaving or sent as a follow-up email right after the event. These options allow you to collect feedback while experiences are still fresh in attendees’ minds. Surveys are also a great way to learn what your supporters care about. 

What to include in your post-event survey 

First, keep your email and survey short and to the point. You may want to mention that it’s only three questions, or will take less than five minutes, as some examples. Questions should be focused on the participants. You can ask questions, such as: 

  • Why did you participate in our event? 
  • How did you find out about the event? 
  • What did you enjoy most/least about the event?
  • How many years have you been involved with our organization? 

Check out some additional ideas on how to build effective donor surveys. It’s also important to survey your event partners and sponsors as well. Supporters may have important feedback that will help improve their experience so they return, which means more recurring funds for your event. 

Pro tip: Since most surveys are anonymous, don’t focus too much on collecting contact data, such as name, address, or email. This shortens the length of the survey and will provide you with honest feedback.

With DonorPerfect, you can get to know your supporters better using the online survey feature. To get started with your Post-Event Survey, go to Add Form > Sign-ups and Surveys and select the Event Follow-up template.

Creating an Event Follow-Up form

3. Promote your volunteer program

How is your nonprofit attracting and retaining qualified volunteers? Events are a great opportunity to present more information about your nonprofit’s volunteer program. At your event, include a way for volunteers to sign up and receive more information on the opportunities they are interested in. You’ll understand why they are giving their time to your mission and begin building a relationship with them. Volunteers are great donor prospects!

With DonorPerfect, you can recruit, track, and manage volunteers.

To get started, open DP Online Forms and go to Add Form > Sign-ups and Surveys. Select the Volunteer Application form template. Include questions that help you learn about your volunteer’s areas of interest, skills or experience, and availability. You’ll keep volunteers engaged when you understand their motivation for volunteering.

Volunteer form

4. Share your organization’s story and impact

Do you have a creative and effective way to collect data from event attendees? Have you used one of the forms mentioned in this article at any of your events? Share your story in the Development and Fundraising Professionals group in the DonorPerfect Community. We’d love to hear about it!

Events are essential for fundraising and donor engagement. By collecting attendee information and staying connected post-event, organizations can cultivate lasting relationships with potential donors. Whether promoting volunteer opportunities or sharing impact stories, events offer valuable connections. Managing your event with tools like DonorPerfect streamlines data collection, enhancing fundraising efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How can events help my organization find new donors?

Events play a vital role in fundraising by raising awareness, engaging the community, and generating revenue. They also provide an opportunity to acquire potential donors and establish relationships for future donations. Without events, you may miss opportunities to meet your next supporters.

2. What strategies can I use to collect attendee information at events?

Utilize tools like DonorPerfect to streamline data collection. Be sure your staff members know how important collecting data is, and that there are easy ways for people to sign up for your lists at events. Leverage volunteers to help collect information if you have a small team.

3. How can I leverage post-event surveys to enhance attendee engagement?

Post-event surveys are essential for gathering feedback and strengthening relationships. Focus on collecting demographic data and understanding attendee motivations. Keep surveys concise and relevant to boost completion rates and gain valuable insights into supporter preferences. You may want to collect a lot of information, but adding too many questions will result in low responses. 

Need more help finding new donors? Whether your donor acquisition strategy is in its beginning stages or just needs a few tweaks, our Guided Growth Plan provides expert tips for every step of the way! Download your free copy below – or visit www.donorperfect.com/growth for a free growth plan specifically tailored to you!

Download your Guided Growth Plan

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Meet the author: Chaz Runfola

Chaz is a senior fundraising consultant dedicated to helping nonprofits achieve their missions. With more than ten years of donor engagement and fundraising experience, Chaz has led diverse development initiatives, with emphases on strategic donor communications and...

Learn more about Chaz Runfola
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