Stop Treating Event Donors Like Chopped Liver

Pardon my rant while I address a major issue in event fundraising.

Two years ago, a friend asked me to attend a breakfast event for her charity of choice. Absolutely, I said. Thanks for including me. My plan was to make the minimum gift that morning but I found myself so moved by the ask that I stretched my donation. Big time.

So why, two years later, am I still waiting for that organization to ask me for another gift? Because the fundraising team had no idea what to do with me, that’s why. Is she an event donor only or an annual giving prospect? Should we keep her touches to event invitations only or consider soliciting her in our direct mail appeal? Confused, and without a follow-up plan in place for event donors, they made the worst decision possible—they ignored me.

Fundraisers, don’t make this mistake. Have the systems in place to make sure that every donor, event related or not, is stewarded to the nines and cultivated for that next gift. It’s not only your job, it’s the expectation.


One thought on “Stop Treating Event Donors Like Chopped Liver

  1. Almost as important as asking for a second gift – is asking for it quickly. And then asking again – frequently. At least once every six months.By way of example, the results of a recent campaign I wrote showed a 21% response rate for donors who had given within the last 6 months. 11% for those who had give 6 – 12 months ago, and just 4% for 12 to 24 month donors.The moral is: ask quickly, and ask often for more profitable direct mail. But don’t ask and you don’t get.

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