Fundraising events have been under a lot of scrutiny recently. Some donors have questioned whether the funds raised are worth the (potentially) high costs of time, money, and expertise that is takes to execute a successful event.
And if the only value you are looking at is net profit - this perspective has a point: many events do have a higher expense rate than other forms of fundraising. However, this perspective fails to recognize the benefits that events can bring to a nonprofit organization beyond monetary donations.
Here are some of the immeasurable and often overlooked benefits of events:
One of the best ways to establish and build your organization’s culture is through events. There are not many times that all of your constituents are in the same place at the same time, and an event can be highlight the culture of your organization in ways that mailers and one-on-one coffee meetings cannot. Not only does an event highlight your organizational culture- it also builds and maintains it. Events are extremely valuable for creating and sharing the culture of your organization with your supporters.
Similarly, events are the ultimate way to build deeper connections between your organization and your constituents. You have the opportunity to build relationships between your staff, your donors, your volunteers, and your board during an event. When people feel engaged and connected to your organization, their loyalty strengthens. Having a community within the different groups and individuals creates a deep strength of support. Events are one of the only opportunities that you have to build connections between all of these different groups.
Cultivate New Relationships
An intriguing and special event can attract people that have not been connected to your organization. Hosting an unique event that draws in people from your community gives your organization that opportunity to begin to cultivate those new relationships. What better time is there to introduce people to your mission and vision than when they are having fun? Have your board members and other supporters bring a friend to your events and watch your network continue to grow.
Hosting an event can bring a whole new awareness to your nonprofit and what you are doing in your community. An event is a great time to do some marketing- put flyers around town, share a press release or a newspaper article to garner interest in your community. Hosting an event within the community can attract even more attention (for event ideas, check out our recent blog post here LINK). And make sure that your guests have so much fun that they continue to talk about your event afterwards- word of mouth is one of the best ways to build awareness.
While it is extremely important to look at the measurable outcomes and data for your event, it is also vital to recognize that there are other variables cannot be so easily measured. Camaraderie and culture do not have a numerical value that can be analyzed, but they are essential to the well-being and long term success of your organization.
How do you feel about fundraising events? What value do they bring to your organization? Tell us in the comments!