THE FIA CONFERENCE BLOG
Is Event Fundraising a Good Investment of Time?
Posted By: FIA
On: Fri 31 January 2014
We asked some of our expert speakers to consider the topic of investment in Event Fundraising, as this area becomes increasingly competitive and is always a hot topic!
Erica Myers-Davis, General Manager Fundraising and Community Relations, Prahran Mission
I think events are generally excellent as PR activities and helping to solidify donor relationships. I’m not a fan of events for specifically raising revenue; as they don’t tend to give back a good return on investment in terms of time, when you factor all the costs in such as staff and volunteer time, in comparison to other activities such as direct mail.
Martin Paul, Director More Strategic
Yes if the objectives are clear, the costs carefully managed, the supporters stewarded well and it helps build the soul of the brand. If it is just another novelty clothing event or sporting auction gala ball …no.
Stephen Mally, International Principal Consultant, Blackbaud
Each organisation needs to measure the impact of special events and whether the investment is worthwhile for itself. Organisations need to consider not only the value of the revenue to the bottom line, but consider the way in which events engage their constituents in the overall mission of the organisation.
Tamara Smith, Grants and Partnerships Coordinator, Hear and Say Centre
Like anything, I think that depends on what the investment of time produces. If event fundraising produces good, measurable results, that are in proportion with the time that has been invested, it is a good investment. Event fundraising also appeals to a particular audience, that other fundraising appeals may not otherwise attract. It can begin a relationship with a supporter, that becomes an ongoing commitment. For example, a relationship developed with a 20-something through a Charity Ball, could lead to that person becoming a regular giver, facilitating corporate sponsorship, or leaving a bequest in later life. I believe diversity is important in any fundraising department, because all areas of fundraising have different strengths and weakness. For example, working in Trusts and Foundations, the funding I secure is often ‘tied’ to a particular project.
Josie O’Hara, Senior Account Manager, Flat Earth Direct
In terms of investment of time I know that event fundraising can be very time consuming but I can see the benefits of it. Events aren't for everyone, or for very organisation, but managed effectively can deliver a significant amount of net income. They can be a good opportunity to get donors in the door, feel engaged and passionate about your organisation and this could possibly lead to other types of high value giving in the future. The biggest learning we've had in recent times in growing events (particularly peer to peer) are typically driven by solid direct marketing with an emphasis on terrific supporter care pre and post event. As well as investment in direct response acquisition to drive new participants (tip: digital is great to find new participants).
We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic of Event Fundraising in the comments below or on our Facebook page: