Title: "4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit's Event Revenue" 3 People stand in front of stacks of coins and cash.

4 Simple Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Event Revenue

Pulling off a successful event involves a lot of moving parts. You have to plan logistics, assess your staff’s capabilities, and get the word out to your supporters. Whether you’re hosting an annual auction or trying out a brand new bike-a-thon fundraiser, there are plenty of ways you can improve your event and generate more funds for your nonprofit.

In this article, we’ll walk you through four methods using the example of a hybrid silent auction. As we get into more detail, keep your specific needs and goals in mind, and tailor these tips to your own event.  

1. Create a plan centered on your audience.

When you create a fundraising plan for your event, make sure you make decisions based on your specific audience. Put yourself in your supporters’ shoes, and plan your event around their interests. You might choose a new location based on previous donor feedback or schedule the event later in the year to capitalize on your donors’ end-of-year giving habits.

Be sure to include all of these essentials in your fundraising plan:

  • Timeline. Plan out deadlines around sponsorships, auction item procurement, and when invitations need to go out. Consider how much time you’ll need for marketing the event to your supporters, as well.
  • Division of staff responsibilities. Build teams and committees around your areas of need. For our auction example, you should have an item procurement committee to request items and arrange for pickup or delivery.  
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your success. Will you measure your success by the amount of money raised? By attendance? By overall auction performance? Set specific metrics so you know how well you are doing.

Make sure everyone on your team understands their responsibilities for the fundraiser to ensure it runs smoothly and generates as much revenue as possible.

Gather information from past events to discover what worked and what didn’t. If you don’t have data or feedback from past events, don’t hesitate to survey your donors now to gauge their interests.

2. Add an online component.

Adding an online option to any event will create a more engaging, accessible experience for your attendees. When your guests are fully engaged, they’re more likely to donate! Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may need to research the ways you can successfully incorporate these elements. Let’s go back to our example of a silent auction to see what an online component could look like in action. 

In an auction, you will reach more supporters if you make your auction accessible to remote users with quality auction software. Imagine if you are hosting an auction to benefit your school. Offering the option to participate remotely will encourage support from family members of students who live near and far.

Tools like mobile bidding also simplify and speed up the bidding process for in-person guests–leading to more excitement and more funds!

3. Market your event using multiple channels.

Marketing can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know your supporters well, as we talked about earlier, you will know where they are hanging out online. Take stock of all your marketing channels, then expand your efforts based on where your communication will be the most effective. If your supporters are mostly on LinkedIn, for example, promoting on Snapchat might not be the most efficient use of your time and resources. 

Use these tips to make the most out of your marketing strategy:

  • Promote your event on the social media channels you know your supporters spend the most time on. Target your audience in every communication. 
  • Connect your marketing channels to drive more traffic. If you post event flyers at a local restaurant, add a QR code that leads to a social media post or even your event website with more information.
  • Consider automating some of your donor outreach using your CRM to free up more staff time for other event planning needs.

The wider you can spread the word about your event, the more you’ll boost attendance and revenue. 

4. Maximize fundraising opportunities.

Build elements from other fundraising campaigns into your event to add variety to how your guests and supporters can give. 

In our example of a silent auction, this could look like promoting an ongoing text-to-give campaign on your auction website. When you send announcements out to guests about mobile bidding during the auction, provide your text-to-give information in case attendees want to make additional donations along with their bids.

Almost any fundraising campaign can be added to your event to maximize revenue, such as:

  • Promoting matching gift opportunities. This strategy has worked for nonprofits for decades. Donors become much more engaged when they know their money will go farther, and matching gifts are a great way to do this.
  • Selling branded merchandise. Everyone loves to take home SWAG! Have t-shirts, mugs, or reusable bags printed up with your nonprofit’s logo, and sell them at your event.
  • Announcing an upcoming peer-to-peer fundraiser. Recruit your supporters to become involved at a personal level, using the power of their spheres of influence to raise money. 
  • Placing a donation box at the event. Some events will ask guests to bring canned goods, jackets, or shoes to the event, providing an opportunity to have tangible, fast results that advance your mission.

Think about your fundraising strategy for the year and look for opportunities to support another fundraiser at your event. Your decor could even include information about future events!

Whether you decide to use a hybrid silent auction as your primary fundraising model or modify these tips so that they are more cohesive with another method, nonprofits everywhere can benefit from this combination of strategies. 

When the event ends and your fundraiser has come to a close, review your metrics. Use this information to make any necessary adjustments for future events, and in turn, you’ll experience more successful events that drive more funds and move the needle for your organization.

Learn the basics of charity eCards and see examples from nonprofits.

Charity eCards – Nonprofit Catalog

As nonprofit professionals, we’re tasked to come up with creative ways to engage supporters and sponsors. Especially in the competitive and fast-paced online space, it’s challenging to grab and retain people’s attention. If you’re searching for the ultimate attention-grabbing fundraising strategy, give charity eCards a try!

There’s no better way to bring an interactive element to your online presence than with charity eCards. Everyone loves receiving personalized cards. Connect each one to a charitable cause, and that makes receiving one even more meaningful.

From holiday eCards to cause awareness day cards, your nonprofit’s possibilities are endless. Before you start designing, you’ll need to know the basics about offering cards.

Create your charity eCards with eCardWidget.

What Are Charity eCards?

Charity eCards are digital cards that supporters can send to friends and family to show their support for a particular cause or nonprofit. By using eCard software, organizations can create designs for different occasions. Common themes organizations stick to include:

  • Holiday cards
  • Tribute donation cards
  • Thank-you cards
  • Cause awareness cards

Nonprofits typically offer these cards in exchange for a donation or for a specific price. While primarily sent via email, supporters might be able to send your charity’s eCards through other platforms like text or Facebook. It all depends on your eCard software.

This creative fundraiser works for several reasons. For one, it incentivizes donors to give. They’ll receive an instant give-back with every gift. By enabling people to personalize messages alongside their chosen eCards, you can tap into peer referrals, too. Supporters will get to shout about the causes they love, effectively inspiring their friends and family to look into your cause.

Particularly when compared to direct mail, nonprofit eCards are cost-effective and eco-friendly, eliminating the need for postage and printing.

Donation eCards Ideas to Spark Inspiration

Nonprofit eCards come in all shapes and sizes. From simple and straightforward messages to more creative and thoughtful designs, you can create designs for every occasion. Whether you’re connecting them to a specific campaign or offering them year-round, you can create anywhere from one charity eCard to a full collection with dozens of options.

To get your creativity flowing, let’s walk through some examples from real charities. And remember to incorporate your branding into every design. Something as simple as including your nonprofit logo in the corner will go a long way in promoting brand awareness.

Holiday Charity eCards

Holidays happen year-round, making them a great opportunity to support your work. Create ones for people to send to love ones to celebrate any holiday, like:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • The Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other year-end holidays

If you want to get creative in expressing appreciation, your team can actually send holiday eCards to committed supporters and sponsors. Let them know you’re thinking about them during holidays, particularly during the year-end holiday season.

After all, this is the most charitable time of year, and you can reconnect with them when they’re feeling the most generous. In fact, December alone accounts for 30% of annual giving, according to Nonprofits Source’s online giving statistics.

For this example, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium created a collection of Valentine’s Day cards. They featured some of their animal residents, tying each card back to their mission. Mimicking the traditional Valentine’s Day card style, each card features a witty pun and plenty of hearts.

This Valentine's Day card is a great example of a charity eCard for holidays.

Cause Awareness eCards

If there’s a cause awareness day or week associated with your cause, that’s the perfect time to create a fundraising card to spread the word. One option is to offer the cards for free and simply have supporters share their favorite designs with friends and family. Alternatively, connect them to a fundraiser. Have your supporters donate to your cause, then send an eCard to boost awareness.

In this example, Project Sleep created a small collection of charity eCards for World Narcolepsy Day. The day correlates with their mission to raise awareness about sleep health and sleep conditions. Supporters could send the nonprofit eCards for free, helping to increase public knowledge about the 3 million individuals living with narcolepsy across the globe.

Cause awareness days lend themselves well to charity eCards.

Birthday eCards

Birthday cards are a tradition that stands the test of time. Help your supporters celebrate by crafting birthday eCards with your nonprofit’s branding.

We recommend offering birthday eCards in exchange for donations. As explained in Fundraising Letters’ donation eCards guide, this is a creative way to eliminate any pressure to buy a gift. The donor can give in honor of their loved one and send a birthday eCard letting them know. Giving to a cause the recipient cares about is a meaningful way to wish happy birthday.

For this example, we’ve pulled a more generic example that any nonprofit can emulate. Simply add your logo to the corner of the charity eCard you design. Then, customize the message that will be sent alongside it to let the recipient know the proceeds of the card purchase went to support your organization.

Birthday fundraising eCards make great fundraisers year-round.

Thank You eCards

Offer thank-you cards as a way for supporters to thank someone who’s impacted them in some way.

The best part about nonprofit eCards is that you don’t have to sell them or require donations from supporters. You can actually offer them for free and use them internally! Really get creative by having your team send them out to sponsors, donors, and volunteers to express appreciation.

This is such a great way to help supporters thank their loved ones and empower your team to thank sponsors and committed supporters. As a bonus, you can also use eCards as a form of employee appreciation.

We’ve picked a unique charity eCard for this example. As part of its 70th-anniversary celebration, Youth for Understanding (YFU) offered digital cards branded with the organization’s colors and logo to its beneficiaries. Those impacted by the program could send the digital cards to their friends, host families, teachers, and volunteers as a unique way to reconnect and express gratitude.

Express appreciation for supporters and employees with charity eCards.

How to Offer Fundraising eCards to Supporters

Using our preferred charity eCard software eCardWidget, you’ll have a few options for offering digital cards to your supporters, such as:

  • During the donation process: This is one of our favorite ways to raise money with cards and is what’s pictured below. Offer eCards in exchange for donations. A donor will choose their preferred eCard, select a donation amount, and fill out other required information. The donation will go to the nonprofit, while the donor’s loved one will instantly receive the card.
  • Post-donation: Using this strategy, donors can donate and then choose an eCard to send. To use this approach, simply embed the widget into your donation confirmation page. That way, supporters will fill out the recipient’s contact details, add a personalized message, and click send.
  • Attached to your fundraising eStore: This approach is perfect if your nonprofit sells fundraising products! eCardWidget allows you to attach eCards to your virtual store. Someone will buy a card as a product from your store. After making their purchase, the widget will appear on the order confirmation page, where they can fill out the details.
Offer fundraising eCards in exchange for donations.

Best of all, eCardWidget integrates with some of the most popular fundraising tools, making it easy to integrate it into your existing fundraising processes. It even comes with a convenient WordPress plugin and Shopify integration to make the process of offering nonprofit eCards even smoother. Remember, you can also use them internally and offer them for free!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Graphic Design – Nonprofit Catalog – Charity eCards rely on effective graphic design. Make sure you know the basics of nonprofit design to create compelling cards that excite supporters.

Birthday Fundraisers: How to Secure Year-Round Support – Fundraising eCards for birthdays are perfect for raising money. Learn more and explore other birthday fundraising ideas with this guide.

Create your fundraising eCards with eCardWidget.