The title of the article, which is “Becoming Excellent at Post-Event Follow-Up: 5 Tested Tips.”

Becoming Excellent at Post-Event Follow-Up: 5 Tested Tips

It can take six months or longer to plan a nonprofit event and market it effectively. Then, the event itself requires careful management and will inevitably face a few challenges. When it’s all said and done, an event planning team may be (understandably) ready for a break, but one final step is always needed: post-event follow-up.

Follow-up is an indispensable aspect of donor engagement for solidifying supporter relationships after they’ve attended an event. Let’s explore five tested tips for mastering follow-up and securing long-term support.

1. Segment your audience.

71% of donors feel more engaged when they receive personalized content, meaning you can use what you know about your audience to divide them into groups related to their interests and send them meaningful and unique follow-ups.

Donor segmentation is the process of dividing donors into groups based on shared characteristics, which will, in this case, depend on the type of event you host. Here are some common segments you may create relevant to event follow-up:

  • First-time attendees: A follow-up message to first-time attendees might welcome recipients to your nonprofit’s community by providing brief background information about your organization and inviting them to learn more.
  • Repeat attendees: For attendees who’ve been to your nonprofit’s events before, your follow-up communications should recognize their continued support and thank them for their commitment to your organization. 
  • High-value donors: Follow-up for high-value donors should reflect the significance of their support, highlighting the direct impact their attendance and donation made. Offer exclusive insights, such as details about upcoming projects, that aren’t widely shared with other donors.
  • Non-donors: Use your follow-up to thank non-donors for their attendance and offer various ways they can continue to support your organization. For example, perhaps they’re unable to donate monetarily but can join your volunteer team. 

To make your follow-up even more individualized, create donor recognition tiers based on levels of engagement. eCardWidget’s donor recognition guide recommends assigning different types of recognition to each tier to keep your efforts organized. For example, an attendee who donated for the first time might receive a thank you card in the mail, while one who has been deeply involved with your organization for many years may receive a thank you card and a branded t-shirt.

2. Establish a detailed follow-up schedule.

Communication frequency is essential to engagement, as your nonprofit must find the balance between keeping donors informed and avoiding donor fatigue. This balance will vary greatly depending on your event attendees. For example, we know that Millenials prefer more frequent communication than other generations, and fundraising statistics show that email is the most preferred channel by 48% of donors. 

Create a post-event follow-up schedule that details when a message should be sent and the content it should include. It might look something like this:

  • Immediate acknowledgment, 0-24 hours post-event: Prompt post-event recognition is essential for maintaining the momentum generated at your event. 
  • Feedback request, 1-3 days post-event: Give donors a chance to catch their breath after the event, but ask for their feedback while it’s fresh on their minds. Send out concise surveys that don’t require much of the attendee but are comprehensive enough to gather useful data, such as multiple choice surveys with only one or two short answer questions.
  • Impact sharing, 1-2 weeks post-event: Share the outcomes of the event, including real numbers, like the amount raised, and how those donations were used. 

Additionally, consider donor preferences such as preferred communication channels. For example, you might send a donor thank-you email immediately after the event and share the event’s impact in social media posts so that it reaches a wider audience.

3. Provide valuable content.

Vague, dull, and irrelevant content can cause nearly 75% of donors to stop giving to an organization. To keep event attendees engaged after your event ends, your follow-up must provide valuable content. 

Meaningful, authentic messages go a long way in thanking donors. Infuse your follow-up with valuable content, including:

  • A thorough event recap
  • Educational content about the cause
  • Numbers and statistics, including total revenue
  • Behind-the-scenes insights into your nonprofit’s work
  • Multimedia elements, like photos and video
  • Testimonials from beneficiaries
  • Upcoming opportunities and projects

To gather numbers-related data to share with attendees, use an event management tool with analytics and reporting features. These platforms can generate reports based on your event’s performance, making it easy for your nonprofit to share data-based insights with attendees.

4. Keep the conversation going.

Effective post-event follow-up results in committed and loyal donors who attend future events and support your organization long-term. This means sending follow-up messages that encourage donors to stay engaged and even join the conversation!

Invite attendees to share their experiences or respond to your nonprofit’s communications. This might include sharing their pictures and videos from the event on social media or commenting on your nonprofit’s posts. Social media is the top marketing tool for facilitating two-way communication since it inspires nearly one-third of donors to give and is widely regarded as highly interactive because of its commenting and sharing capabilities.

5. Plan ahead using data-backed insights.

In addition to thinking ahead about keeping donors engaged, your nonprofit must also use the follow-up period to prepare for its future campaigns. Gather data about donors’ readiness to support future initiatives, such as a capital campaign

This feedback can come not only from the post-event survey you send but from a variety of sources. NPOInfo recommends leveraging post-event data metrics, such as attendance records and lead generation. You can also gain insights by:

  • Monitoring social media activity
  • Hosting focus groups
  • Analyzing website traffic and interactions
  • Conducting follow-up interviews 

Gathering feedback and doing your research shows event attendees that your nonprofit values their opinions. When you implement their ideas and address their concerns, they won’t just attend future events—they’ll become committed supporters. 

Your nonprofit knows that donor recognition and appreciation are crucial aspects of follow-up for any event or campaign. Using the tips in this guide, you can take post-event follow-up a step further to convert event attendees into loyal supporters of your cause.