Fundraisers Make Great Outreach Events!
Many RESULTS partners think that we hold fundraisers to raise funds when actually that’s only one of several reasons! Equally important are three other benefits:
- Fundraisers are the most powerful outreach events we hold
- Fundraisers are terrific community educational events, including for the media
- Fundraisers build group cohesion better than any other activity I know
Today, I want to talk about the outreach impact of fundraising events. Twelve of the thirteen members of our South Kitsap/Gig Harbor Group attended RESULTS fundraisers before they joined our group. If those fundraisers had not occurred, I know we would not even have this group at all. Almost every year, we get at least one more person from our annual fundraising luncheon to join our group.
In fact, our Northwestern Regional Coordinator, John Hornby, attended our RESULTS luncheon six years ago and fell in love with RESULTS immediately. Myrdin Thompson, our Outreach Expansion Associate, was first introduced to RESULTS through a karaoke fundraiser in Louisville. Twelve members came in through a fundraiser in Kitsap, WA, and here I am, one of your Grassroots Representatives on the RESULTS Board of Directors!
You might wonder why fundraising is such an effective outreach strategy. Here’s what I think:
- You usually get more people there than you do to a regular outreach event. This year we have 21 table captains who are planning on filling 27 tables, which will bring 216 people to our Luncheon. That’s a lot of outreach!
- If people attend a fundraiser, they are already “prequalified” for outreach – they are interested and willing to contribute to global poverty reduction or they wouldn’t be there.
- Fundraisers usually involve mingling with others who have similar interests and many who are already committed to RESULTS. So, your message gets reinforced as they talk to each other about what they like about RESULTS.
- Fundraisers usually involve more time than a typical outreach activity – if you are tabling, people may spend a few minutes talking with you. A RESULTS fundraiser usually lasts at least one or two hours, making your impact much greater!
- Fundraisers can have inspiring speakers who are regional or national leaders who give powerful messages about the critical impact of the work we do to reduce poverty. They put a human face to this work in a way that is very compelling to our guests.
If you are deciding between having an outreach event and having a fundraiser, I urge you to do both! Plan a fundraiser, and make it a powerful outreach event. To make it effective as an outreach event, here are some suggestions:
- Plan your event to include a personal share by one of your partners about why they are involved with RESULTS.
- Provide colorful forms for guests to fill out indicating their level of interest in being involved. Be sure to follow up very quickly after the event.
- Schedule and invite guests to a special letter writing or conference call soon after your event. Give them information to take home with them about that event.
- And most importantly – follow up personally with each guest, thanking them for their contribution and inviting them to your next meeting or conference call.
I’m sure you can think of other outreach strategies to use during your fundraiser to engage your guests in our work. Be sure to use the great resources and support that our RESULTS staff offer. You aren’t in this alone – they are terrific in coaching you through each step of the process. It’s fun, exciting, and powerful. Believe it or not, fundraising is my favorite part of RESULTS!