5 facts you should learn about your fundraising event attendees


Guest post by Sarah Tedesco of DonorSearch

After you’ve put in all the hard work of planning and running a fundraising event, you might be ready to pat yourself on the back and move on to the next fundraiser - but your work isn’t over yet!

Your event has likely helped you build stronger relationships with existing donors and earn some new supporters along the way. It goes without saying that fundraising events offer organizations the perfect opportunity to engage donors and help fill out those essential donor profiles.

Gaining more information about your event attendees is an essential part of prospect screening and development, which allows you to gauge a donor’s ability and propensity to give.

What’s more, it’s never too late to learn more about your fundraising event attendees — whether you’re just wrapping up an event or in the early stages of planning.

But what should you learn about your event attendees? You can gain valuable knowledge about your supports by simply learning the following 5 facts:

1. Contact information
2. Past philanthropic behavior
3. Average gift size
4. Interests and hobbies
5. Employer and professional connections

Not only will we clarify how you can obtain this information, but we’ll also explain why these key facts are important to know.

Once you understand how to collect these facts, you’ll be able to better manage your donor data and use it to your advantage.

1. Contact information

The first and most important piece of information (aside from the supporter’s name, of course!) is the attendee’s contact information. Once you have a donor’s email address or phone number, you’ll be able to follow up with them after your event, thank them for attending, and keep them in the loop about other fundraising opportunities.

And the more contact information you can get, the better! Having multiple ways to reach out to donors allows you to diversify your communications and engage with supporters in different ways.

Plus, once you’ve determined a donor’s preferred method of contact, you can continue to connect with them using the medium they like best.

When asking for contact information, it’s important to obtain at least one way to reach out to donors, such as a phone number, email address, or physical address.

There are plenty of strategies organizations can use to collect a donor’s contact information. In fact, the possibilities are practically endless!

Your organization can collect supporters’ contact information online by:

  • Making it a required field on your event registration page. On your online registration or donation page, ask donors for their email address and phone number. The extra step won’t take long for the donor to complete, and you’ll instantly have the donor’s contact information.
  • Asking donors to sign up for your email list. Whether you’re posting about your event on social media or your nonprofit’s blog, you can encourage donors who want up-to-date information to sign up for your e-newsletter. It’s a win-win because donors can stay in the loop, and you’ve just gotten more of your donors’ emails.

Additionally, you can gain donors’ contact information offline (or directly at your event) with newsletter sign-up sheets, merchandise sales, and much more.

Final thought: Getting a donor’s contact information is an essential part of engaging your donors and getting them involved in your nonprofit.

2. Past philanthropic behavior

Many experts agree that past giving is a great indicator of a donor’s willingness and capacity to give. In addition, past giving to your organization as well as other organizations can reveal what types of causes and projects a particular donor is most interested in.

Appealing to a donor’s interests (which we’ll discuss in a later section) can be an effective way to introduce other fundraising opportunities that could potentially encourage a donor to give again.

If you’re just in the beginning stages of planning for an event, knowing a donor’s past philanthropic behavior might give you some insight into whether or not they will want to attend.

For instance, if John Doe has participated in a lot of marathons this year, he might be more interested in participating in your peer-to-peer fundraiser that ends with a 5K run.

In addition to keeping track of a donor’s past event participation, you should also record:

  • Which campaigns donors contributed to.
  • The methods they used to contribute (i.e., online donation form, text-to-give, or crowdfunding campaign).
  • The types of causes donors contribute to outside of your organization.

While you can always search your donors’ past philanthropic history to other organizations by conducting prospect research (read DonorSearch’s article on prospect generator tips for more on that topic), you also need to have excellent fundraising software to track contributions to your nonprofit.

Working with fundraising software that can automatically transfer data to your donor profiles makes it easy for your organization to record past giving history.

Plus, it keeps all the information in a centralized location that can be accessed by your entire team.

Final thought: A vital aspect of prospect research, past donation history can reveal much about your donors’ interests and giving capacity.

3. Average gift size

In a similar vein to philanthropic history, average gift size gives you more insight into a donor’s capacity to give.

Knowing a donor’s average gift size can be useful when trying to determine who to invite to your event.

For example, if you have a donor that gives a recurring gift of $10 per month, inviting them to your year-end gala, might not be a good fit. However, if you have a donor that has contributed major donations in the last several years, they might be more inclined to attend.

A donor’s average gift size can also be used to persuade them to attend your event. Think about it: once you know that a donor gives on average $20 a month, asking them to purchase a $60 ticket to your event doesn’t seem so bad.

Let the donor know that attending your event would be the equivalent of them donating to your organization for three months and show them how that donation can positively impact your organization.

Tracking your donors’ average gift size is all about having your fundraising software and donor database in sync. Since you’ll have a record of every donor’s contributions, you can easily calculate their average gift size monthly or even annually.

Final thought: Keep a record of every donor’s average gift size, as this will help you determine a donor’s capacity to give and provide insights into a donor’s progression. You may find that, over time, a donor’s average gift size goes up the more they engage with your nonprofit.

4. Interests and hobbies

While you can gain a lot of information from a donor’s giving behavior, understanding a donor’s interests and hobbies can be a great way to learn more about what your supporters are passionate about.

Additionally, if you come out of your fundraising event knowing what your donors are interested in, you can direct them to other fundraising and volunteer opportunities within your organization.

Since interests and hobbies can run the gamut from horseback riding to baking with friends and family, it’s important to be strategic when recording your donors’ interests and hobbies.

Especially, when you’re tracking information in your donor database. You have to be particular about what fields you want to include so that it’s universal among all your donor profiles.

If you’re working with a CRM that allows you to input custom fields like the vendors in Double the Donation’s list of recommended tools, then you can determine which hobbies and interests are important for your organization to track and set them up directly in your donor profiles.

Capturing your donors’ interests is a little more tricky than the metrics we discussed earlier, but with a great team, you’ll be able to learn more about your donors in no time!

Engaging with donors during your fundraising event is a great way to learn more about them. Have volunteers and staff talk with donors, and remind them to take notes after their conversations so that information can be transferred to your donor profiles.

Another way to learn more about your donors is by asking for their feedback. After your event, ask donors to fill out a survey about their experience. When you give donors the chance to provide their opinions, you’ll be surprised what you can learn about your donors.

Final thought: Learning about what your donors do for fun and what topics they’re passionate about can not only lead to better relationships but can also help you plan future events geared toward your donors’ interests.

5. Employer and professional connections

Learning where donors work can lead to a wealth of opportunities for your organization, allowing you to gain new supporters and raise more money in the process.

So how can this small fact help you raise more?

First, knowing which businesses your donors work for can lead to more donations through matching gift programs. Donors that contribute during your fundraising event could be eligible to have their gift matched, which means double the donations for your organization!

If you know that a donor works for a company that offers a matching gift program, you can send them specific information about their program. With more information at their fingertips, the more likely donors are to submit a request.

Second, your organization can gain valuable connections through your donors’ place of employment. Let’s say that you need a corporate sponsor to help fund your event. If you know that your major donor Jane Smith works for The Home Depot, you could reach out to her for connections in the philanthropy department.

Having someone on the inside can make your request for sponsorship more effective and help you reach the correct people.

Ultimately, working with your supporters to gain new relationships can help you connect with corporate sponsors, find more major donors, and much more.

Final thought: Talk with your donors to find out where they work and what professional connections they might have. This information could lead to more donations and support down the line.

There you have it: 5 facts about your event attendees that your organization needs to know.

Remember that alone these factors can only offer minimal information about your donors but together, they can provide deeper insights into your event attendees. This way, you can help personalize your outreach or determine which donors would be interested in attending your event.

By collecting this information early on, you can set up your organization for success in the future.


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