3 Strategies For Keeping Donors Involved at Your Fundraising Event

You’ve done the hard work getting your donors to attend your fundraising event. Kudos to you!

Now that your donors are all standing in the same room, it’s time to focus on crossing the finish line. Don’t drop the ball! Make sure you are connecting with your donors like never before, orchestrating events so your donors do what you need them to do… dig deep!

If you want your donors to give generously to your organization, employ these three strategies, which are crucial to getting your donors involved at your fundraising event:

(1) Be Efficient:

You must be super efficient with the time your donors have committed to spending with you at your event. Remember, time is precious. Not only do you want your donors to open their wallets, but also you’re asking them to give you a slice of their most valuable commodity… time!

When a donor attends your event, they are already giving you something; they are giving you their undivided attention for 2, 3 maybe 4 hours. You must use their time wisely!

  • Have every tool in your toolkit, like your event timeline, organized and ready to go.
  • Have your staff and volunteers mobilized and attentive.
  • Have every detail planned for (and then have a Plan B in place too).
  • Have giving opportunities well thought out, organized and in place.

Whatever you do, don’t waste your donor’s time. Don’t bog down guests with inefficient and flawed check-in processes (read our tips to check-in success). Do exactly what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to do the raffle draw at 9:30 pm, then do the raffle draw at 9:30 pm. Don’t keep guests hostage hours after the event was supposed to end by keeping your event well-paced (no one likes a slow moving event!), structured, organized, and on-time. Do whatever it takes to make the most of the few hours your donors have already generously donated to you and your organization.

(2) Be Engaging & Energetic: 

This is your day or night to dazzle your donors. Don’t waste it on boring speeches and run-of-the-mill slide shows; rather, put your best foot forward to entertain, engage and energize your donors.

  • Make sure your auctioneer and/or MC are charismatic. Choose wisely! Don’t leave this important job to an unskilled, untrained staff member who will fumble through it and turn off potential donors. (Read: How to Select an Auctioneer for Your Next Charity Event)
  • Encourage presenters to engage with the audience, not talk to them.
  • Don’t add impromptu speeches or items to your live auction (Read: Here’s One Way to Kill Your Live Auction… Guaranteed!)
  • Remember, less is more. Keep speeches, award presentations, and your live auction short, sweet and successful!

(3) Be Explicit:

Don’t assume your guests know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Give them clear direction on everything! Have clear signage, event programs, and staff on hand to direct guest traffic and encourage involvement in the silent auction, photo booth, etc. Never assume your donors will give money to your organization just because they attended the event; rather, give your guests clear opportunities to give and don’t be shy about explicitly asking for the kind of donations you need from them.

Overall, you should feel proud of yourself for getting donors through the door and at your fundraising event. Whatever you do, don’t drop the ball. Help them cross the finish line by being efficient in how you use your guest’s time, keeping energy high, and explicit about what you expect of your guests (remember, guests need to be told what to do). These three strategies will not only keep your guests involved throughout the entirety of your event, but also will help you achieve a successful fundraising feat in the end!


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