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    Ollie Rothmann By Ollie Rothmann • March 22, 2021

    How Can We Make Up For Lost Revenue From Fundraising Events?

    Prior to the pandemic, many nonprofit organizations relied on event-based fundraising for a significant portion of their philanthropic revenue. It should come as no surprise that these events - which had previously been very successful - have not been reliable revenue drivers over the past year.

    According to the Peer to Peer Professional Forum’s annual survey of the walkathons, relays and other mass fundraising programs, “Giving to the nation’s 30 biggest events in which donors raise money for charities fell nearly 34%.”

    How Can We Make Up For Lost Revenue From Fundraising Events?

    Now, keep in mind that this 34% dip was solely based on these top 30 largest in-person fundraising events. So, what about the thousands upon thousands of other organizations that depend on in-person fundraising events? Not all NPOs have the same resources as the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.

    For many event-based organizations, this past year has been one of layoffs, cuts, and cancellations in order to make up for lost fundraising revenue. We have seen many galas, auctions, formals, and benefits switched to virtual settings. While the costs to run these events are lower, they may not be sustainable as we resume in-person events in the coming months. And what’s more, donors aren’t interacting with these virtual events the same way as they would in person.

    In fact, as we gradually move back to normal, there may still be lingering protocols for major events, which could potentially add costs to any in-person events. So, instead of jumping to layoffs as a cost-saving device, is it possible to reposition the staff you already have to contribute in new and engaging ways?

    Organizations like the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston identified the need to move into a more "donor-centric" fundraising model to rely less on events. This meant the events team would need to be retrained as frontline fundraisers while the organization is undergoing a massive strategy shift. Luckily, this "newly minted" frontline fundraising team used Gravyty's artificial intelligence (AI) suite of tools as an on-the-job trainer. With the help of Gravyty and AI, BSAGB successfully reorganized event-staff into portfolio-carrying fundraisers who personalized stewardship to supporters, focusing on the contributions they could make to annual giving. By engaging supporters as potential donors, the team secured 314 gifts worth $200K+ in just a few months.

    We were recently joined by Erin Barfield, Associate Director of Development at Big Sister Boston, to talk about her team's AI-powered metamorphosis. She shares some of the results that her team has seen through using AI, as well as the strategy involved in making the seamless transition from events to carrying a portfolio. Download the on-demand webinar for free today, and learn how you can take an event-based fundraising model and transition it to a donor-centric strategy.

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