A few years back I put my name down for a charity walk (not of the fire variety, just a wee walk through the woods for 10 miles). The cause was dear to my heart and because I could take the four-legged fur balls with me (the dogs) I signed up, got the details, and then I didn’t hear anything from the charity until the day before the event.
Not one how are things going emails or quick check-ins.
It even took them 2 weeks to answer a question I had about the day itself. I know my story is rare but I’ll admit it left a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. Unappreciated would be the word. See, most people need to feel valued and supported, it’s human nature. The same (I think) applies to people giving up their time (long before the event itself) on a fundraising event.
(What do you think? Is it vital to keep in contact and support people? Please leave a comment below.)
So I’ve been thinking, here’s a few quick tips of things you could do so people feel valued and supported all the way through your event.
1. Encouragement + Support
There is always a means to achieve this. Whether it’s regular email updates or shout-outs on social media just keep people informed. Bring them into your fundraiser. Encourage them by giving tips and ideas, congratulate folks, and be willing to share all the different parts of the event. Make them part of the whole event, not just their part.
2. Be There + Be Available
Pick up the phone, answer emails, reply on social media. Make it incredibly easy for people to get in touch with you. Give them all the channels, even if you can’t give a full reply there and then, at least acknowledge their correspondence. I’ve seen successfully charities operating ‘live chats’ about their events on Facebook every week before an event, is that something you could do?
3. Make It Easy For Them
Huh? Everything simplified, from downloading information, sponsorship forms, payments and registrations. Clear and concise, step by step laid out instructions. If you’re asking people to share your information make sure you are giving them the links to reshare. If you want them to retweet or like on Facebook, ask people to retweet and like.
4. Check In With Them (More is better)
Decide how often this will be at the start and let people know what to expect. It’s okay to say we’ll send you a weekly email of how things are going. Checking in isn’t more promotion. Checking in is asking people how they are doing and is there anything you can do to help them further? Then make it easy for people to get in touch with you: see 2 and 3!
5. Promote Them
When people sign up for your event you may want to add a little box on your signup form or page (whatever you use) if it’s okay for you to promote them. Most people do say yes. If they allow you to mention them in post, updates, emails. Give people something to share. People love to see their name. It’s not an ego thing, it’s an acknowledgement.
6. Thank Them
Often. All the way through not just once at the end. Thanks-you’s go a very long way.
7. Create Community
Give people a place to go that is just for them to get support and connect with others. Nothing beats community. You may want to create a space that is just for people taking part. Even though you may have a Facebook page for your charity, you may want to consider a Facebook group just for fundraisers of a specific event. Again you will need to plan this in to your organising, it’s up to you to keep the conversation going, you can also do this by providing tips, ideas and encouragement posts in the community.
8. Ask for Stories
We all have our reasons for taking part in a fundraising event for a specific cause. Ask people why they are taking part, are they willing for their story to be shared? Could you write up a piece for your email updates, social media updates or blog posts? Stories are powerful, and they encourage without trying.
9. Don’t Forget Them
How many fundraising events have you taken part in and then once the event was over the charity or fundraiser just forgot about you? Let’s think about this: a fundraiser has given up their time to take part in your event, they care about the work you do. They may never take part in another fundraising event but they are still your biggest cheerleaders.
Keep them up to date with your work, tell them where there fundraising has gone, encourage them to take part in conversations.
How do you support and encourage fundraisers?