Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke
6 min
Event Fundraiser on computer screen

8 Ways to Generate Massive Nonprofit Event Revenue

Creative events are a great way to raise awareness, strengthen relationships with your supporters, and make money for your cause.

But at a certain point, physical events can seem to reach an earnings ceiling due to logistical constraints. Luckily, when you couple your event with software, you break through this ceiling and can generate a much larger cash flow.

To help you understand just how software can do this, this post explores some of the many ways technology can scale your fundraising event and enable it to achieve exponential success.

1. Ticket Sales

When you sell your tickets through an online platform, instead of in person or by mail, you can instantly reach significantly more people. With the right software, you can quickly design a beautiful event page that perfectly matches your organization’s brand and style. Event pages are easily shareable, and you can manage sign-up electronically. You can simply log in to review information like who’s purchased which ticket types, and how many spots you have left.

Online ticket sales also set you up to leverage online promotion strategies. Direct traffic to your event strategically through advertisements and social media sharing.

2. Registration with Fundraising

Perhaps the most powerful way to scale your event to grow your revenue, registration with fundraising can increase your revenue exponentially.

With the right software, you can automatically create a fundraising page for your event attendees upon signup. Individuals can quickly personalize their pages and appeal to their networks via email or social media. This raises additional capital for your cause, and promotes awareness of not only your work, but of the event itself.

The Y in Central Maryland saw a 46 percent year-over-year increase in their fundraising results when they invested in top technology. They initially asked runners to raise $100 to participate, and have since raised that amount to $250—and plan to up that to $500. Classy’s registration with fundraising process makes it quick and simple for a participant to get up and running and raise their first dollar.

Image of growth chart for 5K event
Classy helped the Y in Central Maryland grow their 5K and increase revenue.

In 2016, their annual event raised over $700,000 and engaged 374 fundraisers and 1,106 donors. Their experience proves that when it comes to event revenue, you don’t necessarily have to make something bigger to make it better.

How to Grow Your Run/Walk Event
Learn how to make your event bigger and better in this guide
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3. Virtual Participation

With software, your physical event doesn’t need to be limited by geography. Expand participation beyond city, state, and even national borders by giving every supporter a unique way to engage.

For example, if you’re hosting a 5K race, you likely have to cap your total registrants at a certain point. But with a virtual component, someone who might not be able to attend—whether because the race was sold out, or because of geographic constraints—could still register to participate.

Send virtual registrants a race bib and goodie bag, and ask them to share a picture on social media of themselves completing their 5K run. Options like these encourage those who can’t attend to still contribute to your cause and participate in the event.

The Helen Woodward Animal Center asks those who are unable to attend their 5K to consider fundraising on behalf of their organization.

Virtual event participation

4. Fundraise for Entry

You can even add a layer of exclusivity to your event and up the requirement to participate. Rather than paying a set amount for a ticket, hopeful attendees use your software to raise a certain amount in order to participate.

For example, The Women’s Alzheimers Movement’s event “Move for Minds” requires each attendee to raise $250 in order to participate.

While the requirement was only $250, this stipulation led to greater generosity and capital raised. Many fundraisers surpassed this amount. This extra revenue would not have been earned without the right software in place.

Use this event strategy to set a tone for attendees who are serious about supporting your cause. You might also incentivize different levels of support by opening up different levels of perks. For example, “Raise $200, get access to the event, raise $500, get the VIP experience.”

5. Give on the Go

Fundraising software also opens the door for your event to raise “gifts on the go.” A mobile responsive page allows a donor to whip out their phone at your event and make a donation on the spot.

This functionality can be especially successful at third-party events. Say your fundraiser decided to host a birthday party and instead of gifts, they wanted to collect donations. At the event, they could remind everyone what they’re raising money for, and send the link directly to their guests’ phones via text, email, or social media.

On a larger scale, you might also leverage mobile responsive pages by featuring a live visual of your campaign’s progress at your event. If your event’s progress bar is on the big screen for all to see, they’ll be more likely to donate in the moment, or offer further support to bring you closer to the finish line.

Look for fundraising software that has mobile responsive event pages and donation forms, so attendees can easily make gifts on the spot.

6. Team Competitions

A little healthy competition can go a long way when it comes to your event’s revenue. Team competitions, and more specifically team captains, can transform your community of online fundraisers into do-or-die members, willing to go the extra mile.

Due to their personal connection to the fundraiser, a team captain can also provide an extra layer of support in a way that your organization could not achieve on its own.

The right software makes it easy for participants to sign up and select the team they’d like to join. They’ll get to read the personal stories of their teammates, and feel like they’re all part of the journey together, no matter where they are in the world at the time.

7. Thank Sponsors

An online event page is prime real estate for highlighting any partners or sponsors who help to make the day possible. In the same way that their logo on an event T-shirt gets their name out and associates their brand with your cause, your event’s online page delivers similar value. Yet, with an online page, there are truly no bounds as to how many people are exposed to that relationship, making it even more valuable than any physical exposure delivered day of.

8. The Modern Day Raffle

There are many ways to get creative with fundraising software when it comes to your event planning. One such possibility is to enter every event registrant or donor into a raffle as they sign up. Offer multiple entries for larger contributions, and announce the prize winner at the physical event.

This unique idea eliminates in-person corralling and ticket distribution and easily takes your event’s revenue one step further.

Looking Ahead

Here at Classy, we’re actively working on bringing our nonprofit partners the best event features. Keep an eye out for improvements such as:

  • The ability for a participant to add a donation on top of their registration fee
  • Self-service participant management
  • An improved look and feel of event pages

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