Elizabeth Chung

How to Go Above and Beyond Your Next Event’s Fundraising Goal

Charity events are a staple in any organization’s fundraising strategy. Whether it’s a run/walk, benefit concert, or pub crawl, these fundraisers can be a great way to engage supporters and bring your community together. However, like most of your organization’s efforts, the benchmark for a successful event is often determined by how much money it raises.

Much of the revenue from events traditionally comes from flat registration fees, but this method often limits the event’s full fundraising potential. Many nonprofits have maximized an event’s success by supplementing registration fees with peer-to-peer fundraising. Here, we discuss the value of the combined registration and fundraising process, as well as a few tips on how to successfully implement it during your next event.

Registration and Fundraising: The Opportunity

It’s no secret that fundraising events tend to incur high overhead. And while many nonprofit organizations charge a registration fee to enter, much of the revenue still goes to covering costs. As a result, fewer funds actually go toward impacting the cause.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative to simply charging the flat entrance fee to an event. Organizations can now amplify their results by implementing peer-to-peer fundraising into their events. Using a registration + fundraising option on your nonprofit fundraising software, you can automatically create a fundraising page for every participant who buys a ticket to your event.

Read: What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraisers ask their friends and family to support their fundraising efforts, which means they have the potential to raise money far beyond a flat registration fee. Active fundraising pages that stem from the Classy registration + fundraising feature receive a $61 average donation.

Another perk to providing fundraising pages to registrants? You’ll also be exposing your cause to brand new people, who you might not have been able to reach otherwise. This is a great donor acquisition strategy that requires little effort on your organization’s part. Down the road, those new donors might even become long-term, loyal supporters of your cause.

But don’t just take our word for it – take a look at the numbers. Our platform data shows that on average, an active fundraiser will raise $568 from 7 donors. Of these 7 donors, 4 will be brand new to the organization. By asking participants to fundraise for entry, you can seriously amplify the impact of, say, a flat $30 entrance fee!

The Strategy

1. Determine Your Goal

Begin by setting the overall fundraising goal for your campaign. To determine your goal, ask yourself: What are you hoping to fund with this event? Are the funds going toward a specific program or project? Knowing what you want to fund – and exactly how much it will cost to make the impact you want – will help define your overall campaign goal. You’ll also be able to demonstrate how donations affect your cause, which should help motivate people to give.

Next, gauge how many people will get involved with your event. Get a quick number by counting up your core supporters (and participants from previous events!). Calculate how much each person would have to raise in order to reach your campaign goal. Remember to be realistic about the number of people that will actually decide to fundraise. Most likely, the majority of registrants won’t fundraise. However, if you can provide valuable resources and fundraising tips for your fundraisers to make them as successful as possible, you’ll see a great return on utilizing registration + fundraising.

When projecting these fundraising goals, don’t forget to incorporate the costs of throwing the event. One idea might be to set the registration fee to cover any overhead costs and then add in fundraising goals to feed into your event’s overall success benchmark.

Make the Process Quick and Easy

Though effective, the combined registration and fundraising process will only be as successful as you allow it to be. Don’t undermine your efforts by having participants complete a long and confusing process to pay for registration and set up their personal fundraising page. To successfully incorporate peer-to-peer into your event, make sure the process is as quick and easy as possible.

Classy’s software, for instance, combines event registration and fundraising into a simple, straightforward process. Once a supporter registers for the event, they will automatically have a fundraising page created for them. We’ll send them a link to activate their account and they’ll be ready to accept donations. Of course, they can edit and customize their page to reflect why the cause is important to them (and it is recommended to do so!)

Read all about Classy’s Registration + Fundraising feature

2. Clearly Communicate the Process

While the process itself is pretty straightforward, communicate each step to participants to ensure they don’t hit any roadblocks and opt-out of the process.
Include a how-to for registration and links to fundraising resources your campaign micro-site, blog, and your main campaign page, so fundraising resources are always accessible to your supporters.

The YMCA of Central Maryland, for example, includes a link to these instructions on their main Turkey Trot 5K campaign page. The link leads to their campaign blog, which offers all kinds of tips and instructions – including how to get registered and start fundraising.


3. Provide Fundraising Tips and Tools

Like any other peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you can optimize your chances for success by equipping your fundraisers with the resources they need to hit their goals. Prepare tools that will help your participants effectively ask for donations, including:

• A fundraising tips sheet, distributed to everyone that registers for your event
• A clear and concise fundraising page how-to
• Sample social media posts
• Branded graphics and assets for personal fundraising campaigns
• Photos and videos of your fieldwork for fundraisers to utilize on their page

Essentially, any resources that can eliminate the guesswork, and mitigate the fear, of fundraising will ultimately help your fundraisers be confident and successful!

In the time leading up to their Turkey Trot, the Y of Central Maryland has done a fantastic job of constantly posting new tips and tools for their runners on the campaign blog. They have posted everything from tips on how to share fundraising pages on social media to sample emails participants can send to their friends.



Next time you host a run, walk, or any other event for that matter, consider implementing peer-to-peer fundraising to make it as successful as possible. With the combined registration and fundraising process, your participants’ individual efforts can help deliver much higher returns than a flat entrance fee. Mobilize attendees to call on their networks and benefit your worthy cause!

Any Campaign, Any Channel, #Winning.

examples of successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns

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  • Fundraising Chick

    Great article! I’ve participated in events with the MS Society that give clear, easy access to info as you show and I’ve been successful using them. Do you have any tips for getting people online who just don’t typically do it and could benefit most from info like this?

    • terrilee

      Hi there! Terri here, editor of the blog. Thanks so much for commenting and for asking such a great question! While there are a lot of creative ways to get people online, I think much of it comes down to awareness and simply letting your fundraising community know that your organization provides resources for them online. (And those resources should actually be easy to access on your site – make them very discoverable. The point is to demonstrate that operating online is actually easier than they had imagined and makes them more successful fundraisers!) So, it’s also important to outline the benefits of having access to those resources – amplifying impact on your cause, raising more funds, connecting with other fundraisers, etc.

      You can try:

      1. Delivering educational materials (like a step-by-step list for making an online donation) directly to your fundraising community, and then direct them to the exact URL they can find additional fundraising resources.
      2. Incentivizing online participation (establishing a matching period for online fundraisers, for example)
      3. Creating an online community that better connects your supporters (even if that community is simply bound together by a cohesive, branded e-mail newsletter created just for fundraisers.)

      I hope that answered your question – if not, feel free to elaborate or contact me directly at:

      We also outlined how to get your mailing list / donors online, here


      • Fundraising Chick

        Super suggestions! Thank you!

        • terrilee


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