By: Giana Humphrey
Last week, our team attended the annual Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference in Miami, Florida to network, engage, and learn from our peers and partners in the nonprofit sector. The conference highlighted many changes and transitions within our industry. After a few days surrounded by the best of the best, we realized that despite the fast-paced world in which we live and fundraise, a few truths remain steadfast. Check out our three major takeaways from the conference below:
1. BIG DATA and analytics lead the way, but don’t save the day: The challenges of engagement, retention, and growth are persistent. Leveraging your database analytics can help you spot and predict trends in participant behavior. While a deep dive into your database may allow you to anticipate participant trends and get ahead of problems, predicting participant behavior won’t necessarily change the outcome.
2. Scale with quality not quantity: The industry is moving towards fewer events and participants with a higher dollar impact. The largest nonprofits in the country are focusing on scale, and you should too. Take the time to evaluate the ROI on your events. Are you breaking even on a few? Are their events with several zero-dollar participants? Analyze how you can cultivate the participants who are raising major dollars for you to be even bigger advocates, and eliminate or change events that are underperforming.
3. Social media & the quick buck: Oh, there are so many new ways to engage participants online and with social media, such as live auctions, gaming style apps, celebrity influencers and social media campaigns (remember the infamous Ice Bucket challenge?). But what do you say when you reach them? Mission impact is still the critical component to engagement. The more your participants feel tied to the cause, the results, and the community, the more money you will raise. Try some of these new digital tactics at your next event or, better yet, create a campaign prior to an event; however, make sure you follow-up with participants afterward by emphasizing the mission and direct ways they have effected results. Instant gratification is fleeting, but reminding people they’re truly changing lives will stick.
The truth is that something is always changing in our industry – technology, corporate budgets, the amount of time participants have to engage and how they choose to fundraise. But what doesn’t change is the need to find and foster a community. Participants want to know that they are part of a cause and helping to effect change. The key to managing this state of constant change is, surprisingly, your organization’s consistency. Track your data, follow-up with participants, keep the mission front and center, and you will have successful events for years to come.
We’d love to know what were your key takeaways from the conference? Leave us a comment and let us know what you find most effective below!