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Top 5 Facts to Learn About Your Fundraising Event Attendees

Fundraising can seem like it is all about numbers on a spreadsheet or chasing the next dollar. While these are, of course, important aspects of raising funds for a nonprofit, fundraising really comes down to the people you are appealing to.

You can have what seems like the perfect fundraising strategy, but if you don’t take into account the individual people you are appealing to, it is likely that your fundraising efforts will fall flat.

Fundraising events are a great way to mingle and get to know your donors and supporters, but it can be overwhelming to try to gather all of the information you need at a single event. Therefore, you should spend the time at your event simply putting faces to names and allowing your attendees to get to know your organization and its people.

It’s important toget to know them early and often, which is why we’re bringing you these top 7 tips:

The real work starts after your event ends. Members of your fundraising team should take the information gathered at the event and dive even deeper so that you can better understand your event attendees and how to turn them into loyal, recurring donors.

As you examine your fundraising event attendees a bit closer, you should determine their:

  1. Donor capacity.
  2. Donor affinity.
  3. General information.
  4. Preferred method of donation.
  5. Preferred method of communication.

Once you know these things about your event attendees, you will be able to foster relationships with them that will lead to recurring donations and support. Let’s get started and prepare you to best appeal to your event attendees for support.

Donor capacity

The first part of this step is encouraging your attendees to RSVP to your auction. The second is taking that list of confirmed attendees and performing prospect research.

Donor capacity refers to an individual’s ability to give charitably. Depending on your event, your attendees will be coming from a wide range of backgrounds and will have varying abilities to donate money to nonprofit organizations.

There are many factors which determine a donor’s capacity to give, but one of the most indicative is simply their net worth.Conducting wealth screening on your fundraising event attendees will enable you to see each individual’s potential wealth.

Wealth screening is a tool that nonprofits use to minimize the amount of time and resources wasted on chasing dead-ends. To determine an attendee’s net worth, assess these important wealth markers:

  • Real estate ownership. Investment in real estate will indicate a donor’s earning and giving potential. There is a strong correlation between individuals who own high-value real estate and individuals who donate their money to charitable organizations. Individuals who own over $2 million in real estate are 17 times more likely to give to nonprofit organizations.
  • Business affiliations. Look to see if your attendees are heavily involved in a business or corporation whose ties you can leverage. This could include being a board member, executive, or major investor.
  • Stock ownership. Identify individuals who are an officer or director of a company or who own more than 5% of shares in a public company. This will indicate not only their wealth but any important connections you can leverage to expand your donor base or even tap into corporate philanthropy.

None of these indicators guarantee that the event attendee will want to give to or become involved with your organization, but it is important for your fundraising team to note when a registered attendee has a proven capacity to give. You can use this information to further narrow your scope and focus your appeals.

Donor affinity

Donor affinity is an individual’s likelihood of giving to your particular organization. This is perhaps the most important piece of information you can learn about your event attendees if you want to raise more funds for your organization. An attendee’s wealth won’t really matter if they are not willing to donate to your organization.

Luckily, if they are already attending your fundraising event, then they most likely have some level of interest in your organization. The individual’s relationship to your cause may clearly indicate how you should appeal to them.

The individual may be part of the community that benefits from your work, or they may have loved ones who benefit, or they could simply think the work you do is for the greater good. Their passion for your cause is the best tool for you to use in your appeal.

However, the best indicator that you cannot overlook, is their giving history. Remember to look, not just at their history with_your_ organization, but at their charitable giving history to all organizations. You can see the causes they are interested in and how you can modify your ask for maximum impact.

Giving history should take into account the individual’s RFM:

  • Recency of the last gift. When did they last donate?
  • Frequency of giving. How often do they donate?
  • Monetary contribution. How much do they donate?

Once you understand an individual’s giving habits, you will be able to customize your approach for future fundraising efforts.
If you want to learn how to use your knowledge of a donor’s philanthropic tendencies to conduct prospect research for your organization, check out DonorSearch’s prospect research ultimate guide.

General information

Not all of the donor data you gather on your fundraising event attendees needs to be strictly related to donor capacity or affinity. Don’t forget to learn more about who they are by gathering some general information as well.

Important, basic demographic information to find out includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital or parental status
  • Location or region
  • Profession or employer
  • University or business affiliation

This information is simple and easy to determine. While some of the information may be able to be remembered from conversation during the event, other methods of collecting this information include:

  • RSVP survey. If your event requires the attendee to RSVP, include a short survey that will provide answers to these basic questions.
  • In-person form. Have forms ready at your event that people can fill out. Make sure it would take the attendee no more than 5 minutes to fill out the form to increase participation.
  • Email follow-up. All you would need to learn at the event is their email and then you can email them a follow-up survey to learn more about them. Getting to know them better provides an excellent excuse to reach out after the event is over.

Knowing your donor network on an individual level will enable you to segment your donors so that you can determine patterns and trends in your network as a whole. With this information, you can figure out who typically donates to your organization and how you should appeal to them for maximum results.

Check out ClearviewCRM’s donor segmentation guide to learn more about how you can use demographics and donor data to better understand the people involved with your organization.

Preferred method of donation

How a person donates to your organization can help you strategize your donation asks for future engagements. It can also help show you which methods of donation are best suited for your particular donor network so you can streamline your donors’ experience with your organization.

If your event attendee is already involved in your organization and you want to steward them for future donations, you should record their preferred method of donation. These could include:

  • Online. Make sure you are employing effective online donation tools that accept all forms of digital payment including credit, debit, and e-check. To see a list of the top online donation tools, click here.
  • In person. Donors may prefer to donate in person at events. If your attendees make a donation at your current event, you should continue stewarding them with event invitations to increase the likelihood of recurring donations.
  • Direct mail. Some donors prefer to donate via the mail so make sure you allocate resources to maintaining your mailing services. Don’t forget to keep up-to-date addresses!

Regardless of how they donate, the process a donor follows should be simple, easy, and efficient. Knowing the preferred method of donation for event attendees can help you know how to cultivate relationships with them before future events.

Preferred method of communication

Why should you waste your time sending the same message to the same person by multiple methods? Streamline your donation ask process by recording how your attendees would like to be communicated with.

Marketing or outreach campaigns, whether by direct mail, email or phone, take a lot of time and effort to execute, and you are likely looking for any means by which to make this process more efficient and effective.

Say goodbye to consistently low open rates for emails and no responses from direct mail. Knowing an individual’s communication preference will enable you to:

  • Appeal to them directly. Your donors will be grateful to know that you care enough to connect with them via their preferred method. This will make them feel valued as an individual supporter, and they will be more likely to have a positive response to your appeal.
  • Say thank you. Most donors will want a thank-you for participating in the event or supporting your organization, and you should do everything in your power to accommodate this.

Your event attendees will love the chance to get to know you at your event and the fact that you want to continue your relationship on the attendee’s terms. Don’t underestimate the attendee’s desire to feel valued by your organization.


Getting to know your fundraising event attendees as individuals is the best possible fundraising strategy that you can employ. Equipped with this information, you will be able to conduct wealth screening and prospect research as well as steward them to cultivate lasting relationships.

This guest article was provided by DonorSearch.