Event Follow-Up: Making Recurring Donations a No-Brainer!

Events are exciting, from live auctions hosted by a great auctioneer to all-night galas full of food, music, and friends. With all the planning that goes into making an event great, it can be easy to lose sight of one of the most important parts of your event: the follow-up. After all, a memorable event only matters if it motivates attendees to then take action for your nonprofit.


After an event, you’ll want your attendees to perform at least one of several actions. This could be donating, buying a piece of your nonprofit’s merchandise, signing up to volunteer, or buying a ticket for your next event. Among these, one of the actions with the highest return is signing up to become a recurring donor.


Recurring donors provide nonprofits like yours with a reliable source of revenue from month to month, and nonprofits will usually need to establish a strong connection with a supporter before they agree to become one. A well-run event is the perfect opportunity to form that relationship, and the right follow-up strategy can nudge attendees in the right direction towards becoming recurring supporters.


This article will explore strategies your nonprofit can use to make the most of your post-event follow-up, including how to:


  • Send personalized messages
  • Share your impact
  • Make donating easy
  • Optimize your donation form


Additionally, keep in mind that a strong follow-up message is also a fast follow-up message. Plan your follow-up strategy in advance so you can get messages out to your event’s attendees as soon as possible after your event wraps up. Let’s dive in.

Send personalized messages.

Whether you’re messaging a donor a member of your staff was able to speak to one-on-one or a quiet guest who spoke little during a virtual event, your message should be personalized to help solidify your nonprofit’s relationship with them.


To make each message feel more unique, create templates that can be customized with details specific to each guest. For instance, you should always address each donor by name. Strive to go as in-depth as possible by referencing details such as whether it was a hybrid event, the guest’s history with your organization, if they won any prizes at your auction or raffle, or if they made a donation during the event.


Your CRM should help you record and leverage personal details about your donors for your follow-up messages. CharityEngine’s guide to nonprofit CRM features specifically recommends investing in a CRM with integrated event and communication tools, so information collected during your event can flow seamlessly into your donor profiles and be used for future messages.

Share your impact.

Donors want their contributions to make a difference, and your nonprofit can increase the number of your potential recurring donors by demonstrating your organization’s impact in your messages.


When drafting your event’s follow-up messages, be sure to share your nonprofit’s impact and explain how the attendee’s continued support can help. You can accomplish this by:


  • Referencing the event’s goal. All of your fundraising events have a specific goal, whether it’s to collect enough funds to launch a new initiative, gather support for an ongoing project, or spread awareness about an essential aspect of your mission. In your follow-up messages, thank your supporters for attending your event and remind them about the impact they’ve already made so far by buying an event ticket.


  • Provide examples of potential impact. Individual donors may be unsure if their contribution will make much of a difference in advancing your nonprofit’s mission. You can help them visualize their impact by providing examples of how your nonprofit can use their donation, even detailing specific examples of what a $50 donation could do in comparison to a $25 donation.


  • Share stories and statistics. Your supporters are motivated to give by a variety of factors. After an event, your attendees will be familiar with your nonprofit and your work, but they might still be missing that extra incentive they need to make a donation. You can encourage them to give by sharing a story about your constituents and providing factual statistics and data to help inform their decision.


Event follow-up messages are also often a great opportunity to share impactful photographs with your supporters. These could be images from your event, photos of your volunteers at work, or even pictures of your constituents. These visuals help supporters get a better sense of your nonprofit’s work and understand the connection between a fundraiser and the mission it’s supporting.

Make donating easy.

After going through the process of connecting with a supporter and getting them to attend your event, the last steps they’ll need to take to make a conversion should be as easy as possible. When you present your event attendees with the option to donate, make sure the process to do so is straightforward and can be accomplished in just a few minutes.


Your first step should be to make sure your nonprofit has an easy way to give online, especially if your event was hosted virtually. This will make the transition from event guest to donor smoother and allow supporters to make that transition at any time.


You can simplify your donation process by:


  • Asking only the information you need. It can be tempting to use your donation form as an opportunity to gather more information about your supporters. However, given the importance of securing that initial donation, keep your questions limited on your donation form. You can reach out to donors to gather data later on in their donor journey as your relationship with them develops.


  • Making recurring giving easy. Recurring giving is so beneficial for nonprofits because it’s meant to be a set-it-and-forget-it method of giving for your supporters. Once they sign up, your nonprofit will automatically receive regular donations. Ensure the process of becoming a recurring donor is just as easy by letting donors make their gift a recurring one with just a click of a button.


  • Creating one-click upgrade options. For donors who are already in your system, you can make the giving process even easier with one-click giving opportunities. For example, after your event, you might reach out to an annual supporter to ask if they’d consider switching to your monthly giving program. You already have their financial information and an estimate of how much they usually give, so in that follow-up message you can propose the donation upgrade and just have them confirm it with a single click.


Additionally, remember to make sure that your donation form is accessible for all of your supporters. This includes adding features such as text descriptions to required fields instead of just color markers, ensuring the page is navigable by keyboard, and adding directions for each question outside of its entry field.

Optimize your donation form.

Even after your well-planned event and thoughtful follow-up message, there’s a chance supporters may not give quite as much as you were hoping. Along with creating a donation form that makes giving easier, you can also optimize your donation form to encourage increased giving and even nudge more supporters into becoming recurring donors.

You can earn more donations through your online giving form by:

  • Offering suggested giving amounts. Some of your attendees, especially those who are new to nonprofit giving, may be unsure how much they should donate. You can take the guesswork out of the equation by providing suggested giving amounts. Additionally, you can encourage more supporters to become recurring donors by displaying your recurring and one-time donation amounts alongside each other. Because the recurring donation amounts will be lower but add up to more in the long run, some supporters may decide it’s the better option for them than making a large one-time donation in the moment.


  • Making your form mobile friendly. Whether it’s an event hosting tool or a way to give online, mobile-friendliness has become essential for nonprofits. This is because chances are that many of your supporters will check your nonprofit’s follow-up message on their phone, and if they decide to give, they’ll likely follow the link to your donation form while also on their phone. If your page is mobile friendly, they’ll be able to give right then and there.


  • Adding matching gift opportunities. Some of your supporters may be able to effectively double the amount they can give with a matching gift. 360MatchPro’s matching gift database guide emphasizes that over 18 million individuals work for a company with a matching gift program, and if any of those people happen to donate to your nonprofit, you can tap into that matching gift revenue. Add a section to your donation form where donors can search their employer’s name to discover if they’re eligible for a matching gift.

If your donation form isn’t already optimized prior to your event, now is definitely the time to make some adjustments. Be sure to test that every part of your donation form is working and information is flowing smoothly into your CRM before sending a link out to all of your event’s guests.

Nonprofit events are a few hours of fun that can help your team connect with supporters while spreading awareness about your cause. Make sure your nonprofit has the right strategies in place to leverage all of the work you put into your event during the follow-up process and secure more donations. Good luck!