First Fundraising Event Email of the Season: Courting your Past Participants

After a challenging past year that required social good organizations to pivot their approach to peer-to-peer fundraising events, many organizations are now scheduling in-person or hybrid peer-to-peer fundraising events based on changing state and CDC ‘s COVID-19 guidelines in the US and other relevant authorities in other geographies.  

If your organization is starting to kick-off your 2021 fundraising events season, it’s important to reach out to past participants to engage them again this year and to let them know how the events will be run.  

As soon as you open registration for your event, send an email to everyone who participated last year inviting them to participate again. 

This email should accomplish three things: 

  1. Make your past participants feel special – I like to say, “Since you’ve [walked/biked/raced/fundraised] with us before, we wanted you to be among the first to know that registration is open for this year’s event!” It creates a sense of timeliness for your loyal participants and gives them a feeling that they’re in the “in” group with your organization.
  2. Get people to register for an upcoming event – The main call-to-action is to get your past participants to register so make that clear with one large registration button that your supporters can’t miss. The average person spends 13 seconds reading an email, so you want to make sure that your main ask is eye-catching and clearly visible, and doesn’t get lost in a sea of text.
  3. Remove any barriers to registration – If your event website requires a login or if logging-in will streamline registration for your users, be sure to make that easy by providing their login credentials in the email and automatically logging-in users who click the “register” button if that is an option. 

Here’s an example: 

Fundraising Event Email Example

According to the Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study, although overall organizations saw fewer participants in 2020, supporters continued to fundraise and, in some cases, they raised more on average than in previous years. The study surmises that for walks and 5Ks, participants were more driven by the organization’s mission than the actual event or activity, so when the activity was taken away, the drive to fundraise for those participants was not. 

Based on these takeaways, courting your past participants this year is more crucial than ever since they are highly connected to your mission. While I am hopeful that participation numbers will also rise this year, staying connected to your pandemic fundraisers will foster a long-term relationship with those constituents, resulting in dedicated fundraisers for years to come.