Four ways to maximise your MCE fundraising

Major Community Events present a significant fundraising opportunity for charities – but getting your organisation’s message across in such a cluttered space can be a challenge. With running season kicking off, now is the time to develop a solid game plan that will help you increase your profile, recruit more participants and maximise amounts raised.

Here’s how you can dominate running season in four simple steps.

Be selective.

With so many high profile events on the calendar, it’s common for charities to try and hedge their bets by targeting as many as possible. But while this might seem like a good strategy, it actually pays to be more selective and invest your time and resources into just a handful of key events per year.

Ask yourself which events are the best fit and have some sort of link to your cause. Think about what typically inspires participants to get involved as this may help or hinder your efforts – is fundraising the primary focus or are people looking to achieve a fitness goal? To streamline your efforts even further, find out which events have generally been the most successful for you by running reports of past years’ results and use those insights to shape your strategy. It’s not unusual for people to participate in the same running event multiple times so reaching out to existing supporters can be a quick win.

Leverage your existing networks.

MCEs present a strong opportunity to target new potential supporters, but don’t overlook the lowest hanging fruit: your existing contacts. Outreach should include:

  • Past supporters who have run, walked, ridden or swam for you previously
  • Both your one off and regular donors
  • Your volunteers, staff and their family and friends
Start your fundraiser recruitment at least eight weeks before the event with targeted email communications to your networks and a compelling ‘ask’ to get them on board.  Even better, run data to identify which of your donors have been involved in past events and target them with special communications and a tailored message.  You can get assistance with these aspects of recruitment through Everydayhero’s downloadable and customisable email templates. 

Ask what the event can do for you.

Event organisers will often provide additional support and assistance to charities to help you maximise your involvement. Find out what special packages are available to incentivise fundraising among your supporters – many events will allow you to purchase a number of special entries to secure free race entry for your top fundraisers.

You may also be able to raise your profile by paying for a charity listing on the event website. Recent research by Bridge 2 Brisbane organisers showed that 25 percent of participants chose their charity during the selection process, making visibility at the point of registration a solid tactic for recruiting new supporters. Many events also hold charity briefings during the recruitment phase to impart valuable knowledge and share fundraising advice.

Motivate and inspire your supporters.

Motivation and a sense of achievement are essential to fundraising, which is why it’s so important to maintain your supporter communication after the initial recruitment phase. Show encouragement and coach them in how to succeed through regular contact by email and social media and remind them in real, tangible terms about the difference their fundraising is making to your cause.

You may also want to consider including an impact board on your site – this provides supporters with a real-time update on funds raised versus fundraising target and is an excellent motivational tool. A leaderboard also provides recognition for supporters’ efforts and encourages friendly competition among teams.

For more insights on how to leverage running events for your charity, talk to the Everydayhero team or check out our guide to major community event fundraising.