7 Engagement Methods To Boost Turnout At Your Fundraiser

May 26, 2017 - 8 minutes read

Ever noticed how some movie trailers get us amped up about the movie while others don’t have the same effect?

It has nothing to do with the actual plot of the movie. Frankly, sometimes the movie would be a complete bungle compared to what the trailer had us expecting. Other times, a fine work of art would be passed over by viewers because the trailer failed to incite any interest.

So how does a video put together using clips from a feature that turns out to be substandard manage to hype up the audience?

It is because they make trailers specifically to hook the attention of the relevant audience, show multiple high points of the film as incentives and leave them curious with unanswered questions. The trailer serves to draw people in using audio-visual and psychological tricks to boost turnout at the movie’s launch.

Building excitement for your fundraiser

In the same way, you can get people curious and excited about your fundraiser in the weeks leading up to the event. For that, you have to leverage the proper channels that your audience follows and use some practices that get them invested. Let’s explore some possible ways you can bump up turnout at your next fundraiser.

increase your fundraiser audience

Make the initial approach personal

How do you do that?

Well, you have to know the audience and what interests them to come up with an approach that grabs their attention. The best way to figure out your audience’s interests is to ask them. Call your existing supporters for feedback or conduct a survey. Collect responses to understand what actually drives your supporters to align with your cause. Ask and listen.

This would help you to come up with a technique to reach out to others in the same demographic which they can relate to. Structure the message to address what they care about emotionally. If it is unexpected and personal, it will stand out in their mind.

Offer something exclusive

This, of course, is something big companies use in their product marketing to draw the public in. A simple line saying “Hurry! The first 100 win big” or “Limited Stock” is enough to get the audience in a frenzy.

How do you create the same exclusive appeal for your fundraiser though?

The incentive you offer for attendees at your fundraiser doesn’t have to be materialistic. It can be anything from a Q&A session with the top authority in the field to access to a Special Donors’ Club.

Make it sound exclusive. The idea that they are getting something not otherwise available will get more people to attend.

Keep them in the loop

In the run-up to the event, you should make sure the target audience is regularly in contact with material that keeps the event on top of their minds. This can include event reminders, updates on changes to the itinerary and social media posts promoting incentives for attendees.

Sometimes, people who show interest in participating when they first come across promotional content forget about it as the day arrives. You have to take their initial interest and drive it up using regular notifications that create buzz about the event.

Start with a small commitment

You would turn a lot of people away if the first time you contact them about the event was about raising money. Instead, talk about the cause and why it matters and ask them to sign up if they care about positive change regarding the issue. Ask them to promote the event within their circle to help you with outreach. A small commitment like that would get people involved readily.

Once you have engaged them, you could build it up incrementally. Encourage them to participate in more active roles within the fundraiser. It’s alright if they say they can’t commit further. Subsequently, if you ask them to attend the fundraiser, chances of them saying ‘yes’ are significantly greater.

Leverage social proof to draw people in

In present times, people’s decisions are often affected by their peers. Your audience would be more drawn towards your fundraiser if they see a lot of hype already building over it on social media. So get your existing supporters talking about the event.

Make it a point to indicate most of their peers would be attending when you approach someone with an invite. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is the fear that one is being left out of a rewarding social experience which everyone else is a part of. The donor would be more willing to say ‘yes’ knowing their peers would be attending because of FOMO.

Create a smooth experience from registration to attendance

You should make sure that the supporters don’t face any reason to change their mind once they have agreed to attend your fundraiser. For that, you need to concentrate your efforts on building a seamless experience for them from registration to attendance.

Even a small inconvenience like an extra step to collect passes may turn a potential donor away right before the event. So pay attention to the attendees’ journey. Figure out where they may face any hindrance and iron them out before the day of the event arrives.

Add multiple incentives for different attendees

Your supporters all know the reason behind the fundraiser. They agree to attend because the cause matters to them and they want to see you succeed.

However, if you want to maximize your turnout, you need to have more than that as an incentive for the supporter. Segment your list of attendees to come up with different types of supporters. Then add an extra incentive for each type. Maybe some of your supporters would like to meet people in the community affected by the cause or some would prefer to receive something in return. Once you know the demographic of your supporters, it would be easier to come up with added incentives for the ones attending your fundraiser.


These are a few techniques you can adopt as you prepare for your fundraiser to maximize the turnout. You can also come up with processes specific to your sector that would act as a draw for the audience. Experiment with these methods and modify them to come up with ones that will work to make your next fundraiser a success.

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