What a wonderful day in NYC at the Event Fundraising Roundtable. I met so many wonderful fundraising professionals and learned so much from all of them. It was one of those days where I think, “I love what I do and can’t imagine getting this kind of satisfaction anywhere else.” We had two phenomenal speakers that each talked about how they’re making a successful fundraising program even better. Both Gina Butler from Covenant House and Jason Rice from Michael J Fox Foundation are Good to Great Fundraisers. They each have very successful organizations, and they’re working to make them even better – Great!

Jason shared their DIY fundraising program, and you can be sure that any of us in the room would love to have those kind of results! Jason and his team created a tiered system to give structure and process for how to follow up with DIY fundraisers. They were motivated by seeing that 30% of DIY fundraisers return each year and this group raises 50% of the profits. The more fundraisers they retain, the easier it will be to reach their goals.
Gina gave us insights to how they’ve grown their ‘Sleep Out’ program. They are really using it to integrate their mission into this event program. The ‘Sleep Out’ program brings people together for 12 hours and they sleep outside, overnight. This event is not the balloons and music, t-shirts, and give-aways, type of fundraiser, but it’s an opportunity for participants to get an overview of Covenant House’s work, interact with kids served by the program and just a sliver of an insight into some of the aspects of being homeless. I work with non-profit organizations all day, and Gina’s description of their program will stick with me for a long time!

The workshop was rounded out with a session on Managing Your Event 365 Days a Year from Cassidy Richards and a session on Creating A Fundraising Culture from Amy Braiterman. Best of all, I learned so much from everyone in the room – this was the reason to travel all the way from Austin to a workshop in NYC, rather than listening to a webinar in my office. The interaction and amount learned from peers is simply unbeatable. Can’t wait to head to DC later this week!