Fundraising Events: Are they Worth It From an ROI Perspective?

nonprofit fundraising nonprofit strategy tips and resources

It’s no secret that fundraising events can generate significant revenue for today’s nonprofits. Yet, they typically require significantly higher upfront costs versus non-event fundraising campaigns.

According to recent research, nonprofit event fundraising is increasingly popular; in fact, many nonprofits today host a wide range of events throughout the year, including fun walks and fun runs, golf tournaments, competitive marathons and races, black tie galas and other types of events to collect contributions and raise awareness for their specific causes.


Are Fundraising Events Worth the Investment?

Most major fundraising events tend to require increased marketing and upfront investment compared to methods like email campaigns, annual campaigns and direct mail. As a result, the stakes are typically higher from the get go.

This greater demand on a nonprofit’s time and monetary resources means the fundraising events must be carefully selected.

Budget is often the determining factor for what kind of event an organization ultimately chooses to host. However, regardless of size or budget, walks and “a-thon” events currently rank highly for affordability, planning ease and ROI, according to industry experts.


Tips to Improve Your Nonprofit Fundraising Events

No matter what the event, there are numerous steps nonprofits can take to increase contributions, simplify fundraising event planning and make it worth it from an ROI perspective. Some of these steps include:

  • Plan poignant, effective activities. Educate fundraising event attendees, making sure each individual leaves with a solid understanding of your organization’s cause, why it’s important and what they can do to help support its programs and services.
  • Incorporate auctions or rafflesSilent and live auctions, as well as raffles, are some of the most common forms of special activities at fundraising events. With these approaches, organizations secure donated items from businesses and individual donors and auction or raffle them off. Keep in mind: Online auctions can help reduce the overhead of an event and increase revenue raised since they often have longer windows for bidding.
  • Ask for pledges. Organizations can multiply event contributions by asking attendees to make annual pledges (versus one-time-only donations).
  • Utilize event planning/fundraising technology. By leveraging the latest technology solutions, nonprofits can reduce staff and volunteer workload. Much of the software available on the market today supports communication and collaboration, and automates many fundraising-related tasks.

In summary, as long as your nonprofit organization uses fundraising events to not only raise money, but bring together past, present and new volunteers, donors and constituents, they can be highly effective.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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