“It’s all about that BASE, ‘bout that BASE….”
Building something special requires a strong foundation, something that can sustain tough times and allow for continued building. Your BASE of supporters has to become strong and resilient. A small foundation can be mighty, but it is also taxing and can teeter with just a few changes, losing valuable ground to your mission that you have worked so hard for.
Your base becomes a family that you need to nurture year-round. You will have some ‘family’ members that you see everyday or spend lots of time with, while others you may see once per year but they are YOUR family and they will always be there for you. Building this same mentality with your supporting base is key to growth and stability.
To ensure this foundation, you will need to build a strategic engagement plan that creates a crescendo to your fundraising events. This plan starts from the moment your big event ends all the way through the year until the night of your event the next year. Imagine sending an IMMEDIATE Tweet or Facebook post to each individual donor (even those who missed this year’s event) that thanks them for their support, and a high-level recap of the night, maybe even with a photo of that donor from the event! We live in a society of instant gratification and showing this level of gratitude to your supporters is a great way to promote the family feel within your foundation.
Throughout the year, think about a communications plan that allows your foundation of donors to be on the inside of your journey. Announcing the goals for next year or sharing unknown programming elements for the next event (theme, entertainment, etc.) over several communications gives them something to think about repeatedly, instead of thinking of your event only once per year. Vary the medium to send information whenever possible…. requires you have more than one communication option per donor. Get their phone number for a text or call, home address, email address, Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter. Some posts will be broadcast, but others should be personalized, including a handwritten note directly to that person. This is called cultivation and stewardship of your donor base. Use it to build excitement, emotion, and impact throughout the year.