Challenge Events – An Antidote to GDPR - The Great Depression of People Raising (money)
Gavin Spencer, Associate Consultant
Over the last few years I feel we have been in a ‘great depression’ within the charity sector. This has been fuelled by numerous negative media stories and more recently the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), as a result of which people are rightly worried about losing a lot of their supporters. So, I’ve come up with my own acronym for the GDPR, The Great Depression of People Raising (money)! On a positive note, did you know that in the real Great Depression, more people became millionaires than in any other time in history? This was because, whilst times were tough, savvy entrepreneurs would focus on opportunities to make money whilst businesses that were run poorly fell by the wayside.
We know the real GDPR will have an impact on all fundraising but there is an income stream that is going from strength to strength…..Challenge Events.
Challenge events can benefit all charities no matter their size or cause, whilst attracting existing and new supporters - often generating personal health benefits as well. Most charities are set up with teams such as corporate, major donors, community etc. The one common theme amongst these supporters is the love of doing a challenge event. Challenge events are incredibly inclusive with no barriers as every challenge is relative to the individual. It could be a corporate bike ride, marathon des sables, a kid’s run at school or a 91-year-old doing a sky dive! These events give supporters something far greater than just giving money to a cause, it enriches their life which they will tell stories about forever.
How to attract challenge eventers in the first place
Start with your warmest supporters. These people have given up huge amount of time and energy in the past and will be your best guide to help you learn what events you should do. It’s your job to make sure these people are treated amazingly well and to make sure their efforts are recognised and that they understand the impact they are making on the cause.
Challenge events can also be used to attract cold supporters who have never done anything for you in the past. They will either be attracted to the event that you put on or they are desperate for a place in an event like the London Marathon. They might also be people that have wanted to support you but you haven’t had the right offering for them.
Supporter Experience & Building Relationships
Give your people the best possible experience. The investment in time and money at that stage is the most important thing you can do. Enable your teams to take the time to call all your supporters regularly and even better meet with them face to face. With challenge events, you’ve always got an excuse for a phone call to see how their training is going and give them fundraising advice. You’ll get to meet them on the day of the event which is a great opportunity to build on the relationship, and the supporter will feel there is a relationship developing, rather than a merely transactional interaction. Make the experience on the day fun and engaging and create an environment where they would want to bring their friends and family. You’ll find that your supporters will become your biggest ambassadors.
Where do we take them next?
Often we only talk to challenge eventers about that event and not much else. By nurturing this relationship, you will be able to tell them all the amazing things you do and how they can get more involved. The skill of the fundraiser will ultimately be your best tool to know where to take your supporter next. This will help you build a long-lasting relationship with a supporter for life, helping your charity become one of the success stories that comes out stronger from the ‘Great Depression’!
If you would like to talk with Gavin about maximising income (and supporter recruitment and retention) through challenge events, you can contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.