A new client’s organization has been having auctions and tournaments to no avail. The amount raised each year is generally the same. They wanted to know what event should they be having to improve fundraising.

My answer: it’s not about the event.

The people attending their galas are likely the same each year — odds are good they are contributing the same amounts as well. There’s a good chance that no one has ever reached out to them for coffee and approached them about giving more.

Fundraising isn’t about the event, it’s about the relationships you build.

Instead of investing in event planning, the ED should invest in relationship building. Take the biggest or most loyal donors out for coffee and get to know them. Keep them engaged with the organization by sharing with them your vision for the organization and plans to better achieve your mission. Make your donors feel like they are a part of the mission.

Most social action donors are driven by causes and making an impact. Share stories of how your organization has helped others and keep sharing those stories. Stay in touch with you donors, check in with an email or a call, have regular meetings to touch base and share ideas. Steward your donors and do not take them for granted. Relationships matter, maintaining strong ones with donors is critical to fundraising.