How are you going to attract people to your organization, and thus, your cause, if the most they can be expected to do is write a check? That check may help in the short term, but the donor is not aware of where that check is going, whose life is being affected, and won’t be someone we can count on to give again and again. We want our supporters, donors, and volunteers to be excited about the work we and our partners are doing. Excited to be part of the events, excited enough to open their wallet, excited enough to come to future events, and excited enough to tell their friends and family about it.
Mountain to Mountain aims to create cultural and athletic events that attract support and enthusiasm for the event itself. Photography exhibits, book signings, speakers, trail running events, movie nights at the local theater, all revolving around the themes of our projects and partners. People come to listen to a speaker or see award winning photography, and leave a little more educated about the individuals and communities we are striving to empower. Last year’s, speaker and book signing event with Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, helped not only inspire donations, but allowed the audience to ask questions and further their understanding on the importance of girls education in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Without that event, we wouldn’t have raised over $105,000 in donations in a little under seven months. Sponsorship totaled around $30,000 for several events in the same time period.
The downside is the cost of putting on events, versus more traditional fundraising. The goal has always been to have our events sponsored entirely versus donations. In this way, donations can go directly to the project or the partner charity in their entirety. Photography exhibits are extremely expensive, even when the images are donated by the artists. Production of the show, opening night costs, and traveling the show to multiple venues is not cheap.
Despite the second tier of fundraising needed, that of sponsorship in addition to donations, the events do make fundraising and the outreach less dull. A bored supporter is a quiet one. Entertain, educate, and inspire and your supporters will become vocal proponents of your work and cause.