The Ultimate Nonprofit Fundraising Communication Timeline Guide

January 31, 2023

Gaining awareness and connecting with your donors ensures strong attendance at your next event and raises more money along the way. Follow along with this event communication guide for tips and examples to help you further connect with your donor base.

Communicating with your attendees helps them prepare and gain excitement about your mission. You’ll drive additional ticket sales, have higher event attendance, and encourage your donors to give more during your event —  crushing your fundraising goals. 

We understand that every event is different and unique in their own way. This article can be used as a general guide to help your nonprofit organization determine what messages to send to your audience and when to send them. Mass Messaging through ClickBid allows you to send texts and emails to the bidders and/or ticket purchasers within the system. To help you customize your message further, ClickBid has created shortcodes that are quick and easy to use, making messages unique for each guest. 

2-3 Months Before the Event

One of the first and most important steps in the beginning stages of your event is announcing the event dates and releasing the information to your potential sponsors and attendees. 

Within this communication, it is important to be as clear and organized as possible. Ensure your sponsorship and ticket pages are live with active and updated information, attach a point of contact if anyone needs further information, and include information about how your patrons can get involved with your event and donate an auction item. 

You can send mass emails to your donor base and post on social media to get the word out about your upcoming event. Promoting this early is crucial to start grabbing the attention of your audience.

Sample Email Communication: 

“Hello [first name], 

This year the [organization] is hosting its # annual [event name] on [date]! Purchase your tickets today [link to ticket page]. We can’t wait for you to see what we have planned. [more crucial event information]

Have an item you would like to donate? We would greatly appreciate your contribution to our auction. Please donate your item here: [link to item donation form].

We can’t wait to see you this year! 

Thank you from the Executive Director at [organization name]”

4-5 Weeks Before the Event

ClickBid has seen the best success by promoting events early and reminding guests of the mission you are fundraising for. Reminding your donor base of your event is a key effort in engaging your audience. 

Be sure to give a special call out to your event sponsors, offer early-bird ticket promotions to encourage sales, and recommunicating your event dates, auction start times, and other helpful event information that will educate your guests and keep them involved. 

During this stage of your planning process, you will want to start capturing the names of attendees from your sponsorships. Some nonprofits struggle to get this information, which is why communicating early is important to ensure the flow and success of your event. Sending unique emails to your sponsors to encourage them to share their guest’s contact information is the most effective way to gather this information. Although this process may be more manual, it is crucial in your event planning. 

Sample Communication:

“We can’t wait for you to join us on [date]! Purchase your tickets now for special early bird pricing. [link to ticket page] Tell your friends to join us!” 

“Looking forward to seeing you at [event name] on [date]! Check out the auction items we have so far: [landing page url].”

“The [event name] is quickly approaching! Don’t forget to mark your calendar for [date]. Click here [landing page url] to preview auction items! Items are being uploaded daily, so check back for more items! Thanks for supporting [organization name]”

“Thanks for being a [sponsor name] sponsor for the [event name] this year! We are excited about this opportunity to partner with you and appreciate your support to the [organization name]. Do you know what guests are attending the [event name] on [sponsor company]’s behalf? We are starting to plan for this process and would like to send your guests communication about the upcoming event they are attending. Please provide the names and contact information of your guests. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you on [event date]. Much appreciation, Executive Director, [organization name]”

1-7 Days Before the Event 

At this point, you will want to make sure everyone has visited your event landing page and signed in to their profile to enter any additional information you are requiring (like address and credit card). This speeds up the check-in process at the event and gets your bidders familiar with the site. 

During this communication, you can share special pre-recorded messages from your organization to gain excitement. Sharing these unique messages will introduce key players from your organization and gives you the opportunity to further educate your attendees about what your organization supports. You can include clips or quotes from people you’ve helped, your volunteer efforts, or other organizational highlights to show how donations will make a difference. 

Creating urgency as your event draws near is also a great way to encourage involvement. Creating a social media countdown for your event gains the attention of your guests and encourages a higher turnout. You could also highlight specific items within your silent or live auction. Doing this helps engage your attendees and increase their excitement about your event.

Another important element to communicate to your audience is how to participate in the silent auction. If you use a mobile bidding platform like ClickBid, first-time users may be intimated by the process. Gaining their confidence in the bidding platform may be tough. To make it easier for them, you could send sample videos and messages on how to participate.

Another tip we suggest is the ability to open your silent auction early. Opening early allows your bidders to become comfortable with the mobile bidding process, while potentially getting you closer to your fundraising goals. 

Last but not least, you could also send a thank you message to all guests updating them on how much you’ve raised so far.

Sample Communication: 

Sign in early to complete your registration process and save time at check-in! [landing page link] 

Silent Items open on [day, month, date time], and the LIVE Items open on [day, month, date time]! We are asking each bidder to enter their credit card information when completing registration! Thanks for your support! See you soon!”

“[first name], we can’t wait to see you on [event date]! Reminder: SILENT items open on [day, month, date time], and the LIVESTREAM begins [day, month, date time]! [blurb about the reason and why you are fundraising]”

“[ORGANIZATION’s] auction opens tomorrow! Your bidder number is #[bidder number]. We are sponsored by [sponsorhip name]. Let’s raise the roof and raise money for ORGANIZATION [event landing page link]”

“We can’t wait to see you on [date]. Remember to complete your account and add your credit card information. We are asking each bidder to register their information before the event to speed up the check-in process. [event landing page link]”

We can’t wait to see you at the [event name]. Save time during check-in and add your credit card information today! [event landing page link]”

Day of Event

The main focus during this time is to encourage bidders to sign in and start bidding on your silent auction items! Any early engagement you receive before the in-person event starts, the higher your bids will be — and in return, the more funds you’ll raises.

Take advantage of ClickBid’s reports that show you what items haven’t been bid on or have low bids. Use this data to encourage your guests to bid on these items and give special callouts to special categories or specific items. 

During the event, you can also send thank you messages to your sponsors, communicating to your audience who your top dollar donors are. 

Sample Communication:

“The Silent Auction is now open! Bid high and bid often! [direct link] Can’t wait for you to join us tonight. Doors open at 6 PM, so don’t be late!”

“Hello, [first name], the online silent auction is now open! Take a sneak peek and start your bidding early! Your bidder number is #[b]. Let’s raise some money for [org name]!” 

“Hi [first name]! Bidding is now open! Bid with us until [date] to benefit [organization]. Thank you for supporting [organization name]”

“All dressed up with nowhere to go? Post a pic of your [organization] gear on our Facebook page and use our hashtag #[organization name] [event name] to enter our Costume Contest!”

“[first name], don’t forget to check out our No Bid items. Tap here [direct link] and click MENU, then No Bid Items. Happy Bidding!”

“Here we go! [Event Name]’s auction ends TONIGHT at [time]! Silent Auction closes first at [time], let’s make it a record-breaking year! [direct link]”

“Please join us for the LIVESTREAM & LIVE AUCTION starting at 7:30! Tap to view, [direct link]” 

“Dont leave any items behind. Tap the link to bid, bid, bid! [direct link] Thanks for supporting the [organization name]”

Night of Event

Last-minute bid reminders are very helpful to remind bidders when the auction closes, when the live stream starts, when the live auction or paddle raise starts, and when checkout starts. While your guests are at your in-person event, they might be distracted by all that’s going on. Sending out a few messages during the event is helpful to keep everyone on schedule and ensure the flow of your event. 

However, be sure to keep communication minimal so you do not distract your guests. Our suggestion is to only send a few texts the night of, keeping your audience informed.

Sample Communication: 

Checked-In Message 

“Hi [first name], thanks for checking into the [event name]. Bidding is now open, tap on this link to get started! [direct link]”

Welcome to the [event name] sponsored by [sponsor]. Bidding on silent auction items is open and can easily be done from your phone! [u] Bid high and bid often!”

Silent Auction Closing Reminder

“[first name], the silent auction closes at [time]! Tap here to get your last-minute bids in [u]. Don’t wait!”

“Get your final bids in! The silent auction closes at [time]! Bid, bid, bid! [direct link]”

Checkout Reminder

“[first name], the silent and live auctions are now CLOSED. Didn’t win? Everyone wins with a donation to our program. Please check out our donation item link to contribute. [direct link] We appreciate your support towards the [organization name]!” 

“Congratulations! You’re a winner. Check out from your phone and pick up your items at the item pickup table. Tap here [u]”

“Hi, Winning Bidder – Thank you for your participation in our fundraising event! We appreciate you very much. Use the link to pay for your auction items! [direct link]”

“Thanks for participating in [event name] silent auction! Click here and look for the red PAY button or shopping cart icon to complete checkout for your purchased items: [direct link]”

“Please complete checkout for [event name]’s Silent Auction. Automatic checkout will be performed today at [date and time], if you have any questions call 123-456-7890. Thanks for your support! [direct link]”

After Event

Capture any transactions that were not paid for by sending out a message that includes ClickBid’s shortcode for the bidding site link, [u]. This will remind bidders to check themselves out and complete their purchases. 

You can also use the filter “Silent and Live winning bidders” to directly target those individuals who won an auction item, letting them know how to proceed. 

It’s also important to send messages to all bidders letting them know your appreciation for attending their event. Within this message, you could communicate the total raised or how much was pledged. Your nonprofit organization counts on individuals to attend your event and donate to your mission. 

A final piece is thanking them for their efforts and making them feel appreciated for their participation.

Sample Communication: 

“[first name], your support means the world to us! Thanks for making it such a special year for us. Keep up-to-date with the [organization] via Facebook or Instagram and through our e-newsletter. See you in [year]!”

“Hi [first name] congrats on being a winner at last night’s event. To claim your items, make sure to check out the link below, or feel free to call us if you need assistance. [direct link]” 

“Hi, Winning Bidder – Thanks for your participation in [event name]! Your credit card on file will be charged for your purchases and a receipt will be sent over email. We can’t thank you enough for your support for [organization]! Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for further updates from us.” 

“Auction Participant, thank you for your commitment to [organization name]. We would not be able to do it without amazing donors like you. A Tax receipt will be generated for your contributions tonight and will be sent over email for your records. Thanks again for your continued support. We hope to see you next year!” 

“[first name], we are so grateful for your support! Thank you for your participation in this year’s event. We hope you had as much fun as we did! See you next year”

“Thank you, [first name], for attending our event! With your help, we raised $XX, XXX! Didn’t get a chance to donate? Click here to pledge an amount towards our goal [direct link]”

Continue Communicating

ClickBid recognizes that each fundraising event is unique and special to each organization. Communicating with your donor base is a huge task that needs to happen to retain donors and meet fundraising goals.

It’s important to keep communication with your donors year-round to encourage planned giving and participation throughout the year. Use ClickBid’s sample messages and communication guide to help you during your next fundraiser. With these simple steps, you will likely master communicating with your donors and become more organized in your outreach efforts.

ClickBid is a full-featured crazy simple fundraising platform with many tools to help you reach your goals and plan for a successful fundraiser. With digital event landing pages and mobile bidding capabilities, we can help you promote your message and encourage participation all over the globe. Mobile bidding allows you to expand your donor base and receive donations year-round, ensuring you meet your fundraising goals. See how ClickBid can help your next fundraiser with our crazy simple software crafted for nonprofits. Schedule a live demo of ClickBid’s software today or view our website for more information. 

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