The Value of Special Event Donors

The Value of Special Event Donors

A few posts ago, I wrote about the fact that retention for Special Events donors is much lower than for direct marketing-acquired donors. I’m not against Special Events – I enjoy a good luncheon or black-tie gala at the Georgia Aquarium as much or more than the next person. In fact, as you can see from the chart below, new donors who come on through Special Events can be very valuable.The client shown here is doing the right things to keep and lift the giving of their Special Events donors – thanking them and cultivating them with relevant information about the mission of the organization. In the case for this client, the 3-year LTV of new FY12 Event donors was $179 versus $155 for new Direct Mail donors. So despite the lower retention and because the average gifts for this organization are so much higher for special events than for direct mail, the 3-year LTV is 16% higher for Special Event donors than for Direct Mail donors. But, for this organization – as for most – the universe of Special Events donors is just not large enough to sustain the nonprofit’s programs. So, the TOTAL value of all Direct Mail donors over 3 years is more than 4 TIMES the total value of Special Events donors. Special Event donors alone aren’t enough to sustain the mission of the organization. As we almost always see, a diversified and integrated marketing program is the most...