Take Your Fundraising Event Promotion to the Next Level

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Make your big fundraising event a big success by promoting it across multiple channels

group sitting at table planning fundraising event with calendar
Most nonprofits have at least one big fundraising event per year. Maybe it’s an annual event, a gala, where thousands of dollars are raised through ticket sales and silent auctions. Or perhaps a 5K walk or run, where participants get family and friends to support them with pledges.

Whatever the event, your nonprofit’s future often hinges on its success and it is why you should promote these big events with multiple marketing channels. For one, you’ll ensure supporters get the message often and in more than one way. And because we all speak to audiences that vary in age, gender and other demographics, by using varied communication tools, we guarantee that our supporters get the news from the sources they use.

Some experts say that if you promote using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you cover most of your bases. While this may be true, depending on your audience, it can pay off to use other options. Direct mail seems old school, I know, but if you are trying to reach Greatest Gen and Baby Boomers, for example, it could be your best bet. Millennials have even proven to respond well to direct mail!

Here are a few pointers for promoting your big fundraising event:

Direct mail still gets a lot of attention

There’s good reason to use direct mail for fundraising. Meet the Greatest Gen. Although this group represents only 11 percent of the population, it gives the most ($1,300 per capita per year) and is most likely to give (88 percent). If you want to run a small, pointed campaign consider sending a piece only to Greatest Gen donors. Or, throw in Baby Boomer supporters, since 24 percent of them say they made an online gift because of a piece of direct mail they received.

Be careful not to assume Baby Boomers only use old media. Surveys show they are enthused users of email and texts and, over time, become avid social media users.

For a wide sweep, use email invites and reminders

Sure, we all get a lot of email. It’s saturated, but it’s hard to find a better or cheaper way to promote an event to a broad audience. Two major generations, Baby Boomers (23.6 of population) and GenXers (20 percent), regularly check email. You’ll want to consider sending at least 3 messages at different intervals, and possibly a couple more if you have time and meaningful information to share.

At minimum, send a:

  • save the date
  • detailed invite
  • last-minute reminder

In addition to those staples, you can send information such as registration deadlines or updates on auction items, entertainment or speakers.

Social media: an inexpensive, effective way to spread the word

Nonprofits realize that older generations won’t be able to support them forever. Smart ones create events or tweak current ones in order to appeal to younger generations. Then, to draw that younger crowd to the event, they reach out to them through social media. One route is Facebook, which offers a great option to promote events and engage followers through Facebook Events. But even Facebook has become passé for younger donors so it is essential to use Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Create a catchy event hashtag, display it everywhere—on your website, emails, printed pieces—and then use it to post to these various sites, and encourage your supporters to use the hashtag to post before, during and after the event as well.

If you need help to come up with a broad-based plan to promote your big fundraising event, give us a call or send an email. We’ve got ideas.


Julie Thomas

Business Development

November 9, 2018

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