Most nonprofits have at least one big fundraising event per year. Maybe it’s an annual 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.
The best way to ensure that your nonprofit event will be a success is by investing in the right tools and resources ahead of time. Six months before the date, start developing plans for marketing. By starting early you can avoid last-minute scrambling when it comes down to crunching numbers or coming up with creative ideas on short notice.
Whatever the event, your nonprofit’s future often hinges on its success and that is why you should promote these big events through 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 we are meeting our supporters where they are.
Nonprofits often have a hard time embracing the idea of paid promotion because it’s not guaranteed to provide any return on investment. But there are many ways that you can promote your organization without spending a penny – and they might give more long-term benefits than you think. Here are a few pointers for promoting your big fundraising event via paid and unpaid marketing.
First, create a landing page
You need a central location where people can get all of the information they need about your upcoming event. Your landing page URL will be shared on all promotional materials. Ideally, people will be able to get the event details, purchase a ticket or sign up to be a sponsor on your landing page. Make sure the page is on brand, is easy to navigate, and has a strong, compelling cay to action.
Get their attention with direct mail
Send them something they’ll actually open. In our fast-paced world where we’re constantly connected but simultaneously feel disconnected – there’s no better way to reach out about an important event than through traditional mail. The power of direct mail is not lost on consumers. Interactive and creative pieces have a greater chance of being noticed by potential donors. The low competition in direct mail makes it a more effective and memorable form of marketing than digital advertising.
Email for invites and reminders
Sure, we all get a lot of emails. It’s saturated, but it’s hard to find a less expensive way to promote an event to a broad audience. Email marketing is an effective way for nonprofits to connect with their donors and keep them informed about upcoming events.
Email segmentation can be a game changer for your marketing efforts. It allows you to reach the right people with targeted messages that will get them on board. Sending everyone the same email isn’t as effective as segmenting your email list. For example, you wouldn’t want to send your largest donor the same email invitation as someone you are trying to turn into a new donor.
At a minimum, be sure to send the following emails before your event.
- Save the date
- Detailed invite
- Last-minute reminder
Get social with social media
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. Specifically using video format. We process video content 60,000 times faster than content in written form. This means by using videos on social media the information you are providing is much more likely to be consumed.
Nonprofits can post about the event on their own page, and they can also share posts from other organizations or individuals that are promoting the same event. This helps to get the word out to a wider audience and could potentially lead to more people attending the event. Additionally, nonprofits can use social media to create paid ads for the event. This will help to specifically target people who would likely be interested if they knew about the event and give them more information about the event. By using social media, nonprofits can reach a large number of people quickly and easily, which can help to boost attendance at their events.
Create a catchy event hashtag, display it everywhere—on your website, emails, and printed pieces—and then use it whenever you post online, and encourage your supporters to use the hashtag to post before, during, and after the event as well.
Planning an event?
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.
Interested in how Bluegrass can help?
See what we can do.
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