Promoting Your Event

Aaah yes…perhaps the most important component in hosting a fundraising event is the promotion. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of Breathing New Life into Stale Events, peruse those first before diving into event promotion with us.
Once you finalize the theme, venue and start the planning…you need to immediately think about promoting.
If the community and your donors don’t know about your fundraiser…does it really even exist?  I am going to outline the formula for success below. Bookmark this blog, refer to it often and then hire 834…because you cannot do this alone. Investing in an event planner is one of the best decisions you will ever make.

Build the foundation for promotion by starting with the below:
  • Establish a marketing committee.Identify a marketing power player in the community and approach them to assist or to chair your marketing committee. Work with that person to identify other key individuals to sit on the committee. Then ply them with wine at every meeting. **Ask a member of the media to be on the committee. They may offer to do a story on the event or your organization.
  • Hire an event planner. Yup, we/I sound like a broken record. You need to spend money to make money and hiring a professional allows your team to focus on the money. Show me the money!
  • Enlist the board. Your board needs to function as event ambassadors. They should assist in identifying donors, become donors themselves and help promote the event through the channels below.
Tools to promote.
  • Website – I realize that you already have one, but chances are it hasn’t been updated since the dawn of time and no one in your organization has access to it (read up on protecting your digital assets). As part of 834’s event planning package, we build an event website for clients. This allows you to go crazy with the creative, accept payments online (integrate in with Eventbrite), communicate the theme and event details and most important…is the ability to track effectiveness. Add Google Analytics to your site so you can measure traffic, time on page and more.
  • Media – Events in themselves are not newsworthy, but your mission and vision are. Develop a series of stories that focus on how your organization has made an impact in the community and share with the local media.
  • Social media – If you are not utilizing social media already for your organization, then we have bigger problems then a fundraising event. Social media is FREE and a great tool to share happenings and collect donations through. Create a hashtag for your event to track conversations and engagement. Develop messaging for all of your networks, whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest and share with influencers in your community. This will help build hype around the event and your mission.
  • Creative – This is where a lot of organizations ‘cheap out’. If you are going to sell a ticket for $100 or more, then put the time into creating an event logo, collateral for email, print, digital and more. The event needs to be attractive to the community and donors. Donors want to know their brand will be utilized properly and be integrated seamlessly into all event collateral.
  • Email marketing – Along with social, this is an important component to get the word out. This tool relies on the fact that your organization has an existing email contact list.

Promotion is key to getting butts in seats and donors aware and engaged. All of the tools above, need to be written into an overall strategy that identifies and goals. Outline a timeline that illustrates when tactics will be implemented.
Be sure all parties are on the same page and expectations are clearly mapped out. Events can be a great tool for nonprofits, if planned, promoted and implemented correctly.
Share with us your successes and horror stories. We are here to help.

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