Volunteer led organisations are heavily reliant on fundraising activities to enable them to do amazing work in our communities. The success of these fundraisers depend on how effectively they are promoted. Potential attendees need to know about the event and also be motivated enough to attend.
This article outlines the most effective ways to promote and create excitement for your next fundraiser.
1. Come up with a fun & memorable name
This helps potential attendees remember the event and also creates an element of excitement and enthusiasm. It also helps to ensure promotional material is presented in a fun and memorable way. Example: Trivia Night to support Olivia’s Plight.
2. Choose a theme
This is a way of making your event stand out from others. Many people like to get dressed up or participate in something special. You can go all out and make it a fancy dress theme, or taper it back a bit and settle on a Masquerade, Ugly Shirt or certain colour theme. Example: Black & White Karaoke Night with a Splash of Red – where guest wear black and white attire with one red accessory (Glasses, Tie, Hat, Pants, Shirt, earrings etc). Simple and elegant!
3. Facebook is a must
Create a separate Facebook page for your fundraiser
Set up a new page in Facebook with the name of your fundraiser and link it to all promotional material. This is not only a great tool to promote the event and your cause (see point 4 for full details), but is also useful to:
- Monitor what people are saying and answer questions they may have
- Get an insight into who your event supporters are
You will need to ensure someone is assigned to monitor and manage the activity on your page.
Create an ‘Event’ on your new facebook page
This is a very useful tool to promote your event, especially if you can motivate everyone to ‘share’ it with their circle of friends. It offers the ability to track potential attendees who have registered their interest in your event and those who have confirmed their attendance. Follow up potential attendees by reaching out to them with a personalised message. This will greatly increase your chances of them attending.
Don’t underestimate the impact of ‘Social Proof’ when it comes to filling your event. People often like to see who else is going before they make a decision to attend themselves and that is what the ‘Event’ option offers. If they can see that the event is popular with others, or people they know, then they are more likely to be attend themselves. For this reason, it is vital that you encourage people to register their attendance as early as possible so your event can gain momentum. Make this a priority!
Other great features such as ‘Facebook Messenger’ and ‘Facebook Local’ will be discussed later in this article.
4. Promote widely on all social media networks
As discussed, use of Facebook is vital to promote your fundraiser, however don’t forget other networks such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. In today’s digital world, use of these networks are critical in promoting your event to a wide audience.
The key is to have professional looking content with amazing images. You should have a good variety of content and a plan to post regularly in the lead up to the event. They should also appeal to different types of potential attendees (ie people of different gender, ages and connection with your organisation).
Examples of different types of posts to use:
- Save the date
- Formal event invitation
- Play on the event theme if applicable
- Photos of last year’s event if applicable (show people having fun!).
- Countdown to the event – Example: 6 days to go!
- Teasers (Example: Who will be the guest MC or guest speaker?)
- Images of the venue
- Stories and images to support your fundraising cause
- Is it child friendly?
- How you have catered for both ladies and gents
- Updates on the number of tickets sold (Social Proof at work again)
- Create memes that are light hearted to vary your approach.
- Use short video clips where possible (previous event or venue for example)
Top Tip: When collecting donated prizes from business owners/managers, take a photo with them handing the prize over. This is a great posting opportunity and a chance to thank and promote their business in return.
The website ‘Canva’ is a graphic design site that can be used to produce professional looking digital content for most social media platforms. It is very easy to use and has a wide range of free customisable content. Ensure your posts are optimised for mobile devices, as this is how most people view their digital content today.
5. Promote with the help of local media
If you are raising funds for a good cause, especially if it is benefiting the local community, the media is often happy to do a story on it. This is a great way to raise the profile of your event.
Most television and radio stations also have a community event calendar to advertise local events.
6. Event APPs
‘Facebook Local’ and ‘Eventbrite’ are two examples of the many APPs that can be used to advertise local events. This is a handy way to reach people who are searching for things to do in their local community.
7. SMS invites and reminders
Sending an SMS to potential attendees is a very personalised way to invite them to an event. This is particularly useful to ensure VIP guests attend. Add a link to an event notice on your website. Personalise the message and people will appreciate the effort you have gone to.
8. Messaging APPs
I find messaging APPs such as ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Facebook Messenger’, one of the most effective ways to reach people you know. These channels are also very effective to personalise follow up invites to individuals that you expect to attend but haven’t yet sent their RSVP.
9. Utilise your organisations email list
Your regular newsletter is an obvious way of promoting your event and inviting people who are already connected to your organisation. It may also be appropriate to use the list to send a separate event invite to each person. Also use this list to encourage everyone’s help in sharing the invite with their circle of contacts.
Place a professionally produced Event Notice on your organisation’s website. You can add a link to it in your other promotional material if required.
11. Early bird offer
Encourage potential attendees to commit as early as possible with an Early Bird Offer. An Early Bird Offer is a reward for purchasing a ticket prior to a certain date. It helps the event gain momentum. As an organiser you feel more confident about things and as a potential attendee, we all like to see that the event is going to be well attended. You should encourage the attendees who got in early to help spread the word.
Examples of Early Bird Offers:
- Discounted ticket price
- Prime seating at the event
- Entry into a special draw with the chance to win a prize, or a refund of ticket cost
- Second ticket at half price
12. Establish an online raffle
Set up an Online Raffle before the event and advertise it well. People who can’t attend the event may like to support your fundraiser by buying tickets in your raffle. You can continue to sell tickets at the event. Read Getting Prizes Donated is Easy When You Know How! if you wish to increase the profitability of your raffle by using donated prizes.
We prefer raffles as a supplement to any fundraiser, however a Donation Page could also be considered, especially for charitable causes.
13. Ask for help from your tribe
Enlist the help of everyone associated with your Not-for-profit group to promote the fundraiser. Use your persuasion skills to help them understand that it is everyone’s responsibility to promote the fundraiser.
Encourage members of your team to:
- Volunteer their assistance if they have a graphic design or marketing background, so they can assist with promotional material and developing an effective campaign
- Share details of the fundraiser with their circle of friend and family
- Promote at their place of work
- Each bring a guest (Partner, family member or friend). Offer a discount on the second ticket.
Top Tip: Give each team member 5 tickets to sell. Incentivise them with a 20% discount on their own ticket for each of the five tickets they sell. Therefore, if they sell 2 tickets they receive a 40% discount on their own ticket. Sell them all and they will attend for free.
The concept of ‘Social Proof’ has been raised a couple of times in this article. Read Why Clear Donation Boxes Are Better to gain a stronger understanding and consider how you might leverage ‘Social Proof’ for your next fundraiser.
Don’t let your next fundraiser become a flop because no one knew about it. Using the tips above will supercharge your next event. You never know, you may even need to book a larger venue!