By John Haydon, Originally Posted Here.
Marketing your fundraising event is arguably one of the most important aspects of holding a fundraiser.
If you don’t promote your event, how will people know about it? And if no one knows about it, how will you receive donations?
Your focus must be on properly marketing your fundraising event to avoid empty seats and empty donation boxes.
Here are 5 marketing tips you can follow to promote your fundraising event:
- Secure sponsors
- Use merchandise to promote the event
- Pick your best features
- Focus on your cause
- Plan a fantastic follow-up strategy
Your plan to act will include measuring success through product sales, appropriate implementation of technology, and promotion of your cause. All the while, you’ll be building lifelong relationships with sponsors and supporters, creating the perfect strategy to guide you through your fundraising event.
Read on to create your marketing plan for your next event. And if you need some ideas before you start marketing, check out Double the Donation’s 61 Awesome Fundraising Ideas for inspiration.
1. Secure sponsors
Sponsors provide key funding and a great opportunity to attract a broader range of attendees.
Once you have your sponsors, you’ll want to take steps to make sure they have a good experience so they’ll partner with you in the future.
- Be upfront about what their involvement will be. Is this a small time commitment or a large one?
- Keep them in the loop where necessary. Your sponsors will most likely want updates on your progress, with details including the number of attendees your event expects to bring in.
- Demonstrate your gratitude for each of your sponsors. Remember these are the people who are directly supporting you. Make sure they know you’re not taking them for granted.
Keep in mind, sponsors are a crucial component when it comes to the success of your event and nonprofit, so make sure they’re happy!
2. Use merchandise to promote the event
You can design and sell custom merchandise to create buzz for your event.
Product fundraising will kill 4 birds with one stone:
- Raise brand awareness: Putting your logo and information on a t-shirt, water bottle, or draw-string bag will provide amazing advertising opportunities for your cause.
- Demonstrate appreciation: Merchandise can serve as thank yous to donors!
- Generate revenue: Selling merchandise will create more revenue, adding to your funding.
- Advertise sponsors: Discuss with your sponsors where you’ll advertise their brand. Your most supportive sponsor should have the most advertising material. For example, their logo might be on all the signs, tents, and t-shirts whereas a lower-tier sponsor may have their logo on a water fountain.
Using merchandise is a quick and easy way to raise money and advertise your upcoming event all at once so plan to order some t-shirts!
3. Pick your best features
The interesting and attracting aspects of your fundraising idea are your best features. Be sure to focus your marketing around these points in order to attract the most attendees. But keep your cause in mind as well!
You can do all this by:
- Write an event mission statement. You’ll want to assess what’s really important to your nonprofit and why you’re holding the event. Think about how this event is going to impact your cause. How will your event matter?
- Marketing your big ticket item. Advertise the most exciting aspect of your event, whatever it may be. For example, if the event is a concert, advertise the most well-known band performing. Show off what will bring the most people to your event.
- Give participants next steps to get involved. While the event approaches, you can suggest supporters join your email list, which can give them a countdown to the event and other updates to keep them interested in your nonprofit’s work. Find a way to get them involved in your nonprofit’s community.
- Picking out your best features will draw more attendees to your event, giving both your nonprofit and your cause more exposure. This can lead to more donations and overall support, so it’s important to understand your intent and market your best-selling aspects to involve potential attendees.
4. Focus on your cause
If you focus your passion on your cause, you have the potential to attract others with similar passions, which can build lasting relationships.
Ways to display your cause and your accomplishments are as follows:
- Slideshow: A slideshow is an easy way to show off your cause. Throw some pictures of your board from previous activities and project the slideshow onto a screen at your event.
- Video: A step up from a slideshow, a video will be a little more engaging because it’ll require more attention at your event. You can display it similarly to a slideshow.
- Guest speaker: Have an executive director or service recipient speak to your past support for the community and for your cause. Stay away from self-congratulatory speeches and focus on the impact in a heartfelt and genuine way.
- Brochure: At your event, you can hand out a packet with information on your nonprofit, its history, and your cause. This way, your attendees can take the information home with them, too.
The idea behind your event is to raise awareness about your cause, so be sure to display your efforts so attendees know your organization’s mind and heart are in the right place. This will gain authority for your nonprofit as well.
5. Plan a fantastic follow-up strategy
Thank everyone within 3 days of your event. This includes attendees, donors, fundraisers, and anyone that contributed to your cause. Follow this advice on how to Make Your Donor Feel Like a Hero. You can send thank you emails or letters, or to be even more personal with a phone call.
Your donors will want to know how they’ve positively impacted your nonprofit. You can easily do this through your emailed newsletter. Let them know how much you raised and update them on your cause.
Your follow-up strategy is key for donor retention. You should look into sending out surveys to further gauge the results of your event. With the feedback from these surveys, you can learn what you should do to improve when planning your next event.
Now that you know how to perfectly market your next event through these 5 steps, it’s up to you to take action and hold a successful fundraiser.
John Haydon is one of the most sought-after nonprofit digital marketing experts, with a sincere passion for changing the world. He has spoken at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, New England Federation of Human Societies, New Media Expo, BBCon, Social Media 4 Nonprofits, AFP New Jersey, and several others. John is also the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies and Facebook Marketing All-In-One (Wiley) and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, and Social Media Today.