For nonprofit marketers, it can seem as though the road leading up to an event is long, winding, and even a bit rocky at times. While it’s tempting to kick back and relax during a successful event, the real work is just beginning—although you and your team should take time to celebrate a job well done as the successful event unfolds. At your fundraiser—with all of the right guests in attendance enjoying themselves—marketers should find ample opportunity to lay the groundwork for future events and donor engagement through thoughtful event fundraiser marketing. Whether the next event is just a few months away or a whole year away, every fundraiser can and should serve as the starting point for the next event.
With this in mind, your nonprofit team should approach every event with a clear goal in mind: drive engagement for the overall cause and excitement for the next event. In this article, we’ll look at why marketing during nonprofit events matters and highlight some ways your marketing team can help drive during-event marketing strategy.
During a nonprofit fundraising event, attendees want to make sure they know what’s going on, when certain portions of the program will start, and what other attendees are doing. Event management teams must be constantly on the ball to keep attendees engaged and excited throughout the event so they participate in the moment—and keep them coming back year after year. The best way to stay in touch with attendees during an event is, of course, social media. Marketing teams should promote the event hashtag in invitations, pre-event content, and during the event on menus, signs, banners, etc. This way all attendees know exactly where to go to find out what’s going on throughout the event. Attendees can leverage social media to ask questions during the event (about parking, coat check, or dinner times), to enter event-sponsored giveaways or contests, and to connect with other attendees online.
In order to capture as much excitement as possible from an event, marketing teams should have someone present whose sole job is to take photographs of event-goers. Whether it’s at a photobooth, in front of a step-and-repeat, or via candid photographs throughout the event, your marketing team should make sure to upload these photos both on social media platforms and on the event website to maximize exposure—and share a few in real-time. Tagging event attendees can also drive awareness of the event online and forge relationships between attendees.
To get guests excited for a follow-up event even while they’re at your current nonprofit fundraiser, take advantage of promotional content throughout the event. Whether it’s a quick sign-off page in the program saying “Join us next year—sign up now!” or a banner stand by the exit with a CTA reading “Check your inbox for more info on our 2019 event!”, including some sort of reference to a follow-up event keeps contacts in the loop and prepares them for any follow-up communication. This way, when contacts receive an invite for another event, they are ready and willing to sign up again.
If there is one thing that event teams can rely on when event fundraiser marketing, it’s that FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out) is a real thing. There’s nothing that previous guests or donors like less than seeing their friends and peers having a good time without them. Nonprofit event teams can use this to their advantage during fundraisers and events. Be sure to encourage guests to share pictures and updates from the event to drive interest from their personal networks, tapping into an entirely new set of possible attendees. One easy way to encourage social sharing is by setting up an event giveaway or contest. Giving away a giftcard to the attendee whose Instagram with the event hashtag receives the most likes, for example, or to the person who’s Tweet receives the most retweets, are both great ways to have your attendees work with you to drive external interest.
It’s not just attendees who should be sharing updates to their networks—nonprofits should share during-event updates as well. Posting on Facebook and Twitter during an event (maybe with a running total of funds raised or silent auction items bidded on) is a great way to get involvement from those who might not actually be in attendance at the event. Marketing teams should also post updates on their main Giving Center site as well in case interested donors check there for more information on the event.
Nonprofit events and fundraisers are the perfect place to gather new content for an nonprofit organization because, because those involved in the event are the ones who are most passionate about the cause. With repeat donors or members, new supporters, board members, VIPs, and the organization’s leaders in a single spot, fundraisers are a great place to collect quotes, testimonials, and soundbites about why they’re passionate about the cause. Whether this is on video, through recorded audio, or even written down, gathering this content can help a nonprofit marketing team drive events and campaigns far down the road. Event fundraiser marketing teams can also use fundraisers as a backdrop to highlight long-term initiatives and wins of an organization. Use the stage that’s set to highlight how much money a certain campaign has raised or a new organization milestone that was hit to continuously inspire the people involved in a cause.
Spreading the word of a certain organization or cause is made even easier during an event if members of the press or media are in attendance. If a TV or newspaper crew is onsite, marketers can work with them to make sure board members and executives are available for one-on-one interviews. Having this in-person media time can make sure an organization receives the right kind of exposure at the right time. Once an event is over, nonprofit marketers can look to leverage this new content and publicity to continue to drive engagement for next fundraising event.
Use this checklist to make sure your next nonprofit event or fundraiser runs smoothly.
For more information on driving engagement and excitement during nonprofit events, learn how OneCause can help your team. Request more information.