Understanding Event Microsites: What Nonprofits Should Know

OneCause Ambassador Fundraising Made Easy eBook

Looking for new ways to market your nonprofit’s events and increase supporter involvement? An event microsite might be the right choice.

An event microsite allows you to spread the word about your event online and offer potential attendees event-specific information. It can effectively supplement your existing social media and email event marketing efforts to reach a wider audience.

In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of event microsites in the following sections:

  • What is an Event Microsite?
  • When Should You Create an Event Microsite?
  • 8 Best Practices for Designing Your Event Microsite

These tips should help you determine whether creating a microsite is the most effective way to bolster your event marketing and how to leverage it to find success.

What is an Event Microsite?

A nonprofit event microsite is a type of charity microsite that shares event-specific content, allowing supporters to learn about the experience, register, and donate ahead of time.

Microsites are typically much less complex than nonprofit websites. They’re usually just a cluster of pages or even a single page. Event microsites can be created for any type of event, including in-person, virtual, and hybrid experiences.

When Should You Create an Event Microsite?

Although event microsites tend to be pretty simple to create with a user-friendly CMS platform like Drupal or WordPress, they still require some planning and strategizing. Also, not all events require a microsite. For instance, if your microsite would simply repeat information already available on your main website, creating one is probably not worth the time and energy.

With that said, there are plenty of scenarios where a microsite might be the right choice for your event marketing plan. Consider creating a microsite if you’re looking to:

  • Highlight a recurring major event. Perhaps your event is a large annual occurrence that drives a significant amount of fundraising or engagement for your organization, such as a legacy event for your major donors. If so, it might be worth it to create a microsite to highlight it effectively. A microsite allows you to fully dive into your event’s purpose and other key details. Plus, you can promote it year after year to help supporters learn more about the event.
  • Spread awareness of your event’s unique branding. If your event has a different branding approach than your main organization, a microsite can help you emphasize these elements. For instance, your event’s brand might have a unique color palette and logo. Branding strategy experts recommend regularly updating your branding as needed to ensure it accurately reflects your event. So, if you use your microsite to highlight a recurring event, updating your branding each year as needed will keep the site looking fresh.
  • Reach a new or different audience. Perhaps your event is targeted at a slightly different audience than your organization as a whole. For example, you might be targeting younger supporters or supporters who share a certain profession. You can use your microsite to appeal directly to these individuals. You may even earn new long-term supporters because they were first interested in your event and then wanted to learn more about your organization as a whole.
  • Engage supporters in a unique way. If you’re looking to cultivate stronger supporter relationships online, an event microsite can shake up your normal online interactions. Microsites allow you to engage supporters with a variety of unique online activities, such as polls, quizzes, videos, and interactive presentations or infographics.

When they’re strategically and thoughtfully designed, microsites can reach a wider audience and generate excitement for your event. However, there are several pitfalls to avoid when creating an event microsite. That’s why it’s important to follow best practices if you choose to create one of these websites.


7 Best Practices for Designing Your Event Microsite

According to Kanopi’s guide to the best nonprofit websites, the most effective nonprofit sites have intuitive navigation, uniform branding, engaging visuals, and mobile-friendly content. The best event microsites are no different!

Specifically, the following best practices will help you create a well-designed, engaging event microsite:

1. Design your microsite to appeal to your audience.

Your microsite’s content should target your potential attendees. But exactly who are you trying to reach ahead of your event?

Use your past event data to determine your prospective audience’s:

  • Demographics
  • Preferred communication platforms
  • Donation habits
  • History of engagement with your organization
  • Interests

This information can help you design an event microsite that’s relevant to your audience’s interests and motivations.

2. Offer pre-event donation opportunities.

Collect donations ahead of your event by embedding an online donation form within your microsite or linking to your main donation page. Ensure your donation form is simple and easy to fill out by only asking for necessary information. You can maximize donations by providing an option to turn single donations into recurring gifts.

Your donation form should also offer the opportunity for donors to research their matching gift eligibility. Double the Donation’s guide to corporate matching gifts recommends providing donors with a search tool after they submit their donations. There, they can type in their employers’ names to see if they can apply for a matching gift. This can increase your donations exponentially ahead of your event and help you exceed your fundraising goals.

3. Include important event information.

Your microsite should be a one-stop shop for all of the event information attendees will need. Ensure the site includes:

  • Event logistics, such as the date, time, location, schedule, and parking information
  • Your event’s history and purpose
  • An event registration page
  • Your fundraising goal, if you’re hosting a fundraising event
  • Additional ways to connect with your organization, such as social media links or an email newsletter registration page

This information will make signing up for your event easier and allow you to start fostering ongoing engagement with attendees.

4. Incorporate SEO strategies.

Optimizing your microsite for search engines can drive more traffic to it, potentially helping you reach an audience specifically interested in your event and increasing your attendance numbers.

Conduct keyword research by using a tool like Google Keyword Planner to identify popular keywords that are relevant to your event. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your microsite’s content and avoid keyword stuffing. Make sure to only use one unique primary keyword per page to make it clear to Google which page it should prioritize for important keywords.

Follow other SEO best practices such as:

  • Ensuring your content is robust, valuable, and educational, not spammy or unsubstantial.
  • Linking to other microsite pages and pages on your main website.
  • Following accessibility guidelines such as including alternative text for images and captions for videos.

These SEO strategies can help you pull in new audience members to attend your events and potentially even become long-term supporters.

5. Ensure your microsite’s content is unique.

As mentioned, your microsite shouldn’t repeat content that’s already available on your main website. If you find yourself reformatting the same content from your primary site, consider revamping your event’s web page instead to make it more engaging.

Your microsite’s content should be tailored to your event’s audience and laser-focused on event-specific information. This ensures you’re telling prospective attendees exactly what they need to know, while also supporting your SEO goals for both websites. When your microsite has unique content, it won’t pull traffic away from your primary website.

6. Consider adding an event countdown.

An event countdown can be an engaging way to get attendees excited about your event. Consider embedding a countdown clock that displays the days, hours, and minutes left to go before your event.

Use your microsite to remind attendees to register in time before it’s too late. You can even offer various incentives for early registrations, such as VIP access or free merchandise. This helps you get a more accurate headcount for your event ahead of time.

7. Choose engaging images and videos.

Your microsite should give prospective event attendees an idea of what they should expect from your event. Incorporate images and videos of past events to highlight different aspects that attendees can look forward to. You can also embed a social media feed into your microsite to automatically pull posts that include photos and videos from your event.

8. Optimize your site for mobile devices.

Optimizing your site for mobile devices not only creates a better user experience for mobile visitors but can also boost your SEO performance.

Create a mobile-optimized microsite by keeping your content and navigation simple, using responsive design, and improving your site’s load speed by optimizing images and minifying code (eliminating unnecessary characters and spaces).

If you’re looking for new marketing ideas for your upcoming event, a well-designed microsite can help your event go more smoothly by equipping attendees with everything they need to get involved. By following these best practices, you can create a microsite that increases event awareness and strengthens engagement.

Author: Anne Stefanyk

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

Wrapping Up

Check out these additional resources for more tips on how to make your next nonprofit event the best one yet: