Many nonprofits feel the strain of a limited budget. To counteract this, fundraising events are a popular method to raise money. But fundraising isn’t easy. You can have all the great ideas and enthusiasm in the world, but the most crucial question of any fundraising event remains: How do you get people to show?
By using inbound marketing, of course.
This cost-effective method of marketing brings potential attendees (and potential donors) straight to you. HubSpot found that using inbound marketing over outbound marketing for any organization (B2C, B2B, or nonprofit) meant a 3x higher return on investment. Continue reading for specific tips on using inbound marketing to promote your event.
Define Your Goals
After you’ve determined what event you’re holding – whether it be a charity 5K run, alumni mixer, or auction – you must establish a clear set of goals.
For example, how much money do you want to raise? How many participants will make the event successful? Are you looking for repeat donors or a substantial donation from a particular organization or person? When you’ve determined what you’re aiming for, it can drive the content and strategy you implement.
How will you fuel any inbound strategy without great content? Before creating any, brainstorm what type of content works best for your nonprofit.
For example, blogs are a great traditional platform to showcase information on your nonprofit and event. You can use them in social media and email campaigns as supplement resources.
You can also implement separate email campaigns leading up to your event. For nonprofits especially, email is a great tool. Smart Insights reports nonprofits have an average 34% open rate for emails – which is one of the highest of any industry reported. An event email campaign can be simple, with just a few emails leading up to the date, that provide information on how to donate and attend.
No matter what type of content it is, be sure also to include a link somewhere where your users can register or donate.
Create a Microsite or Event Page
When Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley Chapter wanted to hold a charity cycling ride, Cycle of Hope, they created a microsite. It served as a hub for all information related to the race, including registration, date, time, location, pricing, volunteer information, team fundraising information, and more. Most importantly, it added an option for people to donate directly to the cause, should they not be able to attend the event (or if they wanted to offer additional support.)
Visitors across social media or emails can easily share a URL like this. Your nonprofit can also utilize the link in your other marketing material, leading people to the most right spot for information. To further your event’s reach, be sure to include social media links and an option to sign up for your charity’s newsletter on the site.
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If a microsite isn’t an option, a Facebook event page can serve the same purpose and offers a direct way for users to share if they’re attending or not.
With any event, great word of mouth is a critical component to driving attendance. With inbound marketing, that means social media. Talk about your event on everything platform you use — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Sharing on social media will expose you to your users and others. According to the Millennial Impact Report, “cool events” is the top nonprofit piece of information Generation Y shares on Facebook at a whopping 74%.
On platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can post your event page in related groups and create conversations there. If you want to spend a little money, you can promote tweets about the event or boosts posts on Facebook to further your reach.
Get Cozy with Your Network and Influencers
Reach out to your current network, and those you know have an impact in your industry, letting them know about your event in advance. This can be through social media or email campaigns.
Tap into their influence by asking them to blog or talk about your event on social media so you can reach a broader audience. If you have a personal connection, you can pick up the phone and call them directly.
Create a Special Hashtag
Hashtags are social media go hand in hand – but the importance of creating a unique hashtag is high. If you want to trend before throughout the stages of your event, this is how to do it.
You can build up to the event by using the hashtag, encourage your company and followers to employ it during the event, and talk about the success and begin promoting next year’s after it’s over.
Provide Photo Opportunities
In the digital age, people love to take and share pictures. Apple recently reported Instagram as the second most-downloaded app of 2018. To capitalize on this, create spaces dedicated to taking photos at your event.
Be sure to include your unique hashtag on your props, and encourage your attendees to tag your handles on social media. For reoccurring events, like races, this simple tactic can help you start promoting next year’s event just as your current one is finishing. You can also store these photos to use in other related campaigns, too.