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Making the Most of Your Next Fundraising Event [Live, Virtual, or Hybrid]

You are in charge of your organization’s gala, silent auction, or other revenue-raising events. As you know, you can’t do things the same way they have been executed for the last 20 years. Attendees want a sense of freshness and safety. So they will most likely welcome any changes you have in mind.

However, it is essential to remember (especially if you are new to fundraising) that people give and attend nonprofit events for three reasons:

  1. They believe in the mission of the organization
  2. Someone they care about believes in the mission or
  3. They or someone they know can directly benefit from the nonprofit.

If your organization is not marketing to the audience listed in these three bullets, now is the time to redefine and zone in on your target market and use the ideas below to make your event worthwhile and memorable.

 

Six Sound Strategies

 

  1. Formulate Strong Corporate Sponsorships through Customization.
    The days of platinum, gold, and silver sponsor levels are gone. Instead, today’s corporate sponsors want the exposure that resonates well with their audience. Here are a few ways you can make their sponsorships unique:

     
    1. Dedicate bricks, lockers, or specific rooms in your building to them
    2. Include their logo on your event page
    3. Give them VIP passes to the event (free parking, front-row seating, pre-conference cocktail hour, one-on-one engagement with the keynote)
    4. Make them the video sponsor
    5. Ask if they will give a matching grant

Remember to start working on the relationship well before the event, as many require a 12-15 month approval cycle.
 

  1. Spend Time with Major Donors.
    Some donors attend your event every year. First, try to find out the WHY and then focus on the WHO. In other words, if you run an organization dedicated to Parkinson’s disease research and find out one of your donor’s mothers has Parkinson’s, it is wise to ask if other family members might be interested in coming to your event. This is the easiest way to grow your attendance.

     
  2. Use Social Media.
    Communicate on these networks regularly.

     

For Facebook:

  1. Create an event page and ask attendees to share it within their network.
  2. Place a post on your Facebook company page and boost it.
  3. Use Facebook Live on your smartphone to capture what is happening at the event. Encourage attendees to do the same as it allows virtual users to feel engaged.
     

Establish an event hashtag and use it on all social platforms.

Use social media to ask for feedback - what attendees liked, didn’t like, and ways to improve your event next year. Ask for suggestions to shake up the event and keep it moving in the right direction.

 

  1. Spread the Word via Video.
    Consider using YouTube and Instagram to promote and engage users.

     
  2. Implement a Strong Call-to-Action. 
    If you want individuals to come to your event, ask them! Include a call-to-action in all your marketing collateral and make event registration easy. Be sure to include an email address and telephone number in case the potential attendee has a question.

     
  3. Hire a Project-Oriented Event Coordinator.
    On the day of the event, you don’t want to be swallowed up with the details. Instead, hire a professional that can work with you and the event venue to crystalized every little detail from planning to execution. Then you and your staff can spend quality time with sponsors and donors – just as it should be!


Brought to you by Mulligan Management Group

As a former meetings and events planning organization specializing in digital marketing for the hospitality industry, we know how to do event marketing for this niche! To schedule a call to learn more about ways we can help you, please click here!

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