Go Public: A Non-Profit Guide to Publicizing Events

By | August 14, 2018

You can plan a perfect event or develop a great fundraising campaign but without participants and donors, there is zero chance of it being successful. The key to success? Promotion!  That’s right, promotion can not, and should not, be overlooked. Best part is, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get it done right.

Here are 8 promotion strategies your non-profit organization can implement to increase awareness about and drive participants and donors to your next event:

  1. Invite! Invite! Invite! Seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised how often organizations forget to send invitations. This may be due in part to the cost associated with it. Between the design and printing of the physical invitations and the labor to get them addressed, it can be a costly undertaking. However, that is no reason to skip this important step! Save a stamp (and a tree) and consider one of the many electronic invitation services, many of which are free or low cost. We like Paperless Post, Punchbowl, and Evite but there are so many to choose from. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to ask for RSVPs so you can plan accordingly and consider offering an Early Bird incentive so potential attendees don’t procrastinate in responding.
  2. Get Graphic! We’ve all heard it before, and that’s because it is completely true….A picture is worth a thousand words. Create eye-catching posters and flyers that pop with color then get them out. Does your building have high traffic? If so, post them at each entrance and in the elevators. How about your neighborhood? Post them all over there, too. Coffee shops, the library, even the grocery store. Anywhere your target demographic may frequent is a great place to hang them. PRO TIP: Don’t skimp on color printing! The extra few pennies spent will make your marketing collateral get noticed.
  3. Sandwiches! We’re not talking lunch, we’re talking big signs. Sandwich Boards are double sided on an A-frame making them perfect for placing in outdoor settings. Parking lots, outside of schools, parks, really, any outdoor venue is simply perfect. Best part? They are temporary. You can put it out at one location today and a completely different one tomorrow. To save money, consider having your non-profit invest in a sturdy one and replace the announcements for each event.
  4. Promote yourself. Do you send out a newsletter or other regular electronic communication? Tout your event or fundraising campaign in the next edition. Get creative with fun colors and write a killer subject line so recipients don’t overlook it. Need help creating a stand out subject line? Relax, we’ve got you covered. Our top tips can be found here.
  5. Go Social! Social media posts are a surefire way to create a buzz about your upcoming event. Consider creating a fun hashtag and encourage followers to engage with it. Video posts get 45% more views than standard posts and can be created with a smartphone and posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget about SnapChat. Develop a geofilter for attendees to use while at your event. It’s a great way to increase awareness about your organization and could lead to new supporters.
  6. The Power of the Internet! In addition to the traditional social media sites, there are website dedicated to event promotion. Some are free, some charge a small fee and others take a percentage of a ticket price. Depending on your need, there is one sure to match. Regardless of which one(s) you choose, you’ll get your name out in front of people who may otherwise never heard of your organization or cause. Our three top-picks are Goldstar, Meetup, and Eventbrite.
  7. Wear it! Sometimes you don’t need to say anything to let those around you know about your upcoming event or to promote your latest fundraising campaign. Design a shirt, hat and car magnets! You can even offer one as an incentive for an early RSVP or donation. This way your supporter gets a gift and your non-profit organization gets additional exposure. Talk about a WIN-WIN! Chances are the shirt and hat will be worn long after the event and campaign have ended, but your cause will stay fresh in their mind and that of those around them. We’ll call that a WIN-WIN-WIN!
  8. (Don’t) Stop the Presses! Local newspapers are always looking for a good story. Reach out to the editor of your local papers and invite a reporter to learn more about your organization and offer them tickets to attend the event, too. Many of the local newspapers not only have print editions, but online ones as well. Share the links to the article on your social media or even include them in upcoming newsletters. You are likely to discover these newspapers as well as local radio stations and TV networks also have online calendars you can list your event for free. It takes mere minute to submit an event to them and you never know who will see it.

Try one or more of these strategies after you complete planning your next event or fundraising campaign and watch your numbers, rise!

We want to hear which ones you try and have success with so be sure to comment below or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

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