So you have decided to host an huge, fabulous event. (Great!) You’ve booked the venue, decided on a theme, chosen the caterer and named a ticket price.
You’ve posted about the event on Facebook and sent out regular tweets on Twitter.
You put information in the monthly email newsletter and on your website.
You may have also put it in the calendar section of the local papers and approached reporters about media coverage.
These are certainly all effective ways to promote an event. But there are less obvious, more creative ways to promote it that can also lead to success. Here are four ways to promote an event that you may not have considered:
1. Directly and in person ask every board member, staff member, volunteer and organization VIP to help spread the word and give them concrete, specific ways to do so. You may have asked everyone to “tell their networks”, but what does that mean? The more specific you are with assigning tasks, the better for accountability and measurement. For example, give your volunteers and staff a menu of action items to choose from (can choose more than one): Commit to purchase 10 tickets, send a tweet a day, post on Facebook three times, send out an evite to their network, hand out flyers, call 10 guests. Important note for nonprofits: Donors love to be involved in the activities of the organizations they support, and they especially love when they can give back in a way that doesn’t hurt their pocketbooks!
2. Start a Social Media Street Team. The Massachusetts Conference for Women did a fantastic job cultivating and instructing their Social Media Street Team at their 2011 Conference. Team members got a discount on registration, their name and Twitter handle on a page in the program and a hyperlink on the Conference website, and a chance to sit together at a reserved VIP table at the keynote luncheon. The time commitment for the Street Team should be minimal and the instructions should be very specific. In this case, the Conference marketing team sent out a one-page worksheet with sample wording for Facebook posts and tweets to help the Street Team promote the Conference.
3. Use Pinterest, the third largest social network, to your advantage. If your nonprofit isn’t already on Pinterest, request an invite immediately. Start specific pin boards for your fundraiser. Ideas for photos to pin (with people’s permission): Images of your guest speakers, sponsor logos, exciting images from the city or location of the event, exhibitors, raffle prizes, photos from last year, links to industry blogs/articles, infographics on related topics, and “before”, “during” and “after” photos of the fundraiser. Make sure you have permission to use the photos and that they link back to your website and the fundraising event registration page!
4. Hold a contest via Instagram. Contest winners can get free tickets to the event, VIP seating or another special perk. A great example of how to use Instagram to engage constituents and create buzz about an event is the Clybourne Park “Heart of the Neighborhood” Instagram contest. Clybourne Park, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and London’s Oliver Award winner for Best Play, is celebrating their Broadway arrival with a unique way to win Opening Night tickets. Contest participants are asked to capture the “Heart of a Neighborhood” via Instagram, by snapping a photo, choosing a filter, and writing a caption that includes the location and the hashtags #ClybournePark #HeartOfNeighborhood #Instagram. The winner will receive a VIP package with two tickets to Clybourne Park’s Opening Night performance and party as well as a copy of the winning Instagram photo signed by the cast. Now that’s awesome!
Do you have any other creative ways to promote your fundraisers and events? Please post them in the Comments section. Thanks for reading!