Fall fundraising event season is here! How are you going to amplify your event online? We've got a few ideas for you and your cause marketing team.
With your event season in full swing, your organization is focused on making sure everything runs smoothly. But as the marketer responsible for engaging not only your attendees, but also your greater network of non-attendees, you want to make sure you have a plan to amplify the day (or days) of the event as much as possible through your online channels.
But first, what type of event are you having?
Before we dive into amplifying your event online, it's good to think about what type of event you're having for your organization.
- Endurance Event: This is any event where people are doing something physical -- and potentially competing against each other. Some examples are a marathon, 5K, polar plunge, walk, or bike ride.
- Gala or Informal Fundraiser: A higher price point for attendees, galas are usually a formal dinner or party with live music or other entertainment. Informal fundraisers are along the same lines, but could be a town barbecue or fair with activities and food.
- Live Auction: Pretty self-explanatory, live auctions are a place where items are donated for attendees to bid on. We'll talk a bit more about an online auction later in this post.
- Giving Day: A giving day is something new, inspired by the first official giving day last year, Giving Tuesday. It's one dedicated day to raising money for one organization, or a group of organizations in one city or state. Usually there is a large fundraising goal associated with giving days.
Now that you know what kind of event you're having or looking to have (and it could very well not be any of the above), let's talk about how you can amplify your event online with both your attendees and non-attendees' help.
I've broken it down into what you can do to amplify your event before, during, and after.
Amplify before your event.
Create a dedicated hashtag for the event, and include it everywhere.
This is the most effective way to track the conversation around your event in social media. Encourage all your registrants and attendees to use it when talking about the event at any point. You can use Topsy.com to track the volume of tweets that include your hashtag. For tips on creating and using hashtags effectively, check out this post.
Create a microsite or an event fundraising page.
Creating a destination for your event online is important. Not only does it provide information about the event, but it also gives people a URL to share with their networks via email and social. It’s also the perfect destination for those who cannot attend but are looking to either fundraise or contribute to the event. You can provide the option for giving not only before, but also during and after. Crowdfunding sites are a great option for creating a microsite for your event without using in-house resources to develop it.
Allow individuals to participate virtually.
Virtual participation is an option that is under-utilized for fundraising events. It's great for endurance events, giving days, or auctions. Allowing individuals to fundraise for an endurance event online and run, walk, or ride on the same day as your event but in their hometown can almost double your participation and funds raised. Offering a virtual registration type for your event is a great way to track your virtual participants and also make them feel like a part of the event, even if they cannot be there in person. They'll be able to fundraise online leading up to the event as well.
Include a lazy tweet on the registration confirmation page or email.
After someone registers for your event, encourage them to share that they are participating on Twitter and Facebook. Make it easy by including a “lazy tweet” -- a link with a pre-populated tweet including the desired copy and hashtag -- for those to share instantly to maximize your social reach before the event. You can easily create links for lazy tweets using the free online tool, clicktotweet.com. To encourage registrants to share their participation on Facebook include a Facebook share button that includes a link to the event's registration page. To learn more about how to create social media buttons, check out this post.
Encourage companies, friends, and families to create teams.
On average, fundraising teams raise more money than individuals for endurance events. They also encourages competition. The more people encouraging each other to fundraise, the more participants -- and the more people talking about the event and the organization online.
Amplify during your event.
Seek a corporation donation for attendees to "unlock."
HubSpot leveraged this technique at our non-fundraising INBOUND 2013 conference with charity: water. HubSpot promised to give up to a $40,000 donation to the organization, with one catch: Event attendees had to "unlock" the donation money by participating in a Waterwalk, representing the hours millions of people walk each day in order to collect dirty drinking water. Each person who walked unlocked $45, which gave one person in India clean water. This allows individuals who may not want to donate or fundraise to participate in some way that will impact your mission in a monetary way. And it works! Our INBOUND 2013 Waterwalk generated participation by more than 1,100 event attendees, easily unlocking the $40,000 HubSpot promised in donation.
Create a photo opportunity and encourage sharing.
Whether it’s a picture with your founder, a backdrop, or a "step and repeat," encouraging your attendees to take pictures during the event and sharing them in social media, whether through Instagram or Twitter, is a great way to engage your outside audience. Just make sure you encourage them to include your event hashtag so you can track your total reach!
Debut a story, milestone, or video for the first time at the event.
Share an amazing piece of content highlighting your impact with your attendees and the world during the event. This is a huge opportunity to do something big. For example, charity: water leveraged our INBOUND 2013 conference and launched its yearly campaign film to 5,500 attendees. After the video was played, HubSpot emailed every attendee a link to share the video on Twitter and/or Facebook.
When we did this, attendees generated over 3,600 tweets about the video and 50,000 video views within the one day. You can take this idea a step further and send your non-attendees a similar email with the piece of content, encouraging them to read and share it, too. Schedule a blog post to go along with the email talking about your event and organization and how your blog readers can help amplify as well.
If you’re having an auction, allow non-attendees to bid online.
Hosting an online auction along with your live auction is a great way to engage your whole network. Just designate auction items that are exclusive to those people bidding online. Bidding for Good is a great tool to use for an online and/or live auction.
Amplify after your event.
Recap the success of the attendees and the event.
Share the results in a blog post, email, and social posts, and update your event microsite or fundraising page. Be sure to share it with not just your attendees but also those who could not attend.
Thank your major donors, top fundraisers, and biggest betters via social media.
The more personal your messages are, the more likely those you're thanking will share your messages with their social networks -- or even blog about your event.
Focusing on 3-5 of these suggestions for your future events will guarantee amplification, increasing awareness of your mission and reaching a new audience to support and attend your events in the future.
How are you and your organization going to amplify your fundraising event this season?
Image Credit: Carl Mueller