Episode 28: Raise More Money in 2020 With These Tips

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How much money do you want to raise in 2020? A lot? More than last year? How are you going to do it? Do you have a tried and true fundraiser that is your go-to money maker every year? Or maybe you’re going to try something new and different?

While there are lots of different ways to fundraise in the nonprofit world, there’s nothing quite like an event to get it done. Not only are events EXCELLENT for bringing in financial support for your organization, they are also great for building your relationships with your donors and supporters. 

You get valuable facetime with them and they have a good time at your event – which cultivates positive feelings and positive associations with your organization… You can really take your relationship to the next level with them by showing them what your organization is all about and by showing them you are organized and professional enough to put on a quality event. Again – SO IMPORTANT in gaining and keeping their future support!

SO, what event are you going to host in 2020? 

Once you decide, the big challenge is getting people to actually show up. And that’s what we’re talking about today...how to market your event in three steps. 

This Three Step Plan will help you get people to SHOW UP to your event, and also prime them so they’ll be ready to donate when they get there!

I think we can all agree here, events are a big deal in the nonprofit world – whether it’s a class, a fun run, a fundraising banquet or gala – we all want as many people as possible to show up to support our cause and Facebook is the tool for that!

Facebook is an INCREDIBLE tool to use to market your event. It’s great to get the word out, build excitement, engage with your audience before the event, and build that know, like and trust factor that is so important in having a successful organization.

I know, there are some people who say people don’t use Facebook anymore, but friend, the numbers don’t lie. 

One of the largest research studies to date on the status of the event industry showed that 52% of professional event planners said that Facebook is the most effective social media channel for event marketing. And 31% rate social media campaigns as very important and 53% as important… In case you missed that… that means EIGHTY FOUR PERCENT of professional event planners agree that social media campaigns are important or VERY IMPORTANT! 

I’m going to boil it down to a basic Three Step Plan for Event Marketing. You can get started on it RIGHT AFTER THIS EPISODE!

Number oneCreate the event on Facebook ASAP. Be sure to add all the BASIC important info – the who, what, when, where, why and add a link where people can buy tickets or register if you have that available – look for the little box where you can add that in on Facebook when you’re building the event. 

BASIC INFORMATION

Event Name or Title:  Note that the box where you type in the name of the event must be BRIEF, yet descriptive… it’s OK to shorten it for social media marketing purposes like “Agatha’s Angels Fun Run” and you can put the full name and more details in the actual event description itself… Your EVENT TITLE, however, needs to be short and sweet. And keep using that same Event Title over and over.  Stick with the same title.

Event Description:  I know it’s very tempting to put a WHOLE lot of information in here, but again, I want you to whittle it down to the very basics. If you overload this box with words, people won’t read it. It overwhelms people who may be interested in your event, and the last thing you want to do is give someone a reason NOT to be interested anymore.

WHEN should you create the event? I’m a big believer in a LONG runway.  For a bigger event where you’re selling tickets or sponsorship tables and you need commitment from people as early as possible, create the Facebook event about 15-18 weeks ahead of the day of the event. 

If you don’t have that long, that’s OK – just create it right now! Even if you are only 10 weeks out from your event right now, or even TWO weeks out from your event, you can still draw attention to it and potentially draw in more people to attend.

For smaller events – let’s say, a half day class that you’re teaching, or a community park cleanup day, you can scale the timeline down… Create your Facebook event and start posting about it 6-8 weeks in advance. Think of it as a mini campaign.

Don’t be shy - repetition and reminding people about your event is so important. Remember you might be tired of seeing things about your event because you’re close to it but that is not the case for your audience. 

Okay. So of the three step social media event marketing plan… Number one was Create the event on Facebook.

Number twoPlan Your Posts.  Typically, you’re posting for your organization a maximum of 2-3 posts a week. If you have less than 10,000 Facebook followers, it’s the best way to continuously grow your audience while also maintaining your sanity. So, when you have an event, use that third post of the week for your event. For example:  Post Number 1 on Monday - inspirational post with a short quote and a pretty picture. Post Number 2 on Wednesday - a clear and easy to understand post about a service you provide. Post Number 3 on Thursday or Friday will be about your event. If you want to only post twice a week, just make one post about your organization, and one about the event. You’ll repeat this cycle until about two weeks before your event…

Ideas for event posts:  As soon as this episode is over, I want you to come up with 15-18 ideas for posts – or one for each week leading up to your event … How are you going to do that? Well, look at your entire event and imagine you’re slicing it up like an onion – super thin…. It has to be SO EASY for people to understand what you’re talking about – Don’t ever assume anyone has a clue of what you’re talking about! You have got to keep it simple for your audience.

Think about the early stages of the event… First, you need to introduce people to it, so your first post, or first couple of posts will be just a basic who, what, when, where, why.

Then, do you have a speaker or a band? Introduce them in a post… Use pictures, videos and graphics to make it even more exciting and generate buzz.

If you’re selling early bird tickets – create a post about it. Create some FOMO –– you know, FEAR OF MISSING OUT!

Are you hosting a banquet? Make a big deal about the menu – this is where pictures really come in handy. Ask your caterer for pictures, or if you can utilize some on their website…. Mention the caterer in your post – they’ll love it, your audience will be excited about it. Let’s be honest, people LOVE pictures of food… That’s all Food Network IS – Pictures of food. 

Are you having a live or silent auction? Post about it! You can even make a few posts about this – remember, slice the onion thin. Don’t just post a list of every single auction item, choose a handful of big-ticket items and highlight those… and include a picture if possible.

Another great post idea… let people know where their money is going…. What is fundraising for? One of my clients was a community center and we would do a post – or even a couple of posts – on all the things that were fixed or improved, like gym floors, new locker rooms, things like that… all because of the funds raised at their banquet. People like to know where their money is going. They want to know SPECIFICALLY what they’re supporting. 

The two weeks leading up to the event will be all about URGENCY, telling people tickets are almost gone, and they’d better buy now, or they’ll be missing out! If they have tickets, they’ll be PRIMED for a good time, if they don’t have tickets, they’ll remember that they missed out and BUY FASTER next year!

Also – regarding those 15-18 post topics, it’s OK to repeat posts. It’s OK to have multiple posts about your speaker or band… It’s OK to have multiple posts about early bird tickets, but I encourage you to come up with those 15-18 post topics because then you can pick and choose the STRONGEST ones to use… And remember CLARITY is everything… Slice the onion thin. Use ONE topic for ONE post. If you need a great reminder on how to do this, take a listen to Episode 2. Your post should be 1-2 sentences on whatever the topic is, and then a one sentence call to action… Buy tickets now at this link… Sign up now by calling this phone number.

OK – So Number ONE in the plan is Create the event on Facebook… Number TWO is Plan Your Posts. 

And Number Three is…Boost the Posts.

I know, I know, part of the charm of social media is that you can get it to work for you for free… BUT, I’m here to tell you, if you want your event to get major attention, you need to put SOME MONEY INTO IT. Honestly, I’ve run social media event campaigns with a budget of zero dollars or just $20 dollars, and I’ve run them with $800 dollars. I’ve seen measurable success with both. If you’re curious where your budget falls in line with those professional event planners from the research study we were talking about before… 28% of event planners spend less than $200, 26% spend NOTHING, and 25% spend $200-$1,000. The other combined 21% spend more than $1,000.

So, I recommend putting what you can towards boosting your event – and if you’re apprehensive, I encourage you to try it. 

Choose a target audience that you want to reach – when you click on the boost button below your post – you’ll see a window pop up where you can customize the audience you want to reach – I recommend choosing the age range of the people you want to reach, and their location.

Then, add a $5 budget and boost the post for a dollar a day for 5 days. If you start to see results - keep going! You can choose to boost your post about the event each week – I recommending boosting for 5 days at a time for a dollar a day on the low end… Or, you can try boosting your actual Facebook Event page itself to generate more interest… Experiment. Change the number of days you’re boosting – You can always re-boost your event, too. Try adding more money into your budget. See what makes a splash. 

If you feel like you’re not making a splash… more like a flop… Then stop and check yourself. What are you posting? Who cares about it? Are your posts clear and to the point? Are you explaining what your event is about, or when it is, or why people should care? What about your pictures and graphics? Are they clear, or confusing? Take stock of what you’ve got going on and re-evaluate. Pretend like you’re new in town and you’ve never heard of this event – does that bring up any questions for you?

If you don’t have a budget to spend on boosting your posts – that’s OK! You can still successfully market your event on Facebook. Just keep showing up, be consistent and clear, and make sure you never miss out on a chance to engage… share your organization’s event posts on your personal page. Invite people to the Facebook event. When someone comments or asks a question – make that a positive experience for them. All of these things are FREE and effective… AND Facebook even does you a few favors here and there by alerting people in your area about the event if Facebook thinks that person might be interested. Sometimes people will get a notification when their friend is interested in an event… There is still PLENTY of room for success in your social media event marketing, even if you don’t have a budget.

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear them so we can answer them in an upcoming episode and help others who might have the same questions! I absolutely LOVE hearing from you. Get in touch by going to NonprofitPotential.com/contact and let me know what questions you have.

Remember to subscribe to the Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential Podcast…  And you can also listen directly on our website Nonprofit Potential.com …Also – find me on Facebook and Instagram – let me know you’re listening so I can say thanks… You can also check out pictures from my whacky life in Wyoming!

And hey, I just want to remind you, especially if you’re just starting out, YOU GOT THIS! You CAN DO THIS! And I’m going to be here to help you along the way with tangible, do-able, step-by-step tips to help you get the word out about the good work your organization does!

I’m Lauren Creagan, meet me back here next week as we continue Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential!

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Episode 2 - The Anatomy of a Great Post

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