Educate About Your Cause
One reason events to raise money for things like cancer research or disaster relief are so successful is because people understand why they're important. They know about the cause, and so they attend walks, donate money and support the cause. It’s why huge charity fundraisers like walks to raise awareness for breast cancer do so well. People know about the disease and understand we need a cure.
Likely though, your company’s cause is less known and understood. You need to educate people all about why what you’re doing is important and earn their support.
The first step to educating the masses is on your site. Have pages, blog posts, and plenty of content all about the problem you are trying to solve. That way, whoever comes across your site can easily learn about it and learn why it matters. It they can’t figure it out within a few seconds on your website, then you’ve failed.
After that, get into the public’s eye, especially in front of your target market. Focus your campaign so you can spread awareness of your cause and event to potential attendees. Make easy to digest social media posts that are easy to share, encourage people to share the info, and spread your message. If your event is focused locally, reach out to local news sources like TV and radio stations, newspapers and local bloggers. Taking a PR focused strategy can do a lot to educate people in your cause.
The Event Needs To Be Fun
Simply saying “We are having this event to raise money for this cause” isn’t enough to convince potential donors to come out. You need to give them a reason, a purpose, something in exchange for their time and money.
Of course, this stems from what type of event you are running and who your target market is. If you are trying to get a local community to attend a walk, movie night, or auction in hopes to raise money, you need to tell them how much fun it will be. Provide entertainment for all ages, preferably something they don’t normally enjoy. Things like face painting, jump houses, raffles with cool prizes, or similar fun activities are great for getting families to attend.
On the other hand, if you are targeting local businesses for donations, the incentive to come needs to relate to their needs. This could include networking opportunities, specialized training from experts, or insider information in their industry. It still needs to be enjoyable, but should also be more focused on their direct needs.
Give reasons that are worthwhile for people to come out. Remember that, along with money, people are sacrificing their free time to attend. Have proper incentives with your fundraiser and people want to come.
Make Donating Easy
People want to give you money, so for the love of all that is holy, make it convenient. Accept all forms of legal tender, from cash to checks to credit cards. After that, give people a variety of places to donate. Common places to accept donations should include your website, several places at the event, direct mail to your business, links on social media to secure money transfer sites and every way to pay online.
In addition to simply giving money, make other ways for people to donate easy also. For example, if your cause requires physical supplies, be flexible about it. Go and pick things up directly from people and have a convenient place they can drop it off. Or if someone wants to donate their time and energy, be flexible and thankful. It shouldn’t be a burden on them.
In addition to making donating easy, make the entire experience fun. That could include giving away swag, holding a raffle for donors with a big prize, and special privileges or opportunities other people don’t get.
Reach Out To Influencers
Getting support from influential people can get attendance and donations from mediocre to amazing. The big problem is getting these people behind your event.
The first step is identifying local people who would care about your cause. These should be people with a large sphere of influence over your target audience. That could include local celebrities, business owners, or just normal people with tons of connections.
Next, reach out to them personally and do whatever you can to convert them to your cause. Explain why your fundraiser is important to them and the local community. Simultaneously, encourage them to attend the event and share about it with their followers.
If they do come to the event, make sure they have a great time. Pampering them a little can go far in the long term, especially if the event becomes a regular thing. If they had fun, they’ll be more likely to come again and promote it even further.
Social Media Excellence
Having an extremely active social presence online can bring a lot of attention to your event. As the event grows closer, utilize platforms your target market is using to hype people up. Create a dedicated hashtag and encourage others to be part of the conversation. Share important facts about the reason your business exists, what you hope to accomplish if you raise enough funds, and tell people why they should come.
During the event, get as many people attending involved on social media using your hashtag. Connect with them and share/retweet what they are saying. Take pictures, tag people, and talk about what’s going on during the event.
The work doesn’t end there though. Throughout the rest of the year, be a part of the large discussions on social media. Attract more followers, and continue to educate about your cause on a regular basis. If people are very familiar with it come the next fundraiser, they’ll be more likely to donate.
Look For Relevant Trends
Your cause and event isn’t in a bubble. You need to understand and predict future trends that relate to your efforts, and then take advantage of them. To do that, you need to look at data about consumer behaviors and find ways to best predict their needs and desires. Analyzing this data gives businesses the tools to succeed.
For example, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping children with disabilities have normal lives would look for trends related to different disabilities. Using a data tool like Google Trends, they can identify different times during the year when people search about disabilities (like during an awareness month or a similar event.)
Do you know something about successful fundraising you want to share? Did we miss something big you think people need to know? Let us know in the comments below.
Ben Allen is a freelance content creator and marketer who focuses on staying on the cutting edge of technology and marketing. He also writes about small businesses, leadership, and occasionally geeks out. You can read more of his writing by following him on Twitter:@allen24ben.
IMAGE CREDIT: BEVILWOODING