You are in for a treat.
Mark Becker from Cathexis Partners was asked to do a webinar for all of us at the DMAW. And it came on a perfect day, because it was snowing in DC, and nobody wanted to go into work anyway, so many of us stayed home and took part in this fantastic webinar. But if you missed it because you were playing in the snow, or at work, fear not. Here you go.
1. If you build it, it doesn’t mean “they will come.”
Use every tool at your disposal to promote your event be it direct mail, email, newsletters, Facebook, Google, local paper ads, twitter whatever you can. Multichannel your event marketing. Create a viral video testimony from someone being helped by the money raised.
As Mark says, “You have to market your event. Communicate why it’s important. Who’s being helped? Who can participate, and why should they?”
2. Think beyond the box
Think “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
What other events, or other ways can you raise money from the same or a complimentary event?
Have your event extend to year-round fundraising. Your supporters can also use all kinds of events to fundraise: at weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, rather than gifts, have your participants encourage people to contribute to your organization. Ask your donors to create a tribute page or an in memory of page.
Get local restaurants, hotels, shops and businesses involved to donate fundraising level prizes or contribute a portion of the proceeds to people who participate in the event when they patronize the store or business.
Encourage people to register for next year’s event in a follow-up thank you email for participating in this year’s event.
Have exotic or at least interesting participation events, where people have to raise a certain amount to go climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or hike the Andes or go to Haiti to help children in need.
3. Make it Personal
Nothing is more powerful than a personal story that connects one human to another human.
Tell stories of people who are directly impacted by the money you are looking to raise.
Get your supporters so excited and inspired, that they’re just bursting to sign up to participate and go out and fundraise for your event.
Be personal with your promotional communications. Say, “Hey, we see you just raised your first $100. Congratulations. You’re just $400 short of our Silver Fundraising Platform.” Or if they’re not raising money, offer them “Five Easy Tips for Fundraising from Your Network.”
Make sure every communication, goal, prize or whatever you do ties back to your organization and mission.
Create fundraising levels and goals, with some sort of acknowledgment for reaching a certain peak. The acknowledgment doesn’t have to be anything special. Just acknowledge what these people have done, and make sure it ties back to your mission.
And don’t end it at the event. Post pictures on social media. Live-stream the event. Dedicate space on your website BEFORE and AFTER the event (or at least a link) to show photos, stories, money raised, or a personal thank you or testimony from someone being helped. Have a lightbox on your homepage that comes up before the event, and updates during and after the event.
4. Go Virtual
Lot’s of organizations are having virtual fundraising drives so people can participate in different events around the country at the same time. Connect them and what they’re doing to your organization and the services you render. Some have even begun to extend them year round.
One of the best examples Mark gave was from the Alzheimer’s Association where they have the “Longest Day Events,” so people from around the country participate in an activity they like to do from sun up to sun down on the summer solstice – the longest day of the year.
5. Before you go to a Peer-to-Peer Vender
Make sure you have your list of what your needs will be. What is your budget? What do you want your participants to do? How long will your event site be up? What type of campaign are you doing? Have clear goals in mind, or else the bells and whistles of these sites may overwhelm your better judgment.
For additional suggestions, Mark offers up a free peer-to-peer fundraising guide on his website: www.cathexispartners.com. It’s got some truly great ideas. I just downloaded it myself.
Stephen Godbout is a copywriter and creative director with 16 years of direct marketing experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.