The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Fundraising Events

The return on investment for fundraising events equals increasing donations, raising awareness, and maximizing ticket sales. So how can you influence the ticketing life cycle and encourage more people to attend your event? Leverage social media to make your next fundraising event a success with these lessons from nonprofit social media expert Ritu Sharma.

Ticketing Lifecycle of Social Media for Events1. Create a calendar and a plan

Begin planning your social media campaign 6 to 8 weeks before your event, plan backwards from the date of the event, and keep track of your digital communications with a social media manager like HootSuite or TweetDeck. “Creating a content and communications calendar is one of the most underutilized but best things that a nonprofit can do,” Ritu explained. You already know the name of your keynote speaker, where the event will take place, and other key details, so capitalize on this knowledge: Prescheduled messages now to save time as the event nears and let you focus on other areas. You should also begin posting this information to your website and local community calendars.

2. Use social media to maximize engagement and tie it all together with data

Create a digital registration page with your branding using a tool that includes social sharing such as Network for Good’s Event Ticketing and Registration software. It’s this last part-social sharing-that’s the key: People are 60% more likely to share your event registration after they’ve signed up.

Create unique links for each of your social media sales sources (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email campaigns) so that you can track registrations and donations from each. You can also create unique links for big partners so that you’ll be able to identify which partners and sources were the most helpful, drove the most traffic, and ultimately brought in the most registrants and donations. Measure your results throughout the campaign in order to tweak your outreach strategy.

Once your registration page is live, make sure that people know about it! Create a Facebook event and cultivate your community with active posting and responding. If your weekly reports show that Facebook is leading to the highest number of donations and ticket sales, you can focus your efforts on what’s working.

3. Continue to leverage social channels

When others interact with you, even to find out about an event, they want to know what’s in it for them. By posting more useful, beneficial, and educational content than promotional content, you’ll see the greatest response and be perceived as a group with value. It’s this balance that will help grow your online community to propel you and your event forward.

Promote on Facebook:

  • Post regularly with pictures of last year’s event and attendees, as well as this year’s upcoming performers and auctions.
  • Invite attendees to RSVP on Facebook after they register.
  • Tag VIPs, attendees, and partners in your Facebook posts.

Tweet it out:

  • Discover your cause’s top 10 influencers and then spend time cultivating a relationship with them. Retweet their content and send them messages so that they’ll take note of who you are and you’ll build brand recognition with them. Then, when you are gearing up for your event, they’ll be more willing to share it. If you send these influencers a premade tweet, chances are high that they will share your message, but not if you hadn’t cultivated a relationship with them.
  • If you have the resources, tweet multiple times per day (about three to five depending on your audience). You can post more often on Twitter than on Facebook because Twitter’s feed moves faster.
  • Create a hashtag for your event to include in all posts, such as #NFGgala. That way your attendees can easily follow your event and tweet about it, too.
  • If your registration rate is low, try a direct message Twitter campaign. Download a list of all of your Twitter followers to Excel, segment them by location, and then target them with an individualized message. When most Twitter users receive a direct message, they also receive an email from Twitter alerting them.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you. Your manners are important on Twitter, too, so remember to acknowledge everyone who helps you promote your event.

Link up:

  • LinkedIn is great for reaching communities, not just individuals. Members form groups with others based on shared interests and similar careers have the most traction.
  • Before you start posting in a group, look at the culture first, and then look for ways to add value with your content so that members will view you as a contributor and not as self-serving. Just like with influencers, adding value to a group on LinkedIn is another way to create name recognition.
  • You can also create your own groups for your community, organization, and event. Invite all attendees to your group on LinkedIn and share exclusive content with them.

4. Keep the conversation going

On the big day, prominently display your event’s hashtag and project the Twitter conversation in real time using free services like Twitterfall.com. Then after the event, post videos and attendees’ stories on Facebook, ask for feedback or share an email survey, thank your attendees on Twitter, and write recaps of the event on LinkedIn. As a final step, be sure to analyze your tracking and analytics to determine which social channels were the most effective for getting registrants and keeping supporters energized.

Social media can help you drive registrations for your fundraising event, as well as keep the conversations going after the event is over.

(Image Credit: Ritu Sharma/Social Media for Nonprofits)

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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