Traditionally speaking, events have long played an important and integral role within the fundraising programs of charities of all shapes and sizes. Successful events are about more than just fundraising; they can work to solidify ties within a community, strengthen donor loyalty and retention whilst raise awareness for the charity and its mission. However, organizing these events can be time-consuming and costly. To ensure events are delivering the results expected, charities are embracing new and alternative methods to identify the best event types for their needs, promote them effectively, and gauge their success to inform future activities.
As a charity, you can begin understanding your audience by deploying surveys to targeted demographics via specific online research panels or by creating and managing your own panel. Both options provide valuable insight and benefit you in numerous ways, including easy, cost-effective access to pre-recruited groups of people who are able to provide detailed insight into the subject matter. For example, if you are looking to reach out to parents, you could deploy a survey to the members of a panel owned by a parenting magazine to understand their interests and the types of events that appeal to them. In addition to this, you have the option of raising additional funds by opening up your panels to external brands for research purposes.
Alternatively, if you are looking to expand your donor base, why not could gather insights from specific, even hard-to-reach demographics through survey sampling? By asking straightforward questions, you can determine whether your current and prospective audience is more likely to attend a gala dinner, a rock concert, participate in an art auction or run in an organized race. By defining clear objectives, you can ask a wide range of questions to determine what type of event will deliver the best return.
Whilst pre-event market research allows you to determine the ‘type’ of event that will generate the most interest, using the multitude of platforms available, organized events now have a greater chance of exposure to an interested and relevant audience. Platforms such as social media, email marketing and paid advertising should be leveraged and integrated into the event marketing strategy to ensure all events deliver the best return.
The below tips will help you get started:
Website: If your charity organization has an existing website, consider adding a dedicated landing page promoting the event and key details. Alternatively, there a number of cost effective and easy to set up options available in the wider market if a micro-site is needed, try Moonfruit for a free option or if you would prefer a bespoke website, search for your local web development agency. Essentially, adding a web presence will add credibility to the event and provide a platform to direct interest from the public, media and potential event sponsors.
Social Media: Did you know that 55% of those who engage with charities via social media have been inspired to take further action? This simple statistic highlights that liaising with third party communities and charity fan pages will allow you to build a conversation with interested individuals. It’s an easy method of generating organic reach and engagement whilst also encouraging users to become your brand ambassadors.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising: Although at times, highly expensive, PPC is commonly used on all search platforms including Google. You have the option of creating targeted campaigns based on keywords and location. Trying creating campaigns that target users who are searching for “charity events in London” or “London fundraising events”. By using compelling ad copy, you can entice the user to your website for more information. Visit the Google AdWords help centre for free advice on setting up a campaign.
Register your event at an online events calendar: There are a number of online events calendars that allow organizers to promote their event for free. By adding a detailed description of your event, you can attract new attendees and direct them to your website.
Email Marketing: If you already have a database of contacts, utilize the contacts and share news of your event. By adding ‘share’ icons to your social pages, you can cross-sell marketing messages to support any campaigns you may be running on social media.
Not only can you benefit from market research prior to an event, a follow up survey with event attendees will help you gain deeper insights and evaluate the success of your event. Questions like “overall, were you satisfied with your experience at our event” and “was the entertainment provided at the event suitable” will allow you to analyze the results and ensure your next event has a greater chance of returning your initial investment.
How to Ensure Your Charity Event Delivers a High Return