Inciting people to give to charity can be a difficult task, while ensuring support over the long-term can be even trickier. Organising events is one way of increasing awareness of your cause and potentially boosting financial support; find out how your events can help your charity achieve its goals.
Know your objectives
The first step to success in organising a charity event is to work out your objectives. Do you want to raise awareness of a specific issue, raise funds or increase sponsorship levels? Focus on the most pertinent objective and let it guide how your event will pan out.
Knowing your objectives will help you create the right sort of event; to increase awareness of a specific issue, you might want to stage a seminar and invite your heads of research to give presentations on the topic, while field experts can lead discussion.
If it’s an event to raise funds on the day, you’ll need to create enough value in the experience to persuade to turn out their pockets – the promise of entertainment, refreshments or live demonstrations can incite people to make donations for services you’re putting on, for example.
What you can get for your money is arguably even more vital for charities than for other organisations, so shopping around for the best deals is an important consideration. Compare venue costs, taking into account the amenities on offer and remember to ask questions – a venue might be inexpensive or even free to hire, but it could tie users into a single catering package, which might result in a higher outlay.
See what you can get in the way of donations; local press might feature an advertorial for your charity free of charge as a goodwill gesture, while tech companies might let you use their equipment for free in return for complimentary tickets or some promotion during the event.
As well as seeing what can be donated as a gift in kind, spread the word as early as possible that you’ll need volunteers for the event. This gives helpers the chance to factor the time into their plans. Set up networks via social media as a free way of increasing take-up of volunteer roles.
Map out marketing methods
The key to generating interest in your event is to look into marketing avenues early on. It’s a good idea to draw up a marketing plan that incorporates a timeline of action you’ll take to promote the event, spanning months beforehand to the final weeks before the event will take place.
Direct mail campaigns, word of mouth and your non-profit fundraising network are all means of ramping up interest in the event but arguably the most powerful marketing tool available is the internet; don’t underestimate how it can influence awareness of your event.
Include details of the occasion on your website and regularly update your blog with articles relevant to the event. When you send details out to people on your mailing lists, include a link to your online registration system so you can start selling tickets and accruing funds ASAP. Create press releases and upload them to aggregator sites or send them to press contacts and use all your social media platforms to generate interest via hashtags, competitions, regular updates and by sharing interesting, relevant content that adds value, such as videos or as-yet unpublished stats.