Boost Attendance at Your Nonprofit Event with Social Media

events marketing strategy social media Jun 04, 2018

You always need to be meeting your supporters where they are and (despite Facebook’s recent troubles) you can usually find them hanging out on social media.

Which is why that’s exactly the place where you should be supplementing your efforts to boost attendance at your fundraising event this summer.

In addition to making sure your stalwart supporters stay in the know about your event, it will give you an opportunity to reach out to more folks with advertising that won’t break the bank and often has a very high return on your nonprofit’s investment.

Here’s my TOP FIVE TIPS to maximize the promotion of your nonprofit’s event on social media.

  1. Use as many social channels as you can. Have access to a Facebook page, Twitter accounts and Instagram? Terrific! Splash your event on all of them.
    • And if you haven’t checked out yet, please do. This is an awesome tool that will give you great looking graphics without needing huge expertise. Honestly you can just steal one of their templates and tweak it with your logo and event details. Don’t believe me?

The above invite (perfectly sized for Instagram, by the way) is a pre-existing template in Canva. Total cost? $1 for the fancy flower design at the top. No muss, no fuss – two minutes to change the name, date, and contact info. Plus, with Canva’s “magic resize” tool, you can change the design into a Facebook event graphic, Twitter page cover, or post on several different types of social media platforms.

2.  Don’t just post the event one time – keep up a steady stream of information. There’s a temptation – and this is particularly true with Facebook – to just post your get together on the event page and walk away. Do NOT do this. There’s the ability on FB to keep adding posts under the event which will then go to anyone who clicks on “going” or “interested.” That steady stream of info will help convert your “interested” folks into actual attendees. But it’s true in other platforms as well; keep your event top of mind by publishing posts or tweets early and often.

  • Some ideas on event related topics to post about:
    1. The bio of your guest speaker or award recipient.
    2. “Thank you” posts every time you secure a corporate sponsor.
    3. Photos from the previous year’s event – and what you’ll want here is not the empty ballroom before folks showed up, but those instantly engaging photos of folks eating, drinking, talking, SMILING, enjoying your event. You want to make sure people know what a great time they are going to have!
    4. A post asking “Will we see you there?” and a reminder of how much time is left to register (make sure to have a link to your registration platform as well).

3. Keep it lively by going live. Use Facebook Live or Instagram Stories for brief videos – to announce your event, show behind-the-scenes preparations, interview your speaker. Video has some of the highest engagement, particularly on Facebook, and doesn’t require any fancy camera work. Use your phone to capture the moment and, on Facebook, turn that video into an ad by boosting it. (Again, remember to include your registration info or link address in the post.

  • A few things to capture on a video:
    1. Are you and your volunteers stuffing “swag bags” for your event? Give attendees (and potential attendees) a chance to see what they’ll be getting that night!
    2. New sponsor stopping by your offices to drop off the check for your event? Borrow them for a few minutes for a very informal conversation to thank them and ask why they are supporting your cause. Get their permission and tag them so the news goes to their Facebook friends as well.
    3. Are you meeting with your event venue to do a tasting of the menu? Yum – food! Show it off as a little tasty teaser!

4. Don’t forget to advertise. For a fraction of the price of traditional advertising, online ads can boost your reach virtually. Facebook ads in particular have a good ROI and allow you to target your audience by both geography and interest. This is a huge benefit to FB advertising!!

  • Items to make sure you include in your ad – name, date, time, registration info, but also the purpose for the event and what the funds raised will do for your cause.

5. Leverage your staff, volunteers, supporters and sponsors to increase engagement. Ask those planning to attend, volunteers, sponsors and others to help spread the word by including your event in their social media posts. You can even make a game or contest out of it. Ask them to post something along the lines of “Join me at [name of your event]” with a link to your registration page and why they are going and give the person with the most likes, shares or comments a prize. You’ll be expanding your reach exponentially because each person has their own community of friends and colleagues following them on social media. To quote the old shampoo commercial, you tell a friend and they tell a friend and so on and so on and so on. 

I wish you the best of luck with your summer season fundraising event and hope this list helps you get the word out on social media so that you have a wildly successful and highly attended event. You’ve got this!