Piggy Banks in a line - How to Promote Your Charity Event
05 APRIL 2016

A client asked me for a favour this week; would I give her client, Jenni, some marketing advice? Jenni is MD of local charity and needed a few new ideas to promote their next fundraising event (which is a glitzy casino night in a swish Durham hotel).

I know many of you are involved with charities and instead of donating prizes to fundraising events I often have my brain picked for promotional ideas. So I thought a blog would be a handy starter for 10 to help you come up with some ideas to promote your next charity event.

Jenni was doing well with her tried and tested methods of using her email list, posting on the charity’s Facebook Page, asking volunteers to spread the word etc; but with a month to go she really wanted to go the extra mile, without resorting to paid-for advertising.

These ideas should all increase awareness but you’ll have to flesh them out for your own event; I’ve just run through them quickly as the detail will depend on what your actual event is, how far away it is, how many tickets you have to sell and the value of those tickets.

14 Ways to Promote your Charity Event

ONE: Get the hotel, magician, band, entertainment etc to all push the event via their own social media, as we say in the North East: – shy bairns get no sweets – so ask them! Ask them to do a mixture of sharing your posts and creating their own (and tagging you in this). And if they’ll do a regular share in the run up to the event then all the better. You’ll find that people don’t know about your charity but will buy tickets just to see the band etc. You’re stronger together and cross promotion makes perfect marketing sense.

TWO: Make sure your venue has flyers/posters etc – keep checking supplies of flyers ae topped up and posters are in prominent positions and aren’t looking tatty etc. Don’t rely on the venue to do this for you, ask volunteers to check venues close to their homes/work etc.

THREE: Are you in any Facebook Groups? If you are then share the event across plenty of groups in the run up to the event. Keep staggering the posts around the groups.

Don’t just post the same post again and again and again; chat about your charity, what a great cause it is, what sort of people you help etc – take the event promotion as a chance to get your message out there too.

Don’t be humble in Groups – shout about how brill you are and ask for more support to make you more brill

And don’t be too shy in Groups – tell people why you need the money and what their money will go on – really tug at the heartstrings!

Don’t tail off promotion as you get closer to the event; go the other way

FOUR: PR (i.e. stories in the paper) is FAB, but… the papers are probably not too interested in the actual event itself – they will gets lots of similar stories daily, and one black tie event is much the same as the other in the eyes of the journalists. However; they will be much more interested in the human stories within your charity/group e.g. do you have some amazing, powerful, inspiring stories you could tell and show just how vital your support has been to that story? I know not everyone is willing to have their story told but lots of people are and it’s these stories which people really identify with and take action over i.e. book a ticket for the event.

If your charity is very focussed on a particular town then try your local newspapers, if your charity works across a wider area then contact your regional papers. A few good stories will get you more coverage then trying to pass off what is essentially an advert as news article. If you get some good local coverage then hell, send the story off to a national – the Daily Mail always likes a good human interest story! And don’t discount the power of local ‘talk’ radio stations (e.g. your local BBC station) as they’re always looking for interesting people to chat to.

You could then also share these stories on your Facebook page, blog, in an email campaign etc etc.

FIVE: Can you get any local celebs etc to endorse the event via their Twitter etc – don’t be afraid to ask, especially if you know they have a connection to what your charity does. Ask them via their Main Twitter feed and if they mention/RT you say a public and private thank you and also send them an update after the event (remember your manners). Who knows, you may end up with a high profile patron!

SIX: Can you leave flyers in relevant local businesses e.g. if you have a charity to support carers could you leave flyers in local care/nursing homes – many people there will be understanding of what you do

SEVEN: Do you know cafes locally where people who would need you will go e.g.maybe you run a breast feeding support group and know a really welcoming café. Leave flyers and and ask to pop posters up in the loos etc

EIGHT: Chat to your local radio station; ask if you can come on the radio and chat about what your charity does, how important it is etc and then give the event a plug too.

NINE: Pop it in Eventbrite.

TEN: Call people and invite them! A good old fashioned call never goes amiss in these days of mass emails – people today seem to forget that their phone is actually for phoning people!

ELEVEN: Get it in all of the ‘what’s on sections’ of the local papers – they have areas on their websites where you can upload events and these are often picked up for the main papers. Also, in addition to your news stories above, send short and sharp event overviews once a week for 4 weeks before the event, to a range of relevant papers, and you may get a few regular lines in about the event.

TWELVE: If you have local community groups create a list of them and ask them if they will promote the event for you via their social media, newsletters, emails etc – you can always give them one of the stories you gave to the newspapers.

THIRTEEN: Can each person who has bought a ticket ask one more person (where you know the person who made the purchase of course!). Call, text, email them – remember to make it personal and friendly, not a blatant ploy to sell more tickets!

If you have a list of people who have bought tickets create a list in Mailchimp etc of just them and ask them to bring a friend – again – say things like one more person coming could help us raise enough to do X, Y, Z.

Equally, if you have a list of people you’d love to come for the first time then call them, write them a personal letter – put the effort in and make it count, especially if this person is high profile in your charity sector as your contact will really need to stand out from everything else they receive in an average day.

FOURTEEN: Get some cheap tshirts printed promoting the event and get people to wear them EVERYWHERE.

None of these ideas will cost much money (shop around for your printing etc) but they will take time; probably more time than one person has spare! So the best plan to do come up with a plan of what you want to achieve and by when and develop a mini marketing campaign to make that happen. Try a mix of different ideas and keep plugging away, remembering that it takes times to get messages out there and for people to take attention.

I hope this helps and I’d love to know how promoting your charity event has gone; let me know in the comments, Michelle x