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Online event promotion for nonprofits: 5 steps to success

do it right

Your nonprofit is hosting its next big event and there’s a lot to plan—schedules, coordinating volunteers, recruiting sponsors/donors, and ultimately promotion of your event to make sure attendance is high.

Take these 5 steps to kick off your event promotion and start using online fundraising tools to make nonprofit event planning easier and help you reach more donors.

1. Create an event hashtag

Have you ever attended a wedding where the couple has chosen a personalized hashtag for their guests to use? Twitter defines the hashtag, the “#” symbol, as a symbol used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. While Twitter users created it organically as a way to categorize messages, it can also be used on Facebook and Instagram. A hashtag can be used as the common thread that ties all of the tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures about your event together.

Tips for choosing an event hashtag:

  • Choose your hashtag early so it can be used through all stages of your event and create early buzz
  • Make it unique to your event/organization, so it does not get mixed in with other hashtags or events
  • Keep it short and easy for people to use
  • Promote and use your hashtag throughout all stages of your event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

In addition to setting up and creating your hashtag, you will want to monitor it to see what others are saying and to engage in real-time conversations. Find more great information on using Twitter for your nonprofit here.

Bonus tip: Create a “social wall” that can be featured on a screen during your event. Using your event hashtag, encourage others to tweet and post content throughout the night that will then automatically show on your social wall. You can do this by using a projector and screen with a computer hooked up to show only those social media posts with your event hashtag.

2. Create a Facebook event

Assuming your nonprofit has a Facebook page and is engaging on this channel, you should also be promoting your events on this channel. Listing your upcoming event on Facebook can significantly bolster its visibility and attendance. When an attendee RSVPs, it will show up in their feed and the feed of their friends, increasing event impressions thus, enticing others to check out your event, too.

Adding a Facebook event:

Look under the left sidebar navigation underneath the profile image of your business page, if you don’t see “Events,” you’ll need to add it.

  1. Locate the Admin Panel at the top of your Page.
  2. In the Admin Panel, click the “Manage” dropdown menu and select “Edit Page.”
  3. Click “Apps” in the left sidebar navigation.
  4. Scroll down the page to “Events” and click the “Add App” button on the right.

After you’ve added events, return to your nonprofit Facebook page, click the Events app in the dashboard above your Timeline, and start creating.

3. Send out an e-blast to current and potential donors

Current donors should receive email announcements encouraging them to save the date for your event, but make sure to also include an e-blast to potential new donors. Include full event information on your website and in your e-campaigns. You should also add a link directly to the event info on your site.

Eighty-two percent of consumers open emails from companies, which opens the door for donations, increased website traffic, social media followers and communication with your donors and volunteers. Here are tips for utilizing e-mail marketing.

4. Create responsive event pages on your website

Consider creating a separate page on your website for event details and registration that is easy for visitors to access. Photos and short videos offer the best avenue for drawing people’s interest, inviting compassion, and inspiring donations on your event page. You can promote your event on social media and include links directly to this page. Don’t forget to make the page responsive on all mobile devices, so visitors can view your event from desktop or mobile.

5. Don’t forget to share after the event

After your event is over, don’t forget to share photos, stories, shout-outs and results on your different online channels. If your event was held to raise support, share the numbers on your website, write a blog post about how well the event went, and share images and videos on social media.

You have probably put a lot of effort into planning your event, so don’t forget to spend the time promoting your event through the different online tools you have.

Image credit

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building websites that make a difference in the world. He's helped build hundreds of websites that have raised millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii.

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