This article was written by Cara Benson, Community Manager at Eventbrite
Nonprofit organizations, by definition, prioritize worthwhile causes above financial gain. Their structure depends solely on their ability to spread a message and incite action. With typically tight budgets, every marketing effort needs to pack exponential bang for their proverbial buck, including nonprofit events.
Why marketing for nonprofit events is so important
According to research on nonprofit marketing conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI):
- 77% of nonprofit professionals found that in-person events were the most effective marketing strategy for their organization.
Image from Ironpaper
In other words, events are well worth the invested time and effort. The catch, of course, is that these events require marketing and promotion efforts to make them a success. Your audience needs to know about your event in order to attend!
How to get the word out about your nonprofit event
To help you properly market your event and attract a huge turnout, here are a few tips to incorporate any size budget:
Use visuals to explain your cause
Illustrations and photos are one of the most effective marketing strategies for events – according to 76% of nonprofits. And of course, one of Easelly’s favorite ways to leverage the storytelling capabilities of visuals is with infographics.
There are creative ways to use infographics, including as a promotional tool for your event. Create an infographic, for example, that tells the story of your event and why you’re planning it.
Think about the following questions:
- What are you trying to help people learn?
- Are there hard-hitting facts and numbers you can include?
- Do you have photos or images from past events?
An infographic is easily one of the most effective ways to get your content shared across the web, so make sure you publish your infographic in multiple places, including:
- Your event page
- In a blog post on your site
- In an email newsletter
- Across all social platforms
Also make sure to post the infographic (or series of infographics) repeatedly to gain as much traction as possible. You can’t expect to share an infographic or visual once and get a thousand signups to your event. It’s called marketing because it takes consistency!
Aside from publishing infographics on social media to tell a story, use the built-in story features already on these platforms. Story-esque features are now a staple on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter with live tweeting and Twitter parties.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the three social media platforms most often used by nonprofits, so make sure you consider how to best engage with audiences with more “live footage” of events backstage. Some ideas include:
- Giving them a glimpse into the event’s prepwork
- Teasing special guests or surprises that are in store
- Showcasing employees who will be there
Live video is a great way to make your target audience feel more connected to you and your cause.
Communicate via smart email marketing
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is far from dead. In fact, 69% of nonprofit professionals agree that eNewsletters are an effective marketing tactic for their organizations.
Template made for Easelly PRO users
To promote your event, however, you shouldn’t just blast your entire email list. Instead, be more targeted by segmenting your email lists into categories like:
- People who have purchased tickets in the past
- People who have abandoned tickets in their shopping cart
- Different demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
- First-time donors vs. recurring donors
- Donors from specific acquisition channels (social media, website, etc.)
Another great way to get traction on your event emails is to use infographics in your emails. This is a great way to speak directly to each of these groups, as well as engage them visually.
Worldwide, IT investment in software totals more than $326 billion. However, don’t let this number scare you. There are plenty of budget-friendly solutions for nonprofits like yours that can actually provide greater returns on your investment.
Eventbrite’s software for nonprofit event planning and fundraisers, for example, generates revenue by charging organizers a fee of only 2.5% of the ticket price (plus $0.99 of each ticket sold). Not only do they provide a platform that makes it easy for people to buy or reserve tickets, but if your event is free, they don’t charge you anything!
Network and present at conferences
Another great way to use infographics and other event marketing material is in presentations – especially at nonprofit conferences or gatherings. Attending and presenting at relevant conferences is a wonderful way to network, spread the word about your organization and invite more guests to your upcoming event.
You’ll automatically get connected with people you know are interested in your cause and, as a bonus, you’ll probably come away with a number of ideas to make your event even better.
Effectively marketing your nonprofit event
Essentially, the key to overcoming nonprofit marketing obstacles is to take advantage of multiple digital mediums, including visuals, to reach key or niche audiences. Whether collecting volunteers, event participation, engagement or any other challenge, online outlets and visuals are a low-budget, time-friendly way to focus goals that generate the most value for your hard work.
Want to learn more about infographic creation for your nonprofit?
Get started with this Beginner’s Guide to Making Infographics from Scratch.