By: Melissa Lagowski
Big Buzz Idea Group
In “Promotion Ideas to Benefit Your Nonprofit – Part I” we covered ideas for you to utilize relative to email marketing, leveraging your community and capitalizing on some basic public relations tactics. Part II will advance the promotional discussions and cover more ideas for digital exposure.
Marketing online via social media remains an important part of overall promotions for nonprofits and associations so we encourage our clients to include online promotions to achieve maximum exposure. Social media options can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s best to compare the various platforms to your goals to see where the best alignment exists, then stick to two or three platforms and do them really well.
When posting online, focus on creating engagement by tagging people and other organizations whenever possible. Collect social media details on event registration forms to make it easier for you to execute on this tactic. Be sure to include a note on your registration forms that you want to recognize people online and provide guests an option to opt-out so that you have permission to connect with guests in the virtual realm.
It’s easy to create a Facebook Event to promote your fundraisers and programs. Once you create the online event, you can then invite your contacts (staff, board, sponsors, etc.) to connect with the event, so when these contacts respond (or share or retweet), then their contacts will see that they are supporting your event which will build organic awareness for the project. And guests that are “going” to your event can also invite additional guests which is a great way for your board and staff to easily share the event, too.
LinkedIn also allows organizations to post events so take advantage when possible. It works in a very similar way to Facebook events, so try them both and see which platform works best for your organization.
Video Announcements, Invitations Or a Video Series about Your Organization
According to Social Science Research Network, 65% of the population are visual learners. Accommodate them by creating short videos to share announcements and invitations. With advanced technology in smartphones, it is now easier to create videos than at any other point in history – so there is no excuse not to utilize video to help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and foster more connectivity with your audience.
Share a video invitation, a video introduction, an appeal or a success story for a client or member of your nonprofit or association. There are so many ways to use video. It helps your organization standout so give it a try. And once you create the video, you can repurpose it. Use it on social media, in emails and put it on your website.
Social Media Headers
Think of the space on your social media channels as free billboards. You own this space, so change the graphics periodically to alert followers to your events and activities. As the headers are not clickable, simply add a link in the description for registration or donations.
Build a Social Media Kit
By creating a few designs (properly sized for social media posting) and drafting a handful of sample posts to promote your organization or event, you can publish a social media kit to significantly expand the reach of your association. Then provide all your contacts with this kit to promote the event so sponsors, board members, staff, volunteers, entertainers, partner organizations, etc., can all share information about your event in their networks! Be sure to share that social media kit far and wide once you create it.
Create a Contest or a Competition of Internal Teams
Incentivize members of your board or staff with prizes for whomever brings in the most signups or offer a special opportunity for any member who recruits at least 20 attendees. Prizes don’t have to be expensive. You can offer a free ad or a special shoutout in your newsletter or on your social media. You can announce a special “thank you” during the program to each person who brought 10 or more attendees to the event the way that a Table Captain might be recognized. Or you can offer a gift card or a special lunch if you want to invest a little bit of money without breaking the bank.
Build an Ambassador Program
Find those people who are champions for your cause and enlist their support. This might be the board, the event committee, a junior board or other group of people who hold your nonprofit near and dear to their hearts. You develop this group of core fans, and then communicate with them about sharing, tagging and engaging with your nonprofit online. You can structure the program to be around a single big event each year, or it can be set up to be more regular based on your needs.
Sometimes the social media algorithms can be tough to manage, but when you build an army of ambassadors to share and interact with your posts, it can significantly boost your program or event to increase its viral reach.
The ambassadors can re rewarded with a ticket to the event or perhaps given special recognition for their contributions and efforts.
Many of our clients have started using Eventbrite as a promotional tool. Eventbrite allows you to post free events for free on their platform, and they take a percentage of the ticket cost for paid events. This platform actively promotes events out to their subscribers making this a great promotional tool for reaching potential new attendees.
Eventbrite is also great because you can have the ticket buyer pay for the credit card processing fees, which has resulted in almost $1,000 more per month in revenue for one nonprofit client of ours.
Feature on Your Organization’s Homepage
Do not overlook this seemingly simple but important tool to highlight your event: Put it on the homepage of your website. Viewers typically find a signature event posted on the event calendar or in the footer or on a page deep within the site, which is good but not good enough. Make your event front-and-center on your website so that it is easy for viewers to find all the important details.
Broadcast Live on Your Favorite Social Media Platform
Broadcasting an event live while it is happening has never been easier. Evaluate which social media channel is your strongest and then share a live feed from the event to expand your reach and, hopefully, your donations.
The following is a list of video options to consider:
- YouTube Live
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Live
- Twitter Live
- TikTok Live
- Snapchat Live
Build a list of what we like to call “strategic partners.” These are companies or fellow nonprofits that are complementary to your organization but not competitive. Perhaps one organization provides tutoring and another provides afterschool care: they may be willing to promote each other’s signature events.
Because you serve similar audiences, you can offer to share information, cross-publish articles and occasionally promote each other’s activities. Generally, you want to strategically leverage these types of partnerships for your largest events each year, and you want to always offer reciprocity.
Other Best Practices
Between Part I and Part II, there are a lot of promotional ideas covered. It can be overwhelming, but the intention is not to use all of these. Rather, you should think about your ideal market and select a few ideas that will help you reach that audience. Focus on doing it well. Hopefully, you will be able to easily implement several of these ideas to expand the reach of your association and attract more donors and attendees to benefit from the wonderful work that you are doing!