Believe me, I’ve tried to ignore foursquare as long as I could–I personally have no use for the service. However, more than 6 million people do, and at this rate, foursquare will reach 10 million registered users by July 2011.
Foursquare grew at a rate of 3,400 percent during 2010. The service has also seen unprecedented media coverage lately and is no doubt sending more updates to Facebook and Twitter, prompting the growth in visits back to foursquare.
While I can’t tell you if your nonprofit event should be on foursquare, ignoring it all-together is not an option. Here are seven tips for piloting foursquare on your next event:
Set Up the Event Profile: Create a new profile with the name and details of the event. Then set up a venue with all the pertinent location and contact information. Don’t forget to include your twitter handle (think about using a unique twitter account for the event).
You might consider forming multiple venues for the same event. For example if you’re hosting a fundraiser walk have a venue for the registration table, the children’s walk, the 5K etc.
Use foursquare to Get Participants Involved Early: If you’re hosting an athletic or endurance event, you will have groups training for it weeks or months ahead. Why not encourage a little friendly competition?
Set up venues for the groups and have participants check in when they train. The user who checks in the most will be crowned mayor by foursquare.
You can also post training tips for participants and reward the group who has the most active members. It’s a fun way to encourage people getting ready for your special event fundraiser.
Use Foursquare to Coordinate Volunteers: One of the big challenges with any event is orchestrating volunteers. Encourage them to connect to the event through foursquare and check in to their posts. This will allow you, with a quick glance, to see if everyone is where they need to be.
If your volunteers also friend the coordinator through foursquare, she can easily communicate with them if problems arise.
Post Tips to Generate Interest: Posting tips allows you to stay connected with event participants. About to start a fun game, post a tip. Had some changes over the course of the day? Tell users. Have a special incentive you don’t want them to miss out on? Post it!
When corresponding with participants before the event, encourage them to post tips about it on foursquare. This can raise awareness with their friends and get even more people involved.
Use Foursquare to Track Involvement: At the end of the day you can see how many people checked-in at your event and visited multiple venues. You might send a quick thank you to the most active users. Or promise a prize for the person who checks in the most places.
You can also see which venues at the fundraising event were especially popular. It can help you prepare as you plan the next event.
Consider Partnering with Foursquare to Create a Badge for the Event: Badges reward foursquare users who check in at certain locations or do so numerous times. While you can’t create badges on your own, you might consider partnering with foursquare. A special application has to be filled out, but if you’re planning a large event, this might be a viable option.
Use Foursquare for Cause Sponsorship or Marketing: Recruit a corporate partner to make a donation to your cause every time one of your event registrants checks-in to their business. Another option is to tie-in a badge that users can earn after checking-in several times. In addition, corporate partners can promote your events to consumers that check-in on Foursquare at their business. For example, “Join Accenture at the American Cancer Society Walk & Roll in Chicago this weekend.”
Need a brief overview of foursquare? Check out this Slideshare presentation from Ogilvy, A Strategic Approach to Foursquare: