By Kaleigh Glaza
For event companies, and nonprofits who garner much of their funding through large-scale charity events, it is key to keep our events on the minds of past and future participants all year long. Once events are in the past, the urgency of the cause lessens, and it becomes even more difficult to increase fundraising and awareness activity in future years. This means that you’ll want loyal past participants, as well as potential new sign-ups, to remain engaged all year long.
In order to encourage past participants to return and help grow your event, we need to remind them of the fun, one-of-a-kind experience they had on the event. You’ll want to remind them of the fun they had, plus provide tangible goals and excitement around the upcoming next event.
First-time registrants will need consistent (but not overwhelming) reminders to encourage fundraising as well as start to build a connection and ensure participants will be on event. These reminders should be educational, but most of all eye-catching and fun!
How can you be all these things, to all people, all year long? Here are some tips…
Keep communication ongoing
From emails to direct mailings to smaller events throughout the year, there are so many ways to keep up communication with your event participants. Make sure your communication is consistent, but not annoying. Depending on your event, we suggest that emails should not come more than a few times a month and mailings no more than once every other month. You want your event to be top of mind, but not have recipients feel they are being bombarded with your messaging.
You can also use advertising, texting, and influencer partnerships as other forms of communication. These might be less personalized but are no less effective in getting your messaging out to the public. Influencer partnerships are especially effective, as people tend to feel recommendations from influencers are more authentic than traditional ads.
Use social media to your advantage
Having a consistent social media presence on a variety of platforms will keep your event in front of many eyes in an organic way. Facebook and Instagram are still “musts” for any brand, but other platforms can be used to different advantages. You can build ongoing conversations and easily link to your website from Twitter. You can tell long-form, impactful stories on a blog or YouTube. You can create a fun, engaging personality on Pinterest. Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Live broadcasts are great ways to show the behind the scenes of your event and brand.
No matter how you use social media, having multiple touch points with unique posts is KEY.
Make your website interactive
Your event website should be more than just a registration page. It should be the hub for any question, answer, information and helpful link that your participants might need. It should be photo and graphic heavy, catching people’s eyes with each click to a new page. It should be mobile friendly. And, most importantly, it should be easy to navigate and quick to load.
If an ad or search term leads someone to your website, it should lead them to the best online experience possible. This will be a place that people come to multiple times throughout the year, and you never want to lose a potential donor or registration because the website is difficult or unengaging. This doesn’t mean it needs to be your homepage, unique landing pages that provide more information or automatically answer questions derived from an ad will likely lead to a more qualified lead rather than someone bouncing from your site immediately.
This is simple but almost always effective. Countdowns to your event build excitement and urgency. You can start as far as six months out, promoting on social media, your website and with ads. This will remind people who haven’t signed up yet to do so and create anticipation for those who already know they will be joining you soon. The excitement should continue to build over time…getting everyone ready for the big day!
There is no magic formula to get someone excited for your event, but these are simple tricks to get you started. The overall key here is to create excitement that is real and genuine about a cause that makes a true difference. With that combination, there is nothing your event can’t achieve.
Kaleigh joined Event 360 in 2016 to work on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and has since expanded her role to also work on MuckFest and the Florida AIDS Walk. She is a Chicago native who loves everything about her hometown, even the freezing winters and bad sports teams.