Fundraising and cultivation events are a vital piece of the puzzle for many nonprofits, large and small. In-person events are a great way to energize supporters and connect directly with donors and volunteers.
The challenge with holding a vibrant and successful event lies in the marketing and promotion of the event. Simply sending out snail mail letters doesn’t cut it anymore.
Having a multichannel approach to promoting and advertising the event is sure to garner more attendees and more buzz.
In this post I focus on one channel that can be hugely impactful in promoting your next nonprofit event – Facebook.
According to Facebook:
Every month, 400 million people around the world use events on Facebook to discover and connect with everything from parties with friends to things happening in their communities.
And nearly 30% of all the events people connect to — like concerts, community events and special nights at bars and restaurants — are created by Pages.
Here are 10 steps you can use to make sure you are using Facebook correctly to promote your next nonprofit event.
1) Create a new Event using your Facebook Page.
Be sure to fill in ALL the details, including the link to tickets (if you are using Eventbrite or another ticket vendor).
Put the most important details about your event up at the top of the description so that people do not have to click to See More.
Make anyone involved with the Event a Host. NOTE: Just because they are a Host does not mean attendees can view their personal Profile. (Have them double check their privacy settings before publishing the Event, if they are hesitant.)
Having more Event Hosts gives the event more traction and exposure and makes it easier to share within networks.
2) Choose an eye-catching Cover for your Event.
Event photos can be 714 x 264 pixels.
Make sure your photo is not blurry or pixilated. Try to avoid a stretched out version of your logo – that’s boring and will not entice people to click on the Event.
3) To target or not?
Page Administrators can now target their events to certain demographics, including gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, location and language.
For example, if a local business is having a ladies’ night, they can target women in their local area.
While it might seem counter-intuitive to show your Event to a smaller number of people, targeting posts have been shown to increase engagement.
If you do decide to target, let people know. Add “Hey Boston ladies!” or some other identifying text to the post to make fans feel special and make the event feel exclusive.
NOTE: The Event will still show on your Page Wall, so don’t worry about that. I am talking about narrowing and targeting the News Feeds that you get seen in.
To read more about targeting, check out this article on Social Media Examiner.
4) Prominently feature the Events tab on your Page.
If you do not see the tab for Events on your Facebook Page, be sure to click the More arrow, Manage Tabs, and reorder your tabs to make Events closer to the About section.
5) Encourage engagement with guests.
Never check off the box that says: “Only admins can post to the event wall.”
You want your guests to be posting questions, comments and photos to your Event wall, before, during and after the Event!
6) Invite people & Share the Event!
Once your Event is published and made public, you can use your personal account to invite people. Go through your Facebook Friends list and strategically invite people you believe would attend or share the Event with others.
NOTE: Yes, there is an Invite All Google Chrome Extension you can use to invite your entire Friends list. However, I suggest that you use this sparingly as you may be seen as a spammer.
7) Be explicit in asking people to help spread the word.
Ask the Event Hosts, nonprofit staff and volunteers to help spread the word about the Event to their networks.
The Event will have a unique URL, so make sure to post it everywhere, even on other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
8) Build up buzz.
Post on the Event wall before the event. Post photos, updates on sponsors, fun announcements, prize pictures and a call for a final push for ticket sales.
Post during the Event and afterwards, to encourage interaction which may lead to more Likes on your Facebook Page and more interest in your organization (especially from those who were invited by friends and had never heard of you before).
9) Use Event Insights.
Event Insights are now available on each Event Page, on the right-hand side. You can see:
- How many people saw the link to the event on Facebook;
- How many people viewed the event (clicked on the link);
- How many people “engaged” with the event – joins, saves and maybes
Use these Insights to see if the Event is working. If it’s not getting the desired reaction, tweak your Event copy and photos to make it even more shareable and appealing to your fans.
10) Use Facebook Ads.
Facebook Pages can now create ads for desktop users and for mobile users that will be shown directly in the News Feed, rather than relegated to the right-hand column (on desktop) that no one looks at.
Don’t forget to list the ticket link if it’s a ticketed event!
Don’t take the RSVPs too seriously. People are notorious for RSVPing yes on Facebook and then not showing up.
The real purpose of promoting the event on Facebook is just that – promotion and word-of-mouth marketing. You will still need to integrate other channels to increase ticket sales and get firm commitments form attendees.
How does your nonprofit use Facebook to promote its events?
Do you need a step-by-step guide to creating digital storytelling campaigns?
You are in luck!
Sign up and get a free chapter of my new book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits. This book is designed to be a step-by-step how-to guide for small and mid-size nonprofits that want to learn how to set goals, measure results, and carry out amazingly successful digital storytelling campaigns!
When you sign up, you will also receive my free weekly bulletin with tips, tricks, and advice for savvy nonprofits on how to kick butt at online marketing and fundraising.