That famous line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come,” may have been true for a bunch of ghosts and a cornfield-turned-baseball diamond. But where fundraising campaigns are concerned, simply putting one together may not guarantee that people will flock to your organization’s cause.
These days, getting people’s attention takes a bit more effort — sometimes a lot more.
The good news: Whether you’re holding a silent auction for your local YMCA, a raffle for a theater troupe, or launching a capital campaign for your nonprofit, there are plenty of ways to promote your fundraiser.
Here are just a few ideas.
In today’s always-on-the-go society, it’s easy to forget just how much a face-to-face meeting can do.
For a really powerful way to drive your cause home, find ways to get directly in front of people who might be willing to donate or be part of your fundraising effort in some way.
Offer to speak at your local Chamber of Commerce meeting, volunteer to talk to a group of Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, attend a local networking happy hour. Essentially: Figure out what groups are most likely to be interested in your cause, then find a way to get in front of them.
Pitch Local Media Outlets
As much as some would love for you to believe that print is dead, the traditional media still hold a lot of sway — especially in smaller localities, where most everyone gets their news and event information from sources like the city newspaper or their local network news affiliate.
Get your local media’s attention with a well-written press release — short and sweet, with all the pertinent information clearly listed. If you have access to their contact information, send it to the reporters who cover the beat or topics most closely related to your organization’s mission or cause; you’ll be more likely to get a response that way.
Someone within your organization should be a point person for interviews, and always have electronic versions of photos or logos at the ready if the media requests them.
Take To Social Media
Despite what we’ve just said about local media, there’s no denying Social media isn’t wildly popular today just because people love to waste time watching cat videos and talking about what they had for lunch.
It’s an amazing way to connect with all kinds of people — across town and all over the world — and, for marketers and organizations with a mission, a pretty effective way of getting things done.
Here are a few ways to use social media to promote your fundraising efforts:
- Post photos from previous fundraising events as a way to build buzz for your next event
- Use an online platform like Kintera to house your donation system
- Create a Facebook or Eventbrite event to invite attendees and sell tickets
- Create a meaningful hashtag on Twitter to track mentions of your cause, event or campaign
- Use Pinterest to build boards with photos of your silent auction or raffle items
- Use your Facebook Page, Twitter account or other social to thank donors and recognize other important people related to your cause
Above All: Know Your Donor Base
No matter how you end up deciding to do it, the key to successfully promoting your organization’s fundraising efforts rests on truly understanding your donor base.
Before you make the decision of how to dedicate your time and energy on promotion, stop to think where your most valued stakeholders spend their time and energy — then try your best to get your message and cause in front of them.
What fundraising efforts are you planning for the rest of the year, and how do you plan on spreading the word about them? Leave a comment here and share your organization’s story.