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20 Sep 2018

5 Ways To Get Supporters Involved At Your Next Event

Traditionally, fundraising events and stewardship events have been some of the most common ways for people to get involved with organizations.

While the emergence and growth of online efforts have become a part of this sphere of involvement, events are still going strong!

Smoothly run events are a great way to encourage new supporters to get involved in your organization through donations, volunteering, and word-of-mouth promotions.

Get your supporters involved in your next event with strategies such as the following:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Event Activities
  3. Social Media Engagement
  4. Merchandise
  5. Supporter Outreach

Even the most robust event planning software can’t get your supporters to move from “interested” to “involved.” Engagement-boosting techniques take a little old-fashioned hard work.

Let’s jump into the first of these opportunities!

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1. Volunteer

One of the most helpful and direct ways your supporters can get involved in your event is by volunteering to execute it. Your volunteers can make your event your next big success!

Spark member engagement by ensuring your supporters know about opportunities to volunteer and the activities they can help with.

Use various channels to get the word out about your volunteer opportunities. Try using channels such as:

  • Emails. Segment your email list by those who have volunteered with your organization in the past. Remind them of the fun they had last time and tell them about their next opportunity to volunteer.
  • Social media. Many of your supporters likely already follow your pages on social media platforms. Use these platforms to make general inquiries about volunteering and the interest of your followers.
  • Newsletters. Your newsletter includes upcoming events and invitations to attend. So why not appeal to those who may want to volunteer? Tell your audience about how to contact you and sign up to help with the next event in your calendar.

In addition to telling your supporters about volunteer opportunities, inform them of volunteer grant opportunities so they can help raise money while they donate their time.

Volunteer grants are available through many corporate philanthropy programs. Businesses use these grants to financially “match” the time their employees spend volunteering for organizations.

Provide your supporters with a database of information on matching gifts and volunteer grants. This database makes it easy for volunteers to check and see if they are eligible for matched support. Check out the top volunteer grant companies in an article by 360 MatchPro.

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2. Event Activities

Engage your supporters at your next event by hosting activities during the event itself. In your event plan, include activities that will entertain your attendees and encourage them to stay for the whole time.

Before your event even starts, begin the engagement process with an online auction. By getting a jump start on your first activity, you will pump up your supporters to see who won which prize. Plus, this is a great way to start fundraising!

Once your event starts, you’ll also want to host a variety of other activities. For instance, you might plan to host activities such as:

  • Raffles
  • Auctions
  • Games
  • Crafts
  • Shows

All these events can be a great way to engage your attendees and guarantee a good time for your supporters.

The more engaging your event is, the more likely the attendees will stay for the entire event. Supporter and member engagement is what encourages people to get involved, but also to stay involved for future events as well.

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3. Social Media Engagement

An online presence is no longer optional for organizations. Because the internet is used daily for so many of us, organizations who are not online are greatly hindered in their communication and marketing strategies.

The good news is that you can use the internet to our advantage for engagement both before and after your next event.

Before your event, use your social media accounts to rally people and excite them to attend. Some examples of social media boosts in which you could partake are:

  • Create a Facebook page for your event. This page informs people of the details of the event (who, what, when, where). It also gives you a platform to market your event with posts such as photos from other events, promotional videos, etc.
  • Create a hashtag for the event. This hashtag can be used before, during, and after the event for people to share their excitement and pictures.
  • Put together a video for Youtube. If your event is an annual occurrence, find the pictures and video footage you have from last year and transform it into a marketing video. Remind people of how much they enjoyed the event last year.

While social media is an excellent tool to use before your event to garner excitement, it is also a great way to keep attendees engaged during your event.

Try encouraging people to like your social media page and offer a prize to the one who does it first. This way you will have that many more social media followers after your event ends.

Another way to encourage engagement is to livestream your event. This tactic engages those who may not have been able to make it for one reason or another.

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4. Merchandise

Some of the most common events available through organizations are designed to fundraise for a project or an annual fund.

A fun way to get people involved in your event as well as increase your donation amounts, is to encourage participation with merchandise.

To encourage this participation try the following strategies:

  • Sell merchandise online before the event. Before your event begins, put your merchandise online for pre-event sales. Offer discounts to those who buy their merchandise early so they will sport your brand name in public providing free marketing. 
  • Host a t-shirt design contest. Bring out the artists in the group by hosting a competition to see who can create the greatest t-shirt design for your event. Use a custom t-shirt company provider and create the shirts for everyone to see (and buy!).
  • Encourage people to buy premade swag bags. Put together small bags of various items that people can buy in a bundle. For instance, a water bottle, t-shirt, and keychain. Then, offer a deal for the bundled swag as opposed to buying them separately.

Everyone loves coming home with something they can remember events by. When you sell them a t-shirt, you are providing more than just a shirt. You are giving your supporter a memory.

For your next event, provide memories and encourage people to get involved in the donation process for your organization by buying one.

To encourage involvement further, try allocating the funds raised through merchandise for a particular project and tell your supporters how much good their contribution will do.

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5. Supporter Outreach

Events are known for rallying new supporters. Take the opportunity to begin relationships between them and your organization.

While you have connected with old friends to encourage them to attend, don’t forget to reach out to your new friends as well!

Check out DoubleKnot’s guide to welcome new members to start your relationship with recent supporters on the right foot.

Gather information from your supporters so that you can best reach out to them in the future. Collect and organize information such as the supporter’s:

  • Email address
  • Social media handle
  • Age
  • Date of first donation
  • Location

All these items can be used to segment the communications you have with your supporters so that you can better target your message.

Future communications with donors and supporters from your events is a key factor for retaining those supporters in the future.

Make your next event a success with super involved supporters. Ensure their engagement with these 5 strategies. Once your event has succeeded, keep in touch with your supporters and start planning for your next event.

Guest blog by Taylor Gibbs, Double the Donation 


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