Non-Profit Event Marketing – Are You Maximizing Your Return on Time Investment?
There’s a reason non-profit organizations put so much money into their event marketing: a well-marketed fundraiser increases brand awareness, attracts new donors and is a great opportunity to secure corporate sponsorships. But with all of that effort comes a huge time commitment; and considering the small staff sizes at most non-profits – even the biggest ones! – time is a huge commodity for each and every employee. To make sure you’re getting the greatest return on your team’s time investment, you’ll want to make sure your event is executed with your long-term goals in mind.
Any good non-profit event planner understands the basic logistics of running a successful event. They know how important it is to target potential sponsors and probable donors; they’re familiar with all of the most effective promotional and advertising channels; and they appreciate the importance of sending out post-event thank you messages to their major supporters. They follow the same format year after year, and they do it well. But what’s often missed is the long-term strategy, and that’s what is going to maximize your time ROI.
Every event you run – regardless of whether you’re a non-profit – should be executed with the purpose of meeting multiple goals. Yes, maximizing ticket sales and nabbing major sponsorships and donations are all primary objectives; but there’s more to it than that. These events are a great way to expand your reach in ways that will benefit your organization well into the future.
- Use the event as a platform for cultivating relationships with previously untapped groups – whether it’s small businesses, major industries, or something else altogether – to solicit their support going forward.
- Use the event as a launch pad for your next major campaign, initiative or project.
To achieve these long-term goals, you’ll first need to craft a clear-cut action plan that’s tailored for your specific event. Your plan should account not only for ensuring the success of your event, but also for leveraging the event toward a greater reward – whatever you have outlined that to be. According to our recommended method, the three-month period leading up to your event should be used for strategy development and mapping out your cross-marketing initiatives, while the six to eight weeks immediately following the event are dedicated to post-event follow-ups.
Here’s a real-world example: A non-profit organization would like to maximize its small business outreach, so it has planned an event aimed at attracting and recognizing small business owners with the intention of cultivating ongoing monthly sponsorship opportunities for those businesses – ideally through media sponsorships. The strategic marketing plan for this endeavor includes not only basic event marketing, but also laser focused event campaigns aimed directly at small businesses, and a defined approach for following up with attendees after the event.
Remember, that post-event period is crucial. Although it’s easy to want to direct the bulk of your time, money and resources into the planning and execution of your event, it’s just as important to give the follow-up period equal attention. That is when you get to capitalize on your investment. Your continued efforts lead to sustained relationships, regular engagements and additional touches.
For help planning a marketing strategy for your next non-profit event, contact us now to schedule a consultation.