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How Nonprofits Are Promoting Fundraising Events in 2017 [infographic + resources]

Posted by Summy Lau

Nonprofit Event Planning Trends 2017 - Infographic

When it comes to planning an event, what is your biggest challenge?

Reducing overhead? Recruiting volunteers? Handling logistics like the venue, catering, entertainment and more?

In a study of 500 event planners conducted by, promoting the event was the #1 challenge listed by 44% of respondents.

Indeed, even the most engaging program, incredible auction items and moving fund-a-need fall flat with few in attendance. Your promotional strategy directly affects how many show up to give, spend and support.

Read on for a quick infographic detailing the most popular and effective ways to promote events in 2017, then get free Winspire resources to assist with every area of your promotion strategy (like a free eBook for strategic email promotion and auction catalog templates).

Nonprofit Event Planning Trends 2017 - Infographic

Now that you know the most popular and effective methods of promoting events, here are resources designed to help you attract more attendees than ever before. (If you don't have time to browse them all today, hit Ctrl+D to easily bookmark for later.)

Event Marketing Overview

Promotion on a Budget

We all know fundraising events can be expensive, and you're trying to raise money for a cause. When budgets get stretched thin, marketing dollars are often the first to go. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to spread the word about your fundraiser that don't cost a penny.

Read Next: "6 Powerful Ways to Market Your Fundraising Event for Free"

Online Promotion

"Save the Date" Email Invitations

Surveys show the majority of major donors attend four or more fundraising events each year. Your spring gala, live auction or golf tournament likely has some competition for attendees! It's important to set your event apart from the pack. "Save the date" email campaigns are an easy way to start the conversation and, most importantly, get your event on donors' calendars as early as possible.

Read Next: "Save the Date" Email Invites: 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Fundraiser  Stand Out"

Strategic Email Campaigns

Email empowers nonprofits of all sizes to sell more tickets, generate event "buzz" and drive up bids at the auction. To help, we created the brand-new Beginner's Guide to Email Event Promotion eBook! It's chock full of time-saving strategies and fresh ideas for effective email marketing, plus a bonus weekly email content calendar to keep messages organized and track results.

Free download: Email event promotion eBook + content calendar

Facebook Events

Did you know more than 60% of people discover events through their Facebook News Feeds? Facebook Events are customized event pages that nonprofits can set up through their organization's profile. You can invite supporters to pledge their attendance or interest, get the date in their Facebook notifications, share links to your auction catalog, post updates about your auction items and more. Facebook Events are free to create, and we've put together step-by-step instructions to create your own.

Read Next: "Promote Your Fundraiser with a Facebook Event: Step-by-Step Guide"

Social Media Overview

The rise in social media platforms across all age groups indicates the most successful fundraisers will be those of nonprofits that build vibrant social media communities and try new strategies in 2017. However, using social media to attract attendees is more than just having a Facebook or Twitter account. We've curated a few tips to best utilize these and other major social media platforms (like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram).

Read Next: "Social Media 101: Boost Attendance and Awareness of Your  Fundraising Event"

Printed Promotion

When to Send Traditional vs. Email Invitations

Email invitations are becoming more and more popular, but there is still the question of appropriateness when it comes to sending invites. Which medium is best suited for your event, audience and budget? Check out general guidelines to help you weigh the pros and cons of email versus traditional snail mail.

Read Next: "Social Media 101: Boost Attendance and Awareness of Your  Fundraising Event"

Press Releases

Press releases are an official statement issued to newspapers and media outlets providing information on a newsworthy announcement, event or issue. They serve as an initial outline for journalists to develop a potential story for TV, print or the Internet. The point is to make it as easy as possible for a journalist to develop a feature news story. Any headlines you can get will be extremely helpful, bolstering the credibility of your organization and allowing you to reach a much wider audience. Even if the release doesn't get turned in to a full article, many media outlets will at very least add it to their public calendar of community events.

While it's unlikely you are going to catch the attention of national media, it’s fairly easy to get local newspapers, TV stations and even local bloggers interested. The local media are always looking for stories, and they are often interested in stories that shed a positive light on the community.

Read Next: "Write a Press Release for Your Fundraising Event [EXAMPLE]"

Auction Catalog & Programs

To ensure plenty of excitement and bidding on your best auction items, try showcasing them in an auction catalog. Auction catalogs pair striking images with enticing details to make the best items in your auction come to life. They create a luxury shopping experience for bidders. Plus, the program and catalog provide key opportunities to showcase event sponsorships.

You can make your own professional-quality auction catalog free with our customizable template (edited in Microsoft Word). Click below to get yours.

Auction Catalog Templates

Event Production, Event Promotion, Infographic
Summy Lau
Summy Lau
As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising, publishing, copywriting and design to Winspire News. She creates blog content, infographics, templates, eBooks and other resources to help fundraising professionals and volunteers exceed their fundraising goals. Her two favorite perks of working at Winspire: hearing nonprofit success stories and dreaming of new bucket list destinations.

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