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

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).

  • 6 min read
  • Feb 9, 2017 8:54:30 AM

9 Simple Steps to Promote Auction Items on Facebook and Twitter

Imagine your upcoming charity auction as a one-night-only storefront for luxury merchandise. You've spent the better part of a year making sure every detail is just right: stunning venue, engaging program, shelves lined with exciting items. You know you'll only have 3 or 4 hours to sell as much merchandise as you can. Finally, the big night is here. Two customers approach. One is a window shopper that has stumbled upon your storefront. She takes a look around and sees few others actively shopping. The selection seem nice, but she has sticker shock at the premium items. Now imagine a second customer enters, store catalog in hand. She's already seen ads for some of the best items and has circled a few to check out. She's brought a friend to compare notes. Best of all, she's familiar with your brand and what you stand for. Which customer is more likely to produce a sale? Strategic promotion of auction items before the event sets your fundraiser up for success. We've developed plenty of free resources to make promotion easier, including an eBook on email campaigns, customizable auction catalog templates and more. Today we will look at promotion via social media, specifically on the two most popular social platforms today: Facebook and Twitter. As social media changes the marketing landscape, read on for the best practices and trends to expand your reach, sell more tickets and capture higher bids. Facebook Pew Research Center reported this week that 79 percent of online American adults use Facebook. The majority of your supporters are almost certainly on Facebook. What's more, 76 percent of Facebook users check in every single day! This is a huge opportunity of which most nonprofits aren't yet taking full advantage. Here are 5 must-do's for promoting a fundraising auction and items on Facebook. 1. Create a landing page and Facebook Event. Before you create an Event on Facebook, you'll need to set up a branded event landing page. This page is the specific website where you'll direct people for immediate participation, whether it's learning more about your event, buying tickets, registering and so forth.

  • 13 min read
  • Nov 15, 2016 11:17:44 AM

6 Powerful Ways to Market Your Fundraising Event for Free

Fall fundraising season is well underway, and chances are your organization has a fundraising event on the horizon. A key piece to your success is strategic promotion. We all know events can be pricey, and when budgets get stretched thin, it's tempting to put marketing efforts to the backburner. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to spread the word that don't cost a penny. Today we will look at 6 of the best ways to promote your event for free, including: Google AdWords Other Online Resources (social media, organization website) Email Marketing Media Partners (media sponsorships, press coverage) Press Releases Local Events, Clubs and Word-of-Mouth Whether you're looking to make a big splash in a first year event, or need to refresh a stagnating event, bringing in new supporters can set the tone for years to come. Read on for ways to convert these methods into more event registrations—and dollars for your cause.

  • 18 min read
  • Sep 27, 2016 10:04:08 AM

13 Proven Ways to Raise More Money at Your Fundraising Event

At Winspire News, we hear from a lot of fundraising professionals and volunteers. Along with questions on auction best practices (how many items to include in the live auction, bestselling silent auction items, setting minimum bids and so forth), we've also gotten these: How do we address those who say, "I don't go to the auction and never will."? Are auctions really worth the time and cost? How do I refresh my 14-year event? Is it time to give it up and move on to another type of event? Perhaps you can relate.

  • 17 min read
  • Aug 23, 2016 10:50:09 AM

Mobile and Online Bidding: A Comprehensive Guide to Silent Auction Technology

Charity auctions are consistently among the most popular and lucrative events nonprofits can host. While the basic rules of fundraising auctions have remained the same over the years, the format of these events is rapidly evolving, thanks to the advancement of auction technology. On the one hand, auction technology has made planning and executing charity auctions much easier for nonprofits. On the other, because it’s so specialized, many organizations are at a loss as to what exactly auction software does and how they can use it in practice. We regularly receive questions from fundraisers about auction technology, so we wanted to clear up some of the uncertainty. We teamed up with our friends at BidPal to create an expert comprehensive guide to auction technology. Today we'll cover: Online Auctions & Event Sites Online Auction Catalogs Online Ticketing Mobile Bidding: More Profitable Silent Auctions Mobile Bidding: Smoother Live Cash Appeals Auction Scoreboards and Fundraising Thermometers Read on to learn the basic functionalities of auction software, plus practical ways these tools can raise more at your next auction. 1. Online Auctions & Event Sites Online auctions are, simply put, digital silent auctions. While most charity auctions are limited to a single night and venue, online charity auctions allow organizations to open up their auctions to more donors for longer periods of time. They're typically paired with silent and live auctions to make the most of your marketing efforts. Plus, since there are fewer costs with an online event, they can be done with minimal risk or investment.

  • 15 min read
  • Jul 28, 2016 10:02:12 AM

9 Easy Ways to Make Event Fundraising Emails More Effective

At Winspire, we are passionate about helping nonprofits raise more money. Event promotion, particularly email marketing, plays a huge role in the outcome of any fundraiser. Last week we looked at what makes an impactful "save the date" email invitation. Striking images, vibrant colors, concise copy and links to a website all encourage donors to mark their calendars for your annual gala, auction or tournament. But the "save the date" is just the first step in a months-long fundraising event email campaign. Are you simply sending weekly reminder emails that rehash the same information over and over? Or are you thinking strategically and creatively to encourage as much participation as possible from a diverse donor base? Make the most of every message with our 9 email "must-do's" to create anticipation and increase revenue at your event. 1. Understand your audience Writing effective email invites starts with knowing what motivates and excites your supporters. What makes your event stand out? How is your nonprofit making a difference? What do guests hope to get out of the event?

  • 12 min read
  • Apr 14, 2016 8:48:02 AM

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

The majority of your winning bidders attend four or more fundraising events each year. This means the annual gala, live auction or golf tournament is likely competing in a crowded space! It's important to set your event apart from the pack. Fortunately, with technology it's easier than ever to spread the word well in advance. "Save the date" email campaigns are an easy way to start the conversation about your event, give donors a taste of what's to come, and, most importantly, get them to mark their calendars. Here are a few general guidelines and tips to consider when crafting attractive, compelling email invitations - the first step in a strategic email event promotion campagin. 1. Use an email marketing service If you're not already, consider using a free or low-cost email marketing service like MailChimp or Constant Contact. These email programs tell you exactly who has opened your invitation, what links they're clicking on and other helpful information.

  • 9 min read
  • Apr 5, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Setting the Stage for Auction Success: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Donors to Bid

Success is where preparation meets opportunity. When it comes to event fundraising, nonprofit professionals know this all too well. In order for your upcoming fundraising auction to run without a hitch, you spend countless hours gathering items, scoping out the venue and training staff, volunteers and auctioneers. But smooth logistics only account for half the story. Perhaps the most important piece of prep work: getting donors ready for the big night. Here are 3 ways to engage your audience early and start fundraising before the first item hits the auction block. Lights (Step 1): Establish and share fundraising auction goals. You're already educating potential donors and attendees on the who, what and when of your event through mail, phone and email campaigns. Now's your chance to reinforce the why: to raise money for a great cause. Pre-event promotion campaigns are an ideal time to educate people on the mission of your organization, plus highlight your fundraising goals. This ensures everyone is ready to support your cause while having a good time.  In marketing materials like newsletters, try including a short testimonial from someone impacted by your work. Include one simple photo and intriguing pull quote per story, and emphasize that these accomplishments wouldn't be possible without the funds raised at your auction.

  • 6 min read
  • Feb 9, 2016 10:14:02 AM

8 Email Campaign Tips for Promoting a Nonprofit Fundraising Event

Designing an effective email campaign for your nonprofit’s fundraising events doesn’t have to be daunting. Knowing a few of the components and understanding the strategies behind what constitutes a compelling email can help guide you to success through more ticket sales, higher demand for auction items and more overall excitement for your event. All of these design tips and more are demonstrated in this video tutorial, where we walk you through the creation of a promotional email campaign using Constant Contact. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear it! What are your biggest challenges when creating email campaigns for an event? Are there things you wish you could do better? Please leave a comment below and let us know! Following are the 8 design tips for creating an effective email campaign for your nonprofit event: 1. Demand attention Remember that every word and component you use should be engaging and demand attention. The average email user gets 416 promotional emails per month, and that doesn’t include personal or work emails. Your email has to capture a subscriber’s attention to make the cut and get opened.

  • 7 min read
  • Nov 3, 2015 5:30:00 AM

How to Create an Email Campaign For Your Charity Fundraiser [VIDEO]

→ Click here to view this video tutorial. For a nonprofit, email marketing is an ideal way to initiate and nurture relationships with donors. Not only is email cost effective, but it can reach a large number of recipients in a timely and relevant manner.  Email marketing is especially useful for promoting charity fundraisers. A promotional email campaign can be used to generate excitement, drive ticket sales, highlight big-ticket auction items and remind your supporters about the impact they can make by attending your event.  Here are some more reasons to consider email marketing for your next charity fundraising event...

  • 9 min read
  • Oct 27, 2015 8:13:45 AM

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