Fundraisers can be great ways to promote a cause, help someone in need, or get the right person elected. Individuals employed as professional fundraisers do this every day but there are probably as many fundraisers held at the grassroots level by non-professionals, as there are those that make national headlines. And when it comes to researching tips for marketing your fundraising event, making headlines is a great place to start.
Enlist the Media
Call local news sources - radio, TV, newspapers - to schedule an interview. Each of these media outlets has a well-established audience. Let them all know what’s going on. When you call, ask how to submit a press release. Press releases are usually published at no cost and list the five important W’s of journalism in the first paragraph - who, what, when, where and why.
Personalize Your Raffle Tickets
Selling raffle tickets for donated items? Don’t settle for generic raffle tickets. For very little investment, order personalized raffle tickets online. Make sure they include the event name, date, times and any other information you want to advertise. Personalized tickets will keep your cause in the purchaser’s mind, generate conversation and remind the purchaser to attend the event. Find a generous donor to cover the small cost of printing and shipping.
Harness the Power of the Internet
Social networks spread the word from person to person faster than any other way. Use this modern method of speedy communication and spread your story with the two elements most likely to go viral - humor and cute kittens. Be a regular participant in spreading the news: pass it along, share it, repeat it and then repeat it again every day. Do this on Facebook and Twitter but don’t overlook Pinterest, MySpace and Google+. Build an account page on as many social networks as possible and work them.
Explore online fund sourcing websites such as Fundrazr and Give Forward. Fund or crowd sourcing allows you to describe your cause and how much money you need and then private individuals donate what they can, from a dollar each to the entire amount.
Give Your Donors Something to Do
Sell something appropriate to the cause. Fundraisers for the Empty Bowls project, for example, sell bowls decorated by artists, church groups, and school kids. Each donor gets a bowl full of soup and they keep the bowl for the cost of their donation. Millions of people around the world have been fed thanks to these empty bowls. Avoid conflicts such as candy bars for a fundraiser promoting diabetes awareness.
Hold a cook-off. Collect money for tasting and award winners blue ribbons, trophies, or something that will encourage participation while saving the monetary donations for the cause.
Stage a charity concert. Enlist local musicians to band together to share their talent for a worthy cause. Local professional musicians can headline but don’t overlook school and church choirs and bands, community theater musicians, and the like.
Recruit walkers for a walkathon. Or bicycle riders, dancers, trail riders, or any other activity that you can get donors to sponsor a participant.
Put It in Writing
Ask a local print shop to donate posters, flyers, banners and other print materials that can be scattered about town. Ask shopkeepers for permission to display your poster in their store. Do the same at local churches, libraries, movie theaters, playgrounds, hospitals, doctors’ offices and any place else that receives a lot of traffic.
Get permission to put flyers on the windshields of customers’ cars in parking lots but do be a good neighbor if you go this route. Have someone on hand to pick up flyers that blow away or get discarded directly into the parking lot
Diversify and Strategize
Market your fundraiser in campaign style using as many methods as possible. Start a Facebook group page, for example, and be sure to let your local newspaper and radio station know about it.
Every week as the event draws nearer, launch a new message using a new method. Begin selling raffle tickets a month before the event. At the three-week mark, publish a press release in the local newspaper. At week two, distribute posters, banners, and other print materials and work your social networks at least twice a day, being sure to answer every question and acknowledge every post that comes your way.
During the last week before the fundraiser, repeat as many previous methods as possible, pass out flyers, publish an ad in the newspaper and increase online chatter.
Most people need to hear a message several times before they actually get the message. Make sure your message is available in as many ways as possible, in as many places, and many times.
Make your fundraiser a fun and enticing event, and build excitement at every possible moment along the way. Work it like a pro to achieve professional-quality results and success all around.