Summer is in the air, Q3 is around the corner, and The Filter is back with the latest insights from the wide world of marketing.
We’ve spent some time in recent months exploring audience engagement, but this week, we’re pivoting from digital tactics to something more IRL: nonprofit events.
Whether you’re a fundraiser pro or have yet to try one, we’re big believers in their power to build community support, boost brand awareness, and inject some excitement into your biz.
Here’s how iProv team members plan, host, and leverage charitable events:
Family Fun at the Forefront
For a traditional ticketed daytime event, ramping up family-friendly fun is the key to success. The price of admission should feel like nothing compared to the activities! Here’s what to consider:
- Theme and venue: choose a theme your attendees can rally behind and a location that allows for creative freedom.
- Food and beverage: use this as an opportunity to connect with local vendors and allow them to showcase their skills.
- Ticketing: sell attendees on the benefits of a ticket by including a certain number of tastings, vouchers, and perks.
- Silent Auction or Raffle: boost fundraising efforts by asking local businesses and supporters to donate items of interest.
- Entertainment and ambiance: creative a festive atmosphere! Live music, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, competitions, and tasting challenges can all add excitement.
- Partnerships: seek sponsorships with local organizations by offering branding, mentions, and recognition on promo materials.
- Spread the word: leverage social media, newsletters, local newspapers, radio stations, community bulletin boards, and your nonprofit’s network.
- Impact sharing: share stories and testimonials during the event that highlight your nonprofit’s importance.
- Volunteer engagement: recruit volunteers to assist with logistics to reduce costs and enhance community involvement.
- Followup: show appreciation after the event with thank you notes and emails that share fundraising results and their impact on the nonprofit’s initiatives.
CareLink’s Cupcakes for Goodness Sakes included every one of these elements, and the results were stunning!
See the iProv Team in action!
Jordan Smith VP of Sales & Marketing, coordinated with the CareLink team and videographers to capture the magic of the day! Founder R.J. Martino and General Counsel Roxane Martino tasted all the treats with their families. VP of Product Sarah Olds, Creative Director Jake Whisenant, and Brand Manager Sarah Epperson lent a helping hand and goofy spirit by helping man the iProv-sponsored photobooth!
Leaning Into Theming
For a slightly more sophisticated feel, a themed gala is a tried and true fundraising method. By asking people to dress up, embrace a theme, and attend a night on the town, you earn an element of added excitement.
To curate a truly memorable experience, be sure to:
- Incorporate entertainment that fits the theme, such as live music, dance performances, and guest speakers
- Include a specific dress code, and don’t be afraid to go for a costume requirement or costume contest
- Gift quality memorabilia, either hand-crafted or created just for the event
Your themed gala should be organized with the same ingredients as the family-friendly event, but with a mature twist (swap cupcake decorating with a photo booth, replace a kiddie DJ with an educational speaker, etc).
Check out this piece on ALS in Wonderland: Under the Big Top to see this tactic in action.
Perhaps you don’t want to launch a fundraiser event solo. In that case, consider rallying the community through a Fundraising Face-Off! For this tactic:
- Rally individuals, clubs, local businesses, or any other group of people to form teams in support of a specific cause. They can be the same charity or different.
- Set a timeframe for the competition.
- Create one central platform like a social media page or website where each team can showcase their process and gather donations (be sure to provide clear instructions on donating).
- Encourage teams to get creative with fundraising strategies – organizing events, hosting auctions, selling merch, or crowdfunding campaigns can all do the trick. Provide regular updates on the leaderboard to show each team’s progress.
- Utilize marketing strategies to get the word out and have community members support their favorite teams.
- Fuel the competition with mini-events or challenges like a bake-off, talent show, or 5K run.
- To close off the competition, consider hosting an awards ceremony or celebration event. This can be as simple as a dinner, or as big as a gala!
This tactic is perfect for businesses that want to connect with other local leaders.
Let the Games Begin
Is your team big on sports? Exceptionally athletic? Perhaps your best fundraising route is a Super Final World Series, a slew of sports events that gather support for a cause over time.
For example, your company can organize 3 games over a 3 month period. They can be the same sport, or a combo of flag football, kickball, softball, etc. Invite partner companies or clients to form teams and enter the events, and plan them at public locations where local vendors can participate. Charge a low price for admission and enrollment, with proceeds going to your charity of choice.
Use a point system, or simply play for bragging rights! As you prompt the games on socials, newsletters, and company websites, be sure to put your cause at the forefront.
Tapping Local Businesses: The Scavenger Hunt
Fundraising events can take many forms. In fact, they don’t even have to be one singular event! Take the Scavenger Hunt, a buzzy challenge that brings together local businesses, sponsors, and community members through a series of interactive missions.
When we planned one for a client who wanted to raise funds for individuals with developmental disabilities, we mixed in-person assignments with social media engagement. Participants got to explore small businesses around town to gather clues (we had a blast coordinating with these folks ahead of time), and live streams were used to provide real-time updates.
This method allowed our client to engage with business peers, extend the impact of the event, and include every type of participant.
Fundraisers in Action: Easterseals Arkansas
The Easterseals Arkansas Fashion Event is a stellar example of an organization that’s perfected the unforgettable community experience. The annual showcase blends fashion, philanthropy, and inclusion to host engaging runway shows with diverse models. As a result, the event:
- Curates an immersive atmosphere of belonging and support
- Involves the community in the planning process
- Highlights creativity, storytelling, and authentic audience connection
Before planning your next event, be sure to browse the website for inspo!
iProv is proud to support the Easterseals Arkansas event every year. In fact, planning nonprofit events is one of our favorite ways to boost audience engagement for clients. Whether you're organizing a charity gala, a community fair, or a grassroots fundraiser, we’d love to help you transform your event into a catalyst for change!
Click here to schedule a free consultation to see how we can elevate your next fundraiser to new heights. Together, we can create an unforgettable experience.