Planning a Fundraising Event – Promotion

Installment 8 of Planning a Fundraising Event – Promotion

You cannot have a successful fundraising event without effective and sufficient promotion efforts. Once you have everything in place or in progress, you can begin your promotion campaign to spread the news about your exciting fundraising event. You can simplify this process down to four steps.

Email Series

I have discussed the benefits of utilizing an email series when you onboard a new donor prospect. Using an email series should be at the heart of your promotion campaign. Also remember that multiple reminders will be critical to ensure that your donor list remembers and discovers your event. They may not always open all of your emails, or they may simply have a lot on their minds and may forget. The minimum number of emails you should send for your promotion is three. 

Email Steps

  • Initial event announcement email. Use terms such as, “Save the Date.” Send this as soon as you have identified and solidified your event location and date. This provides potential attendees an opportunity to mark this on their calendars before other tempting invitations may come their way.
  • The second email should offer an event registration option. This email should also highlight more of the event logistics and attractions so that your potential attendees are more enticed to attend and commit themselves to attend. You are competing with many things they can do with their time, make sure you give them ample time to mark their calendar and demonstrate a commitment so that they are less likely to cancel. Include a direct link to your registration form in this email.
  • You can certainly send other emails to further pique the interest of potential attendees and to keep your event fresh on the minds of your registered attendees. However your last should be a “Last Chance” email. This is your urgency email. This is for your stragglers who often wait until the last minute to commit or perhaps weren’t sure of their ability to attend until closer to the date. Always include a link to your registration form in each email.

Each email should be succinct and easy to read. Make it attractive, verbally and aesthetically, but don’t burden your potential attendees with too much language. Ensure you edit your emails numerous times to find ways to shorten the message. Help your readers make a quick decision by keeping the email short and sweet.

Bring a focus to the “call-to-action” registration form so that the reader can’t miss it and feels urgency to finish this step before moving on with their day. Ensure your registration form leads to an event landing page that provides even more information about the event to further excite your reader in their decision to attend. 

Always remember that many of your readers will receive your emails on a mobile device, so ensure that your email campaign is mobile device friendly. This includes the access to your registration form.

Social Media

As mentioned in previous posts about utilizing multi-channel donor relationship tactics, don’t forget your social media campaign to promote the fundraising event. This is an excellent way to boost your online engagement in your event planning and promotion. 

Suggested Strategies

  • Visual Content draws the readers’ eyes. Ensure you are implementing a strategy that is visually appealing and relating to the event or the fundraising purpose of the event. 
  • Live video is a great way to engage those who scroll through their social media feed. Provide your viewers an insight into the planning and preparation for the event. Make them feel like they are part of the excitement and effort involved to make it happen.
  • Always include a link to your event registration page.
  • Use memories of previous fundraising events to provide insight into what a great event it will be. Include a memory and another opportunity to register. 

Staff, Vendors, & Registrants

Your staff and vendors are great resources to spread the word for you beyond your actual promotion campaign. As mentioned before, your vendors have a vested interest in your event, almost more than you do. For the staff, send them an email encouraging easy ways for them to spread the word. You can even provide them with prepared narratives or social media posts that they can share on their own. You can also encourage your supporters to share by providing ways to share your social media posts or by forwarding your email campaigns. Put a reminder in the post to let them know they are welcome to do so and how much you appreciate them spreading the word.


Take advantage of your local media outlets’ public service announcements. These are free ways to promote your event in the most commonly accessed media sources. This includes radio, television, and the web. Don’t hesitate to find out the additional platforms that are frequented by your community and spread the word in as many large-scale community accessible media options as you can. This can include posting events on social media, local event calendars, and classifieds.

Last minute giveaway tickets can be great to finish filling the room if sales haven’t done so by a certain deadline. You want a full room. This will make attendees realize how important your event and cause is. This will inspire them to give and be further involved in the grand solution that is bigger than them. You can even make this a contest to give the tickets away so that the frenzy to win increases the feeling of privilege to attend.