How to Market Charity Events

Mary Gormandy White
Event Marketing

Are you looking for information on how to market charity events? Using effective marketing strategies is an important key to accomplishing your fundraising goals.

Define the Target Audience

Before you can begin marketing a special event, you must first determine the target audience for the event. Since your focus is on raising money for your organization, you may be tempted to define your target audience as "everyone". However, while you may be happy to accept donations from everyone who is willing to give money to your cause, it's not feasible to create a marketing plan with such a broad target.

Additionally, the fact that you aren't picky about where donations come from does not mean that the event itself will appeal to all groups of people evenly. Look closely at the type of event you are holding and really think about who it is likely to appeal to. The primary target audience should be the segment of the population that is most likely to attend the event. You can define secondary and tertiary targets as well, if there are additional groups you would like to target.

Others may participate, but your marketing efforts should be focused on those groups most likely to do so. For example, if you are holding a golf tournament on a weekday, your primary target audience will likely be executives who work for large corporations that support charitable activities and who like to play golf. If you are hosting a family-friendly festival to raise money for a children's charity, your primary target audience will likely be families with young children.

Prepare the Marketing Message

Once you have make a decision about the target audience for your event, the next thing you will need to do is create a marketing message. You'll need to come up with an appealing slogan and overall marketing message that will capture the attention of the people you want to reach and persuade them to participate in the event.

The marketing message that you select should convey information about what the event is in an appealing way. It should clearly convey how participating in the event will benefit attendees, as well as define the tie to a charitable organization.

Ideas for How to Market Charity Events

Once you know who you are marketing to and what the marketing message should be, it is time to decide how to begin getting the word out about your event. Choose the ideas for how to market charity events that are likely to reach members of your target audience and that make sense for the type of event that you are holding.

  • Website announcement - Create a page on your organization's website dedicated to promoting the event. Consider selling tickets directly from your site.
  • Online ticket sales - Consider using a website like Event Brite or Brown Paper Tickets to offer tickets for sale online.
  • Ticket outlets - Ask a few local retailers, professional offices or banks to serve as ticket sales outlets for your event.
  • Signage - Spread the word about your event by placing posters or flyers in the windows of stores, restaurants and offices around town.
  • Press releases - Write and distribute press releases about your charity event to local print and broadcast media, as well as to appropriate new media outlets.
  • Public service announcements - Contact community affairs representatives at local television and radio stations and inquire about the possibility of running public service announcements for the event.
  • Media sponsorships - Consider offering title media sponsorships to local media outlets in exchange for on-air promotion.
  • Guest appearances - Contact producers of local news programs and inquire about the possibility of scheduling representatives of your organization to be interviewed on the air in advance of the event.
  • Newsletter - Feature the event in your organization's newsletter, including details about the event itself and information on how to order tickets.
  • Email marketing -Use your organization's email marketing list to share information about the upcoming event.
  • Direct mail -Send special event invitation letters to selected members of your target audience.
  • Social media - Spread the word about your event through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Speaker's bureau - Contact the people in charge of scheduling speakers for local civic and professional organizations and inquire about the possibility of scheduling a representative of your organization to speak about the event at an upcoming meeting.

Marketing Is Essential

Using the suggestions presented here is a great starting point for building a successful marketing campaign for the event that you are working on. No matter how well organized an event is, it won't be successful if it isn't marketed effectively. Make sure that you dedicate sufficient time and energy into promotional efforts the next time that you are planning a special event fundraiser.

How to Market Charity Events