5. Taking it to market
The cause worth supporting was decided upon, a non-profit who advocates for this cause has been contacted and made aware of the charity opportunity, the website was created to add legitimacy, and now the hard part.
First time events have no traction before you embark on the marketing journey. With or without the website, you will need to generate content using images, video, and good copy. Remember the words ‘Target Market’? Every event will have certain demographics that it appeals to. Make sure to know your audience, because the images and copy you produce will have to be something they can connect to. If you are having a hard time coming up with catchy graphics and silky smooth sentence structures, reach out to your friends and family. Some may be willing to help out for free, some for free admission to the event, and others require a small stipend. Consider having these bits of marketing collateral in your back pocket:
Logo or Text Image
Abridged Press Release
With these items on hand, you are ready to start the reach out process. The world of marketing is incredibly multi-faceted and there is no one source that will lead to your event’s success. I went ahead and played the broad spectrum. I would say bare minimum 30 days of the road show to get people’s interest.
LinkedIn- Post status updates, join groups and post content, reach out to connect to local businesses, add an additional job function as Event Manager. Keep content original and not just a pure solicitation with an attached link. I know that is 95% of LinkedIn but let’s break that trend shall we.
Facebook- Post status updates, reach out to friends directly, create a Facebook event and invited the whole lot, added funny images or content.
Flyers- Remembering your target market, hang flyers on popular streets and ask relevant businesses if they would be willing to hang your flyer. Put some on your friend’s refrigerator.
New Media- Find the main news sources in your area and go to their website. Search for a place to post your event for submission and post it everywhere you can. Also if there is a media contact that is focused on a subject similar to your idea, reach out to them. And not with some generic Hello, blah blah. Be personable. Tell them what spurred the idea. Tell them you’re a local. Ask politely that they cover the story. Most importantly, write a great press release that allows editors to simply copy and paste your content.
Now that you have done all these things… Do it all the again for the days leading up to the event. LinkedIn cycles through posts as does Facebook and your flyers may have come down or been covered up. For media sources, only circle back for ones that gave you no response. Use your best efforts to keep the relationships cordial in case you throw the whole shebang again next year.
6. Make it memorable
An event could go a lot of different ways. I’m talking intentions not natural disasters. Your goal maybe to have a relaxing family event or to have a high powered rock show full of head-bangers and hillbillies. Regardless of your approach, consider your target market and how to make the experience exciting and impactful to them. When considering how to make my event pop, the first step I took was to open the floor up to conversation. Speak with your friends, families, and folks that may be interested in the event and see what they have to offer. This could be in the form of good advice or even donated resources. Ideas can emerge from bake sale to raffle, games to graphic art. Write out your ideas and sort through which sound the most engaging.
Try and bring your attendees to an experience that is out of their ordinary life. Everyone is used to an action packed movie, but how about an action packed day? I took the route of creating an Amateur Kayak Surfing contest that may draw contestants in who have never tried the sport at all. Their hearts will be racing as they break through waves or glide down the line. Those adrenaline filled moments will be enough to make it memorable. It’s not one thing that makes an event worthwhile; it is the buildup of the many small things. Attention to detail should not be overlook. A small graphic or creative display can go a long way to add to the overall appearance of your event.
7. Thank your Audience
People feed off positive energy. If we could be nourished by it as food, we’d eat complements with a spoon. The point is, appreciate your audience. These are the folks that have made an effort to show up and enjoy your event, so make it sincere. Your audience is the lifeblood of your event and without them; nothing we have worked for would exists. Let them know they are part of the foundation of this first year’s event, that their donations are bettering the world around them, and encourage them to continue down the path of helping others.
Check out: Creating My First Charity Event 1 of 2