Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Use Social Media to Raise Awareness for Your Fundraiser and Organization

As more corporations realize that investing in original content and social media is a necessity rather than luxury, the same philosophy should apply to your fundraiser for your nonprofit organization.
Paws in the City Dancing With the Stars
Top Hat & Tails Dancing with the Stars 2009
Whether it's the Cattle Baron's BallDIFFA Dallas' Masquerade Ball, Paws in the City's Top Hat & Tails, Fort Worth's Cowtown Ball  or New York's legendary Met Gala, multimedia content and social media can be a gamechanger.

Why?  Because social media grows your nonprofit's profile not only in your community but also globally.  The right message and right campaign can resonate beyond the city in which an event takes place.  As your organization's profile grows, this can have a positive effect on your bottom line and fundraising effort.

How do you do this?  Produce content before, during and after the event and promote it to all relevant social media platforms as well as your organization's website.

Before the Event
Have a marquee auction item?  Detail how awesome it is via a blog post or Instagram video and promote it to social media platforms in the weeks leading up to the event.
Take, for instance, The TACA Custom Auction Gala.  It is an amazing evening that celebrated its 48th year in September and always has wonderfully decadent auction items.  2013 was no different.

Among the items offered this year was a trip to Art Basel in Miami with a private guided tour by a famed art curator.  Following that was a trip to the Caribbean with a two-night stay at Rosewood's Little Dix Bay in British Virgin Gorda.

An experience like this is a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  In the days leading up to the event, a well-crafted blog post detailing the experience and thanking the sponsors generates buzz for the auction items and the event itself.  It also offers an additional mention to key big ticket sponsors.  That mention can be a part of your sponsorship package.

Incorporate this strategy for a number of premiere auction items to help build anticipation.  It not only raises awareness but it can potentially generate early bids online which helps your bottom line and fundraising efforts.

During the Event
People love live events.  That is why sporting events are so popular on Twitter and social media.  Games are a way for people to participate in a real-time conversation online.  The same principle applies to a fundraiser as people are rarely without their smartphones.  Incorporating Twitter and Instagram into your overall event strategy is a smart and cost-effective way to engage guests and potential supporters.

Think about it.  Each year DIFFA's House of DIFFA Masquerade Ball offers some of the most over-the-top, fabulous fashions on the Dallas social calendar.  Posting photos to Instagram and Twitter of the red carpet arrivals and the runway fashions featuring the relevant fashion designer hashtags is a great way to put the event in the social media conversation.  If a designer like Marc Jacobs or Oscar de la Renta retweets or likes a photo with your organization's name in it, that is a huge boost for your nonprofit's profile.

Another example: share the story of an individual impacted by the organization.  I emceed the Nexus Westapher Kickoff in September.  I posted a photo of former Nexus patient, Toni Lambert, sharing her inspirational story to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  This was not planned and was simply something I did because I was moved by her testimonial.  It received numerous retweets on Twitter and more than 30 combined likes on Facebook and Instagram.

Why?  Because people love good news.
Social media promotion of Nexus Westapher Kickoff
Note what Charlene Taylor said on Facebook: "There is a Nexus by me on Motley across from Eastfield College and I often wonder about what that center does."

With one simple photo, promoted to three different social media platforms, we helped educate one person about the Nexus Recovery Center.  Could it make a tangible impact?  Perhaps.  The thing is that it put Nexus in the conversation as the event was happening creating multiple social media impressions.

After the Event
Many organizations do a good job wrapping up the event and announcing the amount of money it raised on their websites via a blog post.  I suggest organizations take it a step further and produce a compelling video that details how wonderful the event was, how lively the auctions got and the positive impact the gala continues to make in the community.

Video is a powerful tool that can show emotion in ways a blog post can't.

How Gina Miller and That Sports Girl Media Can Help
While organizations already incorporate content and social media into their overall fundraising and event efforts, many times, it's a secondary consideration manned by an overworked volunteer or assistant.
Gina Miller at House of DIFFA's 2013 gala
Having a focused content and social media strategy can raise awareness for your nonprofit which can ultimately have a tangible effect on its bottom line.  Having a professional implement a targeted social media and content plan can alleviate the pain of doing this and let you, your volunteers and staff members focus on their primary roles.

Gina Miller has experience hosting and emceeing multiple events.  Ranging from 5k's and panel discussions to black tie galas, Gina is passionate about engaging your guests.  By having Gina and her That Sports Girl Media team at your event, you can also benefit from their social media and original content expertise.  Gina has more than 30,000 personal followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  That's a lot of exposure for your organization.

Contact Gina Miller and That Sports Girl Media to find out how they can take your event to the next level.

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