Q&A: How to Master Nonprofit Event Planning and Promotion


Events are a great way to drive awareness and raise funds for your nonprofit, but planning and ensuring their success can feel overwhelming.


We're taking the most popular questions from our latest webinar and expanding upon them so you can better understand how you can navigate the world of nonprofit event marketing and take away some tips on using it to help you achieve your marketing goals. Event Marketing 


What should I do when I'm starting to plan my events?
Start by sitting down and planning out your event. Think about your goals and the type of event you’ll want to have along with the activities and whether it will be in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Once you’ve got that decided, create your event using Constant Contact to add in all of your details and start promoting your event.


Create promotions via:

  • Email: Use a series of emails to announce your event and encourage them to register
    • Email 1: Event announcement - ask them to save the date
    • Email 2: Event registration - Let them know to register for your event and provide your programming of exciting activities
    • Email 3: Last-chance reminder - Remind them to register with a sense of urgency on when registration will close
  • Social media: Use a series of 3 posts to promote your event. Plus, you can add additional posts to continue engaging the audience. Let them know how you’re preparing, amp up excitement by talking about past events, and encourage sharing.
  • Text or SMS: If you’re already using SMS marketing, be sure to promote the event to your subscribers there.
  • Be sure to incorporate your offline postcards and flyers as well. Connect these promotions to your online registration by using a shortened URL to the registration page and a QR code to allow respondents to easily scan.


What are some best practices for hosting a webinar event?

When it comes to hosting a webinar event, you want to ensure that your audience is going to receive some sort of benefit or value out of it. Include it your webinar title and the content within the event itself so it's easily visible.


Have a method to allow people to easily engage with you. You might run polls and be sure to encourage people to ask questions. Let them know the steps they need to take to participate and ask those questions.


It’s also a good idea to set up reminder emails to remind your audience to attend the event with the needed link and information to get into the session. Send webinar reminder emails 24 hours and 1 hour before the event starts.


For more information and ideas check out our recording called How to Run Great Virtual Events.



How often should I promote an event?

Depending on your timeline, you could use a series of 3 emails and posts to get the word out about your event. Let them save the date, ask them to register, and provide a reminder to register.



How to identify which channels I should increase my presence in to increase outreach and donations?

Focus on email, social media, and text/SMS. These are the major channels to promote and communicate about your events and other fundraising campaigns. Pay attention to your metrics, especially on social media so you can determine which social channels are more effective for your audience. About a week later, send an email showing the event’s impact and your progress.



What are some best practices to build interest in an event?

You’ve got to ramp up and get people excited about the event. Tell them about your organization’s goals and who or what they’ll be helping. Show them how much fun people had at your last event. You can even share, with their permission, quotes from past attendees to show others the value they got out of the event.



What can I do to connect with donors and/or volunteers?

Find volunteers who you’ve worked with in the past along with other local donors and people within your network. Be sure to spread the word on social media, not to mention those impacted by your mission. Check out volunteermatch.org as well to get in front of more volunteers.


When it comes to donors, events are a great way to bring people in. During the event, ask them to donate. You can use a text-to-give tool to easily collect donations there, and provide a QR code to scan to donate to the cause. Challenge them to help you reach your goals. A digital goal meter can be extremely helpful in letting the audience visually see your progress and challenging them to give more.


Don’t forget the follow-up part of this as well. You can use a wealth-screening tool to analyze your audience to see whether you can identify some who could be major donors. For anyone who comes back as a “top-tier” person, you may want to reach out with a personal call asking them to donate. For tiers below, you can segment your email list and create targeted asks based on what you know about the audience making them more likely to give.



We're about a month out from our event and haven't sold a lot of tickets. Is that normal? Do people usually wait until the last minute? Or do we need to be worried? 
It really depends on the event and your audience. A lot of people do tend to do things closer to the event as they are more likely to know what their schedule is on that day. Keep posting about the event on your social channels and letting people know via email. You can try adding a sense of urgency with how many tickets are left. Plus show some videos or images of event prep to generate excitement. That may also help. Some organizations give away leftover tickets right before the event so they can fill the room and hopefully at least get people there who are willing to bid on items and donate.



When is the best time to follow up with your attendees after an event?

Within 24 hours following the end of an event, send a “thank you” email recapping the event and progress toward your goals. You can add a donation appeal to this email and remind them what you’re working toward.


How do I use DonorPerfect to track event sponsorship and ticket sales and is there a fee to connect DonorPerfect to Constant Contact?

Any questions about pricing and integration functionality should be directed to DonorPerfect as the integration is handled on their side.



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