Ideas for Advertising Events
Good Advertising Will Make Your Event Successful
How to Advertise Your Events
Advertising For Events is something that many volunteers are looking for. Below are some of the things I have done in the past that cost little or no money.
Have you ever tried to promote for an Event without spending much money? It is possible but requires some creativity along with time and effort and of course, some great volunteers. Whether it is a fundraiser or a community event, advertising is the key to its success. A lot of events are put on by non profit organizations with a very small advertising budget so skill in promoting it is really a challenge.
I have been on a many advertising committees and have learned quite a bit about how to get the word out about an event without spending any money or very little. I would like to share these ideas here and hope that you find them helpful.
Let's face it. The less your money you have to spend organizing your event, the more money you will be able to generate for your cause. The old saying that "you have to spend money to make money" does not always hold true and I can prove it.
I hope these ideas for non-profit organizations are helpful. Maybe you have some other ideas you would like to share. If so, please leave them in the Guestbook below.
Give Everyone A Job To Do - The More People Involved - The More Success!
Check List for Successful Event Advertising
Banners and Signs
Calendar of Events
1. Organize a Great Advertising Committee
The first thing that one needs to do is to get a great committee together. I try to make sure I have someone who is a good writer, someone who doesn't mind doing leg work and someone artistic and someone good on the computer.
A lot of times one may find that it is just easier to do it themselves than to delegate it to someone else. This attitude can hurt your project because you need to get lots of people involved. Word of mouth is one of the best advertising techniques.
A great committee is probably the number one most important part of advertising but even as important is to remember to use your committee and to delegate responsibilities.
Communication is the key to the success of any group and I can't begin to express the importance. Communicating with your committee is also very important and it is easier to do if they all have internet access. I would not, however, not use someone who does not have email because that person may have a lot to offer. Listen to your committee and don't be afraid to change a preconceived notion of what should be done. New ideas and suggestions help keep your advertising fresh and appealing. All our Freedom Fest Committee Chairs contribute to the Advertising plus some other local volunteers who are willing to distribute flyers and promote the event.
The committee needs to have:
- Name of the Event
- Online Presence
- Assign Sub Committee Chairpersons (your subcommittees could be the following:
- Website(s) and Blogs
- Social Media
- Adding Event to online sites
- Flyers and Banners
The logo should be used on everything from flyers to websites. Be consistent. Work everything together. Always have your website address on flyers, social media, emails, etc. Don't forget to share your flyer with all the volunteers and participants. Keep your committee motivated and communicate regularly.
Once again, the more people involved - the more successful your event will be!
There is one thing that almost all non profit organizations have in common and that is they all need more dedicated volunteers. We are fortunate in our town that there are many people who have a true desire to make things better so they don't mind volunteering for specific events. It is finding people who can go the extra mile and attend the monthly meetings and make decisions and do the planning that we have a problem with. Everyone is so busy these days.
Friends of the Park does recognize 2 Volunteers each year as our Volunteers of the Year. They receive a framed certificate and a personalized picket is placed with their name in our playground. It is only natural for volunteers to want to feel needed and appreciated.
Facebook is a wonderful place to find volunteers if you already have a good many people following you or your event page.
Calling and having a personal conversation with a possible volunteer is probably the best. Some people just need to be asked personally.
2. Create a Website
A Website for your event does not have to be expensive. There are companies that offer you a place to write about things you are passionate about just by signing up. They have certain criteria and guidelines that must be followed but this is an important way to promote your event. You will want it to be recognized by search engines so when folks are searching for information about your event, it will show up. Be sure to include the URL on your flyer and post all the latest information as well as photos from previous years.
We also have a Veterans Park Fan Page on FaceBook and a Pendleton Happenings Fan Page
Twitter and Face Book are both great places to promote your event but both of these will work better if you have built a large local following. Find people who you think might be interested and establish a relationship whether it is as a Face Book friend or a Twitter follower. Hopefully each person you connect with will in turn pass the information about your event onto all of their followers.
On Face Book you can create an Event Page. This way you can send out invitations to all of your local friends and share in groups and fan pages and of course, your own page. All you have to do is to filter your friends to show the ones in your local network. You then send out an invitation to each of them. Encouraging your committee to do the same really helps.
Facebook Fan Pages are a wonderful way to promote an event and be sure to tag lots of people when you post your flyer. That way it will be displayed on their wall and each of their friends will see it. I have been amazed at how easy it is to spread the word using fan pages.
On LinkedIn you can easily join groups with similar interest and that are local. Then you submit your event news and it will appear on their newsletter that goes out to all that group's members.
Pinterest is a good place to promote, also. I have a Pendleton Events Board and try to put flyers, websites, etc. on there.
3. Video or Slideshow
It is fun for folks to look back and remember what fun they had the year before. This one is from our Scarecrow Contest which was a part of our Fall Harvest Festival. Remember to show the link to your website on your video. The videos don't have to be long. In fact, I have found that people are more likely to listen and watch a short video of about 2 to 3 minutes. I think you will be pleased with the traffic that your video will receive.
4. Submit To Online Newspapers
Plan ahead as this must be done at least 30 days prior to event in most cases. Some online newspapers require as much as 3 months in advance.
Online Newspapers offer Calendars of Events for local happenings and it is free. It also helps to get your event recognized by Google so people can easily find it when searching the internet. You can post the link to your page for more information.
There are also some online magazines that offers this service so take advantage of each one that is out there. Submit your event and url to as many places as you can find.
Creating a blog is easy and free.
I like to use Blogger but there are many other blogging sites that are just as easy. Add pictures from past events and rss your blog into your lens. You can also benefit from finding other local bloggers and following them and hopefully they will follow your blog as well. You can comment on other blogs using your Event URL as your identity. This way when the reader clicks on your avatar or name, they will be directed to your blogs.
6. Link from Other Websites
Local Websites Can Easily Link To Your Event Lens for free promotion
The Town of Pendleton is very good about linking to my Event Pages as is South Carolina Information Highway and others.
7. Design an Eye catching Flyer
I use two programs to make my fliers: Microsoft Picture It and Microsoft Home Publishing. Each one of these offers something to help make my fliers more attractive. Each allows non profit use of their clip art which is the nicest thing about these programs.
Printing fliers can be very costly so this is what we do. First, I ask each member if they would mind printing off at least 5 fliers and posting them around town. Most of the time people are willing to do this.
Secondly, I usually will buy ink and paper and use that as my inkind donation or find someone to sponsor the printing.
We are also very fortunate to have a Friends of the Park member who is also a printer and has been so very generous in donating printing for us. These will be distributed to businesses around town and handed out at events such as Pendleton Recreation Association's Diamond Day, Farmers Market, Various Organizational meetings, etc. Don't forget to post one at your local library and the Post Office if they will allow it. All restaurants are a great idea as well as your town hall.
The best places that I have found to post fliers and have some available for pick up are at grocery stores, hair salons, restaurants, doctor and dentist offices, pharmacies, Libraries, hotels,and insurance offices. Just think of places that people will be going the most and have them available there.
We have done mini fliers printing 2 or even 4 fliers per page which are nice for one on one distribution. Printing fliers for distribution to school aged students is a big expense and unless you have a sponsor willing to pay for this, it would not be worth it. It is good to go schools to publish the information in their newsletters and this would not cost anything.
Table Toppers are usually successful but do not hold up well in restaurants where they are constantly spraying and cleaning tables. They usually will not hold up over a week unless you have plenty of the upright plastic kind that takes inserts. Restaurants and bars are usually given these by beer companies and sometimes will let us use them. We have even taken some old ones that were donated by a distributor and took all the advertising off with mineral spirits. It is a lot of work for only one week but sometimes it is worth it.
Sometimes, it is possible to get School Art Classes involved in this.
What about asking folks to make a larger sign for their back car window. This could attract some attention especially in the car rider lines at the schools.
SAVE THE DATE Cards
Save the Date for An Important Event
These Save The Date Cards are really beneficial for early promotion. Be sure to include your website address of your non profit organization or event as well as your facebook fan page.
These can be given out at events prior to yours (with permission, of course). For instance, we plan to distribute our Fall Festival Save the Dates at the local Farmer's Markets this summer. Our Farmer's Market begins June 6 so we will start giving them out about midway through. These are also nice to hand out at other local events.
This year I think I am going to do the "Save the Date" cards on a business card. I will probably use the Chubby size business card and place the festival information on one side and the scarecrow contest information on the other side. I will watch for specials on Zazzle which they offer from time to time. I may also check out sites that offer free business cards. Of course, I could print them myself but by the time you buy the special paper and ink, you could have them professionally printed.
You could actually just reproduce your flyer on shirts. That would be great advertisement, wouldn't it? By using the Print On Demand Companies, you will not have to invest any of your hard raised dollars to buy products to sell.
Using TShirt Transfer paper is so easy and fairly inexpensive. Each committee member could purchase a certain color shirt and print out the design and transfer it onto their shirt. Committee members could start wearing these a month or so before the event which would be walking advertisement.
Special Event Shirts for Committee
9. Banners and Signs
Banners are expensive to have printed but here is another way:
Our organization can not afford to have a banner printed so we found these two ways to make banners to hang at prominent locations around town: Old Hunters Store, Bi-Lo Grocery Store and Veterans Park Ball Fields. Be sure to get permission and it usually has to go before the town, too, to make sure you follow the Sign Ordinance.
Central Textiles is a company that makes blue jean pocket material and they have been kind enough to donate bolts of this material for our use. One of our members owns Village Alterations and she donates putting the gromets on the banners for easier hanging. This fabric will take permanent marker. I always have a supply of permanent markers but if you don't, you might find a store willing to donate some.
The best banners that I have found to use are the Coca-Cola banners which have their logo on one end and the rest is blank. They are plastic so hold up good in the weather and have long heavy duty string for attaching to fences or buildings. Our Bi-Lo Grocery Store has been able to get us some of these banners from their Coke Distributor and we use the same ones year after year by just changing the date. In fact, Bi-Lo is a great place to display a banner or large sign and they are usually willing to do this especially for non profit organizations. We have hung them where the carts are parked inside the grocery store and it seems to get a lot of attention. In a small town like ours, the grocery store probably has the most daily traffic.
Recycle Old Campaign Signs
We had recently held our local election for Mayor so there were many signs available that were donated for our use. One of our members took the old campaign signs and painted both sides completely white with some left over paint she had around her house. Then I used the Shiny Folk Art Paints to paint these attention getting signs on both sides. We put them around town at various locations where they could be seen from the road in both directions. We will save these for the next year and just change the date.
Reminder: Be sure to check with your town first regarding their sign ordinance. Usually, you can request a permit for a temporary sign and the fee might be waived. It is always best to check first.
10. Work with Other Organizations
Find the contact person for each organization in your community and ask if they will either post your event on their website or send an email to their members.
We have several organizations that are willing to do this for us and it is always greatly appreciated. Just send an email request with the general information and a contact number and attach your flier.
Our area churches are also really good about publishing the information in their newsletters and bulletins.
Send out an email to your membership and ask each member to send out to their friends and family members. Word of mouth is often excellent advertisement.
School Marquees or Electric Boards are Great
Usually it just takes asking the right person well in advance
Our town has a marquee and are willing to post events that are open to the public and benefit the community. Some businesses around town have marquees and will post the event information if they are giving plenty of notice. The schools are usually willing to post the event on their marquees once school is out. Since ours is a summer event this really helps especially the schools that are on busy highways and their marquee is easily seen.
Pendleton High School was kind enough to put our Freedom Fest info on their marquee. Pendleton High School is located on Hwy 187 better known as Wild Hog Road and it gets a lot of traffic in the summer with people going to the lake and also people going to work at the Clemson Research Park or shopping at Lodges Landscape which is across the street. Thank you PHS.
Plan to do this at least 30 days in advance
Writing a good press release takes time and talent. I usually like to have someone on my committee who specializes in this.
The next thing is to make sure you get it to the right person at the newspaper or magazine and follow up to make sure they received it and ask if they need any additional information. This can be done online but it is also a good idea to send via email to a specific person at the paper.
You can also get into Online Press Releases and Articles which is a good idea.
12. Public Service Announcement
Learn how to write an effective Public Service Announcement. There are sources available online with instructions.
Most radio stations will require specific guidelines to be followed when submitting a PSA. Find out what those are and follow them. After your PSA is written be sure to send directly to the right person. This may take some phone calls to find out this information but will be well worth your time.
Using Hospitality Tax
More ideas for Advertising
If your event brings tourists into your town, you might qualify for some Hospitality Tax money which can be used for Advertising. Every town has their own procedure to apply and it would be worth it to check it out.
Our Fall Harvest Festival does bring in tourists so the Pendleton Leadership Foundation qualified for some monies from the Hospitality Tax. I think we used this money very wisely by purchasing a full two page (on the fold) ad with a local paper, Seneca Journal Messenger. We offered small business card sized ads to the local businesses to make the border at the small price of $25. 40 businesses took out ads and I think they were very pleased. This allowed us enough money to make this ad purchase. We used the inside of the ad for the schedule of events. It is a lot of leg work but well worth it.
Photo: Ad for 2011 Fall Harvest Festival in the Seneca Journal Messenger - this ad was actually 2 pages on the fold so was hard to miss if you were reading the paper.
These fundraising ideas for non-profit organizations is geared toward my local area but I hope you will find some information that will be helpful no matter where you live.
Good Luck with your Fundraiser or special event! I realize that not all of these are absolutely free unless you can donations but the cost is very little compared to what could be spent.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Anyone may comment. Your comment will appear when approved. Thanks so much!