HOW TO INCREASE ATTENDANCE AT YOUR NON-PROFIT EVENTS

If an incredible event happens in a forest, and nobody attends, does it make a sound? An impact? Certainly not as much as it would have made with stellar attendance. You could plan the most incredible non-profit event imaginable, but with low attendance, you’re not going to meet your fundraising goals or spread your message of change. This makes non-profit events something of a numbers game. More attendees mean more donations and more support. Not only does low attendance means limited support, but it also fails to offer social proof for your events, making your brand seem lagging and unpopular. Good attendance is a barrier to entry, a requirement every event needs to meet for even planning to even matter. Okay, so attendance is important. But how do you get attendees non-profit event? Never fear, because Sparxo is going to share 4 ways to get more attendees to your non-profit events. 

  1. Supercharge Your Social Media

Our first stop: Social Media. But we’re not talking posts and emojis. No, we’re talking metrics and measurements, to not only raise awareness, but understand what can be improved, and how to optimize for awareness with data in mind. We know that writing long posts only to get no likes and five views can feel like shouting into the void. So let’s work smart, not just hard.

You’ll want to start by finding your core audience. Who has engaged with your posts already? What hashtags do they use? What are their interests? Find these core fans and consistently engage with their post. Taking it one step further, follow and interact with users these core fans follow and interact with. This way you can build an audience with similar interests. You’ll want to stay within a niche – stick to one to two relevant hashtags maximum, ideally with medium or low search traffic. You don’t want to be competing with the whole Twitterverse for views. With your posts, you’ll want to focus on telling a compelling story, not just facts on your organization. Try to attach names and faces to the work your non-profit does. This will connect with readers on a deeper level than bombarding them with simple statistics and details. 

Next, find out when your followers and this core audience are the most active on the platform. Maybe they like to use Instagram before work and Facebook before bed, checking their email before work. Free tools like Audiense can show you exactly when your audience is on social media like Twitter, and MailChimp will allow you to see when your newsletter emails are opened. Once you know when to post, schedule your posts. Write them in advance, and use free tools like Hootsuite to post automatically. On Instagram, be sure to take advantage of the “Stories” feature, so that users can see your content when they view your profile, rather than depending on a finicky algorithm. Planning your posts this way, even if you only have a small audience, all of them will actually see your message. This can mean you actually get more eyes on your posts than big accounts who post willy nilly, they’re core audience not online when they are. 

Last, give your audience an incentive to actually attend your events. Going from a screen to a live event can be a big jump for some. Many huge accounts fail with attendance because they offer no value proposition, just providing entertainment rather than an incentive to take action and come to an event. Stress the networking opportunities, the community, and experience at your events, not to mention the good they’ll be doing. You should also consider reaching out to influencers in your nonprofit’s niche to help you promote. Their endorsement could be enough to convince hesitant attendees to show up!

  1. Tackle Ticketing

More ticket sales not only means more attendance but greater revenue for your non-profit. Tackling ticketing should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it will take a little brain work first. You’ll want to start by analyzing the data from your ticket and registration platform. Determine where your conversions are actually coming from, that way you can who to market to, which demographics to shoot for. Ticket Software like Sparxo offers you a complete array of ticketing analysis tools, allowing you to determine exactly who your attendees are so you can reach them. The real them, not just points on a graph.

Your next step will be to write the best copy description for your event that you can. Is it simple? Does it offer a clear, concise, value proposition for attendees? Check out this template for event descriptions. 

Once you know exactly who your target attendee is, and you’ve written a  killer description to reach them, you’ll want to look for ways to streamline the ticketing process. What’s the experience like for a potential attendee? Go through the ticketing process yourself on both mobile and desktop, taking note of how much time and effort it takes just to buy a ticket. 

Finally, consider switching software. As an event planner, you’re looking for a free way to sell as many event tickets as possible and keep as much revenue as you can. However, most ticket sales software like Eventbrite or Ticketmaster take huge portions of sales, cost too much, promote competing events, and eclipse your own brand. You can use Sparxo to post your event and sell tickets for your event anywhere, letting you sell tickets online with no redirects – all for free!

  • Import your guest lists and sales lists from other systems
  • aggregate all of your customer data in one place
  • Keep 100% of your ticket sales
  • White Label, greatly improves SEO and Brand

 

  1. Master Messaging

Create a responsive landing page for your event, optimized for mobile and desktop, including desktop, platforms is a powerful step toward master your messaging. We recommend putting your ticket funnel front and center, linked to a mailing list, along with a description of your event and eye-catching media. This way if potential-attendees can’t commit to buying a ticket right away, the funnel will squeeze their email. Your non-profit will then have the chance to build a relationship over email, your company’s message of change and story’s convincing email sign-ups to buy a ticket in the future. 

Remember to optimize your page for SEO so interested parties can actually find your event. You can bet your bottom fundraising-dollar that people are searching for fun events in [city name]. You’ll want to want to make sure your event shows up. One way to enhance your SEO is to make sure your event page, ticketing page, and description are all in one place and hosted on your own site. Many ticketing software that claims direct integration (Looking at you, Eventbrite) redirect to their own website when customers buy their tickets. Others even host your description on their site, only with your event’s extension. Whitelabel software like Sparxo allows you to sell tickets directly from your site, with no redirects, meaning that all traffic you get will go to boosting your SEO, not your ticketing company’s SEO.

Consider running pay-per-click social media ads, aimed at your target demographic nearby your event location. These social media ads are both more affordable than traditional billboards and banners, and pay-per-click, meaning you only pay if someone actually engages with the ad. If you’re on a truly tight budget, stick with low-cost guerilla marketing tactics, like chalk and flyers in high traffic areas. Get creative with your event’s messaging and you’ll get more attention! Check out some of these low-cost guerilla marketing campaigns for nonprofits. 

  1. Nail Networking

Event data seems to get better and better every year. Modern ticketing software like Sparxo can give you boatloads of data on your attendees the moment they purchase a ticket, or even if they just consider buying one! This means you can know your attendee’s demographics, background, and past of engagement with your non-profit. Not only will you be able to organize your networking, but you can come into interactions knowing what you might have in common with specific attendees, and how best to tailor a pitch to their interests. In addition to making fundraising more successful, this will personalize and improve the attendee experience, encouraging retention and greater attendance 

You should always be following up with attendees after an event, with plenty of “Thank Yous,” memories from the events, and possibly a call to action. But one of the most neglected and most important components of a follow up is the ever-elusive post-event-survey. These can not only show you what’s working at events, but how to feature these positives, and fix flaws. This focus on feedback is key for building a loyal audience and retaining them. If you’ve been conducting surveys after your past events (which, again, you should be doing), you’ve probably gotten some negative feedback. It hurts, we get it. But these can often be some of the most valuable responses, as these dissatisfied attendees can exactly what your non-profit can improve on to deliver an even more incredible event next time. Look for trends in surveys, both what’s been done well and what’s been done less-than-well. If something tends to come up in review after review, brainstorm a solution with your team, and feature the change in your next newsletter. Not only will this let attendees know you’ve improved your events, but it also shows that you’re listening to your attendees and care about their experience. It’s a great way to boost retention and ultimately attendance at future events.

There you have it, four ways to boost your attendance. While anyone could improve attendance using these steps, very few actually would. It’s up to you to put in the time for your non-profit, even if it can feel like nobody is there to hear your event fall in the crowded forest of events. But follow these instructions and when you’re event drops, it won’t just make a sound – it’ll make an impact.

 

 

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