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Organizing a fundraiser requires an enormous amount of work, but it's all for naught if no one knows about it. One of the final steps in putting on the charity event is promoting it so people attend and/or donate money. Use the power of traditional media, social media and the ever-advantageous power of word-of-mouth to spread details about your fundraiser.
Work With the Media
Start your promotion by writing a press release that you can share with the local media, including newspapers, radio stations, television stations, magazines and news websites. Include all pertinent details, such as the beneficiary of the fundraiser and the impact on the community, where and when the fundraiser is taking place, and the monetary goal you strive to achieve. Add a quote or two from the head of the organization or whomever will benefit from the fundraiser to give the press release a little color; if possible, attach a high-resolution photograph. Send the press release far enough in advance that even monthly magazines can do a story; lead time is typically at least six to eight weeks in advance -- but the sooner, the better. Because other media outlets, such as newspapers and TV stations work on more of a day-to-day or week-to-week schedule, follow up two to three weeks before the fundraiser to ensure coverage. Additionally, don't negate the benefits of paid advertising, such as a print ad or website banner ad. Ask the company if discounted rates are offered for non-profit events to get the best price.
Use Social Media
Social media not only uses the power of online networking to spread the word about your fundraiser, it's also free -- a boon for your budget. Create a Facebook page for the cause, and then create an event page specifically for this fundraiser. Invite your friends and followers, and encourage them to, in turn, invite their friends and followers. Create a Twitter account and regularly tweet details about the fundraiser, including updates on reaching the monetary goal and how donating can make an impact on the community. If "hashtags" and "trending topics" are unfamiliar to you, enlist a social media-savvy volunteer to help you figure out the complex nature of this form of social media.
Recruit local volunteers and businesses to help promote your fundraiser. Invite speakers to present at the fundraiser and ask them to spread the word with their followers. Don't ask just anyone; keep the speakers on topic. For example, at a cancer fundraiser, ask a local medical practice to do a brief presentation on cancer screenings or a barber shop to cut hair to donate to a wig charity. At a fundraiser for the animal shelter, invite a dog trainer to give a demonstration on best training practices. Ask a local restaurant to donate catering or a gift card for a raffle drawing at the event, or appeal to a financial institution to sponsor the fundraiser; these businesses like to tout their good deeds, so they'll be happy to promote their event in exchange for good publicity.
Don't Negate Word of Mouth
Time-honored and -tested, word of mouth can be the most powerful way to promote your fundraiser. Start by emailing your friends and family about the event. If there's a way to donate online, send long-distance loved ones a link so they can participate in the fundraiser. Keep that link in your email signature so that every time you send an email the recipient knows about your cause.
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.