When done well, events can be part of a sustained and integrated strategy that engages audiences, builds support, heightens awareness and expands reach.
That’s why keeping post-event buzz alive – that is, ensuring people stay excited, involved and impact-oriented after the fact – is just as important as hosting a successful soiree, gala or awards dinner.
On that note, here are some practical and straightforward ways to keep attendees talking and active in the aftermath of a nonprofit affair.
- Remind People of What a Good Time They Had. The power of visuals and images can be very persuasive triggers when it comes to reviving memories. Sharing photos of the good times had during an event can awaken and reinforce the positive emotions attendees felt as they dined, danced, chatted or bid the night away. In a subtle and unobtrusive way, this practice builds a mental bank of recollections that attendees file away for future decision making, helping to increase the likelihood of their repeat patronage, attendance and support the next go round.
Leverage social media, posting event photos on your nonprofit’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account and official website. Make the images shareable, so attendees can repost or email pics to their family, friends, colleagues and social-change networks, increasing your reach in the process.
- Give People an Assignment. We don’t mean the type of time- or effort-intensive ask that makes volunteers, donors and supporters feel like they have ‘yet another thing’ on their to-do lists. Make the request manageable – yet meaningful. Providing attendees with a post-event action request helps to reconnect them to the event and, by extension, the organization, while advancing your awareness-building, intelligence gathering or fundraising efforts. The task can be relatively passive or focused and intentional. Options include asking attendees to share a comment on your organization’s Facebook page or more targeted such as making an introduction to someone in their circle of influence that may be keen on your cause.
- Recognize Attendees. [tweet bird=yes] Simple acknowledgement can go a long way in keeping attendees’ momentum about a particular cause or mission alive. [/tweet] All too often, nonprofit supporters and donors don’t feel like their connection to an organization really makes a difference. Though attendees are often thanked for their presence during an event’s remarks as a matter of protocol, effective organizations should take it a step further. “Say thank you even when you don’t think you need to do it,” advises The Nonprofit Times. This can be in the form of an after-event appreciation email, a thank you card sent via postal mail (and personally signed by the executive director), a roster of names in an upcoming newsletter or social media shout-outs.
- Share Results. Be transparent and communicative about the results from the evening’s activities. Share information about proceeds. Let attendees know how their generosity is being used to propel the mission forward. Provide a narrative that builds trust and understanding . “People expect information, and if they don’t get it, they will complain,” writes Philanthropy magazine in “Transparency Can Keep a Nonprofit Out of Trouble”.
What tactics does your organization use to sustain excitement after fundraising events? How do you customize your approaches based on the event type?