Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Non-profit Fund Raising: The Warm Fuzzy Formula

Keep influencers in mind, make the benefits emotionally appealing and be systematic if you want to motivate adults to come out and donate money to your cause. As a board member of a local non-profit, the Wright- Locke Farm Conservancy I saw how an event promotion on a tiny budget executed by volunteers could work like a charm.

The pitch was pure emotion. A warm and fuzzy promotion was designed for kids and for parents looking for good experiences for their kids. The copy: “Pat an alpaca, cuddle a bunny and kiss a pig…dance…search for prizes….explore this special place.” The visual: an evocative photo of the Farm barns.

As always, methodical marketing paid off. Our vice chair, Sally Quinn, an experienced community organizer, executed an integrated campaign using print, PR, email, a road sign, flyers and email all with the same benefits and visual.

The distribution of email was critical. Sally made sure she had some email lists from various sources that had a high percentage of likely prospects – the type of people who hmmm… might be active in local school issues and environmental groups. She rounded up 12 lists in total representing interests from improving playgrounds to protecting ponds. Our volunteer IT guy deduped the lists. She sent only two well timed emails so as not to annoy anybody. The text explained the events and sent people to the website for further information.

The print distribution got into the right (little) hands. Sally convinced five local pre-schools to give an attractive printed invitation card to every student. And she personally distributed the card to families attending children’s theater performances.

The PR effort focused on highly targeted outlets: Announcements were place in seven PTA Newsletters. Listings were posted on two online community calendars and two community broadcast outlets.

Signage was equally targeted. Posters with the same image and offer as the cards went up in seven schools, four preschools, several high traffic local stores and a couple of churches with big Sunday School programs. Knowing that posters that are sent out don’t always go up, Sally personally drove around with a second batch of posters which she personally posted. And the site of the event had a big sign out front.

No possible source of attendance was neglected. Every board member was exhorted to give invitations to friends and family and given an email to forward to their own contacts.

This marketing model applies to any event at any scale. Good emotional appeals to decision makers and influencers; an integrated plan; consistent copy and graphics; good lists and distribution; a multi-media campaign; and the personal touch, all combined to motivate action. And the cuddly concept definitely helped. The result was a good crowd, a lot of fun for all and a nice pile of money!

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Anonymous Fundraising Ideas said...

Thats a great fundraising idea. Its very creative. Check out some other easy Fundraiser Ideas at ABC Fundraising

May 12, 2010 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Roger Wilson said...

We called it a "funraiser." Donations were voluntary although there was a suggested donation per family. My point though is not really about fundraising ideas, but about how to effectively promote events.

May 12, 2010 at 11:09 PM  

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