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Tuesday
Feb142012

Social Media: An Ingredient to the Event Planning Recipe for Nonprofits

When is the last time your nonprofit spent months planning a fundraising event? Did your organization use social media to help promote it? Probably not. According to a new survey from Constant Contact, the number one reason nonprofits aren't using social media for event planning is because 54% admit that they just don’t know how to use it effectively. Oftentimes nonprofits are so busy trying to do the work of more people than they actually have, that social media tends to get put on the backburner, particularly as it’s still evolving and unfolding, for everyone.  The survey revealed just how critical of a marketing tool social media really is when it comes to event planning for nonprofits. A whopping 77% of event planners currently use social media to market their events, and another 14% plan to do so in the next year.

When your nonprofit is planning events, it is critical to build relationships both on- and offline, and relationship building requires follow up and reminders, oftentimes on multiple platforms. The survey also reported that event planners still rely heavily on email marketing, online event marketing tools, websites and print advertising to promote their events, indicating that traditional forms of event marketing still play an essential role, despite the evolution; which Chris Litster, Vice President and General Manager of Event Marketing for Constant Contact addresses:

Event marketing has evolved. It's no longer just direct mail invitations, phone calls and simply hoping that people will come. Now, it's social media conversations, real-time communication and online video--true engagement across platforms to create a holistic event experience from start to finish.

The good news about this evolution, and planning events that are promoted through social media platforms, is that last minute events are easily shareable on social media platforms. If you can put enough passion behind your event or action, and cause enough of a ruckus, it's possible to get your event to spread quickly. Sharing has never been such a global wildfire before. Even though it's simple to forward an email or a text message, it just isn't quite as simple as that Facebook share button: you can share from a website, a mobile phone, to  your own page, a group page, a friend's page, or that Retweet button that only takes a single click. The respondents who have reaped the benefits of this click-to-share world we call social media only plan to increase their efforts. Of those currently using social media efforts to market events, 81% said that they will increase their usage in the next year, while the remainder reported that their level of usage will remain the same.

Has your nonprofit felt that social media spark yet? If not, do you plan to join and increase the 14%, and do so in the next year?

*Justyn Hintze is a Social Media campaigner and Project Manager at Rad Campaign, a web agency that provides web design, web development and online marketing and social media strategy for nonprofits and political campaigns.

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