Charity Events

Top 3 No-cost Ways to Promote Nonprofit Fundraising Events

August 19, 2022

Promote your next event without tapping into your fundraising budget

If you are managing a nonprofit organization, chances are you want as many of your fundraising dollars as possible to go toward your cause. But what happens when it’s time to promote your next event?

Thankfully, there are many no-cost ways to promote your nonprofit fundraising events. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective free event promotion techniques!

#1. Reach out to your donor database

One of the easiest free ways to promote your event is reaching out to your donor database via email or phone call. In our article, 5 No-cost Ways to Improve Donor Relations, we share some of our tips for personalizing these types of communications with donors in order to keep them engaged in your cause, and therefore ready to come to more of your fundraising events. 

If you’re thinking of promoting your next fundraising event via email, there are a couple different approaches you can use. You can either send emails directly from staff or board members at your organization, or you can send out a larger email campaign to everyone in your donor database. If you are considering the latter, here are some free email campaign platforms you can use:

With either route you decide to take, make sure that your plan for promoting your event via email includes the following:

  • A save the date email at least three months in advance, if not more
  • Tangible details about how the fundraiser will help you achieve your mission 
  • A call to action with a step that the reader can take immediately, like adding the event to their calendar, making a donation, etc.

Along similar lines, you can also choose to make personal calls to the donors in your database to let them know to put your event on their radar. Phone calls don’t have to last longer than five minutes in most cases. You will just want to check in on your donors, see if they have any questions, and give them a heads up about your upcoming fundraising event that you would like for them to attend. This approach will be especially helpful when you are trying to engage supporters who usually make large donations or reserve expensive tables at your events.

#2. Lean on your local community

Never underestimate the power of your local community to spread the word about your next fundraising event!

Word-of-mouth communications can be more effective than you think. Ask your board members, staff, and volunteers to reach out to their networks in order to find new attendees for events. New potential attendees will be likely to come to your event or support your mission knowing that someone they have a personal connection with is invested in the cause. 

Another way to spread the message about your upcoming event is to send out a press release to local media outlets. Oftentimes, newspapers, and radio and TV stations will allow nonprofit organizations to advertise events with them. If you’re lucky, local news stations may also want to report on your event. In your press release to news media, be sure to include:

  • The name of the event
  • The date, time, and location of the event
  • How much entry will cost
  • A quote from someone at your organization

Does your community have an online calendar, social media group, or newsletter? If so, you may also be able to promote your event by posting a message about the event in one of these forums. These are often free resources for all members of the community to promote events and other happenings in the local area. 

Another idea is to partner with local businesses, or even local athletes, musicians, or artists. By partnering with individuals like these who already have established networks (and sometimes fan-bases!) you can much more easily spread the word about your event. You can also check out our guide for securing corporate sponsorships for more ideas about how to get local businesses and figures involved in your cause. 

#3. Create buzz online

You can also spread the word about your event for free by leveraging online platforms like your organization’s website and social media. Your website is the best place to start, as anyone who is actively involved in your cause will be informed about the event when they visit the site. 

If you are looking to start promoting via social media, one helpful tip would be to start by creating a content calendar with dates for posting reminders about your event, ticket sales, and more. Aside from creating posts on the different platforms, you can also create event pages that are easy for supporters to share with their friends and family. It’s a great way to encourage more people to attend your event.

Many organizations also choose to create a hashtag for their event. This is an easy – and of course zero-cost – way to boost awareness about your event on social media, and centralize all information and social posts about the event in one place online. When potential attendees look up the hashtag, they can see all of your social communications and what others are posting about the event. 

Your nonprofit organization can also spread the word about the next event to relevant audiences when they search and use social media. Google Ads, for example, offers a grant program for select nonprofits to advertise online.