Leverage Social Media to Increase Fundraising

Audience engagement is a hot topic for all event managers, and is a critical factor to consider when you are coordinating a successful fundraising event.  Here are some ways to incorporate social media that will promote your cause, enhance your event, and increase your revenues.

1.)  Tag it!  Personalize and promote a hashtag(s) for attendees to use before, during and after an event.  Find a corporate sponsor to donate $1 for every use of a specific tag, which will encourage fans to post photos and share comments using your tag and offer great goodwill exposure to your sponsor.

2.)  It All Adds Up.  Partner with community organizations to solicit smaller donations online for a chance to win experiential prizes.  For example, for every $5 donation you give, you will be entered to win lunch with the local fire department, or a pass to a community festival, or a signed jersey from a local athlete.  As these experiences happen, make sure the winners share their stories online using your tags.

3.)  Sharing is Caring.  Establish a way for a donation to be earned with every social share of an image, video, or link.  This spreads the word about your event and your mission when friends share something for you on their networks, and encourage their friends and connections to share it as well.  It also increases exposure for potential corporate sponsors who might be interested in supporting the cause.

4.)  Be Inclusive.  If you incorporate technology into your event, be sure to have some devices available to check out for non-tech-savvy guests.  For example, if you choose to use an app for auction bidding, have tablets with the program installed ready to loan to attendees who may not have a smartphone, or who might not be keen on the idea of spontaneously downloading an app to use just for the night. It’s also engaging to solicit high school volunteers to host a guest who doesn’t have access to the app.  They’ll support the process by sharing the technology with the older patron, and make new personal connections.

5.)  Online Presence at the Event.  Instead of simply posting a banner that promotes the hashtag(s) and connections you are encouraging guests to use, set up a screen where people can watch a projected live feed of streaming posts that are discussing and promoting the event.  This is also a good opportunity to solicit new followers for your organization’s social media accounts.  Ensure that this is set up in a central location where everyone will have the opportunity to pass by and see it.  You could also erect a branded backdrop people can use to take photos and selfies in front of, that they will then post to their social media, using your hashtags and tagging your accounts.

When used to its full potential, social media can be a great tool to support your marketing efforts.  It is also valuable because you can measure its impact – how many people were reached by each post, and how many people actively posted on your behalf by using a hashtag or sharing something you posted.  These metrics can be provided to all sponsors who contribute to fundraising efforts.  Attendees are actively engaged before the event, and enjoy sharing their support with members of their social networks who might not be aware of your needs.  When general exposure is increased and guests are more engaged, you are very likely to raise much more money!

Planning a fundraising event, or looking for a fresh approach to your annual event?  Email Plan Ahead Events Boulder today for some ideas and current trends.

Gamify Your Next Event

Gamification is the concept of applying the mechanics of a game or designing a contest to motivate an individual or a group to achieve a specific goal. This approach is so successful because it resonates with our innate human impulse to seek status and recognition.

In the context of a corporate event, contests have been hosted in conjunction with exhibit halls and trade shows for decades. A common application of this has been to provide attendees with something akin to a passport or a bingo card that each exhibitor can check off, which encourages attendees to visit as many booths as possible. When they have visited all of the booths, they may then enter their proof into a drawing for prizes, generally donated by exhibitors.

In some circumstances, this is a productive way to engage attendees with exhibitors and sponsors. However, when the end goal of the attendees is simply to get their stamp or signature so they can enter the drawing, it lessens the effect of each interaction.

How can we encourage interactions that have a positive impact on the attendees’ experience, as well as allow the exhibitors and sponsors to maximize their marketing efforts? Plan Ahead Events has launched a proprietary platform called the Biddit Game that has successfully engaged people on all sides of the expo aisle. Attendees can earn Biddit Bucks and use mobile bidding technology to bid on prizes at the end of the event. Watch this video to see how it enhanced the experience for both exhibitors and attendees at an international conference and trade show. Vendors appreciated the increase in traffic at their booths, and attendees enjoyed the easy competitive nature of the game.

Contact info@paeboulder.com for more information about how we can help you gamify your next event.  The platform is accessible, and easy to customize to suit your audience!

Think Outside the Ballroom

The next time you’re brainstorming potential destinations and venues for an upcoming sales meeting or conference event, we recommend that you think outside the ballroom.  Cruising is a very affordable way to bring a team together for a productive mix of business and pleasure!

If you’re hosting a national – or international – event, your attendees are already booking a plane ticket.  Chances are that flying to a coastal port city will not add much to the cost of their transportation.  The all-inclusive concept aboard a cruise also makes it simple and straightforward for you to negotiate your attendee’s accommodations, which will automatically incorporate all of your food and beverage arrangements.  Along with the variety of gourmet options you will have, you can easily host private functions for your team – the catering teams on board are thrilled at the opportunity to customize their offerings for groups.

Inviting your team to take a cruise will create a unique and memorable experience.  Arrangements made for clients has included free corporate meeting space that is equipped with all of the audio-visual technology they have requested.  The ships sailing right now are state-of-the-art and are beautifully decorated, so you couldn’t ask for a nicer venue.  They also provide direct access to fun team-building activities, world-class entertainment, and breathtaking global destinations.  Another bonus is that any family members who choose to tag along will have plenty to keep them occupied while your group is being productive.

With the ability to customize everything from the coasters in your rooms to the desserts served to your team, the ability to create a branded experience that will have a lasting impact on your attendees is limitless.  Compared to hosting an event in a hotel or convention center where your planners are managing multiple venues, negotiating menus and decor, and coordinating all of the necessary vendors, booking a cruise could easily save you 30%.

Offer your guests the ability to unpack once and see multiple destinations.  With unparalleled value, these mobile cities of the sea are a great place to host your next event.  Call us today for more information!

Refresh Your Conference Events

Refresh Your Conference Events

Incorporate these elements into your meetings and conference events to keep your audiences engaged and active.  These four components have been proven to increase productivity and generate more effective results!

1.)  Get Some Fresh Air:  After hours of bathing in fluorescent light in a conference room somewhere in the depths of a convention hall, the best way to re-energize your attendees can be to step outside and enjoy some sunlight.  Plan a session that offers education or networking outside on a patio, or host a break in a courtyard.  During colder months, utilize interior spaces with windows that let in natural light.

2.)  Problem Solving:  Stimulate creative thinking by leading classic ice breakers to kickoff a session, or by providing games or problem-solving scenarios that teams have to work through.  This enhances cooperation and engages a different part of the brain, which makes for more productive conversations throughout the day.  It also offers a more intimate connection for attendees to introduce themselves and network authentically.

3.)  Kinetic Movement:  Improve brain function by increasing blood flow with 20 minutes of aerobic activity.  Boost your participants’ cognitive abilities with a guided morning hike, an afternoon yoga session, or a competitive photo scavenger hunt.

4.)  Experiential Learning:  Studies have shown that we learn more effectively when we physically do something, as opposed to hearing about it or just watching.  Incorporate activities into educational components that help your attendees make an emotional connection with a leader, a product, a brand or a goal.  Contests and interactive campaigns are a great way to engage an audience, and they can also activate sponsorships from your partner vendors(an easy way to showcase their products and services!).

Integrate activities of all types into your event programming to motivate conference attendees and encourage more active participation.  Leverage the time you have together to inspire the most innovative and effective solutions your teams can come up with, and make the event memorable for them at the same time.