Consider the Five Ws for Your Next Event

Events should be an important component of your marketing strategy. To help gather your thoughts, maximize the potential of your upcoming events, and set the stage for a great experience, be sure you consider “The Five Ws.”

Why
This is the most important question.   Why are you hosting an event? Are you trying to create greater awareness of your nonprofit? Raise money? Establish a more meaningful relationship with your existing donors, members, and constituents?

Ask yourself, “What will I accomplish by hosting this event, and how will it benefit my audience?” Articulate the goal of your event in a single sentence.

What
Align your goal with your event. What will best help you achieve your goal? It could be a workshop, a food or beverage tasting, an auction, or another type of gathering.

Who
Who is your target audience? What catches their attention and motivates them? List segmentation --  dividing a larger contact list into a few smaller, more targeted lists based on interest and need – becomes important

You want people at the event who genuinely want to be there, especially atfundraising events. If you segment your list, you invite only those who’ve previously given to your organization, or who have expressed an interest in getting more involved.

Maybe you don’t have a target audience, and you want to simply engage as many people as possible for your cause. How will you reach this audience? Use an event management tool to collect registrations and learn what interests your attendees. Social media will expand your reach, get the word out, and generate buzz.

Where and When
Date, time, and location are big challenges — especially at the end of the year. Consider sending a short pre-event survey to your audience --  one question with a few choices of different dates and locations. Let the results of the survey guide your decisions.

Nothing can replace good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction.

Considering the 5 Ws can help you make the most of your event and ensure that it’s successful.

Anissa Starnes is regional development director of the Carolinas at Constant Contact. “Event Marketing 2.0” will be presented at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits’ Conference Transforming Times. 

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