Re-invigorating Events: Creating Hype and Delivering the Goods

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So it's up to you to plan an event for your association or nonprofit. What kind of event will generate interest? How will you get the word out? And how will follow-up with attendees to make sure …

So it's up to you to plan an event for your association or nonprofit. What kind of event will generate interest? How will you get the word out? And how will follow-up with attendees to make sure your hard work doesn't end with simply having a great event?

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  • Are your targets receiving your invites? Facebook, social media methods are helpful but that doesn’t guarantee people show up
  • importance of developing a marketing strategy that doesn’t rely solely on one means of communicating
  • all of these questions also make the basis for improving chances of the media taking interest it’s critical to determine the timeliness of an event and who cares!
  • - especially for those they don’t know but would like to meet much of this can be done in advance over the net
  • forwardable emails
  • One of the primary benefits of a socially-enabled online community is its ability to draw together members from far-reaching geographic locations. Attendees of association special events, annual conferences and local chapter meetings approach them with fairly universal goals and typical expectations. In a simple yet profound way, members look forward to events and calendars are highlighted because events are the hallmark of a positive membership experience.The majority of members approach events with these standard goals in mind:-Gaining new insights; learning from speakers and sessions -Meeting new people, re-establishing ties with colleagues-Having productive conversations with peers -Ability to come away with value from the event and share the value with others afterward-Having fun networking and enjoying the social aspects of the gatheringThe question is, how can online social networking positively supplement and reinforce an event before, during and after it takes place? How can social media create a more valuable experience for attendees at every level?Lastly, how can nonprofits and associations leverage the interaction in their social networking to help fund the cost of major offline events?
  • maintaining control of logistics is also crucial attendees also need to have the ability to opt out of continual invites
  • note: Water Management and Hydropower Development: Integrating Environmental and Social Concerns note: minister of Natural resources invited
  • In the US almost half of all internet users belong to online hobby-oriented site and a similar amount are signed up to a social network. Specialized communities Facebook, etc. are powerful and they can often generate discussion in advance of events More collective knowledge Associations, etc. can develop communications strategies where supporters can feel secure and receive the special benefits of membership


  • 1. Re-invigorating Events:
    • Creating Hype and Delivering the Goods
  • 2. “ bums in seats”
    • non-profit event success can be a tough nut to crack
  • 3. non-profit event success can be a tough nut to crack
    • events can be expensive
    • little guarantee attendance will be what’s needed
    • competition is tough
  • 4. rising event costs
    • travel is not cheap!
    • managing multiple registration packages often means farming out registrations
    • administrative costs also place burdens on staff
  • 5. “ if you build it, will they come?”
    • what’s so special about your event?
    • competition is tough, there are many events to choose from
  • 6. working through the noise
    • commitments on the time of supporters always interfere
    • 500,000 new NPOs in the US over the last 4 years
  • 7. making certain prospects understand
    • it takes up to 7 times before prospects understand & internalize a message!
  • 8. building the hype
  • 9. the 4 “w’s” of public relations
    • picking the theme makes all the difference:
    • who is the event for?
    • why is it relevant?
    • where is the event taking place?
    • what is it impacting?
  • 10. what will motivate them to come?
    • 1st step: choosing a winning theme
    • what’s the real motivation?
      • is an event really needed?
  • 11. help attendees with their networking objective
    • attendees need to know who will be attending
    • facilitate connections
  • 12. what’s the connection with your cause?
    • making the right choices from the beginning makes the difference:
      • communicate in terms prospects understand
  • 13. events need to be a social affair
    • approaching events from the attendees perspective:
    • what’s “in it” for them?
  • 14. keeping it together
  • 15. strategies to keep track and build the hype
    • social media strategies:
      • badges/ event creation on Facebook
      • Twitter announcements
    • targeted media relations
    • targeted email list development
    • phone trees & engagement of volunteers
  • 16. How can social media build hype and create a more valuable experience for networking event attendees?
    • Pre-event:
    • Organize “birds of a feather” luncheons or dinners
    • Post questions to session leaders to better prepare for the topics you’re interested in
    • At the event:
    • Discuss the day’s important discoveries and special moments during breaks or after hours
    • Create more interactive events and sessions to share with your community group members
  • 17. Traditional public relations can also build hype & awareness...
    • Media relations
    • Press releases and article writing build awareness beyond typical audiences
    • Add prospects not otherwise considered
    • Email Lists/ Phone Trees
    • The bread & butter, lists and follow up ensure “bums in seats”
  • 18. The Case for Media Relations & Event Success: Chicago Baby Faire
    • Goal was to increase event attendance from prospective parents and young families by 10 percent
    • Implemented aggressive media relations program aimed at television, daily and weekly newspapers and monthly magazines with distributed calendar announcements, news releases, media alerts, photos of new products
    • Result : Increased attendance 15 percent over the previous year, exceeded set goal.
  • 19. How email lists and phone trees can increase event attendance: Canadian Hydropower Association
    • Annual Forum witnessed year after year declining attendance
    • Email and traditional mailing lists were gathered with scheduled and regular reminders sent
      • Letters were specific to each audience
    • Reminders were also accompanied with phoned reminders
    • Result : Doubled attendance from over the previous year
  • 20. how do we track all this stuff?
  • 21. keeping track of attendees & logistics
    • attendees want to know the “who’s who” of who is coming
      • do you their have permission to divulge their information?
    • how do they want to be contacted/ updated?
  • 22. value of online registration
    • allows people to immediately confirm registration and payment
    • makes it easy to share
    • include sharing call-to-action
    • select a system that also supports offline registration
  • 23. kissing enough “frogs” to meet the prince
    • Chambers of Commerce worldwide offer the best example with speed networking
    • approached from the prospect of “what’s in it for the members?”
    • posted well in advance of the event
    • payment online is required in advance to ensure attendance & track/ publicize attendees
    • structured environment
  • 24. Canadian Hydropower Association’s annual forum
    • picking the right theme & testing it with the members
    • gathering the right speakers & engaging members
    • list marketing & management
    • follow up, follow up, FOLLOW UP!
    • provide and market opportunities for attendees to network
    increasing attendance involved:
  • 25. events need to be a social affair
    • most people dread typical “networking” events
  • 26. social networks facilitate the process
    • associations, non-profits, and charities offer specialized communities
      • focused discussions
      • controlled discussions
    • discussion in advance of events
  • 27. ASAE ’09 Annual General Meeting Hub
    • case study
    • provided a central place for people to communicate before, during and after the event
    • integrated official schedule with informal feedback
    • incorporated Twitter conversation
    • provided mobile access
  • 28. prior to the event:
    • managing registrations and RSVPs
    • updating prospects on who’s attending
    • reminders
    • checklists for staff, volunteers and the team
  • 29. after the event:
    • satisfaction surveys:
      • what could we do better?
    • testimonial gathering
  • 30. in summary
    • event success can be a tough nut to crack:
      • “ bums in seats”
      • administrative & registration challenges
    • competing through the noise requires public relations strategies that answers the 4 “w’s”
    • what’s in it for me?
  • 31.
    • Membership management software
      • Focused on small associations & nonprofits
      • A cost effective solution for managing your:
        • Members
        • Website
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    • Nonprofit technology blog
    • Association Jam social news sharing site
    • Facebook
      • “ Name the Apricot” contest on now!
    Who is ? Member Management Magic Questions? Please contact Jay at [email_address] or 416-410-4059 x. 302
  • 32. Who is Action Strategies?
    • Upcoming webinar -
      • Yes, Non-Profits CAN Build an Energized Fan Base with Social Media:
        • November 24, 2009
    • Our book: “Online PR and Social Media for Non-Profits and Associations ”
    • LinkedIn group:
    • One-on-one training and services in:
      • Social Media
      • Communications plans
      • Media relations
      • Revenue generation & membership recruitment/ retention
      • Stakeholder engagement
      • Increasing event attendance
    Magnifiers of Public Relations and Government Relations consultancy for non-profits, associations, and charities
  • 33. Questions & Answers
    • We’re here to help!