Fundraising begins with recognition! You can create recognition and trust for your name, mission, and cause when you make branding part of your strategy.
Event fundraisers grow over the years so you should brand the event and make it easy for your supporters to recognize. Start by creating a brand kit of designs and images that can be used in all your auction marketing resources.
Make sure you promote the event fundraiser before, during, and after the event. Year-round communications make it easier to ask for donations and sponsorships for the next event. Use every channel possible to reach your target audience, email, social media, phone calls, traditional mail, and flyers.
Meet the supporters where they are with purposeful:
Create a Branding Kit & Campaign
Create a branding kit and campaign that is special! Then apply that branding to your auction and event fundraiser. Auction team helpers may turnover from year to year. To remain consistent, create a branding kit to use for all correspondence and marketing materials. Include logos, fonts, colors, taglines, and messaging. This will serve as an anchor for all those helping to stay on brand throughout the entire event fundraising process. The logo becomes very recognizable to all stakeholders: volunteers, supporters, employees, and the community at large. Use the brand kit to format letters, newsletters, donation request letters, website, handouts, banners, and general communications.
Branding is an important step in achieving target fundraising goals, and the long-term development of a successful organization. Using a tool like Canva is a great way to stay on-brand with colors, logos and images. Their Pro version is free to nonprofit organizations.
Create a comprehensive event fundraising campaign. Whether your team has experience promoting auctions or you’re getting ready to launch your first online auction, these tips will help you attract as many guests to your next auction as possible:
- Market high-value items
- Create a microsite
- Use multiple communication channels
- Send personalized messages
- Partner with sponsors
Applying Branding to Your Auction
Use the branding throughout the entire promotion. Make sure people understand the purpose of the fundraiser by using past success as a future road map. Share data, anecdotes, pictures, and videos that help make brand connections.
Stay in touch and keep people engaged by sending frequent messages across all channels. Choose an auction name, logo, and tagline that aligns with your organization’s mission, and include these in all your emails and social media posts. You should also engage with shares to and from the auction site directly.
Promoting the Event Fundraiser
Use the branding before the auction kicks off. Publicly use branding during the event preparation and promotion phase to secure sponsors and donations and remind people to save the date. Sponsors will want to be involved because they believe in your cause and trust your brand, so use the power of your brand to sell the sponsorship opportunities.
Sponsors and supporters are more likely to get involved if they recognize the organization, campaign colors, message, and the event logo. Before the event, promote opportunities to support in a meaningful way by asking supporters to:
- Donate on the event website with a cash donation
- Purchase a sponsorship
- Make an auction item donation
Communicate with potential attendees with save-the-date notifications, emails, or hard copy invitations. Sponsors are another broad communication channel to help raise awareness and amplify the promotion. Provide your sponsors with images, messaging, and hashtags so it’s easy for them to create their own posts or just re-share one you have already created.
Social Media Promotion
Use your event branding in all social media posts. This could be in the main message or an overlay of the logo and messaging within. Post frequently and regularly on social media to keep the event fresh in the minds of your target audience. Don’t wait until the week before the event and just hope that your message reaches and resonates. Fill the feed with photos, videos, and status updates on how your funds are being used to make a difference.
Three amplifiers to fill the social media channels: images, tags, and hashtags.
- Images attract attention and take up more space on the thread as people are scrolling so it’s easier to catch attention.
- Tags are useful for getting others to notice and share. If a post is tagged it shows up in notifications for the other person or page, which makes it easier for them to share
- Hashtags aren’t just for the kids anymore. Use a custom hashtag for your organization or event. That way when someone clicks on the hashtag it will bring up all related posts. You can use popular or highly followed hashtags along with your own branded hashtag to increase visibility.
Facebook videos are a must do to promote the auction fundraiser. Luckily Facebook has made this super simple. Ever notice how many videos you see on your Facebook thread? This is not a coincidence. Facebook algorithms favor videos and this can help gain attention for a fundraising auction. Choose 3-10 photos that you want to use for each video. These can be photos of last year’s auction event, a current flyer, or screenshots of the auction website. Got more than 10 to share? Make a second or third video.
Timing of Posts. Space out the timing of your posts so as not to bombard your followers. Vary the day of the week as well as the time of day. Facebook allows posts to be saved as draft or scheduled. Take the time to create a few and schedule the posts leading up to the big auction day.
Go Time for the Event Fundraiser
Use every channel possible to reach your target audience. Again, meet them where they are. It’s ok to send out multiple emails and posts. These threads and streams move so fast it’s almost impossible to over-communicate.
When the event is open to the public for tickets, merchandise sales or online auctioning be sure to continue the branding throughout. The event website should use the brand kit again to stay on brand.
Follow through on all public outbound messaging:
- Social media platforms
- Printed materials
- Audio telephonic messages
Old school phone calls still work too! If you are doing robocalls or board members are making phone calls, give them branding messages and taglines that align with the organization’s mission and the event fundraiser goals.
Recognize the sponsors in public in ways that reach their target audience as well as yours. Use logos and live links when possible. Recognize the sponsors in a catalog or sponsor book, either printed or as an e-book. Think about other pieces of collateral or correspondence to thank key sponsors: flyers, invitations, or statements.
Make it easy for Sponsors to share by tagging them on social media When you tag them it shows up in their notifications and is then much easier for the Sponsor to re-share, re-post and respond to. If you really want to make the sponsor feel special, create graphics that highlight the single sponsor, they are much more likely to share the information further and wider.
Never Stop Promoting
After the event, thank everyone! Use this as another opportunity to share the success of the event and how the funds will be used. If there was a virtual event or any recordings, share and post those too. When doing so, always include an easy way to make a donation.
About the Author
This post was contributed by Laurie Hochman. Laurie has a passion for helping groups exceed their fundraising goals. After using Auctria for many auction fundraisers, she joined the team to help others boost their auction fundraising for many wonderful causes. Auctria has helped 40,000 auction fundraisers bring in over $400M.
“The beauty in what is done with the money raised with Auctria is what motivates me every day to help auction teams succeed. Hope all your bids soar!”