How To: Increase RSVPs to Your Event
Send Personalized Emails – Upload your list of attendees from last year and your general email database into your email platform (using MailChimp as the example here). Once they’re uploaded – yes, this may take a bit of time but perhaps ask a volunteer/intern – double check that everyone on the list has their first name uploaded to the platform. Then create a text-only email, addressed as “Hi *|FNAME|*…” so that immediately when the person opens it, it feels personal and direct.
Subject line: consider a very personalized subject line such as “Can you help me?”, “Quick favor”, or “Invitation”.
In terms of messaging, here is what our founder, Phil Sanger, recommends:
We have our annual charity auction benefiting [organization] on [date] at [location]. It’s going to be a wonderful event with an auction and great food!
Will you be able to join? Purchase Tickets or Sponsor a Table here:
We hope you’re able to attend and would love to ask you to please share this invitation with 2-3 friends you think may be interested. Thanks for your support and let me know if you have any questions!
Follow Up! This is key…it’s just like a sales cycle. Send a follow up email and let people know about specific auction items, food, entertainment or anything you think your supporters may be enticed by. “We have some pretty unique auction items including [list out two auction item examples you have]”.
Social Media Content – When posting on social media, DO NOT just share the link. Put some content/context so people know “WHY” and “HOW” you are involved with the cause and event. Also, make a list before you begin posting of 10-20 influencers in your organization category and 10-20 local media outlets. Then, when you’re posting on social media, refer to your lists and rotate tagging your influencers and media outlets sprinkled in different posts so they are notified and may even share the announcement!
Include Your Event Page E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E – You know when you’re invited to a wedding and you keep forgetting the URL for the wedding site? Yeah, the same thing happens with your fundraising event. People do not memorize it or even make a note of it, so include it on every post so people know where to go. You may consider creating a personalized URL using a platform like Bit.ly to help it be slightly more memorable. People don’t want to go searching for it and you need to make it as easy as possible for them.
Repetition is Key – Post on social media once a week and send an email every two weeks when you are two months away from the event. Then, when you get to four weeks out from the event, send weekly emails and post two to three times on social media about the event as a countdown.