An event is any occasion, managed by your club, that has the potential to reach and interact with many strangers in a short time.  Events are usually fundraising opportunities, perhaps through a golf day, garden day, sportsmen's night, art show or similar.  They are usually sponsored at some level, and are likely to be attractive to a wide geographical area.

Other events might have no fund-raising element, but engage volunteers for a specific project such as a school refurbishment, cleaning a local environment, upgrading the local sports hall and so on.  These are likely to be more attractive to your local community.

Here's a handy chart to compare them.

Type of engagement PR / Awareness potential Fund raising potential New member potential
Your own members Nil Marginal Nil
Attendees at the event High High High
People who become aware of the event through promotion activities, but who don't necessarily attend, High Low Low
Promoting the event through your sponsors' collaboration High Medium Medium
Gathering volunteers on a local project High Nil High
Accepting sponsors' money Nil High Nil
Engaging attendees at last year's event, or prior similar events High High High
Online booking services Medium High Medium

 

The role of your club website

Sponsors vs. Donors

A donor is an organisation that supports your cause and asks for little or nothing in return.  A sponsor is an organisation that sees business value in an association with your club and is prepared to pay for it.
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The most powerful marketing opportunities arise where your event has its own dedicated website, integrated into the club's contact database.  Failing that, having your event promoted through dedicated page/s on your club website is the next best.  Some events, of course, aren't significant enough to warrant having their own standalone identity.

Here are the benefits of both approaches:

  • Cross-selling.  This is where a person cannot attend the particular event, but by visiting your website sees other events or  projects that they are interested in.
  • Contacts database is populated and maintained.  All enquiries and event bookings are automatically added to  your contacts database, which is by far the most valuable asset your club can own in this digital marketing age.
  • Giving value and exposure to your event sponsors.  The more visits you receive on your website the more your sponsors are prepared to pay.
  • Your event is easier to run.  Financial reconciliation is easier, it's easier to keep track of attendees, send reminders and follow-up thank you emails.
  • By managing and tracking one event's attendees it's easier to promote next year's event.
  • An event run and promoted on line through your website offers much greater value to sponsors, and is thereby more attractive to them.
  • By tracking bookings and attendees you build a database of potential members, volunteers and sponsors.
  • Look professional - your target market are comfortable with online booking.
  • Effective online event booking, marketing and management adds greatly to your Google visibility.
What works against you
  • Using a "click here to download a PDF" on your website, which you print out, fill in the details and send to PO Box 123, Bullamakanka or fax to 05 3341 5555.  In today's one-click-to-book world, a downloadable PDF simply creates obstacles and wastes the visitor's time.  The simple fact that a user is already on your website creates the expectation that they should be able to book on line.  And these days, who uses a fax machine anyway?
  • Next, a very similar, ineffective technique is to send out an email blast, usually from somebody's personal Outlook mail account, with an attached PDF.  You have no way of even knowing if the booking form has even been read.
  • Using a third-party (usually "free") event booking service.  Many of these cover the mechanics of taking bookings very well, but are poor in marketing the event, and offer zero cross-selling opportunity.  You want Google searches to find your club's website, not the event booking service's website.
  • You promote your club instead of the event, and talk about Rotary as if that's the reason why people want to attend.

 

StreamScape can help your club

A StreamScape club website delivers unparalleled online marketing, member recruitment and PR opportunities for your club.