5 Steps to Promoting Your Cause at Fairs, Festivals, and Farmers Markets
By: Sue Brage of Big Shoes Communications
Summer’s here - and with it comes a plethora of out-of-the-box opportunities to promote your cause in your community! Most communities have summer festivals that offer tables or booths to local organizations, churches, and businesses. Maybe you’ve never thought of promoting your cause this way, but it may be just the boost you need to connect with potential partners, volunteers, and even donors.
1. Before you start planning, ask yourself this question: What do we want to get out of this event? If you said “Raise awareness” please try again. That is too broad of a goal for these small events. And while it should always be our mission to make people aware of what we do, awareness is hard to measure and even harder to convert to actual results. Even the smallest events have the potential to get results, if you know what you are aiming for.
Here are a few measurable and achievable goals you could consider:
- Capture 25 (or 50 or 100) email addresses for your newsletter
- Invite potential volunteers to an informational “Get to Know Us Party!”
- Sign up volunteers for a service day using VolunteerSpot’s Clipboard App for iPad.
- Or promote any upcoming event or campaign you have on the calendar.
2. Make your booth memorable. This is where the fun really begins! With a little creativity, you can make a big splash at the event and get everyone talking about you and your cause. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Go just a little over the top...and people will remember you! Check out: 11 ways to pump up your booth
3. Put swagger in your SWAG. Think beyond the branded water bottles (please). It’s not that people don’t appreciate a cold drink on a hot summer day, but you can do better! If possible, tie any handouts to your mission, theme, or the actual event. The more cohesive you can be the better...but the bottom line is to do something out of the ordinary!
How about a huge bowl of baby clementines…?
Or rubber ducks floating in a small pool…?
Or a clear treat bag stuffed rainbow popcorn?
Or a flower seed packet with your website written on it?
4. Make it easy for visitors to connect. If you want to capture email addresses, have an iPad or laptop available. Or keep it simple and just use a yellow notepad with space for their name and email address. Hand out business cards, flyers, or simple half-sheets with your mission statement and an appropriate photo, something to remind them of who you are and how they can take action.
5. The fun is in the follow-up! Ahh, this is where we most often drop the ball. If people have signed up for your email, be sure to add them to your list within 24 hours. I would recommend sending a customized welcome email for each event, reminding them where you met and how you got their email. This is also a great time to invite them to any upcoming events or even offer to meet for coffee. You will be amazed at how people respond to personal invitations to be part of your cause.
Summer may traditionally a downtime for nonprofits. But it doesn’t have to be! Local events give you the opportunity to be around people and share your vision and passion for what you do. Done right, they can also open up powerful opportunities and build new relationships. Sounds like a great way to spend the summer to me...
About the author:
Sue Brage, owner of Big Shoes Communications, coaches business owners, nonprofit leaders, and entrepreneurs in the areas of communication, social media, and branding. She also blogs at BigShoesCommunications.com and is creating a community that inspires and resources leaders who want and need a stronger online presence.
Get more great tips like these in Sue's 5-week eCourse, STEP Up: Creating an Irresistible Message for your Ministry, Nonprofit, or Business