3 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas for a Successful Charity Event

Hosting charity events is a terrific way for companies to become better known in the community and also to be seen as a business that cares about others.

While many business owners have pulled off successful fundraisers that center around traditional affairs such as black tie dinners and the like, it’s also important to consider some guerrilla marketing techniques. These innovative and often lower-cost methods can still help companies increase the size of their hearts and help get their name out in the community.

Host a 5K run for charity

A great way for companies to involve both their employees and the local community is to host a 5K run for a great cause. Business owners can conduct a poll with their staff to see which causes are important to them, and based on the results, choose a charity that will benefit from the run.

One company that has done this quite successfully is DriveTime; in the fall of 2015, the company hosted a whopping 49 5K runs on one day, with the donations going to help one needy child at each event. In order to learn about which kids they could help, DriveTime added a “Share Your Story” button to its website — this added a nice personal touch to the campaign.

While the DriveTime runs were all free to enter and raised money solely with donations, business owners can charge a small entry fee and provide plenty of chances for people to give extra money after the run is over. After the money has been collected, the owner can post the final amount on social media and send out a press release to the local media.

Consider an online fundraiser

Speaking of social media, a great and inexpensive way to raise money is to organize an online fundraiser that harnesses the power of social media to raise money. Online events are often easier because they do not involve reserving a venue and equipment. Owners can announce their plans to host an online charity event on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in addition to their own sites.

According to CauseVox, articulating the story and reason behind a fundraiser is important. After explaining their desire to give back to the community and a specific charity, owners can entice people to donate by offering discounts and deals, and they can offer the chance to donate on their site and in their brick-and-mortar location.

If someone donates in person, the owner can ask to take the customer’s photo and post it on Facebook as a Star Donor. Once the online event is over, business owners can post the final tally on social media and ask the local media to cover the presentation of the check to the charity of choice.

Look to elementary schools for inspiration

To inspire young students to log minutes during a read-a-thon or sell a lot of cookie dough for a school fundraiser, elementary schools are notorious for nominating their principals for a variety of silly “punishments.” Everything from tossing a pie in the principal’s face to head shaving seems to be fair game at many schools — the main reason being that it gets the kids excited and involved in the fundraiser.

As SignUpGenius notes, business owners can use this same technique during their next charity event; it’s cost effective and helps get the word out about the company’s caring heart. For example, donors can vote with their dollars to “pick the punishment.” For every dollar donated, they can vote on what the owner will have to do. Examples include hair dyeing, dressing as a clown for a day and inviting the winner in to be boss for the day.


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