10 Proven Tactics to Increase Attendance at Your Next Non-Profit Event

March 14, 2016   /   by  Michael Westafer

Exceed Your Non-Profit Event Goals with These Tried and True Tips

The success of your non-profit events is vital to your overall fundraising, brand awareness and garnering community support.Here are some tips to take your next event over the top.

  1. Position your event with a powerful brand message. Whether it’s a gala, a walk or an annual meeting, your event should have a cohesive theme and its own branded look and feel. We rebranded the YWCA’s Purses & Passion event and exceeded fundraising goals by 30%.
  2. Carry that theme throughout all of your event’s materials for maximum impact. Not only the event promo materials, but also think about the materials used to enhance the event experience, like menus, table toppers, agendas, signage and more.
  3. Create a responsive landing page or microsite to promote the event across all devices, including desktop, tablet and mobile. We promoted an event for Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, called Zoominations, and exceeded attendance goals and online ticket sales.
  4. Be sure to add call-to-actions to your organization’s main web site, to drive traffic to the event landing page or microsite. You can add a large homepage banner across the top of your web site, and a small event promo button throughout the sub-pages.
  5. Don’t forget to optimize your landing page or microsite for SEO so that people can easily find your event information organically in search engine results. People consistently search for “events in [your city name]”, and you want to make sure your event page is found.
  6. Send out nicely designed email invitations promoting your event. Drive visitors to your landing page or microsite. At the minimum, we suggest a “Save the Date”, a “Formal Invite”, and a “Last Chance” email leading up to the date of the event.
  7. You can also opt to send out save the date cards and/or printed invitations by mail. The award-winning print materials we developed for the YWCA’s Annual Meeting helped them double their attendance over the previous year and exceeded their goals by 68%.
  8. If your budget allows, you could even add outdoor media to the mix. We had a successful campaign where billboards performed very well.
  9. Consider running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign with retargeting banner ads. Your PPC ads and other campaign promotions will drive traffic to the event page, while the remarketing ads will display on 3rd-party websites to reinforce your event to visitors who may not have signed up yet.
  10. After the event, we recommend following up with your attendees – even the ones who couldn’t make it. At the very minimum, you should send a “Thanks for Attending” and a “Sorry We Missed You” email. And if you have a marketing automation system, you could set up an automated workflow to nurture attendees with follow up messaging throughout the year.

Follow these suggestions, and you’ll be sure to have a successful event that gets real results. Need help? This is what we do. Let’s Talk.

Michael Westafer

Michael Westafer


As the CEO and founder of Roger West, Mike brings over 25 years of marketing, leadership, and business strategy experience to our team, clients, and partners. Under his leadership, the Roger West has grown from a scrappy startup to a full-service, award-winning agency. He believes in getting things done, making big things happen for clients, and delivering expert fist-bumps.