Jul 26, 2021

Fundraising communication, promotion, and timeline

Fundraising communication, promotion, and timeline

By generating awareness and connecting with your donors, you can ensure strong attendance at your next event and raise more money along the way. This nonprofit event communication guide is jampacked with tips to help you succeed.

Why fundraising communications are so crucial

Communicating with your attendees helps them prepare for and get excited about the event. It keeps awareness for your cause top of mind leading up to the big day. You’ll encourage more ticket buyers to attend the event and prime your attendees to give more during the fundraiser.

By previewing your auction items or raffle prizes, announcing your fundraising targets, and telling guests more about the excellent cause their gifts go toward, they’ll be more ready and excited to give on the day of.

A communications timeline for virtual events

Follow these email and social media timelines to create early buzz and more follow-through for your virtual event.

Promote the event early

Even when the event is months away and before you open ticket sales, you can build early excitement with these tactics.

  • Newsletter mentions: Spotlight your upcoming virtual event in your newsletter months in advance.
  • Social media posts: Nonprofit event social media promotions should appear on your page sparingly at first. Then, gradually increase posting as the day comes closer.
  • Email appeals to previous attendees: If you have a guest list from earlier events, email them to let them know your next event is coming up. Tell them to mark their calendars or offer early-bird tickets.

Send ticket confirmation emails

When a donor first buys a ticket or signs up for your event, immediately enroll them in future communications. Simplify your nonprofit’s event email communications by adding every attendee to an email list. Send out a personalized confirmation email, which you can set up automatically in GiveSmart, including the following.

  • Thanks: Saying “thank you for your support” helps attendees feel like their ticket makes a difference.
  • What to expect: Depending on your timeline, the event might be next week or months away. Either way, give attendees a rundown of what’s to come. That may be a timeline of when they can expect other essential communications for the day of the fundraiser or the itinerary of the event itself.
  • Option to share: The confirmation email can also offer guests the opportunity to share the event on social media or via email. Invite guests to encourage their friends to join in and make it easy to share in just a few taps or clicks.

Pre-record videos for the event

Many of the GiveSmart Community’s seasoned virtual event planners recommend using at least some pre-recorded videos during your virtual event. You can put these up live on your event website beforehand to introduce attendees and prospective attendees to your mission and initiatives.

Pre-recorded videos give you more control over your communications than a livestream and afford you the chance to show off more of what your organization does. Include clips of the people you’ve helped, your volunteer events, and other organizational highlights to show how donations will make an impact.

Create urgency as the event draws nearer

When the event is right around the corner, you can ramp up your promotions to gain more attendees and encourage a higher turnout. Consider these strategies.

  • Social media countdowns: Leading up to the last day to buy tickets and to the event itself, engage your followers with countdowns on social media.
  • Announce ticket sales: If you’re running out of tickets or the last day to buy a ticket is coming up, make a final push with an email to all your donors who haven’t yet purchased a ticket.
  • Preview your prizes: Whether you’re holding a silent auction, live auction, or raffle, build excitement by highlighting some of the prizes and buy-now items. You can send these to your committed guests to help them plan their bids and to other donors to encourage them to buy a ticket or sign up for the event.

Send pre-event reminders and directions

Help your guests know what to expect in your final reminder email. Consider including:

  • A virtual event website tour or tutorial.
  • Directions on how to bid on items or buy raffle tickets.
  • An event schedule.
  • Another thank-you with an update on how much you’ve raised so far.

Communicate during the event

Your virtual event gives you an hour or so of uninterrupted time to communicate directly with your top supporters. Amid all the excitement and entertainment, engage your donors with tactics like these.

  • Live appeals: During the livestream or in the pre-recorded video, ask guests directly for donations.
  • Text messages: If your event includes a silent auction, live auction, or raffle, use text messages to keep donors informed. With GiveSmart, donors will get automatic text messages when someone outbids them or when they’ve won their item. As the auction is getting ready to close, you can also text guests to highlight items without any bids.
  • Thank-yous: As the event draws to a close, thank all participants for their generosity and remind them what a worthy cause they’re helping. Talk about upcoming events and giving opportunities to build excitement and encourage donor retention.

The importance of communicating on safety

The importance of communicating on safety

If you plan on holding an in-person or hybrid event, much of your communications timeline will stay the same, with one crucial caveat. With any live components, your communications must also highlight safety. Your early promotions must reassure guests, and your pre-event guest communications must explain your safety plans and expectations.

Effective safety communications will help guests feel better about buying tickets and attending the fundraiser. They’ll also ensure attendees know what to expect and follow all safety guidelines on the day of the event.

A nonprofit event messaging plan should include safety communications such as these.

  • Guidance on choosing to attend: Remind guests to stay home and join virtually if they are experiencing any signs of illness or have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Refund policies: Make your refund policy evident. When people know they can get a refund if they choose not to attend or if the event gets postponed, they’ll feel more confident making the purchase.
  • Safety plans: Make sure guests know whether you require a face covering if they are fully vaccinated and about all the safety precautions you’ll take at the event. Let them know if you’ll screen guests for symptoms and that you expect attendees to socially distance and follow all federal, state, and local guidelines.
  • Scheduling: Changing developments in your area may cause you to reschedule the event or make it virtual. In this case, communicate with chief stakeholders to get feedback and make a final decision. Ensure registered attendees know about all changes as soon as possible.

Types of communications to leverage

When promoting your event and connecting with attendees, using many forms of communication helps you reach the most people based on their preferred method. Some modes of communication to consider include the following.

Master your nonprofit event communications with GiveSmart

GiveSmart is a full-featured fundraising platform with many tools to help you communicate and plan for a successful fundraiser. With user-friendly virtual event websites and ticketing management, we can help you with in-person and virtual events alike. With text notifications to support mobile bidding and text-to-donate campaigns, alongside campaign management, social media integrations, and more, we have all the tools you need to promote your event and communicate with guests.

See how GiveSmart can help you supercharge your next fundraiser by making giving feel effortless and streamlining communications. Schedule a live demo of GiveSmart’s fundraising tools today. Or watch our webinar on Communication, Promotion, and Timelines for more insights.


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County