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9 Ways to Get Positive Responses to your Nonprofit Event Invitation

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Published: Jul 9, 2021

We all know events are an essential part of nonprofit fundraising. In fact, in a recent online survey of 1,997 nonprofit professionals, 70% described their virtual events in 2020 as successful. 

The success of your nonprofit event starts from sending an invite that entices your audience to attend your event and make a contribution. In this blog post, we explain how to send out nonprofit event invitations efficiently to get maximum positive responses.

How do you invite people to a nonprofit event?

Your nonprofit event invitation should primarily inform people of the event and ask them to attend it. They may or may not have heard of your event, so it’s crucial that you make sure they receive all the information.

Now, let’s see how to craft and send a highly effective nonprofit event invitation.

1. Know your target audience

The 2 important questions you need to answer before working on your nonprofit event invitation are:

  • What is the purpose of your event?
  • Why should people attend your event?

Also, take audience-oriented factors into account, such as their demographic, behaviors in the past, etc. For instance, the messaging in your fundraiser invite would be different for someone at an entry-level job role than a growing company CEO.  

For example, an individual at the beginning of their career may be looking for an opportunity to network with industry professionals, whereas a CEO of a growing company might be looking to sponsor the event to increase brand awareness. 

The communication preferences of Gen Z are also different from that of baby boomers. 

The findings of a survey highlight that 56% of baby boomers use the telephone to interact with social organizations. However, another survey on millennials and Gen Z indicates that 73.4% prefers a messaging/SMS app.

Knowing these details will help you orchestrate your invite and customize it to each segment of your database. For each segment, you must consider their 

  • Goals
  • Motivations
  • Pain points

to understand the value your event provides to each segment and include it in the invitation.

The image below is a screenshot of a nonprofit event invitation text. The invite here addresses all the points we mentioned above. For instance, 

  • The goal of the supporter here may be to contribute to renewable energy generation.
  • Motivation could be an asthma attack on a loved one due to the increasing Sulfur Dioxide(SO2) coming from electricity generation.
  • The pain point would be the possibility of not being able to attend the event if it was on a weekday.
nonprofit event invitation example

2. Segment your database

After you have understood the purpose of your event, it becomes easier to segment your database. Your segments may be based on their level of engagement with you, along with other factors. Your audience may belong to one of these segments:

  • Only filled a form on one of your marketing channels.
  • Attended one of your events previously.
  • Donated to your nonprofit in the previous year. 
  • Donated to your nonprofit in the past, but not in the previous year.
  • A recurring donor.
  • Volunteered for you before, etc.

Someone who has volunteered for you before wouldn’t need the same level of persuasion compared to a person who has only given their details. Combine your understanding of your contacts’ preferences with their level of engagement when you are crafting and sending your nonprofit event invitation. 

3. Send a ‘Save the date’ invite

To acquire a maximum number of attendees, it’s best to send a ‘Save the date’ invite with a tipping point to keep your audience by the hook. This is probably the first time most of your audience hears about your event. So, include specific details like the date, time, and location of the event as well.

This way, even if you don’t have all the information and haven’t planned out your event entirely, you are booking your audience’s time. This helps you increase the chances of your audience attending the event. And, if you’re lucky, a portion of your audience may already make up their mind to participate in the event.

4. Add a compelling headline (for the finalized invites)

Consider using emotional trigger words as your opening line of your nonprofit event invitation for a higher response rate. For example, ‘Everyone’s attending {event_name}! Want to join?’.

5. Write your description from the attendee’s perspective

Commonly, people attend events out of motivation, simply to enjoy a day or for a benefit. Keep your invite description clear and concise, highlighting the benefits of attending your event. Include the event name, time, place, and an easily accessible call-to-action so they can register for the event instantly.

Think of your nonprofit event invitation as an elevator pitch. It should capture the audience’s attention, briefly describe your event, and convey the benefits – all under a minute.  

You can also use a donation CTA in your invite. In case somebody can’t make it to your event, they can at least make a contribution directly. 

nonprofit event invitation cta example

6. Think of the tipping point

Consider the thought process of your attendees when you craft your event invite. Think of what might be a reason for them not to attend your event, based on your understanding of the audience. Address that aspect in your nonprofit event invitation, so there is nothing that puts them off. 

For example, an individual at an entry-level job role may hesitate from attending your event, thinking it’s a high-ticket one. In which case, you mention in your invite that there are different levels of entry fees starting from ‘$x’. 

Also, brief them on all the wonderful things they can experience if they attend your event. Craft the benefits in simple words, so it’s easily understandable. 

Make sure you put this benefit prominently in your nonprofit event invitation. Your attendees may not be searching for a reason to attend your event. But, if you give them one, chances are they will consider it. 

7. Personalize

With the information you already have on your audience, you’ll be able to personalize your nonprofit event invitation. Start by using the individual’s name in the invite body. You can also use the other details to customize your event invite as much as possible. 

If you’re using texts to send invites, CallHub’s peer-to-peer texting tool takes personalization to another level. The tool enables you to send personalized invitations at scale. Your volunteers can smoothly handle thousands of queries and collect RSVPs with predefined snippets. 

nonprofit event invitation events peer to peer texting

With such personal invitations, your connections are more likely to respond positively. Here’s an event guide for nonprofits. 

8. Embrace a multi-channel approach

The audience journey from encountering an ask for the first time to taking action is becoming longer, so a single-channel approach for your nonprofit event invitation may not be sufficient. Some channels provide the opportunity to experiment on the messaging to see what works the best with your audience.

A mix of inbound and outbound channels is an excellent way to invite people to your event so they don’t feel chased around. Here are a few channels suitable to send nonprofit event invitations:

Email

Did you know that walk/run/cycling event fundraisers who send over 15 emails raise 76% more than those who don’t send emails? Email is a great channel to send those ‘save the date’ invites so people who decide to attend your event can mark a slot on their calendar. 

A few service providers even offer drag-and-drop templates to make it easier to craft lovely emails and send them out. 

Do consider the best day to send those invitations based on your audience geography. 53% of event creators from a survey believe Tuesday is the best day to send emails.

SMS/MMS

Although email is a good starting point, the click-through rate of an SMS is 10-15% higher than an email. Send a targeted invitation via SMS or MMS to all your contacts. 

nonprofit event invitation peer to peer texting sample flow

You can also schedule your nonprofit event invitation to be sent out automatically, with a link to your event landing page.

Social media

Social media helps you tap into new audiences and create a buzz around your event. 

Lead generation ads let you promote your event invite to the audience of your choice and compel them to register for it. Moreover, you can reach your website visitors through retargeting ads. 

The in-built forms in these lead gen ads auto-populate the contact details when your audience clicks the CTA button, without requiring them to leave the platform. This minimizes the chances of your audience dropping off amid the registration process.  

You can also make a video invite or a static visual invite and publish it on your social media pages. 43% attend or participate in charitable events in their community because of social media. 

Landing page

Create a responsive and SEO-friendly landing page and invite people to your event from here. In addition to the primary event details, include a few other essential elements that play a role in your audience’s decision-making process. These elements include:

  • Cause of the event.
  • The theme of the event.
  • Testimonials from your previous event attendees. 
  • Even speakers’ details along with their credentials.
  • Promotional videos.
  • A prominent call to action.
  • An exit-intent popup.

Phone calls

While making phone calls to your contacts to invite them to your event, you’ll have to bring together multiple steps into a conversational tone. 

Your call can start by introducing yourself and mentioning the purpose of your call. Then mention the key details of your event and wrap the call. You can extend this short invite using a text message where you include a link to your event landing page. 

Here’s a blog post to help you with your nonprofit event invitation call scripts

Direct mails

Sending your fundraiser invite as a letter through direct mail can help create a special bond. Direct mail combined with digital advertising gives a 118% lift in response rate compared to using direct mail only.

Platforms like GivingMail help you in printing and mailing your letter to your contacts. 

Posters, banners, and flyers

Posters are one of the traditional collaterals used for event invitations. These provide an excellent opportunity to draw someone’s attention who may not even have heard of your organization yet. 

Design your nonprofit event invitations and distribute them as flyers or put them up on high-engaged areas as posters or banners. 

Here are some tips for designing your event invitation posters:

  1. Use the colors and fonts that align with your nonprofit’s branding.
  2. Add your logo.
  3. Include the key event details.
  4. Highlight the title with an embellishment. 
  5. Include a prominent call to action.

Event promotion sites

Event promotion sites like Eventbrite let you set up landing pages with customized ticketing options. The platform allows you to share the event link in your social media invites too. 

nonprofit event invitation event promotion site example
Source: Eventbrite

9. Map the process

Your multi-channel approach should also consider the experience of your potential attendees. Your nonprofit event invitation in each channel must focus on persuading your audience to attend your event. Think of the channels as the path to reaching your event venue. 

ChannelAction by youPotential actions by audience 
EmailSend a ‘save the date’ invite1. Makes room for the event in their calendar. 
2. Ignores the mail.
SMS/MMSSend a targeted and personalized invite. 1. Visits the landing page and drops off.
2. Visits the landing page and registers.
3. Ignores the text.
Social media1. Put up invites on your social media pages.
2. Target invitations to landing page visitors and other audiences based on their interests using ads.
1. Visits the landing page and drops off.
2. Visits the landing page and registers.
3. Registers on the platform.
4. Ignores the invitation.
Landing pageInclude all the details in the invitation on the landing page.1. Finds your landing page through a search engine query and registers.
2. Finds your landing page through a search engine query and drops off.
3. Lands on your page through one of the other channels and registers.
4. Lands on your page through one of the other channels and drops off.
Phone callsYou place the invite call.1. Picks the call, listens to you and registers.
2. Picks the call, listens to you, but doesn’t register.
3. Picks the call, but doesn’t stay through.
4. Doesn’t pick the call.
Direct mailsYou send the invite mail.1. Receives the mail and registers.
2. Receives the mail, but doesn’t register.
3. Does not receive the mail.
Posters, banners and flyersYou put up the posters, banners and distribute the flyers.1. Notices the collaterals and registers.
2. Notices the collaterals, but doesn’t register.
3. Doesn’t notice the collaterals.
Event promotion sitesYou create a professional account and put up the invitation. 1. Comes across the site and registers.
2. Comes across the site, but doesn’t register.
3. Doesn’t come across the site.

The above table shows all the possible paths your audience may wander in before they register for your event. This is why a single-channel approach to your nonprofit event invitation may not be sufficient when you’re looking to increase attendance.

How do you collect registrations for these event invites?

Once you’ve sent the event invitation, your audience needs a means to register for the event. A registration form on your landing page helps you do that. Include a link to your landing page in all your invitations, so people can directly click on it and register themselves.

How to collect RSVPs for the event registrations?

When your event is nearing, you need a way to collect and keep track of RSVPs. CallHub’s SMS Opt-in tool helps you with this. 

Place a short code/long code and a keyword in all your invites and event landing page. Your contacts can text the keyword to the mentioned number to RSVP. When they do, their contact gets added to your CRM. 

You can even set up automated responses to these RSVPs with our Autoresponder feature. 

nonprofit event invitation collecting rsvps for event registrations
Source: Freepik

Tips to make the most out of your nonprofit event invitation

  1. Use photographs to evoke emotion.
  2. Send the invitations at the best time, depending on your audience’s geography.
  3. Mention if plus ones are allowed.
  4. Include instructions on how to RSVP.
  5. Enable donation through your event invitation.
  6. Express gratitude in advance.
  7. Indicate if the invitation is transferable.

Get Started!

A thoughtful and professional nonprofit event invitation has great potential to stimulate your audience’s interest and encourage them to attend your event. This guide has some more tips to help you craft the perfect event invitation quickly. 

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at [email protected].

Feature image: Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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