Word of Mouth Trumps Facebook for Driving Attendance at Fundraisers

To increase attendance at your nonprofits’ events, rely more heavily on word of mouth over Social Media sharing.

Everyone kind of knows this already, but sometimes it’s good to see the numbers.

Blue Sky Collaborative manages the online registration for the Cancer Support Community’s Annual Red Ball (http://cancersupportcommunity.org/RedBall).  Online registrants are required to enter their referral source when they register.  

A whopping 85% of online registrants were referred to the event by friends, colleagues, board members and other individuals.  Only 3.5% cited a Facebook post as their referral source.

The takeaway for event organizers?  Put some effort into sharing news about your event on Facebook but place the majority of your outreach efforts into getting event attendees, staff, and friends of the organization to tell their friends and associates about the event.

Some simple strategies to promote word of mouth are:

  1. Provide discounts or incentives for the top referrers
  2. Remind people to forward the link to the event web page in post-registration email notifications
  3. Actually call people who register for the event to thank them and alert them that they should/could invite their friends and family to the event
  4. Provide discounts for people who purchase more than one ticket

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