If I build it, will they come?

Mitzvah students and organizations alike are in the midst of planning their fall and spring 5K’s, fun walks, gala dinners, bake sales, art shows and practically anything else which will draw a crowd, raise money, awareness and good will. For those first-time organizers, the challenge is in the who, what, where, why, how AND the big question of all—” If I build it, will they come?”

The Mitzvah Bowl staff has event fundraising experience and hopes they can help first-timers, second-timers and pros with an easy way to bring event participants.

First, dot your t’s and cross your i’s. No, there is not a typo here. Think of every which way you can connect with potential participants even if it seems unconventional. If you are having a 5K, go to a school and talk it up in the assemblies. You’d be amazed how word will spread to parents who want to participate because their children heard an inspirational assembly at school. If a fundraiser consists of selling artsy wares, this craft sale’s best audience may be the music school students down the road.

Next, use free advertising. There’s no better way to advertise than through emails, Tweets, Facebook pages and online community event listings. Use your computer as your friend to find ways you will connect with a potential audience. Go to your local newspaper’s website, search for community/event listings, then list your event. Do this for every single local newspaper within your event’s reach. A facebook page could go viral if you upload a compelling video about your cause. This could easily attract more event attendees.

Finally, treat the event as an ongoing, annual function. If planners go into it with a one-shot deal approach, people will not be as willing to attend as one-time participants. Start the momentum now and it will surely gain more speed year in and year out. By years three or four, your least worry will be how to get people to attend. An event planners challenge becomes how to accomodate the growing numbers, how to increase the fundraising dollars, as well as how to continue spreading awareness in an exciting and captivating manner.

By this time, you have built it and they will come!

by The Mitzvah Bowl Co-Founders, Cheryl Friedenberg & Val Franklin, who have planned many non-profit event fundraisers for many local, Philly-based organizations prior to starting up www.themitzvahbowl.com.

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