There is a high probability that you’ll have at least two things present at your fundraising event: some sort of screen for a presentation, and then people who are ignoring it by looking at their phones all night. Big and small events, luncheons and festivals alike, all run into this problem.
Cell phones are so entrenched in our everyday lives that, to assume your guests won’t be on their phones during your event, is a bit of a wishful dream. At big concerts, celebrities are even grappling with how to force their concert-goers to be “in the moment” while watching their show. Singers like Alicia Keys, Jack White and others have even tried to ban cell phone use at their shows. However, learning to embrace the use of cell-phones at events may be the wiser option. Marc Geiger, a William Morris Endeavor executive says that cell phone use at concerts is “here to say…It’s a very necessary annoyance, but also serves both as marketing and promotion. Everyone wants to share the content on social media to show that they were there. It’s a bit like the brand new T-shirt.”
So – how can you use your screen, and knowing that your guests will be on their phone, to embrace this "new T-shirt” marketing strategy? And how does that translate into new donors for your cause?
Try a social wall. Social walls are quickly becoming a must-have at events and can benefit your fundraiser in a couple of ways. First of all, it forces your guests to promote your event to their friends who didn’t attend the event. Guests are more likely to tweet and Instagram with your event hashtag if they know it’ll show up on a screen (15 seconds of fame), but what it really does is create a buzz around your event online. Make sure that your event hashtag is simple and easy to spot so that guests can easily find and share it. There are a lot of options for social walls- at Swell we just updated our projection app to fit all of your needs. Swell Slides is not only a social wall because unlike others out there, it integrates your custom slides, sponsor logos and cause video in one dynamic presentation. It also adds a little competition to the event by showing, in real-time, who is the Most Social at your event.
Text to give campaign. Envelopes on a table are often seen by nonprofits as a necessary evil, but how often do your donors have checkbooks on them? Or, how comfortable are people these days leaving their credit card number written down? Not very. You know what people don’t forget to bring to an event? Their cell phones. Set up a text to give at your next event instead of relying on any sort of cash or check transfer. If you’re using Swell, our check-in app has “donate now” options and allows credit card and offline gift payment, so there’s no excuse for your guests not to donate!
Real-time fundraising totals. Showing fundraising totals in real-time on a screen engages guests in giving and creates that “we’re in this together” feeling. Particularly if you have a text to give or a social wall, guests are already looking at the screen and will get into seeing the number roll up. At a Swell event, the numbers update in real-time and often guests will cheer each time a big fundraising milestone is hit. Creating this energy in the room often even leads to guests taking pictures of the screen and sharing on social media (with the hashtag!) to show how much of an impact they are making by being at the event.
Adding even one of these to your event will immediately increase guest engagement and captures your guests where they are – on their cell phones. Swell was designed to do all of these in one, creating a unique and fun guest experience, but picking just one to start will work as well! At this point, we’re pretty sure the cell phone is here to stay, so you might as well embrace it and make it work for you!