One of my favorite local nonprofits is The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Throughout the year, we gladly offer our services pro bono to help them leverage digital PR to achieve their mission of investing in the potential of women and girls. Recently, we helped them execute a teaser campaign in support of their annual fundraiser. Here’s the case study. Feel free to remix or sample these ideas and apply them to your own work!
Situation: The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio hosts Keyholder, an annual fundraiser. Over the past few years, the event has grown significantly, with Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn featured as special guests the past two years. For the 2012 event, The Women’s Fund decided to elevate the event to an even higher level, bringing Whoopi Goldberg to town.
A huge name, Whoopi Goldberg’s schedule books up very far in advance. So, to accommodate Whoopi’s TV commitments and previously scheduled events, The Women’s Fund had to hold Keyholder on June 29 — a Friday right before a major vacation week. Not an ideal date, but very doable. Logistically, bringing someone of Whoopi’s caliber to town also required moving the event to a larger venue. In other words, a LOT more tickets needed to be sold to make the math work.
Challenge: Tickets for the event were going to be publicly available through Ticketmaster on February 26. It was January, and we had a whole month before we were allowed to actually sell tickets, yet we knew we couldn’t let that much time slip if we were going to reach our ticket goals. Additionally, our media partner had the exclusive rights to announce the name of this year’s guest, so we also couldn’t spill the beans.
Our challenge: Develop a campaign that would create a sense of excitement and urgency, while laying the foundation for ticket sales.
Our approach: Because I spend so much time working with startups, I’ve seen the effectiveness of LaunchRock, a website that makes it simple for anyone to create social “launching soon” pages to generate buzz for upcoming campaigns, events, announcements, etc. LaunchRock collects emails and tracks information on user signups, site traffic and conversion rates. Plus, users are incentivized to share campaigns through social media.
Just because LaunchRock is typically used by the startup crowd, though, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be just as effective for a nonprofit seeking to build momentum for an upcoming event, right? That was the theory that we decided to put to the test. Our three-week campaign focused on collecting email addresses by driving potential ticket buyers to LaunchRock,
Messaging: Working with the Women’s Fund’s branding partner, Ologie, we developed a campaign centered on the idea “One Night. One Cause. One Name.”
To entice people to submit their email via LaunchRock, we offered a couple incentives: First, anyone who signed up would receive an email to purchase tickets the day before they went on sale to the public. Next, people who referred at least three friends to also sign up were entered into a drawing to meet this year’s iconic guest.
Tactics: The Women’s Fund leveraged a combination of online channels – Facebook, Twitter, enewsletter, etc. – to drive traffic to a customized LaunchRock page, building anticipation for the Keyholder event in the process. We worked with the organization to execute a “drip” campaign of teaser tweets and Facebook updates to drive traffic to the landing page. We also incorporated some “grassroots” tactics, including asking local supporters — via direct message — to share the information with their networks, providing email verbiage to Women’s Fund communication committee members and local associations (where we already had existing relationships) to share with their personal contacts.
Outcome: The three-week campaign generated more than 500 signups to the LaunchRock page. People who signed up received multiple emails from the Women’s Fund reminding them to purchase tickets. This pre-launch campaign was critical in laying the foundation for a successful Women’s Fund event, which resulted in more tickets sold than any previous Keyholder event — a major success!